Brad nailers are a great choice for several different applications including paneling, trim work, casing, fastening decorative molding, baseboard and casing. Furthermore, they are an ideal choice for small projects such as making picture frames, jewelry boxes, or attaching decorative trims and edges to cabinetry.
This range of nailers have a reduced hole size, hence leave less of a mark in your woodwork. As such they make for a great essential tool for homeowners, that are in the process of remodeling/renovating a house.
Brad nailers also prove handy when temporarily securing things in place using glue, because you can easily remove the nails when the glue is dried. Simply remove the nails after the glue is completely dried, and the holes are near invisible.
When shopping for the best cordless brad nailer, you’ve got several options to choose from!
However, after diligently researching this space, we’ve narrowed down on 4 great models that won’t disappoint you on the job.
Our Top Picks
- LED lights
- Interchangeable battery
- Well balanced and silent
- Easy to use tool-free settings
- Brushless motor
- Doesn’t discharge last few nails
- Doesn’t include battery and charger
The DEWALT DCN680B tops this list of best cordless brad nailers owing to its rich set of features. It is powered by a robust brushless motor, which results in longer runtime, service life, and great overall efficiency. Furthermore, the DCN680B nailer showcases a flywheel design, which triggers the motor to spin a flywheel at high RPM’s and preserves energy.
When the trigger is pressed, the driver blade connects with the spinning flywheel, consequently transferring the energy to the blade, which is then pushed forward to drive the nail.
One of the noteworthy features of this process is that once the flywheel of the DEWALT DCN680B cordless brad nailer spins up to its max rotational speed, it shoots nails with zero lag, and then resets the blade immediately.
The DEWALT DCN680B is equipped with a 20-volt rechargeable battery, which allows you to drive roughly 850 nails per charge. Its magazine can hold up to 110 nails, and is appointed with a yellow reload indicator that lets you know when the nail stack runs low.
Adding to this, the DCN680B brad nailer can drive nails between 5/8″ to 2 1/8″ in length, making it a great choice for fastening decorative casing, molding, kitchen crown and shoe molding.
Another great feature of the DCN680B DEWALT cordless brad nailer is it automatically locks the tool when there are 11 brads remaining to protect the tool from damage. Additionally, it features a jam clearing actuator, tool-less depth of drive adjustment, tool-less jam release, a wire style belt hook, and an onsite actuation button to switch between sequential and bump fire modes.
The cordless DCN680B DEWALT brad nailer features two LED lights, which are strategically placed on both sides of the tool. These lights are designed to provide all around lighting when you’re using the brad nailer, as well as for the tool tip.
Further, the DCN680B cordless brad nailer is fitted with an easy to use thumbwheel to set the desired depth of drive. It also comes with a visual depth indicator, and visual indications on the contact head for greater accuracy.
The package of the DCN680B DEWALT brad nailer only includes the tool, but if you’d like a battery and charger and a nailer with the same specifications, the DeWalt DCN680D1 nailer is your best option.
- Several tool-free settings
- Lightweight and ergonomic design
- Shoot 5/8-inch to 2-inch long brads
- Multifunctional LED system
- 20-volt lithium ion battery
- Does not come with battery
The PORTER-CABLE PCC790B cordless brad nailer packs a mean punch under its hood, owing to its industry leading motor design, which provides consistent firing power into a wide range of materials. It is powered by a 20-volt lithium ion battery, and can shoot 5/8-inch to 2-inch (1300 per charge) long brads.
Even with its powerful battery and motor, the PORTER-CABLE PCC790B cordless brad nailer tips the scales at just under 6 lbs, making it a joy to use across longer periods. Adding to its comfort quotient is an over molded grip, which features a textured design to reduce slippage.
It is equipped with an easy to operate depth of drive dial and indicator that allows you to see when you need to adjust the depth. Sequential firing works well when the right depth is set, and clearing a jam is also a piece of cake with its onsite clearing lever and release switch.
In the event of a jam, you first have to remove the battery, pull the red release lever, and then loosen the latch on the nose of the tool to clear the jam. The PORTER-CABLE PCC790B offers several tool-free settings to choose from, allowing you to accelerate your overall productivity.
The tool-free jam function allows you to open the latch easily, and get rid of the jammed nails, whereas the tool-free jam release allows you to clear jams by twisting a single onsite knob. The tool-free depth adjustment wheel allows you to set the desired depth of drive, and comes with a depth adjustment window.
This lightweight cordless brad nailer features a multifunctional dual LED lighting system, making it easy to complete your projects with ease in low lit areas. Adding to this, it features a safety lock system, and is backed by a 3-year warranty against any manufacturer defects.
Ryobi P320 Airstrike
- 700 nails per charge
- Two firing modes
- Fits perfectly in most toolboxes
- Adjustment dials for air pressure and nail depth
- Low nail indicator
- A little heavier than its competition
- Battery cold separately
For a brad nailer that comes with a rich set of features, but without an exorbitant price tag, the RYOBI P320 Airstrike is perhaps hard to beat. It is an ideal choice for punch list tasks, applying moldings, reinforcing joints, and finishing projects, and is powered by a One+ 18V battery. This battery charges quickly in roughly 30 minutes, and then can drive up to 1700 nails per charge.
Further, it features depth of drive adjustment, which can be set using the large knob located at the front side of the tool. The RYOBI P320 Airstrike cordless brad nailer is fitted with dual LED lights on each side of the tool that can be activated on the fly when working in dark areas. The LED lights can be turned on by pressing a single, dedicated switch conveniently located right next to the firing trigger.
Additionally, the RYOBI P320 Airstrike cordless brad nailer allows you to adjust the air regulator to increase or decrease the air, and features a tool-free jam release mechanism to clear any nails stuck in the magazine. Further, it comes with a choice of two firing modes – single nail mode to drive one nail at a time, and multi-nail mode to fire each time you press the tool against the brad.
