How to Use a Brad Nailer: The Easy Way

Are you a first-time user of a brad nail gun? Wondering how to use a brad nailer? Perhaps you’d like to learn how to utilize the tool but don’t know where to begin.

Well, I have got good news for you! Here at this post, I have put together a comprehensive how-to guide on the use of the brad nailer.

First, I will discuss what a brad nailer is, the types of nailers that are available, how to use them, and how to install them. Following that, I’ll go over the fundamentals of nailer operation, including safety tips, loading tips, and maintenance. Finally, I will go through some of my favorite brad nailers, along with the benefits and drawbacks of each model, so that you can make an informed decision.

Let’s begin the journey.

Understanding the Brad Nailer

At the point when powered nail guns surpassed the hammer as the preferred woodworking tool, engineers and manufacturers started to foster new types of nail guns to make work simpler. One of them is the Brad Nailer (and the most popular among DIY woodworkers), which is suited for any trim and delicate work.

It is essential to understand the brad nailer before moving to the steps of how to use a brad nailer.

What is A Brad Nailer?

Brad Nailer or Trim Nailer is a small nail gun that is mainly used for the precise finishing of woodworking projects. It is designed to drive 18 gauge brad nails, which are more modest and more delicate than 15 or 16 gauge finishing nails.

Brad additionally highlights an exceptionally flimsy head, which brings about a more modest nail opening after the nail is driven underneath the wood’s surface. This implies you’ll have to do less filling up of the hole with wood filler prior to completing the thing, and you will not have to fill the opening at all in certain conditions.

Furthermore, in comparison to other nails, brad nails are formed of exceptionally thin wire, making them prone to bending if hammered slightly from the side.

As a result, a brad nailer allows you to complete your work more clearly and rapidly than traditional techniques.

how to load a brad nailer

Brad Nailer Types

There aren’t many options to choose from when it comes to brad nailer styles. Because the majority of brad nailers are built to drive 18 gauge brad nails, there are no other sorts of nails that are suitable for it. In brad nailers, you’ll only find straight magazines.

As a result, there is no way to distinguish them based on nail gauge, angle, or other factors. In a nutshell, selecting and using it is a breeze.

Be that as it may, in view of the driving force, there are two types of brad nailers: pneumatic and electric.

Pneumatic Brad Nailer:

Pneumatic brad nailers are generally popular and broadly utilized in light of their adaptability and simplicity to use. They utilize compressed air to run and drive nails. Hence, it is powerful, and you can drive nails with it without wasting your time. It likewise gives you an exceptionally clear and expert completion each time.

Pneumatic brad nailers are modest in cost, however, you need to put resources into a compressor and hoses. Air compressors might make noise, which is sometimes inconvenient to users and nearby persons. Bearing air hoses additionally restricts portability.

It also needs normal oiling and upkeep, and sometimes, you are required to change the hose, which includes costs over the long haul.

Electric Brad Nailer:

Electric brad nailers typically convey an electric engine rather than a compressed air chamber of pneumatic nailers and can create a similar force as pneumatic ones. This engine can be fueled by a direct electric line or by utilizing a battery.

In view of this, we again can separate electric brad nailers into two classifications – corded and cordless.

As the corded brad nailers are associated with the power source of the mainline, you will get a continuous power supply and can drive more nails in a short measure of time. In any case, they again limit portability like pneumatic nailers.

Cordless brad nailers, then again, are utilizing battery ability to run the engine. Therefore, they won’t need any hose or air compressor and along these lines can give the most elevated versatility to drive nails at tight corners as well as off-grid regions.

Therefore, battery powered brad nailers could be a decent choice for homeowners as they need to utilize this instrument periodically.

As a drawback, electric brad nailers are somewhat massive and expensive. In any case, in the event that you contrast with pneumatic nailers, they require less upkeep and cut the investment on an air compressor just for a brad nailer.

What Is A Brad Nailer Good For?

You might have guessed from the foregoing discussion that a brad nailer is a versatile power tool that is primarily used for woodworking projects. It is ideal for attaching thin and delicate materials, such as trim, molding, and decorative pieces, without causing any damage or splitting.

The brad nailer is also beneficial for completing tasks quickly and efficiently, as it allows for precise and effortless nail placement.

Overall, the brad nailer is an essential tool for any woodworker or DIY enthusiast looking to streamline their project and achieve a professional finish.

