The 10 Best Framing Nailers Of 2021 [ Reviews And Guide ]

Best framing nailers

Last updated on September 18th, 2021 at 12:04 pm

Swinging a hammer every now and then can serve as a bit of exercise for the arm, for longer periods and larger projects however, it can really start to take its toll on you. For these kind of projects, what you need is a framing nailer.

A good framing nailer can help you cut down hours of work laboring with a hammer.

Unlike using a hammer, you don’t need to exert any force on your part in order to sink nails with it.

Just place the nailer tip on the wood, compress the tip, pull the trigger, and POW! The nail is in the wood in a fraction of a second.

No force exerted by you, no headache after the day’s job, the framing nailer does all the pounding and hitting for you.

It allows you to sink several nails in seconds especially when using the bump fire mode.

Framing nailers are of different types, and they have different features. Some features may appeal to you, some may not.

We’ve gone through different brands, and we’ve reviewed and listed 10 of the best ones, so you can pick the right one for your project.

1. Milwaukee 7200-20 Pneumatic Framing Nailer

milwaukee 7200-20

This is surely not the most lightweight framing nailer you can get your hands on today, but this Milwaukee 7200-20 is surely one of the most versatile ones among the bunch.

It comes equipped with all the important features any professional framer would need, and then some.

First, let’s talk about nails. This Milwaukee is capable of firing 2 inches to 3-1/2 inches 20-22 degrees full round head plastic collated nails.

Adjusting the nail depth of drive is very easy as it comes equipped with a tool free depth of drive dial. You don’t even need to adjust the air compressor pressure to set nail depths. All can be done right on the tool.

If you like switching between firing modes, the easy select trigger on this Milwaukee makes things even more interesting for you, as it’s a breeze to switch from sequential to contact firing and back.

Now coming to the design, it features an all magnesium housing to make it lighter and tough, although it’s got some plastic components as well.

Forget the plastic components though, this Milwaukee 7200-20 is definitely jobsite ready. We even dropped it several times during testing and it came back working perfectly and scratch free.

Other important features includes a rear-loading magazine with a bypass pusher that allows you reload in less time. There’s also a reload indicator that keeps you aware before your magazine runs empty.

It also features a self-cleaning air filter, and adjustable air deflator and a rafter hook to keep the tool close to you while on the job.

​2. Bostitch F21PL Round Head Framing Nailer | Editor’s Pick

Manufactured by Stanley-Bostitch, the F21PL round head framing nailer is definitely one you need to consider if the best is truly what you’re searching for.

Bostitch advertised a lot of mouth-watering features you’ll find in the F21PL, such as the ability to set nail depth with a simple push of a button. Easy switch between plastic-collated nails to metal connectors, and so on.

After a careful review, we can confidently say that it met our expectations. It is not heavy. This is a tool you can use to work all day, which is a huge plus. Although it is not heavy, that doesn’t mean it is fragile. It is very solid, sturdy and well-built.

One problem that people usually face with most framing nailers is jams. That is, the nails get stuck in the nailer, and makes life difficult for you using it. Your chances of experiencing any jam while working with the Bostitch F21PL is almost zero.

You also have the ability to change the direction of air discharge when using it. The air discharging from the exhaust can stir up dust especially if you’re working in a dusty environment. Therefore, it is important to be able to position the discharge verve in such a way that it will not stir up any dust.

Bostitch f21pl framing nailer

One of the most helpful features of the Bostitch F21PL is that it does no just fire nails, but it can also serve as a metal connector, and the metal connector tip is very easy to swap in. It literally takes a few seconds. With it, you can install metal connectors like angle brackets, joist hangers and post bases very easy and efficiently.

The pointed silver metal connector tip is super easy to use, and provides accurate placement for the nails whether you’re using flat or angled holes for the connectors.

Overall, the Bostitch F21PL is an excellent choice for any type of framing project.

Related: 10 Best Brad Nailers For Trim Works And Projects

​3. ​Numax SFR2190 – Budget Friendly

Talking about framing nailers, it will be very hard not to mention the Numax SFR2190 because it’s one of the most budget friendly option you can get your hands on.

Even though it’s a bit cheap, the Numax SFR2190 is definitely one of the best nailers out there in the market right now.

