Pin Nailer vs. Brad Nailer – What’s the Difference? 2022 Comparison

Finish carpentry is something that requires great attention to detail, effort, and precision. Everyone wants the best finishing possible in terms of visual appearance and quality and thus requires effective nail guns. They will help you reach perfection in your DIY projects and tend to fine details.

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Arrow PT23G Pneumatic 23 Gauge Pin Nailer, Black/Red 8.25 x 2 x 10 inches
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Arrow PT23G Pneumatic 23 Gauge Pin Nailer, Black/Red 8.25 x 2 x 10 inches
Arrow PT23G Pneumatic 23 Gauge Pin Nailer, Black/Red 8.25 x 2 x 10 inches
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Metabo HPT Pin Nailer Kit, 23 Gauge, Pin Nails - 5/8" to 1-3/8", No Mar Tip - 2, Depth Adjustment,...
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Electric Brad Nailer, NEU MASTER NTC0040 Electric Nail Gun/Staple Gun for Upholstery, Carpentry and...
Electric Brad Nailer, NEU MASTER NTC0040 Electric Nail Gun/Staple Gun for Upholstery, Carpentry and...
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Ryobi P320 Airstrike 18 Volt One+ Lithium Ion Cordless Brad Nailer (Battery Not Included, Power Tool...
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Brad and pin nailers are excellent solutions, but people often do not know the difference between them and cannot decide which one is better. In this article, we will go through an in-depth analysis of both of these products, compare them, and help you reach a better understanding of both. So, without further redo, let us dive in.

What is a Pin Nailer?

Pin Nailer Gun

A pin nailer is a headless power gun that uses 23-gauge pins that are 1 inch long. It performs excellently in projects that require minimal holding power and nearly invisible nail holes. It is useful for attaching decorative trim because it does not split thin wood.

The nails this device shoots are smaller than the ones that brad nailer uses, and since they are typically pneumatic, you need to hook them to an air compressor. You can use this nail gun for more delicate work, for example, co-joining ultra-light fabrics, but can also join more complicated materials with huge force.

Pin nailers leave little to no trace on the wood, which adds to the visual appearance of your projects, and after using it, you will not have to cover the wood with paint or putty.

What is a Brad Nailer?

Brad Nailer Gun

A brad nailer is a powerful nail gun that supports 18-gauge pins. It is a versatile tool that does an excellent job for carpenters and artisans, and it is available in two styles – pneumatic and electric. This device offers exceptional support and has great holding power.

It performs superbly in base-boarding and heavy-duty carpentry with smooth finishing. Brad nailer supports ⅜-inch to 2-inch nails that have smaller heads and leave smaller marks, which can be covered with paint or nail putty for sleeker and prettier finishing.

The pneumatic type is powered with air pressure, while electric gets its power from batteries. A top-shelf brad nailer can drive nails into thinner wood trip pieces easily, and unlike other nails guns, it prevents splitting unless the piece of wood you are working on is extremely thin.

Pin Nailer vs. Brad Nailer – What’s the Difference?

WEN 61721 18-Gauge 3/8-Inch to 2-Inch Pneumatic Brad Nailer

Although both of these guns offer you excellent results and sleek finish, there are some major differences not just in terms of finish but in handling, safety, and other vital aspects. We are going to analyze these differences in the section below.

Holding Strength

Pin and brad nailers largely differ in terms of holding strength. This is a really important aspect to consider since it will make a huge difference depending on the type of work you plan to do with a nail gun.

Pin nailers use headless nails that have minimal holding power. They are better suited for projects that require a temporary connection; however, they can form a permanent one in conjunction with wood glue.

Brad nailers, on the other hand, shoot pins with t-shaped heads that offer much higher holding power and are better suited for projects that require a permanent connection.

Brad Nailer Gun

Nail Size and Length

The size and length of the nails are some of the biggest differences between brad and pin nailers. Pin nailers use 23-gauge pins, while brad nailers use 18-gauge ones. The gauge, of course, stands for the number of nails that fit within an inch. The smaller the nail is, the higher its gauge is.

