Pin Nailer Vs Brad Nailer

When it comes to choosing the right tool for your DIY project, it can be confusing trying to decide between a pin nailer and a brad nailer. Both have their unique benefits and drawbacks, so how do you know which one is right for you?

A pin nailer and a brad nailer are vastly used in the woodworking and carpentry industry. Their main purpose is to join two pieces of wood together, but they do have some subtle differences.

Both tools use small nails (either pins or brads) and are used for different purposes!

Pin nailers are typically used for more delicate projects, such as working with molding or joining small pieces of wood together. Brad nailers are better suited for heavier-duty projects, such as building furniture or cabinets.

In this blog post, we will compare and contrast these two types of nailers so that you can make an informed decision about which is best for your needs.

Features of Pin Nailer

A pin nailer is similar to a regular nail gun however it is designed to shoot much smaller nails. These smaller nails, also known as pin nails, are ideal for delicate projects or for working with thinner materials where a regular nail might split the wood.

Pin nailers are mostly panoramic, meaning they require an air compressor to operate, although some cordless models are becoming available. The compressor provides the power to push the nail through even tough materials.

Most pin nailers will use 23 gauge nails, although some models can accommodate larger or smaller sizes. These nails have very small heads and are almost invisible when driven into the wood. This makes the woodwork more neat and professional looking.

The main advantage of using a pin nailer is that it causes much less damage to the wood than a regular nail gun. This means that it is ideal for delicate projects or for working with thinner materials where a regular nail might split the wood.

However, pin nailers are not for heavy-duty projects. The nails are simply too small and will not hold up under a lot of weight or stress. If you need to use a nail gun for a heavy-duty project, then you should opt for a brad nailer instead.

Also Read: Finish Nailer vs. Framing Nailer


  • Doesn't damage the wood
  • Ideal for delicate projects
  • Gives a neat and professional finish
  • Easy to maneuver


  • Not ideal for heavy-duty projects
  • Nails can be difficult to remove
  • Not suitable for hard surfaces

What is a Pin Nailer Used For?

Pin nailers mostly use 23 gauge nails, which are tiny and have very thin shafts. The small diameter of the nails makes them ideal for delicate projects where you don’t want the nails to split the wood or leave big holes. In addition, the nails are too small to get noticed so they are ideal for projects where you want the wood to look natural without any visible fasteners.

Here are some of the used cases of a pin nailer:

Photo frames

Photo frames require thin and tiny nails so that they don't ruin the look of the frame. The small and delicate nature of pin nails is perfect for this task as they will not be noticeable and will hold the frame together securely. Photo frames have thin and delicate wood, so using regular nails could cause the wood to split.


A pin nailer can be used to assemble small pieces of wood before gluing them. The tiny nails will hold the pieces in place while the glue dries. This is useful for projects where you don’t want the nails to be visible, such as a picture frame. Pin nailers make the hold more secure than using only glue.

Attaching molding

Molding is a decorative element that is used to add detail to a project. It is often made of delicate materials such as plaster or wood. Pin nails are ideal for attaching molding as they are small and unobtrusive. The nails will hold the molding in place without damage.

Small DIY projects

A pin nailer is a versatile tool that can be used for a variety of small DIY projects. The small nails are perfect for delicate work and will not damage the wood. Pin nails are also useful for attaching small pieces of trim or molding. Projects such as these often require a small amount of force, so a pin nailer is a perfect tool for the job.

Features of Brad Nailer

Now when it comes to brad nailers, it is one of the most versatile tools that you can have for your woodworking projects. This is because it can be used on a variety of different materials, including hardwoods and softwoods.

There are two main types of brad nailers: pneumatic and cordless. Pneumatic brad nailers are powered by air compressors, while cordless brad nailers are powered by batteries.

Brad nailers mostly use 18-gauge nails, though there are also 16 and 23-gauge models available. The size of the nail will depend on the material you're working with and the thickness of the wood.

Just like finish nailers, brad nailers have a variety of different features that can make your life easier. For example, some models have bump fire triggers that allow you to fire nails rapidly, while others have sequential fire triggers that require you to pull the trigger for each nail.

There are also models with adjustable depth settings, so you can control how deep the nails are driven into the wood. And some even have built-in air blowers that clear away sawdust before you fire a nail, which can be a lifesaver when you're working in tight spaces.

The downside of brad nailers is that they can create bigger holes so you might have to fill them with wood putty before painting or staining. In addition, the nails are not as strong as screws, so they're not ideal for projects that require a lot of holding power.


  • Lightweight and portable
  • Bigger nails have more holding power
  • Can use on a variety of materials
  • Adjustable depth settings


  • Holes might need to be filled with wood putty
  • Nails are not as strong as screws
  • Can be more expensive than other types of nailers

What is a Brad Nailer Used For?