The body alone is made up of magnesium which is the ideal metal used for making nailers. It’s the ideal metal because it’s the lightest, it’s very tough and resistant to corrosion.

It features the two main firing modes which are the single firing mode and the bump firing mode. For the two firing mode, there are two different triggers which you have to choose from.

There is a black trigger for the single firing mode and a red trigger for the bump firing mode, and you can only use one trigger at a time. The nailer comes with the black single fire trigger already assembled.

If you want to fire nails using the bump fire mode, then you have to remove the single fire trigger and install the red bump fire trigger. Just follow the instructions in the manual that comes with it to carry out the installation.

The Numax SFR2190 is a 21 degree framing nailer, which means it is made to fire 21 degree framing nails. Although it can fire a range of 20 to 22 degree nails, but it performs best with 21 degree framing nails.

As for size of nails, it can fire from 2 inches to 3 ½ inches from any generic brand. Which is very good especially if you have some leftover nails you’ve been using before.

Numax sfr2190 framing nailer

One more feature to take note of is that the nailer has an anti-dry fire feature which prevents the nailer from firing any nails at all when the nails in the magazine are almost finished. The nails in the magazine will not get exhausted before the nailer will stop working. As long as the nails have run low, the nailer will stop firing.

This feature is very good because it helps to alert you when nails are low so that you can load the magazine with more nails, and most importantly, it prevents damage that may result when you fire the nailer when there are no nails inside.

The damage may not be noticeable immediately, but consistently firing the nailer when there are no nails inside will results in damage to the piston and other internal parts which will build up over time, and as a result stop the nailer from working in the long run.

What I like about it

  • It’s budget friendly
  • Quality magnesium construction.
  • Ergonomic design.
  • It’s lightweight
  • Very easy to use.

Where it can be improved

  • You have to manually switch the triggers to change from single firing mode to bump firing.

Related: 40 Modern Tools For Pro Woodworkers

​4. ​Metabo HPT NR90AES1

metabo hpt nr90aes1

The Metabo HPT NR90AES1 framing nailer used to be the Hitachi NR90AES1. It’s a new brand name, but the tool remains the same.

If you’ve had or used this tool before, you’d know that it’s one of the best framing nailers you can get your hands on today, as it comes equipped with every feature a good framing nailer should have.

First thing you need to know about this Metabo HPT NR90AES1 is that it makes use of 21 degree framing nails sized from 2 inches to 3-1/2 inches.

With the capacity to fire this size of nails, you can use it for framing, truss building, flooring, subflooring, roof decking, deck building, shed building and a host of other projects.

Whether you’re a professional framer or builder who wants to carry out some home construction projects or you’re simple DIYer who wants to carry out some woodworking projects at home like shed building, you’re going to find this Metabo framing nailer extremely useful.

It’s a pneumatic framing nailer, so you’re going to need an air compressor to run one of these. It features a selective actuation switch which you can use to quickly change the firing mode from sequential to contact nailing and vice versa.

The Metabor HPT NR90AES1 features a tool-less depth adjustment dial which allows you to vary the nail depth without adjusting the pressure at the air compressor.

This will allow you to drive nails into different materials with it and also increase the speed at which you work with the nailer.

Loading nails into the nailer magazine is very easy and straightforward, requiring only two steps from the user.

First slide the nail clip through the back into the magazine, and then push back the slider at the size of the magazine and release it to hold the nails in place.

The magazine design is another important feature that makes the Metabo HPT NR90AES1 one very special framing nailer. It’s made of a two-piece anodized aluminum which make repairing and replacing it very easy and inexpensive.

The nailer doesn’t jam frequently, but in case it does, the open nose design provides easy access to jammed nails allowing the user to clear it up without difficulty.

Metabo made the NR90AES1 very ergonomic as it weighs only 7.5 lbs which is not that heavy, it’s well-balanced and the rubber wrapped handles makes it very easy to grip and use the nailer.

Overall, the Metabo HPT NR90AES1 definitely has all the features of a top quality framing nailer and will definitely serve you whether you’re a professional craftsman who sinks hundreds of nails per day or just a DIYer who uses it periodically.

