Best Cordless Nail Guns For DIYers

Last Updated March 23, 2021 By Bella Zinti

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You want to finish your project with the highest level of efficiency and as quickly as possible while still producing a high quality of workmanship. Cordless nail guns, or cordless finish nailers, are used for accurately and rapidly nailing hardwood and softwood door and window trim. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what these powerful tools can use for! Building furniture, DIY home renovation, smaller craft projects - if the job deals with wood, a cordless nail gun is an absolute asset. 

What is a cordless Nail Gun?

A traditional nail gun is operated using an air compressor or gas cartridges, but all of the extra equipment slows you down and limits what you can do. A cordless nail gun, however, is powered by a battery instead. They are lightweight, and there are no air hoses and extension cords to hassle with. 

But are all cordless nailers made equal? No. There are different battery types, job intentions, power sources, firing methods, and more. First, let’s break down some of those differences and then look into the different cordless nailers on the market today to help you make the best purchase for your job. 

Power Source: Electric vs. Fuel

All cordless nailers require a rechargeable battery to operate, but they can either be electric or fuel-powered. Since they provide pressure for nail release differently, they’ll fire differently. 

A cordless electric nail gun uses a lithium-ion battery. You can only use the nail gun while the battery is charged, which limits your work time. Keeping a spare battery charged and available solves this problem. They do not have as much power as their fuel-powered counterparts and are therefore not recommended for jobs with hardwood, but they are reliable and perfect for all but the heaviest jobs.

A fuel-powered nail gun has a lithium-ion battery as well, but also a fuel canister. A spark from the battery to the spark plug ignites the fuel, and that combustion is what fires the nail. These are powerful little tools, rivaling the power of compressed air nail guns for when the job requires more freedom of movement. 

Contact vs. Sequential Firing

While some cordless finish nailers can switch between contact and sequential nail firing, most fall into one or the other categories. 

Contact firing, sometimes called bump firing, lets you continually hold the trigger while you press the safety tip against the surface to trigger the nail. You don’t have to pull the trigger each time but simply bump the tip. This significantly speeds up work time, and many roofers and framers lean towards this firing option. 

Sequential firing, on the other hand, does require you to pull the trigger to drive each individual nail. Single sequential firing requires just the trigger pull, allowing you to keep the tip on the work surface in between pulls. Full sequential firing requires you to lift the safety tip between each fire. While this takes longer, it is much safer as no nails can be accidentally discharged. This makes the option perfect for DIY craft projects.

Best Cordless Nailers

Paslode - 905600 Cordless XP Framing Nailer

Best Cordless Framing Tool

Paslode - 905600 Cordless XP Framing Nailer

Paslode has been in the cordless power tool industry for decades, and nail guns are their specialty. This fuel-powered nail gun is designed specifically for framing, with all the additional power necessary for getting nails into the hardwood. It is also tested to work well in temperatures down to 14°F, making it a top choice for roofers and other outdoor contractors. It is lightweight, coming in at just over 7 pounds. This allows you to work without fatigue in tight or overhead spaces, and it is a perfect cordless framing nail gun. With a 7V lithium-ion battery, you can drive 9000 nails without needing to recharge. It is a loud gun, however, so ear protection is strongly recommended. 

Power Type: Fuel + Battery


  • Few to no jams
  • High powered, can handle hardwood
  • Fast battery recharge time
  • Suitable in cold temperatures


  • Low magazine capacity necessitates frequent loading
  • Expensive
  • Very loud
BOSTITCH 20v MAX Cordless Straight Finish Nailer

BOSTITCH specializes in nail guns, and their Cordless Straight Finish Nailer is no exception. A favorite with both professionals and homeowners, this nail gun gives you both options in firing modes, letting you choose between increased speed or increased accuracy. It is made with a brushless motor for durability. With a narrow tip to give a clear line of sight and LED lights to increase visibility in low light situations, this nail gun is top of the line for accuracy. At under 6 pounds, it is perfect for those overhead crown molding projects. It drives straight nails anywhere from 1 ¼” to 2 ½” in length. The Cordless Straight Finish Nailer is sold with the gun, battery, charger, adjustable belt hook, and a kit bag, fully setting you up for success. 

Power Type: Lithium-Ion Battery


  • Ultra lightweight
  • Sequential and contact firing systems
  • Accurate
  • You can drive 16 gauge nails from 1 1/4 to 2 1/2 inch length


Safety switch a bit cumbersome

  • Expensive

PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer

Best Cordless Finish Nailer All-Around

PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer

This is a battery-powered nail gun from one of the most reputable names in power tools. The Cordless Brad Nailer by Porter-Cable comes with a 1.5 Ah 20v MAX lithium-ion battery and is compatible with a 4.0 Ah battery that can drive 1300 nails on a single charge. This nailer gives you the option for depth adjustment to accommodate both different nail lengths and different material depths. “Brad” nail guns are good all-around nail guns, it is easy to use and suitable for most uses and great for the homeowner. This kit comes with the nail gun itself, the battery pack, and the charger. Weigh at just under 6 pounds, this nail gun is among the lightest on the market.

Power Type: Lithium-Ion battery


  • Easy jam cleaning
  • Easy to use
  • Depth adjustment
  • LED light for better visibility
  • Lightweight


  • Straight head design
  • Long-life, 4.0 Ah lithium-ion battery sold separately
DEWALT DCN692B 20V Paper Collated Framing Nailer

A household name, DEWALT has been making quality power and hand tools for nearly a century. The DEWALT Paper Collated Framing Nailer features a brushless motor to improve durability and a dual-speed option to tailor the motor power and speed for a variety of different nail sizes. This setting option can have a bit of a learning curve, but using the power settings correctly will keep you from overdriving nails in some situations and not fully sinking them in others. It also toggles between sequential or contact firing systems. All of the various motor speed, motor, and firing systems make this a versatile and customizable nail gun. 

Power Type: Battery


  • Brushless motor
  • Adjustable motor speed
  • Sequential and contact firing systems


  • No light 
  • Jams frequently (does have a quick-release latch)
  • Heavier than most

Ryobi P320 Airstrike Cordless Brad Nailer

Most Budget-Friendly Cordless Nailer 

Ryobi P320 Airstrike Cordless Brad Nailer

A Japanese brand that has gained popularity and reputation in recent years, Ryobi puts out quality tools at an affordable price. Particularly convenient, their One+ lithium-ion batteries are compatible across the brand, allowing you to operate multiple products from the same set of batteries and charging station. The batteries reach full charge within half an hour. The Airstrike Cordless Brad Nailer can shift between sequential and contact firing modes and drive 60 2” nails a minute when in contact mode. It also features a low nail indicator to ensure that you never waste time firing empty shots unawares. 

Power Type: lithium-ion battery


  • Sequential and contact firing systems
  • Batteries compatible with multiple tools
  • Low nail indicator
  • Affordable


  • Batteries are sold separately
  • Ryobi doesn’t make their own brads (try Porter-Cable)

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About the author

Bella has a Bachelors degree in interior design, is a master gardener. She designs nourishing outdoor & indoor spaces guided by the practice of Feng Shui.

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