One of the more prominent advantages of using small gauge nails is that they can be shot into the wood without splitting it.

Nail Type

The nail type is a thing that you should take into consideration before you start working and buying the appropriate nail gun. Pin nailers use tiny headless nails that are similar to sewing pins. They leave little to no trace on the wood and do not require you to cover it with paint.

On the other hand, brad nailers use wire-like, t-shaped nails that are larger than the pin ones. They leave bigger traces on the wood, and you usually should cover it with paint or putty.

Versatility

In terms of versatility, pin nailers do not leave much on the table. They are useful for joining delicate pieces and are great for adding a subtle finishing touch to a work project. Brad nailers provide much more versatility-wise and can perform unusual tasks such as base boarding.

Pin Nailer vs. Brad Nailer – Advantages and Disadvantages

Although effective for a wide variety of carpentry work, both of these nail guns come with certain pros and cons, and we are going to walk you through them.

Advantages of Pin Nailer

Lower Chance of Wood Splitting – Most nail guns on today’s market have similar issues, and one of the most common ones is the high chance of splitting wood when joining materials. This is where pin nailers shine since their nails are tiny and do not leave a huge impact on the piece you are crafting.

Nail holes are either barely visible or not visible at all – Using a pin nailer increases the overall visual appearance of your project since it uses headless nails that do not interfere with the final look. They penetrate deep into the wood without leaving visible parts outside.

Great for Delicate Trim Pieces – As we mentioned before, these nailers do not split or break the piece of wood you are working on; thus are great for delicate trim pieces. So, in case you want to attach any light piece to your furniture, using a pin nailer is the most effective way to do so.

Disadvantages of Pin Nailer

Pin Nailer Gun

Low Holding Power – Although they effectively attach materials for a shorter period, pin nailers hold minimal holding power, and if you require more, you will have to use an alternative method that will grant you a stronger hold. This is not a deal-breaker since you can use strong adhesive or some type of wood glue that will increase holding power.

Lack of Versatility – Pin nailers are not a particularly versatile option and are only handy for quick fixes on delicate furniture.

Advantages of Brad Nailer

DEWALT Finish Nailer Kit

Excellent Holding Power – Since brad nailers shoot strong and longer nails, they provide superb hold with pinpoint precision. In addition, they are suitable for most heavy-duty jobs and offer various applications.

High Versatility – This product can be used in various situations, and this makes it one of the most versatile woodworking tools. Whether you are using it for a smaller DIY project or professional building job, brad nailer will do the trick.

Great for base-boarding – Base boarding is a job that can be very complicated, even for skilled and experienced carpenters. It requires accurate and detailed finishing work, and no other tool can do this the way brad nailer can.

Disadvantages of Brad Nailer

Brad Nailer Gun

Bigger and Visible Nail Holes – As we mentioned before, brad nailers connect pieces stronger but use t-shaped nails to do so, thus leaving visible marks that you should cover with paint for a better visual appearance.

Not Suitable for Delicate Surfaces – A brad nailer has a high chance of splitting wood when working on delicate surfaces, and you should avoid using it in such appliances. The nails are robust, offer stronger holding power, and consequently, delicate surfaces may not be able to withstand the pressure.

Popular Pin and Brand Nailers on Today’s Market

If you decide to purchase either of these products online, you are in luck since huge platforms such as Amazon offer a wide variety of top-notch nail guns. In case you want to purchase a pin nailer, we recommend DEWALT Finish Nailer Kit, and if you prefer brad nailer, our pick is WEN 18-Gauge 3/8-inch to 2-inch Pneumatic Brad Nailer.

Final Words

Both brad and pin nailers are handy and useful woodwork tools. We hope our article will provide you sufficient amount of information regarding these nail guns. To summarize, brad nailers are a versatile option suitable for most of your trim and finish jobs, while pin ones are for more delicate work and leave no traces on your projects.

Each has its area of specialty and can perform well if you use it for the right appliances, so consider the intended use before spending any money.

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