What Degree Nail Gun Is Best For Framing?

If you want to build a new house or renovate the old home, you need a solid structural base to incorporate other materials. While building your house frame, you can choose either a simple hammer or a nail gun. Guys! You are accepting the difficulty and the risk of failure by selecting the first one. The second option, on the other hand, will give you faster and more precise nailing resulting in a sturdy frame to create your sweet home.

And, when you’re going to choose a nail gun, the framing nail gun will come first in your mind, as it’s specially crafted to handle all this heavy-duty homebuilding work. However, just after you decided to have a framing nailer, many preferences will appear in front of you, like pneumatic vs cordless, round head vs clipped head, coil vs stick, plastic vs paper, 21 degrees vs 30 degrees, etc.

So many variants of a framing nailer which make choosing the right nail gun a little awkward for a beginner or a DIY enthusiast. There’s no need to worry about it, though. Within this article, we are attempting to break down one of the most important features of framing nailers using the scale of “degree.”

Let’s dive in to know – “what degree nail gun is best for framing?

Are The Nailer Angle Have Any Importance? – A General Overview

When we talk about the framing nailer degrees, we need an idea about what it is. So, first, let’s find out what the framing nailer angle is before exploring the significance of the nailer angle?

“The intersection between nailer head and the magazine is known as the degree of framing nailer or magazine angle.”

You may find many different angles of nail guns on the market, but they are limited from zero to 34 degrees. The most common types of magazine angles are zero, fifteen, twenty-one, twenty-eight, and thirty to thirty-four. You will get to know more about this in the latter part of this article.

I want to make one more thing to clear before move on to the importance is that the degree of angle refers to the collation of the nail, not the slant that drives the nail. And, the magazine angle does not affect the edge at which the nail sinks into the surface. It always ejects straight away from the nail gun’s mouth. The goal of angling the magazine to the head is, in fact, exclusive to save space, nothing more.

If we see the design of a brad nailer or a stapler, we find that the magazines have zero degrees. The reason for this is that the brads or staples are thin and delicate and can fit easily in a tight space so that you can save your horizontal space.

On the other hand, the three-and-a-half-inch framing nail is relatively fat, occupying much more space than the brads or staples. Now, if you want to have a reasonable number of them, you need a more extended magazine, which makes it challenging to move around. As a solution, the designer creates an angle between the head and the magazine to cut the horizontal extension.

It is observed that the magazine with a 21-degree angle can help you to reduce up to 15% of horizontal space. If you go up, you’ll save more space than that. But higher inclination is not always good at all. Let’s keep an eye on our next part of this article to know more about the pros and cons of different angled magazines.

Types Of Framing Nailer Angles

Framing nailers are positioned at an angle with their magazines. They will only accept a nail clip that fits the angle. We’ve already mentioned that there are a lot of different options for a framing nailer. One of them is the stick vs. the coil, which is closely interrelated with the angles of the nail gun.

We found three different variations in the group of stick or straight-framing nailer; they are:

  • 21 Degree Framing Nailer, 
  • 28 Degree Framing Nail Gun,
  • 30 – 34 Degree Framing Nailer.

And in the coil framing nailer group, there is only one variant exists. That is – 

  • 15 Degree Framing Nail Gun

So, What Are The Benefits And Drawbacks of Each?

Among other nail guns, framing nailers are the most versatile woodworking tool with a wide range of collections. It’s because of their exclusive characteristics, like degrees. Usually, we see that the key benefit of nail gun degrees is saving space and increasing handiness. Let’s get the more pros and cons of each segment individually below –

21 Degree Framing Nailer

The framing nailers that make the 21-degree angle between the head and the magazine and are built to drive 21 degree nail clips are known as 21 degree framing nailers. They are the most common type of framing nailer variation and usually used in heavy-duty construction sites.

This form of framing nailer magazine angle usually ranges from 20-22-degrees, depending on the manufacturer. A three-degree variation usually gives the user certain flexibility in the choice of angle. They are usually driving full-round head nails held together by a plastic strip.

The full-round head nails these nailers are driving would give you the maximum holding strength when you fasten two pieces of truss together. They are, therefore, ideally designed to fit the construction requirements and to match the building code in many locations.

Usually, they contain about 60-70 nails in a clip, which means that you need regular reloads, and the plastic strip breaks and flies out in tiny pieces when you fire the nail. So, during the fire, you must have to wear safety glasses to protect yourself. There will also be small parts of the plane littering the work area, which may require cleaning.

  • Features: Full-round head nails, Plastic strip collation, 60-70 nails per clip.
  • Applications: Heavy-duty construction sites, house building, framing, decking, siding, etc.
  • Best 21 Degree Framing Nailer: Numax SFR2190 framing nailer
NuMax SFR2190 Pneumatic 21 Degree framing nailer

28 Degree Framing Nailer

The magazine of the 28 degree framing nailer is a bit more inclined than the 21-degree. So it allows you to have more flexibility in tight spaces during work.

Usually, the 28-degree nail clips are held together with a wire strip instead of plastic. So, there’s no more dirt in the workshop or flying objects that strike your eyes.

28 degree framing nails are designed to drive three kinds of nails – full-round head, offset and clipped head nails. As a result, it can save remarkable magazine space, and thus create a more compact tool. It can also accommodate almost double nails, as they are nestled close together, and their heads overlap each other.

However, this added magazine capacity and wire collation add some extra weight to your nail gun as well.