What I like about it

  • It’s very lightweight
  • 2 step nail loading makes loading nails in the magazine very easy.
  • Jams are rare and easy to clear if they occur.
  • Sturdy build and design
  • Adjust depth of drive without varying air compressor pressure

Where it can be improved

  • Has no rafter hook.

Related: The Best Right Angle Drills – Reviews And Buyer’s Guide

​5. ​Makita AN924 Round Head Framing Nailer

Makita AN924 framing nailer

The Makita AN924 comes equipped with all the important features you’ll find in any framing nailer. First of all, it’s lightweight for easy handling, it features a 2 mode selector switch so you can quickly change the firing modes, it features a tool-less depth adjustment dial and a rafter hook to keep it close by when not in use.

The Makita AN924 comes equipped with rubber bumpers at the side to protect the from getting damaged if mistakenly dropped or left on the floor.

It drives 21 degree plastic collated nails from 2 inches to 3-1/2 inches in length, and .113 to .148 inches in diameter.

The driver blade of the AN924 is made with heat treated S7 steel, and the top-loading magazine is made of solid aluminium for durability.

Weighing just 8.3 lbs. it’s a bit heavy, but comes with rubberized handles for increased comfort during use.

Related: The Best Battery Powered Tools For DIY Projects

What I like about it

  • Very powerful. Sinks all nails flush.
  • Lightweight and easy to handle
  • It comes with a rafter hook for easy handling.
  • Overall highly durable construction.
  • Built-in air filter prevents minimizes entry of dust inside the nailer mechanism.

Where it can be improved

  • It’s a bit heavy on the wrist.

Related: Milwaukee Hole Hawg And Super Hawg Review

​6. ​Paslode 501000 F-350S PowerMaster Plus

Paslode 501000 powermaster framing nailer

When judging a good framing nailer, power is one of the things to check for. A framing nailer needs to produce enough power to sink those nails in its magazine effortlessly without any hassle.

This is where the Paslode 501000 F-350S framing nailer shines. No wonder Paslode calls it the “PowerMaster Plus”. With more than 10 percent more power than most of the framing nailers in its class, the Paslode 501000 PowerMaster Plus is built to rain nails on wood with meanness.

Hence, if you are going to be working with very hard wood like engineered lumber, then the 501000 is definitely a good choice for you.

You can use this framing nailer no matter the kind of project you are hoping to engage in, because it can fire different sizes of nails ranging from 2 inch to 3 ½ inch nails.

So, whether you’re hoping to build some simple DIY furniture like a coffee table, or you want to engage in a more complicated project like framing a whole building, you can count on the Paslode 501000 framing nailer to sink all the nails you intend to use in the project.

Equipped with a large capacity aluminum magazine capable of holding up to 84 framing nails, means that there is definitely little room for downtime when using this nailer, as compared to other nailers which have magazines that hold far lesser nails.

In terms of weight, it weighs just over 7.9 lbs. So we can comfortably say that it is lightweight and will not cause any fatigue to your arms if you work with it all day.

Another important feature of this Paslode framing nailer is that it is not selective on the type of nails it shoots. It is made to shoot both round head and clipped head framing nails. This is a really good feature, which I personally appreciate.

Talking about the issue that scares everyone when it comes to nailers, jams and misfires, this nailer performs optimally. After shooting about 2500 nails with this nailer, there was not even a sign of jamming. It shoots every time you pull the trigger.

The F-350S shoots in both sequential firing mode and bump fire mode, and switching between the two modes is fairly easy to do. So, you can use any one you are comfortable with.

When holding the Paslode F-350S, you find out that it is well balanced in your hand. One side is not heavier than the other. This is something that you will really appreciate if you’ve ever used another nailer which is not balanced. So, this Paslode is definitely a winner in this aspect.

One more important feature which really shows the overall quality of this nailer is the rafter hook that comes with it.

A framing nailer can really be top-quality, and has all the top features you need in a nailer, but without a rafter hook to hang it safely when not in use, then there is something missing. Though, not a must-have feature, but it definitely makes a difference if it’s there.

What I like about it

  • It’s very powerful – drive nails even into hard engineered lumber.
  • Very compact.
  • Well balanced when held in the hand.
  • Low recoil when nail is fired.

Where it can be improved

  • Adjusting depth of drive requires the use of an allen wrench.