Thanks to bigger nails used in brad nailers, they offer more holding power than a pin nailer. This means that brad nailers can be used for a variety of different projects, both big and small.

Here are some of the most common uses for brad nailers:


Paneling is a common home improvement project, and one that a brad nailer can make much easier. With a brad nailer, you can quickly and easily attach panels of wood to walls without having to worry about the nails coming loose over time. The best part is that the holes left by the nails can be easily filled with wood putty before painting or staining.

Trim work

Trim work is another common use for brad nailers. These days, there are all sorts of different types of trim available, from simple molding to more ornate designs. No matter what type of trim you're using, a brad nailer can help you quickly and easily attach it to walls, doors, and other surfaces.


Similar to trim work, molding is another area where a brad nailer can come in handy. Molding can be used to add visual interest to any room in your home, and it can be attached quickly and easily with a brad nailer. No need for screws or nails—just fire away and you're good to go.


Upholstery is a bit of a different animal, but it's still something that can be done with a brad nailer. If you're upholstering a piece of furniture, you can use a brad nailer to attach the fabric to the frame. This is especially helpful when working with heavy-duty fabrics that might be difficult to attach with other methods.

Under stair treads

Another great use for a brad nailer is attaching under stair treads. Stair treads are the part of the stair that you step on, and they're usually made of wood. If you're installing new stair treads, a brad nailer can help you quickly and easily attach them to the underlying structure.

The Difference Between a Pin Nailer and a brad Nailer

Let's take a look at the key differences between a pin nailer and a brad nailer:

Size: Pin nailers are smaller than brad nailers. This makes them more versatile and easier to maneuver, especially in tight spaces. Brad nailers on the other hand are larger and heavier, making them better suited for bigger projects.

Power: Pin nailers use less power than brad nailers. This makes them ideal for lighter-duty tasks. Brad nailers on the other hand pack more power, making them better suited for tougher projects such as nailing into hardwoods.

Nails: Pin nailers use smaller nails than brad nailers. This means that they're not as strong, but it also makes them less likely to leave unsightly holes in your workpiece. Brad nailers use larger nails (18-23 gauge), making them stronger but also more likely to leave visible holes.

Applications: Pin nailers are typically used for smaller projects such as crafting, upholstery, and cabinetmaking. Brad nailers on the other hand are better suited for larger projects such as trim work, baseboards, and molding.

Holding power: Thanks to the bigger nails, brad nailers have a stronger holding power than pin nailers. If you're looking for a tool that can handle tougher projects, a brad nailer is a way to go. Pin nailers on the other hand are better suited for lighter-duty tasks. This also makes brad nailers a better choice for projects that require permanent fastening.

Cost: Pin nailers are typically more affordable than brad nailers. This makes them a great choice for budget-minded DIYers and hobbyists. Brad nailers on the other hand are more expensive, but they're also more versatile and powerful.

Here is a comparison table:


Pin nailer

Brad nailer

Holding power

Has less holding power

Has more holding power


23 gauge nails

18 gauge nails


Slightly on the lighter side

Slightly on the heavier side


Hardly damage anything

Can damage the wood and leave noticeable holes

Use cases

Mostly used on thin and soft materials

Mostly used on hard and thicker materials


It’s on the cheaper side

It can be a bit pricy

What is Better a Pin Nailer or a Brad Nailer?

Both tools are great for specific applications. It depends on:

  • What project you're working on
  • The materials you're working with
  • Your personal preferences

Pin nailers are mostly used for more delicate and precise work. They're perfect for finish and trim work or any time you need to avoid marring the surface of your project. However, they have less holding power and it can hard to remove the pins because they're so small.

Brad nailers are a bit more powerful and versatile. They're perfect for when you need to put together heavier pieces of wood or when you need a stronger bond. However, they can be more difficult to control and there is a risk of splitting the wood if you're not careful.

Both tools have their pros and cons, so it comes down to what you need them for. If you're not sure, it's always best to consult with a professional before making your purchase.

Which One Should You Choose?

Now that you know the difference between a pin nailer and a brad nailer, which one should you choose? It depends on your needs and preferences. If you need a more delicate touch, then a pin nailer is the way to go. If you need more power and versatility, then a brad nailer is the better option.

If you are a woodworker, you know what kind of project you’ll be working on most often. If you mainly work on finish projects or smaller pieces of wood, a pin nailer is probably the better option for you. On the other hand, if you find yourself working with heavier pieces of wood or need more holding power, go with a brad nailer.

It’s also important to consider the materials you’ll be working with. If you’re working with softwood or other delicate materials, a pin nailer is probably your best bet. If you’re working with hardwoods or other tough materials, a brad nailer can handle the job.

Both tools can be a great addition to your woodworking arsenal. It comes down to what you need them for and what your preferences are. If you’re not sure which one to choose, it’s always best to consult with a professional before making your purchase.

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