What is a Finish Nailer?

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  • Written By: J. Beam
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 October 2014
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A finish nailer is a specific power tool that is categorized as a type of nail gun. It is designed to accomplish carpentry finish work quickly and efficiently. There are numerous makes and models, all powered in ways that make easier, quicker work than nailing by hand. Like many varieties of power tools, finish nailers may be corded or cordless.

As with other types of nail guns, a finish nailer is designed for use with very specific sized nails, which are sold in strips that load into the gun. Inside, a hammer mechanism drives the nails with powered force, making this tool ideal for quickly installing all types of trim from baseboards to crown molding.

Features of the finish nailer vary with make and model, but an adjustable depth setting is a standard feature on most. The size and angle of operation vary to allow the user to tailor the tool to the task at hand. The power options will vary as well and while the corded varieties are powered by electricity, cordless finish nailers are typically powered by either battery or compressed air.


Finish nailers range greatly in price, with the price depending largely on the size, make, model and power abilities. For normal household use, less expensive models with fewer features are often suitable for small tasks. Commercial and industrial uses typically require the more expensive varieties with specific features and increased power. This tool is an excellent investment for small construction and repair businesses and companies that routinely install finish trim for customers, as well as for the ambitious do-it-yourself home re-modeler.

When selecting a finish nailer for purchase, compare features and power options to the task for which it will most frequently be used. You should also pick up display models to examine their weight and ergonomic feel in your hands. Make sure you buy nail strips that are the same size your nailer uses. Like many power tools, it may take some time to get accustomed to their actual use, but the finish nailer can greatly reduce the time spent on projects that would otherwise have to be done by hand.


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