7. ​Freeman PFR2190

Freeman PFR2190

The Freeman PFR2190 is one of the best modestly priced framing nailers you can ever get your hands on today. It’s a 21 degree framing nailers with some of the best features that can be found in any framing nailer.

It’s a 21 degree framing nailer, but it still works well for 20 degree to 22 degree framing nails. However, I think it’s important that you use 21 degree framing nails to get the best performance out of the Freeman PFR2190. If you don’t have or cannot find 21 degree framing nails, then you can opt for 20 to 22 degree framing nails.

As for size of nails, the Freeman PFR2190 can fire framing nails of 2 inches to 3-1/2 inches in size. So, no matter the project you’re working on, the Freeman PFR2190 can fire the nail sizes that’s required.

To fire nails, you have to choose between sequential firing or bump fire modes. Though, you have to interchange triggers when switching between the two firing modes. To use the bump fire mode, you have to remove the sequential firing trigger and replace it with the bump firing trigger, and do the same thing as well if you want to use the sequential firing mode instead.

It comes equipped with a no-mar tip which can be easily removed as needed, and it’s meant to protect your work surface from dents or any form of damage if you’re working on something delicate.

The handle that comes with it is well rubberized, in order for you to have a good and comfortable grip on the tool as you work with it.

Adjusting the depth of drive depending on the nail size you’re using or the hardness of the wood your nailing can easily be done using a depth adjustment dial close to the tip of the nailer.

Included also is an anti-dry fire mechanism that stops the nailer from firing when there are only 5 nails left in the magazine. This helps to protect the nailer from continuous wear that may lead to damage in the long run.

Like I said earlier, the Freeman PFR2190 framing nailer comes fitted with very nice and useful features that you’ll find very useful as you work on your projects. Though it’s modestly priced, you can tell from its magnesium construction that it’s made to last.

What I like about it

  • It’s budget friendly.
  • Stops firing before the magazine gets empty to prevent dry-fire that may cause internal damage.
  • Durable and lightweight magnesium construction.
  • Ergonomic rubberized handle for secure and comfortable grip.
  • It comes with a storage case which makes it very portable and easy to stow away when not in use.

Where it can be improved

  • The triggers have to be swapped manually to change firing modes.

​8. ​Metabo HPT NV90AGS Coil Framing Nailer

metabo hpt nv90ags coil framing nailer review

If you don’t want to keep reloading your framing nailer to frequently, or if you don’t want the nails in your magazine to keep running out quickly, what you need is a coil framing nailer.

You need one because they make use of large capacity coil magazines that can hold from 200 to 300 nails at once in one coil, which allows you to work for a long time without your nails running out. This will really speed up your work by reducing tool downtime.

Talking about coil framing nailers, one of the best ones I can recommend is the Metabo HPT NV90AGS.

It’s a pneumatic nailer which has the capacity to drive 1-3/4 inch nails to 3-1/2 inch nails, which makes it a very versatile tool for any kind of project you’re working on.

Whether you’re building a fence, framing, building a deck, siding or sheathing, the Metabo HPT NV90AGS is the ideal framing nailer you need if you don’t want to be opening the magazine and reloading too frequently.

nail coil

Changing from contact firing to sequential firing is very easy. By just flipping a switch close to the trigger, you can switch between the two modes quite easily.

Also close to the trigger is a depth of drive adjustment dial which you can use to easily set how deep you want the nails to be sunk into the wood.

The coil magazine is loaded from the side which is very good because it makes reloading very easy when you run out of nails, helping you further reduce downtime.

A good rubberized handle, balanced design and the lightweight nature of the tool makes it easy for you to use continuously without getting fatigued.

Like I said earlier, if you desire a nailer that will enable you to work smarter on the jobsite, the Metabo HPT NV90AGS is a very good choice of nailer that will allow you to sink between 200 to 300 framing nails before you even think of reloading the coil magazine.

What I like about it

  • High capacity magazine increases time in between reloads, thus reducing downtime.
  • Coil magazine is side-loaded, making reloading very easy.
  • Comfortable grip.
  • Easily change between firing modes.

Where it can be improved

  • No rafter hook.

​9. ​Paslode 905600 XP Cordless Framing Nailer

Paslode 905600

If you’re weary of all the hullaballoo from air compressors and their long air hoses dragging along the ground, then a cordless framing nailer like the Paslode 905600 is exactly what you need.

