8 Best (18 Gauge) Brad Nailers for Woodworking in 2020

best 18 gauge brad nailer for woodworking projects

Using 18 gauge nails of different lengths is a common thing in woodworking. Especially when we need to attach a thin wood with a bigger piece seamlessly, these tiny nails come handy. For serious woodworkers, doing this job manually is cumbersome and it can’t be done with other nailers other than brad nailers. 

So we decided to do research on the most popular brad-nailers among the professionals and DIY enthusiasts. We have developed a list for you where surely you can find one or two nailers that fit in your budget meeting all other requirements.

Preview
Overall Best
Makita AF505N Brad Nailer, 2-Inch
BOSTITCH Nail Gun, Brad Nailer, Smart Point, 18GA  (BTFP12233)
PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer Kit, 18GA (PCC790LA)
DEWALT Brad Nailer Kit, 18GA, 5/8-Inch to 2-Inch (DWFP12231)
DEWALT DCN680B 20V Max XR 18 Gauge Brad Nailer
BOSTITCH Air Compressor Combo Kit with Brad Nailer, 1-Tool (BTFP1KIT)
Product
Makita AF505N Brad Nailer, 2-Inch
BOSTITCH Nail Gun, Brad Nailer, Smart Point, 18GA (BTFP12233)
PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer Kit, 18GA (PCC790LA)
DEWALT Brad Nailer Kit, 18GA, 5/8-Inch to 2-Inch (DWFP12231)
DEWALT DCN680B 20V Max XR 18 Gauge Brad Nailer
BOSTITCH Air Compressor Combo Kit with Brad Nailer, 1-Tool (BTFP1KIT)
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Overall Best
Preview
Makita AF505N Brad Nailer, 2-Inch
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Makita AF505N Brad Nailer, 2-Inch
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BOSTITCH Nail Gun, Brad Nailer, Smart Point, 18GA  (BTFP12233)
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BOSTITCH Nail Gun, Brad Nailer, Smart Point, 18GA (BTFP12233)
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PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer Kit, 18GA (PCC790LA)
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PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer Kit, 18GA (PCC790LA)
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DEWALT Brad Nailer Kit, 18GA, 5/8-Inch to 2-Inch (DWFP12231)
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DEWALT Brad Nailer Kit, 18GA, 5/8-Inch to 2-Inch (DWFP12231)
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DEWALT DCN680B 20V Max XR 18 Gauge Brad Nailer
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DEWALT DCN680B 20V Max XR 18 Gauge Brad Nailer
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BOSTITCH Air Compressor Combo Kit with Brad Nailer, 1-Tool (BTFP1KIT)
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BOSTITCH Air Compressor Combo Kit with Brad Nailer, 1-Tool (BTFP1KIT)
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View the Best 18 Gauge Brad Nailers for Your Woodworking Projects

1. Makita 2-Inch Brad Nailer, AF505N

Makita 2-Inch Brad Nailer
  • Operating Air Pressure (PSI): 60-115;
  • Weights 3.0 lbs.

Most people prefer doing jobs around the house all by themselves. A decent brad nailer like this Makita nailer comes handy in that case. It is easy to operate, affordable and the included plastic case protects the tool. It holds up to 100 nails and equipped with sequential and contact firing options. 

The depth adjustment, clearing jammed nails and exhaust are all can be adjusted depending on your comfort. There is no bump firing option, which is why I don’t recommend using it for professionals. There is no dry fire blocking mechanism, but the notification is set while running a low nail is useful. 

This nailer barely weighs 2 pounds and the rubber grip makes it comfortable. The pneumatic pressure you need to run this can be generated by any compressor. If you already own a compressor, then this machine is good for fixing crown molding, veneer and alike objects in no time. 

I liked

  • Easy jam clearing;
  • Comes with a hard case;
  • Lightweight and compact;
  • Suitable for DIY projects.

Didn’t like 

  • Not convenient for professional use.

2. BOSTITCH 18GA Nail Gun with Smart Point (BTFP12233)

BOSTITCH 18GA Nail Gun with Smart Point
  • You will get 1/4 inch Air fitting, carrying case and extra no-mar tips with the nailer;
  • Operating Pressure: 70-120 psi;
  • 5.16 pounds.

So far, Bostich 18 GA brad nailer is on top of my list for its ease of operation. While operating this, you don’t need to carry around the oil bottle to release a jammed nail or make the nail running. Its oil-free maintenance makes the whole nailing business a breeze. 