Let’s look for scopes where we can use brad nailers.

  • Installing baseboard and shiplap,
  • Attaching casing to window and door jambs,
  • Installing crown molding,
  • Base shoe,
  • Cove moldings,
  • Chair rails,
  • Assembling of kitchen cupboards,
  • Fastening photo frames,
  • Making of bird or pet houses, and
  • A variety of small woodworking projects.

Usage Tips

  • Utilizing a finishing nailer (with a heavier gauge nail) would probably part the thin board or trim molding, yet parting can likewise happen in the event that you place the brad excessively near the end or edge of a board or molding. Therefore, a superior methodology is to append the brad further into the board to forestall the end parting.
  • Each kind of wood has distinctive grain properties, yet a tad of involvement in each sort of wood (and the thickness of the wood) you pick will provide you with a thought of how close you can function to the end grain of the stock without parting.

Preparing for Use

A. Safety Precautions:

Though a brad nailer is a small nail gun and less powerful than other heavy-duty nail guns, it has the ability to injure you. So, you have to be cautious while using any power tool.

  • For that, you should wear appropriate safety gear including safety glasses and ear protection. You should also avoid wearing any loose clothing during working with any machine.
  • Ensure the work area is well-ventilated.
  • Disconnect the power source before any maintenance or adjustments.

It would be also helpful if you be careful when driving nails. Do not put your finger in between the brad nailer and the work surface you’re going to fasten in any way. Please do not keep the nail gun unattended while it is plugged in. Always remember to shut the power off during loading the magazine or upkeep.

B. Familiarize Yourself with the User Manual:

A brad nailer’s specification and other characteristics, such as air pressure, voltage, depth adjustment, jam clearing, troubleshooting technique, and so on, differ from one brand to the next. If you read the instruction booklet provided by the manufacturer thoroughly before starting to drive nails, you will gain a complete understanding of your instrument and be able to take the required steps to ensure that the nail gun runs properly.

Reading the instruction manual also assists you to identify any specific requirements or limitations for your brad nailer model.

Steps Of How To Use A Brad Nailer

I hope you’re getting a sense of what a brad nailer is, how it’s used, and what styles are available. You also get a glimpse of the safety precautions.

Now, as promised, we’d want to get started on the most efficient way to use it and how to load it, and use it correctly.

A. Choose The Right Power Source

Before moving into the procedure of the use, it is essential to select the right kind of power source for your brad nailer. If your brad nailer is a pneumatic one, you will require an air compressor. To work with a pneumatic brad nailer, you will require an air compressor that has the ability to create no less than 2 CFM airflow @ 90 PSI and can uphold 70 to 120 PSI gaseous tension.

Note: On the off chance that you purchase a lower limit air compressor than the required, you can’t drive brads effectively. It will either under or over-flush with the stock. You’ll likewise require hoses to associate the air compressor with the nailer.

Once you choose the right kind of air compressor and hose, the next task is to secure the hose and set the right amount of air pressure. To secure the hose, you can wrap Teflon tape on the hose adapter and then insert it into the compressor and nailer connector. Teflon tape will help you to protect against leaking of air during operation.

Adjusting the air pressure at the compressor device depends on the nailing depth and the density of the wood. If you need more deep driving, you have to increase the air pressure and vice versa. The same adjustment procedure you have to follow in case you’re driving nails into soft or hard lumber.

If you choose a cordless brad nailer, you will need a battery to fire it. It is simple to charge and insert the battery before shooting with a brad nailer. You can do it rapidly.

Most of the time, manufacturers provide the battery with the nailer as a built-in package. However, in some cases, it comes separately. In that instance, you’ve to buy a battery separately.

During purchasing a battery, you should check the voltage rating and compatibility to match with the brad nail gun and to get the maximum runtime.

B. Loading A Brad Nailer

Once you choose the right brad nailer for you, it’s time to fill the brad nail gun with brads. Despite the fact that it is not a difficult task, we recommend that you follow the following guidelines:

Note: For safety, you must first unplug the hose, cord, or battery from your brad nail gun before loading it.

Disconnect the hose from the brad nailer

Step 1: Select the Correct Length Of Brad

Brad nailers are typically intended to acknowledge ⅝” to 2” brad. Check your nailer in particular and utilize the right sort of brad nails. On the off chance that you attempt to stack more short or greater nails than suggested, it won’t work.