Even if you already have a pneumatic nail gun with a compressor to power it, a cordless framing nailer like the Paslode 905600 is very handy when you need to get to tight spaces, like in between trusses when roofing a house.

If you’re a handyman, it will also be more convenient for you to carry just the cordless framing nailer with you when going about your day, than having to carry air hoses, an air compressor and pneumatic nail guns all together.

The Paslode 905600 framing nailer is capable of firing 2 inches to 3-1/4 inches sized framing nails, depending on what you prefer.

Instead of compressed air, the Paslode 905600 works with a combination of 7.4 volts lithium ion battery and Paslode’s framing fuel cell.

In terms of weight, you have nothing to worry about because it weighs just 7.2 lbs. The lightweight nature of the tool plus an ergonomically designed handle ensures that you can work with it all day without getting cramps in your hand.

Though it cordless, power is not an issue for the Paslode 905600. You can drive nails flush into any kind of wood, even if it’s treated or engineered lumber.

If you really want to enjoy the freedom and convenience of a cordless framing nailer, the Paslode 905600 is one you should seriously consider.

What I like about it

  • Very convenient to use. No need for air compressors.
  • It’s portable.
  • Weighs 7.2 lbs. which is quite lightweight for a cordless tool.
  • It has a lot of power.

Where it can be improved

  • It makes use of fuel cells which are pretty inexpensive, but the cost can add up if you’re handling a very large project.

​10. ​Dewalt DCN692B Cordless Framing Nailer

Dewalt DCN692B

The Dewalt DCN692B is another cordless framing nailer that gives you the option to escape the use of air compressors and air hoses for your nailer.

Unlike the Paslode 905600 cordless framing nailer we talked about above, which uses both battery and fuel cell, the Dewalt DCN692B is 100 percent powered by battery. All you need is Dewalts 20 Volts Max batteries, nothing else, and you can get the nailer firing as you wish.

It’s equipped with an engine consisting of a brushless motor which provides the power to drive nails ranging from 2 inch nails to 3-1/2 inch framing nails flush into any wood.

The nailer is designed to fire nails at two different speeds, one to increase the amount of nails you can fire by using less charge, while another one to fire the nails more aggressively but at the expense of using more battery juice.

So, in case you buy the Dewalt DCN692B, try the two speeds to see which one works to your taste. If the speed 1 is not driving the nails flush, then use speed 2 which drives the nails more aggressively. If speed setting 2 is too aggressive and sinks the nail too deep into the wood, use the depth adjustment dial to adjust the nailer until it fires the nail flush with the wood.

The Dewalt DCN692B is also designed to use the two firing modes, which are sequential and bump fire modes. Use sequential firing to have more control over the nailer to sink nails more accurately. Use bump or contact firing to fire away and speed up your work.

If by any chance you get any jams, you can easily remove it through the nose cap. For safety, the Dewalt DCN692B is equipped with a trigger lock mechanism to lock the trigger and prevent it from firing accidentally when it’s not in use.

Overall, I’ll simply say the Dewalt DCN692B is surely one of the best framing nailers you can acquire today. The fact that it’s not only cordless, but 100 percent powered by battery ensures that you’ll not have to spend any more money buying fuel cells to get it running.

What I like about it

  • It’s very portable.
  • No need for air compressors are hoses.
  • Doesn’t use fuel cells. Only battery.
  • It’s equipped with a brushless motor which is very powerful and very efficient.

Where it can be improved

  • It’s selective with nails. Will not fire some nail brands. For instance, it doesn’t fire Grip-rite nails properly, but fires Paslode nails without any problem.

​Types Of Framing Nailers

There are two main types of framing nailers. They are pneumatic and cordless.

​Pneumatic

Pneumatic framing nailers, as the name implies are powered with compressed air from an air compressor. That means, if you intend to get one, you need to get an air compressor with it as a source of power, unless you already have a suitable compressor.

A pneumatic framing nailer works by connecting it to an air compressor by means of a hose. Once connected, a pull of the trigger will cause the compressed air to drive a piston inside nailer, which in turn sinks the nail, driving it into the wood. All this happens in the fraction of a second.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Less expensive if you already have an air compressor
  • Simple design
  • The better choice for more heavy duty framing application.

