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Siding Nailers Explained – Siding Nailer vs Roofing Nailer, What Are They, How Do They Work, What Are They Used For & Buying Guide

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Being true to its name, a siding nailer is used for installing siding in your house. While these are quite similar to other nailers, their smaller differences make them perfect for siding. This article will provide you all the relevant information about siding nailers, comparing them with roofing nailers, and providing a buying guide.

Table of Contents

What is a Siding Nailer?

A siding nailer is quite self-explanatory, its name explains exactly what it is, a type of nail gun that is used specifically for siding projects. They work similarly to a framing nailer, but far more accurately. Allowing you to solve problems like piercing by nail head and the overwhelming power that occurs with framing nailers.

Siding nailers are great tools for rubber domes and wood, solving all kinds of siding problems and leaving a professional look. They generally work efficiently and can save the user a lot of time when joining thinner pieces and two different materials together like wood and vinyl.

Siding nailers allow you to use coil-nail which will save refilling time. Most of the siding nailers available have an air filter that will help to reduce dust and debris. They are typically available with a variety range of depth adjustment so that you can adjust with different sizes of joining material.

This makes a siding Nailer a very versatile tool along with it’s benefit of being portable. In the case of performance regarding siding, the siding nailer is ultimately unbeatable. You may use a framing nailer to do the same job sure, but you will not get the perfect finishing. Siding nailers enable you to carry out bump shots or single shots.

This will save you from the unwanted shot. Siding nailers are safe to use as most of them have a trigger lock system. Of course, they’re limited to only siding projects though, and are not suitable for any other nailing jobs. They generally need to be used on a soft wall to get a perfect result.

Types of Siding Nailers

There are three types of siding nail guns that are readily available on the market. These 3 are:

  • Pneumatic siding nailer
  • Cordless siding nailer
  • Coil siding nailer

Pneumatic Siding Nailer

This is a device powered by compressed air from an air compressor. They are very popular for both harder and softer material. As it is air powered so, you do not need to think about a battery or another power source to operate.

Cordless Siding Nailer

Cordless siding nailers use a battery power source to operate. But functions like another nailer. The problem here is that it has a weaker power when compared to pneumatic versions, which is why you cannot use it for harder objects.

Coil Siding Nailer

For harder objects, the coil siding nailer is perfect. Harder objects generally need more power to nail. The principal mechanism here is a solenoid metal piston. On top of this, by controlling the power, you will be able to use it for softer objects.

How to Use a Siding Nailer?

Before starting any siding nailer project, it’s important to put safety first. You should wear eye and ear protection, and potentially even a hard had and vibration-reducing gloves!

How to Use a Siding Nailer

  1. Load the Siding Nailer

    Load by pressing the magazine release and then pushing that back into its place, making sure that it clicks perfectly.

  2. Set the Depth

    Once you’ve loaded your nails and have the proper safety equipment, you’ll want to set the depth on your gun. Siding nailers allow you to change the depth of the nail. Make sure the depth corresponds to the nail length you purchased for your project. Failure to follow this step could ruin your siding nailer or your siding project.

  3. Connect to Power Source

    You can now attach the gun to its power source. If you need to connect to electricity, you may also need to run an extension cord to power your device. Otherwise, you may need to connect to an air compressor.

  4. Shoot Nails

    Once you are done setting your depth and connecting to a power source, you can start shooting nails. To do so, you’ll want to hold the bottom of the nailer steady with one hand while holding the handle with the other.

  5. Remove Nail Jams When Necessary

    When using nailers, one of the most common issues is a nail jam. Don’t continue firing rounds if your siding nailer jams. Disconnect the tool from its power source instead and then figure out what’s causing the blockage. Preventing jams is one of the primary reasons why you should want to practice with your nailer before using it on a project.

Siding Nailer vs Roofing Nailer

People often seek to understand the key differences between these two very similar nail guns, roofing nailer vs siding nailer. Well, the main difference is the nails. Siding nails are longer than roofing nails since they have to be able to hold up more weight. They’re generally not designed to be removed, so they have smaller diameter heads and ringed shanks that grip the wood significantly better.

Roofing nails, however, are designed to be removed. For this reason they have larger heads, so that they are easier to grab onto when they need to be taken out. Another key difference is that they have smooth shanks that aren’t able to grip the wood as tightly as the ringed shanks that siding nails have.

Finally, roofing nails are much shorter in length as they are not required to hold up much weight and they generally only have to punch through a thin shingle and a single layer of wood.

Siding nails and roofing nails are designed to perform different jobs, and so, they’re built differently. You’ll be unable to fire siding nails from a roofing nailer or vice versa, so it’s important to ensure you’re always using the right fastener and therefore the right nailer for the job.

Siding NailsRoofing Nails
Smaller headLarger head
Ring shank Smooth shank
Designed to be permanent Designed to be removed
Up to 2.5″ in lengthUp to 1.75″ in length
Siding Nails vs Roofing Nails Comparison Table

If you’re interested in learning about a Brad Nailer vs Framing Nailer, visit our guide here. Likewise, we have an article providing an example on Using a Portable Air Tank For Nail Gun!

Siding Nailer Buying Guide

When it comes to choosing the perfect siding nailer for your needs you must pay attention to a number of things you must consider before buying one. The following details and factors should be paid close attention to throughout your selection process to choose the best siding nailer for you:

  • Supported nail length
  • Magazine capacity
  • Operational pressure
  • Size and weight
  • Build quality
  • Warranty

Now, let’s take a look at each of these in more detail!

