Best Framing Nailer: Complete Buying Guide & Reviews

If you’re going to be working on building your own home, improving it in any way or even if building is your trade, corded or cordless framing nailers or nail guns can be extremely beneficial tool to have. You’ll be able to get the job done faster and you’re going to be able to get it done better and more securely. Finding the best framing nailer, however, can be a little more work, which is why we’ve done it for you. Read on for our best framing nailer reviews.

Best Framing Nailers

Hitachi NR90AES1 Framing Nailer

The Hitachi Framing Nailer is plastic collated (though there is a paper collated version available as well) and provides a new guard design over the head which is made for quick disassembly during any kind of maintenance. It is lightweight and therefore reduces the overall level of user fatigue and it’s balanced well so you can move it around with ease. Selective actuation means that it can easily be changed from sequential to contact nailing and all you need to do is flip the switch.

You can also adjust the depth without needing any tools so you can make quick adjustments while you’re using the tool. The two-piece anodized aluminum magazine makes it easier to repair and replace any pieces without a lot of costs involved. There’s a rubber grip which makes it more comfortable to hold while also making sure you’re not going to slip and the two-step process for loading means you can get back to work faster.

Things we like:

  • Rubber grip
  • Tool-less depth adjustment
  • Two-step nail loading
  • Quick disassembly
  • Air powered
  • Lightweight and easy to carry

Things we don’t like:

  • Can jam with certain nails
  • Does not have a hook

Freeman PFR2190 Framing Nailer

The Freeman Nailer here has interchangeable triggers that allow for single or contact firing and it can adjust the depth that you nail in for even more applications. It’s made with a no-mar tip so you don’t have to worry about it damaging your surfaces and it has an anti-dry fire mechanism that will let you know when there are only five nails left in a magazine to avoid damage.

You can use round head framing nails in this system that are of varying lengths to get more versatility out of the unit and it comes with a plastic carrying case that means you can take it with you more places. The system itself has a maximum of 115 PSI and includes a one-piece drive blade for added durability and strength. The 360-degree exhaust air filter and anti-dust cap keep things more comfortable and safe for you and the unit itself is made of magnesium to lower the weight and increase durability.

Things we like:

  • Oil-less system
  • Includes case
  • Alerts when only five nails are left
  • Single or contact firing
  • Anodized aluminum and magnesium for light weight
  • 7-year warranty

Things we don’t like:

  • Not easy to feed
  • Occasionally double-fires

NuMax SFR2190 Framing Nailer

The NuMax Nailer here provides a dual mode trigger that allows for single or sequential firing depending on your own personal preference. It is also able to adjust the depth of the nails so you can accomplish a range of different types of projects without needing to change tools.

You can use several sizes of 21-degree nails with a round head, which are generally acceptable for most framing projects and there is an anti-dry fire mechanism that will automatically activate when there are only five nails remaining in the magazine so you can avoid dry firing.

There is a 1-year warranty included with this product in case of any defect on the outer casing and a 30-day warranty on the wearable parts located inside that casing in case of any damage. It also has a 360-degree adjustable exhaust so you can keep dust and debris away from you.

Things we like:

  • Anti-dry fire mechanism
  • Dual mode trigger
  • 1-year warranty
  • Magnesium build for lightweight
  • Does not jam
  • Adjustable depth options

Things we don’t like:

  • Can be heavy
  • Somewhat large for extended use

Freeman P4FRFNCB Framing/Finishing Combo Kit

If you’re going to be working on your own framing or you’re looking for something to use for professional use, the Freeman Combo Kit actually includes everything that you need in order to get the job done. It comes with four different tools as well as a case to carry them all in so you’re ready to go whenever you need it.

It has a framing nailer, finish nailer, brad nailer, and crown stapler that each include a 7-year warranty so you know it’s going to last for a long time and be backed up by the company in case of any problems.

The tools themselves have quick-release features as well as using several different types of nails to get any job completed quickly. You can use them for a variety of different projects and you build walls or complete other projects with very little additional effort. It doesn’t jam and feeds nails through quickly and easily.

Things we like:

  • Doesn’t jam
  • Includes 4 common tools
  • 7-year warranty
  • Quick release
  • Does the job beginning to end
  • Includes carrying case

Things we don’t like:

  • Can be large for tight spaces
  • Does not accept large staples

Bostitch F21PL Framing Nailer

The Bostitch Nailer works with 1 ½” to 3 ½” framing nails and provides plenty of driving power to get nails in just the way you need them. It also has depth control so you can adjust the system to get the power you need, where you need it and make sure that your nails are all the way in but not too far. The trigger itself can be used as a sequential or bump trigger to get your personal preference and the fastest method for your needs.