Cons

  • Might be inconvenient to use due to long compressor hoses you have to drag around.
  • You have to spend extra money to buy a compressor, if you don’t already have one.

Cordless or Electric

Cordless or electric framing nailers are operated without the use of an air compressor. Instead of compressed air, they typically make use of the combination of charged batteries and fuel cartridges as a source of power.

The way it works is similar to the way normal car engines work. A pull of the trigger causes a small amount of fuel from the fuel cartridge to mix with a small volume of air. At the same time, a spark ignites the mixture which explodes and provides the required force to push the piston, which in turn propels the nail out of the nailer into the wood.

This happens so fast that you can shoot up to 3 nails in 1 second with the nailer.

Some cordless nailers comes equipped with brushless motors, and they don’t use fuel cartridges like other cordless models. Instead, they make use of battery. These are usually called brushless framing nailers.

Pros

  • Flexibility to use it anywhere without being limited by compressor hose. Very convenient to use.
  • Requires less maintenance.

Cons

  • It’s more expensive than the corded type
  • You continue spending money to buy fuel cartriges if you buy those that require the fuel cartriges to operate. Though, you don’t have to continue buying fuel cartridges if you’re using brushless framing nailers like the Dewalt DCN692B and the Bostitch BCF28WWM1.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Framing Nailer

Whether you decide to get a pneumatic framing nailer or a cordless one, there’re some factors you need to consider when making your choice. Considering these factors or features will ensure you get the best bang for your buck, not only to save you added expense when a bad one fails, but also to provide you with more comfort and ease associated with a more ergonomic one.

Here’s what you need to consider.

​Weight

If you carry out a lot of construction work and home renovation, you’d definitely want to consider the weight of a framing nailer before purchasing it. The reason for this is not hard to explain. This is something you have to carry around with you, sometimes throughout the day.

Sometimes you have to carry out overhead framing jobs which will require you to raise the it up above you and nail stuff above you. If your it’s too heavy, then it’s going to be a problem after some time. So, try to consider the weight of the nailer you’re going for.

Framing nailers have undergone a lot of upgrade in recent years. Hence, many today are now constructed with magnesium which is the lightest metal on the earth’s crust. It’s not only the lightest, but it’s also very strong and resistant to corrosion.

As a result of this, it’s mainly used in construction here on earth and even in space. Most tool manufacturing brands make use of magnesium for manufacturing tools like nailers to ensure that the tool is not too heavy for the user.

So, one easy way to check for quality and weight of the framing nailer you’re about to purchase is to check for the kind of metal that it was built with. If it’s magnesium, or a similar lightweight and strong metal, it’s a good sign.

​Size

We have to talk about size differently from weight, because a material can be very big, but can be lightweight. Something like your matrass can be very big like your sitting room, but it’s certainly lighter than the engine in your car. The weight of an material is determined by the density of the material, while size is determined by the volume it occupies.

Now, the question is why should the size of your framing nailer matter? It matters because the size will determine where you can use it. Choosing one with a small size will allow you to use it even in tight spaces. It will go in between studs and joists easily. Whereas a big one, even if it is lightweight will not allow you to work in such space.

If size is really your concern, then you should get a framing nailer with a low profile design. A good example is the Bostitch LPF21PL.

The Bostitch LPF21PL has a low profile design, making it smaller than the other nailers featured in this article. Hence you can fit it in spaces where it’s impossible to use the other nailers.

So, you should definitely check it out if a small sized framing nailer is what you are looking for.

It all depends on you. You have to be honest with yourself and determine where and how you want to use the tool. This will allow you to determine if the size matters or not.

​Nail Type

Framing nailers can fire different sizes of nails from 2 inch nails to 3 ½ inch nails. Note however, that there are different types of framing nails.

There are round head framing nails and the clipped head nails, and one nailer cannot fire both type of nails.

Some area building codes does not allow the use of clipped head nails in building. So, it will be advisable for you to go for a framing nailer that fires full round head nails.

If your area building code allows the use of clipped head nails, then you can go ahead and get one that fires clipped head nails.

Some people prefer clipped-head nails because it allows you to fit more nails into the magazine, so you can sink more nails before having to reload the magazine.

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