This tool is heavier than other competitors, but that’s because of its high quality. Moreover, it is also backed by a 7 years long warranty. This makes investing in it more reliable. No matter what your business is, whether it is cabinetry, fitting crown moldings or upholstery, this brad nailer is the boss of to fire 18 gauge nailers in the right places. Unlike other models, toenailing is also convenient with this machine. 

My only complaint is, the exhaust is not adjustable and placed on the rear of the gun. When you are working close to the ground, it blows dust everywhere which is disturbing. 

I liked

  • Easy nail placement;
  • Easy jam release;
  • Oil-free maintenance;
  • Long warranty;
  • Suitable for professional use.

Didn’t like 

  • Heavy;
  • Inconvenient placement of exhaust.

3. PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer Kit, (PCC790LA)

PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer Kit
  • Cordless operation;
  • Runs of 1.5 Ah 20Volt MAX Lithium-ion battery (included in the package).

Once you use a cordless nailing gun for the small jobs that require nailing thin nails, you will not want to go back to pneumatic nailers. Cordless meaning, you don’t have to fiddle with the extra wires and machine oil. Besides, it does not need any compressor, hose, or expensive gas cartridges to run so it is budget-friendly as well. The battery and charger it needs to power up is included in the package. 

This gun is durable; you can realize it when you hold it. The weight is slightly heavy because of its battery, but it is not a problem for overhead operations. In fact, I liked the LED lights on the tip, it makes nailing in the right corners in the right places more confident. You might be thinking, how long will it last for one charge? Well, it does not have any building time, so you don't have to wait for anything. One charge can last up to 700 to 900 nailing. If you have a spare battery, then it will last more. 

I liked

  • Portable;
  • Cost-effective;
  • LED light for precise nailing;
  • Durable. 

Didn’t like 

  • Slightly heavy.

4. DEWALT Brad Nailer Kit for Woodworking (DWFP12231)

DEWALT Brad Nailer Kit for Woodworking
  • 2.65 pounds;
  • Tool-free jam release;
  • Operating pressure 70 - 120 psi.

Dewalt means durability. That is why professionals around the world rely on it with their eyes closed. I can assure you, this brad nailer is worth your trust. It is a pneumatic nailer and it is the lightest of its kind. It's great to use a light nailer when working overhead or for a prolonged time. 

This tool is totally maintenance-free. The motor is very powerful as well. From firing nail to removing nail to release a jam or just adjust the depth, all can be done without any additional tool. 

Just like most of the other nailers, the exhaust is placed at the rear so that it does not come in your way while working. Preparing to use a brad nailer for decades to come? Then this one might be the best to invest in. 

I liked

  • Maintenance-free motor; 
  • Removable nose tip;
  • Feather-light;
  • Long-lasting.

Didn’t like 

  • Nothing to mention.

5. Hitachi 5/8-Inch to 2-Inch Brad Nailer, NT50AE2

Hitachi 5/8-Inch to 2-Inch Brad Naile
  • 2.2 pounds
  • Dual Firing Option;
  • Accepts nails head sizes between 0.075 and 1.9 mm.

I love the uniqueness of this brad nailer from Metabo (former Hitachi). First of all, it lets you drive the gun in bump, contact and dual firing mode. On top of that, you can change in between different modes with a flick of the switch. The tip is obviously a no-mar tip that is also easy to clean if any incident of jamming happens. 

This tool is so powerful that it fires 18 gauge nails right through hardwood and engineered lumbers. Surprisingly, the lightweight and ergonomics make it hard to believe. That is why it is the best professional brand nailer for overhead jobs. The exhaust will not blow air just about anywhere. It is adjustable, so you can change its position while working on different levels. 

There is no risk of dry firing because you can always keep an eye on the number of nails left in the magazine. The magazine holds 100 nails, like any other typical brad nailer. For more affordable options, this nailer will let you have a superior performance from a trustworthy brand. 

I liked

  • Well balanced; 
  • Powerful;
  • Fits in a small space;
  • Adjustable exhaust.

Didn’t like 

  • Nothing to mention.

6. DEWALT, Cordless 18GA Brad NAILERBARE, DCN680B

Cordless 18GA Brad NAILERBARE
  • Automatic shut-off;
  • Runs on 20V battery. 
  • Weights 4.00 pounds.

A general belief is, corded nailers are less powerful than pneumatic ones. To some extent it is true; for example, it runs on battery, when the battery dies the tool is useless. But we can’t deny how nailing gets easier when we don’t have to carry around the noisy air compressor everywhere, oil the machine now and then, invest in gas cartridges and so on. 