The P320 Airstrike cordless brad nailer by Ryobi comes with a belt clip, which is wide enough to fit most belts and waistbands. It can be secured to either side of the nailer, and can be installed in place easily with a Phillips screwdriver. Another noteworthy feature of the P320 Airstrike cordless nailer is its dry fire lockout mechanism, which prevents accidental firing should you run out of brads.
Milwaukee 2746-20 M18 FUEL 18
- 11o nails magazine capacity
- 1500 nails per charge
- Adjustable belt hook
- Adjustable work light
- Dry fire lockout
- Nitrogen air spring mechanism
- Work light may not be powerful enough
The Milwaukee 2746-20 M18 Fuel slots in at the #4 position on this list of best cordless brad nailers for several reasons, starting with its ability to deliver peak productivity, and unmatched nailing performance of 1500 nails per charge. Unlike other cordless brad nailers, the M18 Fuel nail gun is equipped with a nitrogen air spring mechanism, which is engineered to consistently drive nails in the right depth in both soft and hard woods.
Furthermore, this mechanism also helps the tool create clean and small holes. The Milwaukee M18 Fuel cordless brad nailer is powered by a class leading POWERSTATE brushless motor, which produces less heat due to reduced friction, greatly increases tool life, and reduces vibration for better ergonomic control.
Additionally, the Milwaukee M18 Fuel nailer is equipped with REDLINK Plus intelligence hardware, which maximizes performance, and delivers an excellent firing rate and efficiency with no ramp up time. It boasts a lightweight footprint at just over 5 lbs, and operates using the company’s REDLITHIUM batteries, which deliver more power by roughly 50 percent, and run cooler.
The depth of drive can be set by twisting the dial at the right side of the Milwaukee M18 Fuel tool, and when set right renders consistent results even when switching between materials. The front of the M18 Fuel nailer showcases an improved design that results in an improved line of sight.
Further, it is well balanced, and is equipped with easy to access controls set conveniently at the front of the handle. It comes with three interchangeable tips, and with both sequential and contact actuation firing modes. The Milwaukee M18 Fuel cordless brad nailer is fitted with an LED light, reversible belt hook, and can shoot 18 gauge nails up to 2 1/8” in length.
General Buying Guide
Buying the best cordless brad nailer can be a big ticket purchase, which is why we’ve crafted this handy buying guide to help you make the right choice for your needs.
Weight – yes, tool weight matters, because the heavier it is, the more challenging it’s going to be to use on the job. Most of the best cordless brad nailers weigh between 5 lbs – 7 – lbs including the battery, and any tool that weighs higher should be overlooked unless it comes with features you absolutely need.
Check out the tip – it is important to place nails accurately for certain tasks such as installing trim, hence buy a brad nailer that provides a clear view of the gun tip. On that note, it is also a good idea to consider the size of the nose, because you want to ensure that the brad nails end up where you want them, and not a few inches off. When it comes to selecting the right size of nose, the smaller the better.
Size of nails – cordless brad nailers are designed to shoot 18-gauge nails, which can be ordered in lengths up to 2 inches long. These nails when driven leave smaller holes, and reduce the chances of splitting thin workspaces, making brad nailers a great choice for a myriad different home improvement and renovation applications.
Nail magazine capacity – brad nailers are equipped with magazines that store the nails, and the more it can store at one time (100 or more), the less frequently you will have to refill the magazine.
Battery power – cordless brad nailers are powered by rechargeable batteries, which can drive a certain number of nails per charge. If you’re going to use the nailer for longer periods, it makes sense to buy a tool with a battery that can drive more nails before recharging.
Depth of drive – when driving nails, it is important to adjust the depth of nails according to the type of material. Most of the best cordless brad nailers are fitted with a knob that allows you to select how far you’d like to drive the nails for better accuracy.
Dry fire lockout – this feature is nice to have as it prevents damage both to the nailer and work surface. It basically works by preventing the tool from firing when it runs out of brads or runs low. Further, there are some nailers that come with a window, which allows you to see the number of nails left in the magazine.
Sequential firing vs. single firing mode – some nailers allow you to switch from single fire to sequential firing modes, where the former allows you to fire single shots by pressing the trigger each time. The latter allows you to bump fire brads by just pressing the nose of the tool against the workpiece.
Tool-free jam release – with this functionality, you can remove any jammed nails without using any other tools.
Comfortable grip – a comfortable grip allows you to work without causing stain on your hands.
Cordless Brad Nailer FAQs
1. What is the difference between a brad nail and a finish nail?
Using either brad or finish nails depends on your woodworking task, and the amount of holding power needed. To briefly explain the difference between the two types, brad nails are smaller in diameter compared to finish nails, hence provide less holding power.
One of the key benefits of brad nails is they are easier to conceal in wood trims, thanks to their smaller head and diameter. Finish nails contrarily can handle a larger payload, therefore are better suited for tasks such as crown molding and baseboards.
2. Should you get a 16-guage or 18-gauge nailer?
16-gauge nailers are often a preferred choice because the nails are bigger, hence can hold heavier things together in place. So, if you’re performing heavy duty tasks such as installing door frames or baseboards, or you simply want a tool that provides more holding power, a 16-gauge brad nailer is an ideal choice. However, if you want your holes to be less noticeable for things such as crown molding, an 18-gauge nailer is what you need to buy.
3. Can you use a brad nail gun on paneling?
Brad nailers are a great choice for craft projects, and surfaces that cannot be finished further such as wall paneling. Biggest reason for this is because brad nail guns are smaller, lighter, and more maneuverable compared to finish nail guns.