Even better, it actually has two quick-change nose pieces that will allow the nailer to work as a framing nailer or for metal connections. It’s also lightweight, made with magnesium, for easy transport. There is a rubber grip for easy holding and rubber skid pads so if you set it down you won’t have a problem with movement. Another great feature is the 7-year limited warranty that comes with the product and says it’s definitely going to last.

Things we like:

  • 7-year warranty
  • Lightweight magnesium materials
  • Sequential and bump trigger
  • Quick change nosepieces for framing and metal connector
  • Works with several types of nails
  • Balanced well for extended use

Things we don’t like:

  • Large size
  • Quite loud

Features to Consider

When you’re choosing any tool you want to make sure that you’re looking at all of the features and choosing something that’s going to work out best for you. You don’t want to take all that time and money buying something only to find out that it works for someone else but your needs are different. We are going to look at a range of different features that are important when you’re looking to get a framing nailer so you can decide what you need and where you can pass.

Pneumatic vs. Cordless

A pneumatic framing nailer is the type that will connect to an air compressor. This can give you constant power and it also tends to cost a little bit less over the long run because you’re connecting it to the electricity in your home or space. They use air from the compressor and when that runs out the compressor generates more. On the other hand, a cordless system is going to use fuel, which will help you if you’re in a tight area where you can’t reach with the air hose, but it could get expensive when you have to keep buying all that fuel.

Stick-Style vs. Coil-Style

Are you going to be working on projects that require a lot of nails all at once or are you going to be using only a few at once? If you’ll need a lot then a coil-style nailer, which refers to the way in which you load the nails, may be a good idea. If you’re not, a stick-style nailer could be just fine. With a coil-style, you’ll get a rolled up magazine full of nails that you can use. With a stick-style, you only get a strip of nails. This means you’re going to need to refill the nailer more frequently when you have a stick-style.

Clipped-Head vs. Round-Head

There are different types of nails that can be used in some types of nailers. Some use what’s called a clipped-head while others will use a round-head. If you’re going to be building houses you need to look at all of the building codes to find out what the rules are. In a lot of areas you aren’t allowed to use clipped-head nails, so you want to know if your nailer can use round-head and what the codes and requirements are in your area.

Adjustable Depth

You should always be able to control just how deep each of your nails goes into the material. Having the adjustable features for this means you can use your nailer for a range of different projects and different locations. Not everywhere you go or need to work will the project be exactly the same, after all. By having the adjustment you can make the job safer and more accurate at the same time. That’s definitely going to make you want to actually use this nailer more frequently.

Additional Features

There are several other things to look at for your nailer as well. For example, you likely want something with a directional exhaust so you can keep the dust and other debris away from you. This is especially important if you’re using a fuel nailer.

Being able to clear out jams easily is another important feature because you really don’t want to be stuck spending a long time clearing out your machine and not working on the project you’re trying to complete. Having a large trigger also makes it easier for you to use the nailer itself without having to take off gloves, which can project your hand even more.

Some nailers have swiveling air connectors that will allow you to move the cord anywhere you need to, so it’s out of your way while you work. Protective guards are another great feature because they keep your tool from getting damaged and also protect you from any debris that might be flying around. You’ll want guards that you can swap out when they start to get worn, however, as they can break as well if they get worn down too much.

Wrap Up

For anyone that wants a tool that’s quick and easy to use and to adjust the Hitachi Framing Nailer is our top pick. It actually has two-step processes for just about everything, including loading up a new set of nails. That means you’ll be able to get back to what you need to be doing a whole lot faster and you’ll be able to get the hang of how it works faster as well.

We love that this system is also easy to disassemble and that it has depth adjustment that doesn’t require any tools. If you’re going to be doing a lot of work you may actually want to take a look at the Freeman Combo Kit, which comes with four different pieces to help you get even more of the work done.

It actually has a number of great features and we definitely think that it’s going to be worth the money that you spend on it. If you’re interested in our top pick you can find out more about getting one for yourself. If you’re interested in any of the other options we’ve talked about you can take a look at the links up above.

About Gus Donaldson

I built houses for over 30 years and recently retired. I've made lots of mistakes and hopefully teach you not to make the same ones. I still love to build and have a garage workshop that I use for hobby projects like the walnut bookshelf I made for my wife. I like to write and let people know that working with your hands and tools does not need to be intimidating.

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