So, I recommend people to invest in quality guns if they really mean to use a cordless one. At least you will not be hesitant about the power. This Dewalt Nailer bare is an awesome cordless nail gun to run 18 gauge nails in just about anything. 

It is equipped with two modes and arrives with the battery and charger. Do you own other cordless tools from Dewalt? It will be great then because now you have a spare battery when the included battery runs out. Overall, this is a reliable option for cordless nailing.  

I liked

  • Quiet application;
  • Portable;
  • Powerful.

Didn’t like 

  • Creates dent on softwood. 

7. BOSTITCH Air Compressor with Brad Nailer Combo Kit, (BTFP1KIT)

BOSTITCH Air Compressor with Brad Nailer Combo Kit
  • Compressor max PSI: 150, 6.0-gallon tank;
  • 1/4" x 25' PVC air hose;

If you don’t own an air compressor yet, and planning to buy one separately, then don’t. Buy this combi instead. Because combo packs are way too cost-effective than buying separately. Moreover, you will be sure that this compressor is made to operate this specific nailer, no confusion on compatibility. 

Both the nailer and the compressor (with additional fittings) are made with high-quality control procedure, it is Bostitch after all. The motor is very powerful so that it does not have any issue powering up during the wintertime. When you connect the compressor with this nailer, it delivers a quick recovery time, minimizing the downtime of getting the full pressure like other models. 

However, if you are new at this, a DIYer or a homeowner or even a professional, this combo kit is worth the price. Because this two tools-the compressor and the nailer both work worse when paired together. 

I liked

  • A full combo kit;
  • Suitable to work with during snowy weather;
  • Runs noise-free;
  • Quick recovery time.

Didn’t like 

  • Nothing to mention.

8. PORTER-CABLE 18GA Brad Nailer Kit,  BN200C

PORTER-CABLE 18GA Brad Nailer Kit
  • Rear exhaust;
  • Operates 18 gauge nails from 5/8-Inch to 2-Inch length;
  • Weighs 1.24 pounds. 
  • Includes a carrying case.

Yes, you are reading right, it really is lighter than 1.5 pounds. Don’t get deceived by the weight because this nailer can drive 18 gauge nails as small as ⅝ inch to as long as 2 inches. It is totally no-maintenance tool. You don’t have to worry about staining the workpiece, the workplace of simply yourself. 

This tool comes with a carrying case, that not only makes carrying this gun safe and comfortable but also protects the gun from dust contamination and fall over for longer life. Being lightweight, this tool is the easiest to maneuver among all the items we have reviewed here. The functionality is quite the same, it has a tool-free depth adjustment, tool-free jam release and two modes to operate. For newbies, working with this lightweight gun will be easier to begin their first attempt on woodworking. 

I liked

  • maintenance-free motor;
  • Lightweight; 
  • Easy maneuverability.

Didn’t like 

  • Not comfortable to nail in confined space. 

Do I Really Need Brad Nailer? 

To fire 18 gauge nails frequently, yes you really need a brad nailer. Some also think that it can be done with a finish nailer, but the mistake is, finish nailer uses 15 or 16 gauge nails, which is way too big than 18 gauge. After firing, those nails leave a big noticeable hole on the wood that you need to cover up with putty later on. 

Another alternative is doing it manually. Seriously? 18 gauge nails are hard to see. It is quite impossible to hammer these needle-thin nails in different wood materials. Most of the time most people end up breaking or bending the nails and leave a mark on the wood in the process. To save the day, it is necessary that you get a brad nailer for that job. 

Things to Consider Before Ordering a Brad Nailer

Weight

The lighter nailers are the easiest to work with. Luckily, the nailers we have reviewed here are mostly weights under 2.5 pounds. This weight is okay to work with when you have to do trim work, work on the crown molding, veneer or cabinetry. 

Air Pressure

Pneumatic brad nailers operate from 70 to 120 psi. If the compressor you use can’t deliver that pressure properly, then it may ruin the machine in the long run. So make sure you have a functional air compressor before actually ordering a pneumatic nailer. Or you can choose to order a combo pack that includes both!

Corded/Pneumatic

Corded brad-nailers have also gained its popularity for logical reasons. For a short term work or work on isolated places, these are the best choices. The only drawback is, the battery increases its weight slightly. 

Concluding Remarks

For flawless woodworking, a brad nailer is a must. It is affordable, easy to operate and most importantly, reduces the downtime of nailing the 18 gauge nails manually without breaking or bending them and without leaving a mark on the workpiece. 

Now you know which brand nailer is waiting for your encounter. No matter if you are a beginner or on a budget or both, the nailers we have listed here will never compromise in terms of performance.

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