Step 2: Select the Correct Gauge For Brad

You should buy the right gauge (thickness) brad as well as the right length. If you’re wondering what the difference is between 16 gauge and 18 gauge nails, I’d say it’s significant. A brad nailer will not drive 16 gauge nails. You’ll need a finish nailer for that. Brad nailers are made to work with 18-gauge nails.

Step 3: Release the Magazine Latch and Open the Magazine

After selecting the correct brads, open the magazine latch by pressing a button or pulling it outward.

release the magazine and open the latch

Step 4: Align the Nails in the Correct Position

Place the nail strip (full unit) on the magazine. When placing the nails, take care that the pointy end points downwards. If you failed to place the nail strip correctly, you may encounter frequent jamming issues during shooting.

place brads and close the magazine latch

Note: Though it may not be evident that you must always load entire or unbroken strips, continuous strips can help you achieve smoother brad feeding and jam-free nailing. As a result, be cautious when handling the strips and try to avoid feeding broken strips.

Step 5: Push Forward And Slide The Magazine Shut

Insert the brad strip as close to the nail gun’s head (or firing point) as possible. Then gently close the magazine shutter. Some brad nailer magazines are shelf-accelerating, so you may not need to move them.

Keep in mind, if you slam the magazine shut too hard, it may damage the brad strip (particularly if it’s a non-continuous piece) and cause jamming.

C. Positioning And Depth Adjustment

After loading the magazine with the right sort of brad nails, it is time to position the brad nail gun on the workpiece and set the depth of drive.

Step 1: Position The Tip On The Workpiece

You will discover both sequential and contact actuation modes in a brad nailer. In case you’re a fledgling to brad nailer, it is smarter to pick the sequential mode as it needs to press the trigger and afterward push the tip onto the surface to fire a nail. Therefore, it is a protected and more precise technique for driving nails.

In this way, select the mode, then, at that point, select the position of nailing on the working surface and pull the trigger and push the nailer to fire brad. You could do some homework prior to going for definite activities.

Moreover, attempt to drive nails at the center of the edge of the board or trim to abstain from parting.

Step 2: Set The Perfect Depth of the Drive

Setting the desired depth of drive is necessary to get the finest work. Under flush or over flush both may cause problems. Under flush or protruding nail head need further hammering. As brads are thin and long wire, pounding by a hammer may bend them and, in worst cases, may ruin your workpiece.

Deep driving a nail, on the other hand, may make it easy to pull off the trim or baseboard and weaken the structure.

Now, how could you adjust the depth of drive?

You can do it in two ways – by adjusting the air pressure in the compressor machine or tuning up the nail gun using a depth adjustment wheel or knob.

D. Test The Brad Nailer

It would be better if you do some practice on scrap wood which is similar to the original. It is necessary to be similar kinds of wood because different wood has different densities and thus needs different depth settings.

Test the brad nailer on a scrap wood

Doing some practice on scrap also gives you an idea about the force and efficacy of a brad nailer. In addition, it can save your trim or molding (that you’re going to attach to your kitchen cabinet or wall) from being scrap.

Good to Go

Now all set, and you are good to go for the final operation with your brad nailer.

Nailing Techniques:

When it comes to using a brad nailer effectively, proper holding and positioning are crucial for accurate and secure nailing. Follow these techniques to ensure optimal results:

Apply steady pressure on the trigger:

When ready to nail, maintain consistent and steady pressure on the trigger. Squeezing the trigger too quickly or releasing it abruptly can affect the accuracy and depth of the nail.

A controlled and smooth trigger action will result in better control and more accurate nailing.

Space the nails evenly and avoid overcrowding:

Depending on your project requirements, space the nails evenly along the work surface. Overcrowding the nails too close together can lead to splitting or weakening of the material.

Refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for the recommended spacing between nails for optimal results.

Practice proper timing and rhythm:

Developing a rhythm while nailing can help maintain a consistent pace and improve accuracy. It’s important to time the trigger release and nail placement properly. As the nail is being driven into the material, release the trigger to prevent excessive force or over-penetration.

This will ensure the nail is properly embedded without causing any damage to the surface.

