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Brad nailers and framing nailers are two of the most common nail guns. However, a lot of people don’t know the differences between the two and so get confused about what applications to use a brad nailer vs framing nailer.

This article will provide you with all the relevant information and differences between a brad nailer and a framing nailer so you can choose the right one for your application.

Table of Contents

What is a Brad Nailer?

Brad nailers are one of the most commonly found air-driven tools in a woodshop. They’re designed to shoot light gauge wire brads into almost all types of wood without leaving a large hole that needs to be filled.

A brad nailer is called a brad because of its nature and its use in both paper and wooden projects. Brads are excellent choices when you want to conceal the nail in your work, unlike finished nails that have a bigger head. Brads have smaller heads and all these qualities are what make a brad a brad.

Brad nails are 1/2″ to 2″ long and tend to not have a head-on them so that they can penetrate the wood when shot and not need a follow behind with a nail set. Here is an example of a brad nailer readily available on Amazon.

Brad Nailer Applications

Brad nailers are commonly used during the assembly process of woodworking projects. Brad’s nails add stability and strength to the glue joints as steel wire spans both pieces of wood.

The impact of the fastener also serves as a clamp by drawing the glued joint tighter as the glue begins to set. The brad nail gun is useful for trim components that do not have to contribute to the overall structural integrity of a project… a brad nailer can join wood without the need for glue.

Brad nailers are suitable for crown molding, making cabinets, baseboard, and wood-crafting.

Braid Nailer Advantages vs Disadvantages

Braid Nailer Advantages

  • Can hold things temporarily (nails are easily removed)
  • Ensures precise and accurate finishing works
  • Makes small holes that don’t need putty to fill
  • Prevents wood from splitting

Braid Nailer Disadvantages

  • Can’t be used on thick or hard wood

What is a Framing Nailer?

Framing nailers are very common with a lot of people conducting home building or DIY construction, as a replacement for the claw hammer. Framing nail guns are capable of generating upwards of 1,000 pounds of hammering power to drive heavy nails used in building framing.

Due to the rapid succession of a large number of nails being fired into frames, these guns significantly increase productivity and almost all builders will have made the switch by now.

The framing nailer’s magazine contains different angles like 21 degrees, 28 degrees, and more. The nailer itself will only support nails corresponding to that angle, which is why framing nailers are not like any other nail guns.

Their nails typically come in two variations, either clipped head or round head. I have therefore picked out both types that are readily available on Amazon as examples for you, both manufactured by Bostitch. To learn more about Bostitch, visit our Bostitch brand page here!

Other notable brands include DeWalt, and Milwaukee, amongst others.

Framing Nailer Applications

Framing nailers have a specific application of driving nails into the wood in construction. Some framing nail guns will be better working with harder wood often used in modern framing due to their large nail sizes.

Framing nailers are suitable for building decks, framing houses, basement recreation rooms, fences as well as construction houses.

Framing Nailer Advantages vs Disadvantages

Framing Nailer Advantages

  • A variety of nail sizes give you the flexibility to work
  • Can work in tighter spaces effectively and accurately
  • Nails are durable and can hold weighty things

Framing Nailer Disadvantages

  • Potentially different framing nailer requirements for different angled shots

Brad Nailer vs Framing Nailer

Brad nailers vs framing nailers are not interchangeable. The power of the tools and the fasteners that each use are very different. This ensures that one tool will not be useful for accomplishing the tasks of the other, clearly setting out that both nailers have their own separate purposes and are different from one another.

The nail sizes play the most crucial role in their differences. Due to the large size of the nails, a greater amount of force is required to shoot these nails so framing nailers typically use more pressure than brad nailers.

A summary table comparing the advantages vs disadvantages of brad nailers vs framing nailers and their applications is provided below.

Brad NailerFraming Nailer
Advantages
  • Can hold things temporarily (nails are easily removed)

  • Ensures precise and accurate finishing works

  • Makes small holes that don’t need putty to fill

  • Prevents wood from splitting
  • A variety of nail sizes give you the flexibility to work

  • Can work in tighter spaces effectively and accurately

  • Nails are durable and can hold weighty things
  • Disadvantages
  • Can’t be used on thick or hardwood
  • Potentially different framing nailer requirements for different angled shots
  • Applications
  • Crown molding

  • Trim working

  • Making cabinets

  • Base boarding

  • Woodcrafting

  • Building decks

  • Framing houses

  • Basement recreation rooms,

  • Fences

  • Construction houses.
  • Brad Nailer vs Framing Nailer Summary Table

    For information on the other types of nailers please visit our Types of Nail Guns Guide!

    Wondering what size air compressor you need for a nail gun? Check out our guide to sizing your air compressor for a framing nailer or brad nailer here.

    Other nail gun related pages you may be interested in reading:

    FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

    Can you use a brad nailer for framing?

    A brad nailer is not suitable for framing stud walls. This is because it does not have the right size nails nor enough energy to do an efficient job.

    What’s the difference between a brad nailer and a framing nailer?

    The key difference is their nails, brad nailers use around 18 gauge nails whilst a framing nailer uses angled nails of a variety of sizes. Due to this, they’re suited to different applications, and neither should be used used as a replacement for the other.

    What are Brad nailers used for?

    Brad nailers are used for baseboards, crown molding, making cabinets, trim working, and wood crafting. Due to their small size nails, they’re not suitable for use on hard or thick wood.

    What is the best nail gun for framing?

    Framing nailers, true to their name, are the best nail gun for framing. A 30-degree framing nailer will provide you with the greatest angle to allow access to tight spaces and angles in framing applications.


    If you have any questions regarding brad nailers vs framing nailers, please leave a comment below, with a photo if applicable, so that someone can help you!