  • Features: Full-round, offset, and clipped head nails; Wire strip collation; approx. 100 nails per clip.
  • Applications: You can use 28 degree nails anywhere where 21 degree nails work. But the majority of the building code does not allow the clipped head and offset nails. So, check your local building code before you buy it.
  • Best 28 Degree Framing Nailer: Bostitch Framing Nailer F28WW
Bostitch F28WW 28 degree framing nailer

30 & 34 Degree Framing Nailer

If you’re looking for something more compact in size, that’s the 30 or 34 degree framing nailer. Usually, 30 degree nailers are capable of driving 30 to 34 degree nails. Since they’re steepest than other nail guns, you’ll get better access to close angles in the frame applications.

Paslode made the first kind of 30-degree framing nailer to fire their ‘RounDrive’ full-round head nails. Contemporary models, however, allow both clipped and round head nails.

Usually, the 30-to 34-degree nail gun magazine can accommodate two full strips of nails of up to 80 nails. These strips are held together with sturdy paper tape instead of wire or plastic, which means they leave less residue in the working area and are easier to work in tight corners.

Like 28 degree framing nailers, this type of nail gun also has a bit of heavyweight due to their type of collation. Again, their compact body size is mostly made up of the fact that you won’t feel trivial when driving nails.

  • Features: Full-round, offset, or clipped-head nails; Paper strip collation; 80 nails per clip.
  • Applications: Framing, siding, decking, fencing, driving big nails into hard engineered lumber, all the tasks that other degree nailers can do, you can do them with it, too. Plus, you can take access to the tight corners of furniture or cabinet applications.
  • Best 30 Degree Framing Nailer: Paslode cordless xp framing nailer, 905600
paslode 30 degree framing nailer

15 Degree Framing Nailer

While walking through the nail gun stores, you can find that some nailers come with a circular shape magazine. These are coil type magazines, typically used for roofing purposes. The nails of the coil style magazines are held together with two thin wires and slanted at an angle of 15 degrees. As a result, all nail guns that use wire-coiled nail clips are known as the 15-degree framing nailer.

Only full-round head wire-welded nails are compatible with 15 degree nail guns. You should then use this nail gun for any construction work you do because there is no risk of building code infringement.

Not limited here, 15 degree framing nailers have more exciting benefits to deliver. Because of their circular shape magazine, you can now able to do tough works like fastening floor joists, wall studs, and other framing applications where you need access to the tight corners.

Another advantage of this form of the magazine is that they are able to hold up to 200-300 nails in one shot. That means less reload stoppage and more work time. Also, the collation of the wire coil is not as severely impacted by moisture, as is the case with paper collation. This is a definite plus if you work in a humid climate.

It does have some disadvantages too. Holding all of those fasteners adds weight that can be challenging for longer periods, particularly when working overhead.

  • Features: Full-round-head nails, Wire collation, 200-300 nails per clip.
  • Applications: Floor joists, wall studs, and tight corners
  • Best 15 Degree Framing Nailer: Metabo HPT Coil Framing Nailer, NV83A5
Metabo HPT Coil Framing Nailer 16 degree magazine

What Is The Best Degree For Framing Nailer?

Now you know each of the different degrees of a framing nailer. You’ll even hear about their pros and cons. In fact, it’s hard to tell any particular grade framing nailer is best for everyone. Perhaps we would claim that 21 degree framing nailers are commonly used on, and when you need to drive the nails in tight corners, you can go up to 28 or 30 degrees. And 15 degree is built specifically for roofing purposes, where extra work flexibility is required.

On the other hand, if you think about lightweight works like making furniture or fastening moldings or staircase, it’s best to select a brad nailer or a finish nailer. And they mostly come in 28 or 34 degrees to give you access in the tight corners.

There is also an area-based preference to choose the types of nail guns. The framers of the United States are mostly like a 21 degree framing nailer, whereas Canadians are preferred 28 degrees. [If you want to know more on the regional thing click here]

If you’re a DIYer or a weekend warrior, it would be better to go for ranges of 28 to 30 degrees because they give you full versatility. But if you’re a pro carpenter, then you know better what degree nail gun is best for framing to complete your project successfully.


Can I use 28 degree nails in a 21 degree nailer?

Usually, 28 degree nails are wire weld, and 21 degree nailers are designed to shoot plastic strips. Now, if you want to use 28 degree nails in your 21 degree nailer, you can do that, but the magazine is going to face wearing faster. So, it is always better to use right angles and collation nails in your framing nailer.

Which framing nailer angle is suitable for trim work?

Trim work requires less power than other framing works, as you need to drive small finish nails or staples instead of heavy-duty framing nails. Some indoor trimming work, on the other hand, often requires driving nails into tight corners. Altogether, the steeper angled nail gun, like 28 or 34 degree framing nailer, is indeed best suited for finishing or trimming works.

Can you use 21 degree nails in a 22 degree nail gun?

If you go through the manufacturing specification of framing nailers, you might find that all of them are designed to allow one or two-degree plus-minus nails. The 21 degree nailer groups also handle plastic-collated nail strips within 21 to 22 degrees of range. So I didn’t see any difficulty using 21 degree nails in a 22 degree nail gun.


We try to cover all the aspects related to the framing nailer degrees. Now want to say one last line about what degree nail gun is best for framing, check the availability of nails clips collation, local trend, build code, and your personal preference when choosing your nail gun.So, if you’re a pro or DIY enthusiast, now you know everything about nail gun degrees. Nothing could stop you from having the best framing nailer to get your job done.

Related Reviews:

  1. Best Framing Nailer Reviews and Buying Guide.
  2. All You Need to Know About Different Types of Nail Guns.
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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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