Supported Nail Length

Siding is a very standardized and fixed process, nevertheless, you can still use different kinds of nails. The nails tend to differ in terms of their length and material. You can find wire and plastic sheet collated nails when it comes to the material they’re constructed of. Both are suitable options. However, it’s important to pay extra attention to the length of the nails that are supported by your siding nailer.

Typically, nails with a length range of 1 ½” to 2 ½” are used for siding projects. Therefore, the majority of the siding nailers available support this nail size to ensure that you do not run into any compatibility related issues. Any siding nailer with a larger nail length range is a better option than one that has a shorter nail length range.

Magazine Capacity

Just like all other nailers out there, siding nailers also come with an inbuilt nail magazine on either the top or bottom of your siding nailer. The magazine is responsible for holding the nails that are used for siding projects. This can help you to save a lot of time as you can simply reload this magazine with a lot of nails at once. It can be handy if you want to keep working for a long time without running into any issues.

Different nail magazines have different capacities, meaning the amount of nails that they can hold at once. This includes common capacity options for siding nailers like 300 nails or 400 nails. The higher capacity is of course the better option. The bigger the magazine size the less time you need to reload.

Operational Pressure

If you are familiar with siding nailers in general then you will know that the majority of the siding nailers available tend to be pneumatic siding nailers. This means that they use high air pressure for driving nails in different surfaces for siding projects. This pressurized air is delivered with the help of an air compressor.

Generally, you need a specific amount of air pressure in order to use a given siding nailer without running into any performance issues. Siding nailer manufacturers will specific their tools operating pressure, with most of the siding nailer options out there offering an operational air pressure range of 70 PSI to 120 PSI. Some more efficient options even come with an air pressure ratings that offers slightly higher flexibility to the user.

Size and Weight

Despite needing an air compressor connected to these pneumatic siding nailers at all times, siding nailers are still classed as handheld power tools. Due to this, their size and weight are quite essential factors when considering buying one. A siding nailer that is small and compact can be used in all tight spaces without any issues along with using up less space in your toolkit.

Just like the size, the weight of a siding nailer also can make it more practical if it is lightweight. Any siding nailer that is lightweight can be used for a longer period of time at once without facing any arm strain issues compared to a heavier model. In addition to this, the help of ergonomic and comfortable hand grips offered by these siding nailers care a bonus.

Build Quality

It’s important to check the quality of the build of a siding nailer if you want to be able to use it for a long period of time without facing any wear and tear issues. Aluminum construction is a very popular choice for a lot of models as it offers a great balance between strength and build quality.


The warranty duration offered by a siding nailer is also quite important to check so that you can ensure that the given model is a reliable one. While most options come with a 3 year or a 5-year long warranty, more reliable options might even come with a 7-year long warranty as the manufacturer backs their product.

Siding Nailers Readily Available on Amazon

I have picked out some of the best nail gun for siding that are readily available on Amazon. This Bostitch siding nailer boasts terrific reviews and is an Amazon choice. It is capable of nailing 1 1/4″ to 2 1/2″ nails.

This Metabo siding nailer accepts 16º wire collated coil siding nails from 1-1/2″ – 2-1/2″. It also accepts 15º plastic collated coil siding nails from 1-1/2″ – 2-1/4″.

This Makita siding nailer has an efficient motor & trigger design which offers leading fastening performance. Its “tool-less” depth adjustment with 9 detents settings is engineered for more precise flush and countersink nailing.

Finally the DeWalt siding nailer is easy to use, offering a tool-free adjustable exhaust, along with being durable and lightweight.

Other notable siding nail guns to look out for are the Hitachi siding nailer or Milwaukee siding nailer!

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is a siding nailer?

A siding nailer is a type of nail gun that is used specifically for siding projects. They work similarly but far more accurately than a framing nailer. They allow you to solve problems like piercing by nail head and the overwhelming power that occurs with framing nailers. Siding nailers are great tools for rubber domes and wood, solving all kinds of siding problems and leaving a very professional look.

What kind of nailer can I use for siding?

It’s pretty self explanatory, but the best nailer to use for siding is a siding nailer. You may be able to use a different type of nailer, but you won’t be able to achieve anywhere near as quality results.

Can a roofing nailer be used for siding?

You may be able to use a roofing nailer for siding if you “blind nail” them so you don’t see the nail head at all. The problem is that roofing nailers fire nails with a larger head and a smooth shank, while siding nailers fire smaller head and ring sank nails that leave a far more professional finish.

Can I use a roofing nailer for Hardie siding?

You could get away with using a roofing nailer for Hardie siding as long as the roofing nailer has enough power for blind nailing, otherwise you will be left with the head of the nails in visibility. It’ll certainly be more of a challenge that simply using a siding nailer that is designed for Hardie siding.

What type of nail gun is used for Hardie siding?

Any siding projects are best completed with a siding nail gun. They are designed specifically for this purpose and will result in top-notch finishes, looking professional. You could probably use a roofing nailer, if you’re able to provide the nail with enough power so that the head isn’t visible at the surface.

If you’re wondering how to plumb an air compressor setup, visit our guide!

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

By Aidan Weeks

A passionate Mechanical Engineer with endless enthusiasm for fluid power - building off the back of over 18 years of high quality contribution and discussion stimulated by Bill Wade here at About Air Compressors. With both practical and theoretical experience in pneumatics and hydraulics, I'm putting my knowledge to work - and working my grey-matter through my research, assistance and publishing work here at About Air Compressors. Feel free to reach out any time! P.S. A HUGE shout out to Doug who really offers such great value to all visitors to About Air Compressors - once again, feeling like I'm standing on the shoulders of GIANTS by getting to work alongside such a great community

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