16 vs 18 Gauge Nailer: Which One Should You Buy?

With the constant advancements and innovations, electrical daily-life tools have seen a great change in almost every subsection. With nail guns being one of the hundred, it might sound tempting to get a decent nail gun, but it often ends up being a daunting and infuriating task.

Choosing the ideal tool for yourself with new incoming products every year has become nothing less tiring than running a marathon because there are a lot of things one needs to consider before making a purchase.

One of the most important factors you need to consider before getting a nail gun for yourself is well said to be the gauge or the size of nails you could fire with it. A higher gauge will conclude a thinner nail size. The 16 gauge and 18 gauge nailers are said to be the most versatile and efficient of all kinds.

Ideally, if you are a professional carpenter, you might need to buy a handful of multi-purpose nailers to suffice your requirements. However, things become much trickier when you are a DIYer looking for a versatile nail gun. So after putting in a lot of mechanical usage and research, we will be giving you a comprehensive overview of 16 gauge vs 18 gauge nailers that will provide you with better clarity in choosing the best one.

Read: Differences Between Pneumatic and Battery Powered Nail Guns

Know About 16-Gauge Nailers

The 16-Gauge Nailers are said to be thicker in profile, not significantly any different from 15-gauge nailers, but incredibly distinct from the higher gauged nail guns. Being thicker in size, these nailers are helpful in preventing a sudden collapse of your project by giving thicker trim stability and reliability.

With tasks as basic as installing wooden racks and boards to complex tasks such as crown molding, you surely need a 16-gauge nail gun to keep the pieces intact. The 16-gauge nails go in as deep as 2.5 inches, compared to the standard driving size of 2 inches, they are much more stable in output and in holding power as compared to the thinner-sized nails. It fits perfectly for tasks like installing door frames or baseboards.


  • Provides better stability and enhanced support
  • Extra-holding power keeps the things intact
  • Perfect for joining planks


  • Not suitable for temporary assembling
  • Works relatively poor with thin materials

Our Top 16-Gauge Nailer Pick

If you’re looking for a 16-gauge nailer, we recommend you to check out NuMax SFN64 Pneumatic Nail Gun.

NuMax SFN64 is a lightweight four and a half pounds machine with durable aluminum body and an ergonomic handle. NuMax SFN64 is hands down the best yet affordable 16 gauge nail gun you could have your hands on currently in the market.

Featuring the much-needed no-mar tip that shields the workspace from being knocked by dents and marks, this nail gun also comes up with a quick jam release that lets you clean the magazine without taking the whole thing apart. NuMax SFN64 fires 16-gauge finish nails falling under the bracket of 1-2.5 inches.

Better known for its exterior finish and interior woodworking, it specializes in dealing with cabinetwork, crown molding, and window cases. Firing nails is super-fun with a high magazine capacity of hundred nails. The sturdy-looking body built on aluminum ensures excellent durability for the years to come. Being Lightweight, fatigue is something you will never feel working for long hours with this nailer.


  • No-mar Tip for a clean workspace
  • Durable aluminum construction
  • The anti-dust cap ensures clean internals while firing nails


  • Jamming issues while working for long hours

Know About 18-Gauge Nailers

Better known for attaching extremely thin trimmings, 18-gauge nails are majorly used for dealing with the construction of delicate constituents. With a diameter being less than 2/64 of an inch, the 18 gauge nails prove itself perfect for simple, delicate tasks credited to the thinner size and standard holding capacity.

A very evident factual description for the perfection of 18-gauge nails is its penetrating power, which could go through a small plank of wood without leaving any trace marks behind. You could fire hundreds of nails into some decorative frame for your door, and there won’t be even a single nail catching your naked eye.

The same can’t be said for the 16-gauge nails, which will also get the job done but will leave tons of marks behind. Of course, the holding capacity and strength of 18-gauge nails aren’t comparable to 16-gauge nails, but it’s an absurd reason since the former specializes in delicate detailing works such as repairing furniture and detailed woodworking.


  • Minimize the risk of cracking through thin surfaces
  • Holds thin constituents amazingly
  • Perfect for delicate tasks


  • Inability to penetrate highly dense materials

Also Read: Brad Nailer vs Finish Nailer

Our Top 18-Gauge Nailer Pick

If you’re looking for an 18-gauge nailer, you may like DEWALT DWFP12231 Nail Gun.

With a lightweight, compact design and sturdy black reliable magnesium body, this nail gun under the trademark of Dewalt delivers exceptional performance in firing eighteen gauge nails ranging from 5/8 inches to 2 inches in length.

The tool-free-depth adjustment, along with the tool-free jam clearing, lets you adjust the nail depth and maintain cleanliness without any hassle. The rear exhaust that doesn’t allow the contamination to deteriorate the body, coupled up with the long-life maintenance-free motor, ensures a stainless workspace.

Weighing just about 2.6 pounds, you will find no difficulties while working with this nail gun for hours in congested spaces without any fatigue. With the integrated rubber ergonomic grip at the handle, Dewalt guarantees a perfect and fun nailing experience with this amazing nail gun.


  • Durable magnesium body
  • Maintenance-free powerful motor
  • Great portability


  • No actuation mode, just the sequential firing mode.

Read: Pin Nailer vs Brad Nailer – Which One’s Right for You?

Difference Between 16 Gauge vs 18 Gauge Nailer

Driving/Penetrating Capacity

While most of the nail guns can drive 2 inches in any condition, there are tons of instances where you need to drive nails deeper. The 16-gauge nails being relatively thicker than the 18 gauge types have better penetrating power of about 2.5 inches compared to 2 inches of the latter. Both are decent enough; all of the choices get down to the tasks you need to do with it.

Stability and Reliability

Yet again, 16-gauge nails provide better stability accounting to the holding power, which could prevent a collapse even between few meters long thick planks. Its nothing like that the 18 gauge nails fall behind in the parameter since both of them are intended for different tasks, but it becomes slightly inconvenient to hold surfaces when they get any thicker with the former gauge type.


Well, both of them are versatile in their way. I consider the 18-gauge far more superior in terms of versatility since it gives you a lot more creative options to explore in the detailing work that you put in a lot of yourself in that. The 16-gauge nail goes perfectly fine when you deal with thicker surfaces.

Final Words

Being separated by so many distinctions altogether, it boils to your personal choice and requirements to choose between 16 vs. 18 gauge nailer. In general, a 16 gauge nailer is more value for money because of the stuff you could put in together with its help.

However, it shouldn’t be ignored that a 16-gauge nailer fails when you need to go smooth and delicately for the smaller tasks. It’s where the 18-gauge nailers come to save you. The great positive you get with the 18-gauge nail guns is the size of holes you get on the surface after firing, invisible! Whereas a 16 gauge nail gun might leave a bigger footmark, it finally gets all down to what you need to get done today.

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