By following these nailing techniques, you’ll be able to achieve clean and precise results with your brad nailer. Remember to always prioritize safety, accuracy, and patience while using the tool.

Practice these techniques on scrap materials before starting any project to familiarize yourself with the brad nailer’s operation and enhance your skills.

Maintenance Tips

Proper maintenance can enhance the life of a tool. It is also necessary for smooth operation. You may follow the following upkeep techniques to get better output from your brad nail gun.

  • In the case of a pneumatic brad nailer, you have to lubricate it every day or at regular intervals to keep it working.
  • In addition to oiling the brad nailer, you should also check the O-rings, nail gun barrel, whether the hose has any leakage or not, and whether all other parts are in good condition or not.
  • If you use your nail gun in winter, do not forget to keep the nailer in a warm place after everyday use.

Our Favorite Brad Nailers

Our number one choice for brad nailer is from Metabo HPT, an incredibly famous brand of power tools. According to our experience, it is the best pneumatic brad nailer equipped for dealing with a wide scope of applications soundlessly.

Our next most loved brad nailer is a cordless one and from another famous brand Porter-Cable. It is great for people who need infrequent attaching work or inclines toward simple versatility.

Also, our last competitor is from WEN. It’s an inexpensive brad nailer reasonable for DIYers who needs to get a decent pneumatic nailer without spending a lot.

Let’s read the advantages and drawbacks of every one of them beneath.

1. Metabo HPT NT50AE2 – Best Pneumatic Brad Nailer

Metabo HPT NT50AE2 brad nailer

Benefits Of Metabo Pneumatic Brad Nailer

  • It is a lightweight (2.2 pounds only) and durable brad nailer.
  • Adequately powerful to pass through hardwoods, including oak and maple.
  • Switching between bump to sequential firing is simple.
  • It is equipped with dent protection and non-marring tips.
  • Its reload indicator allows you to stop blank firing.
  • Its compact body design aids it to fire in weird positions.
  • Tool-less, easy-to-clear nose permits speedy jam discharge.


  • Can only shoot 18-gauge brad nails

To read the customer reviews and explore the latest price, you may click here.

2. PORTER-CABLE PCC790LA – Best Cordless Brad Nailer


Benefits Of Porter Cable Cordless Brad Nailer

  • If you choose it, you can cut the cost of gas cartridges.
  • You can likewise move freely as it no longer needs any bulky compressor or hose.
  • It is outfitted with a solid engine that can give a pneumatic-like force.
  • It is functional for a wide range of wood and climate conditions.
  • Jam clearing and stall release are a breeze with it.
  • It is furnished with a tool-free depth adjustment wheel.
  • Multi-utilitarian LED for light and error signs.


  • Ideal for light-duty work, as it were.

To read the customer reviews and explore the latest price, you may click here.

3. WEN 61721 – Best Bang For The Buck

WEN 61721 brad nail gun

Benefits Of WEN 61721 Brad Nailer

  • Exceptionally reasonable contrasted with its convenience
  • Lightweight and compact in design
  • Easy-to-utilize and comfortable
  • Depth adjustment is a breeze
  • Without hassle, jam clearing
  • Quick and effortless loading and unloading of nails
  • Large magazines help longer run time
  • Lowest air utilization, 0.028 CFM @ 88 PSI


  • A little jamming problem.

To read the customer reviews and explore the latest price, you may click here.

Assuming you need to get a total rundown of the best brad nailers, you might visit our page for reviews and guides of top rated brad nailers by clicking here.

Takeaways: How To Use A Brad Nailer?

In conclusion, the brad nailer is a great addition to any carpenter’s toolbox. With an easy learning curve, you can be up and running in no time. It may seem like an expensive tool to invest in, but it will save you money in the long run.

Related Reviews:

  1. Brad Nailer vs Finish Nailer
  2. Nail Gun Not Shooting Nails
  3. How to Use a Framing Nailer?
  4. 7 Benefits of Using a Nail Gun
  5. Can You Use A Brad Nailer For Shiplap?
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Tushar Mirror

Toolsmirror is a group of co-fighters led by Engr. Tushar is dedicated to gathering information, analyzing & test various items, and releasing reviews on various woodwork and outdoor tools. Our mission is to provide our readers with the most up-to-date ideas and approaches, as well as reveal the genuine features that will assist them in selecting the best items for their professions and DIY projects.

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