Best Electric Nail Guns – 2018 Reviews & Buying Guide

Nails have been in use since the beginning of civilization, but it wasn’t until after World War II that inventors came up with nail guns.

Best Electric Nail GunsThese devices came as welcome relief to construction workers, who could now complete their tasks faster, more effectively and more efficiently with professional results. Today, technological advancement has led to the creation of powerful batteries that have enabled us to evolve past bulky and costly air compressors. It’s now possible to use the best electric nail guns on the market privately in your own home to complete various DIY projects.

Electric nail guns are perfect choices for installation or repair home projects. In this in-depth review, I’ll focus on my pick of the top 3 best corded and cordless electric nail guns that are worth investing in. I’ll also provide you with a foolproof buying guide that will give you a head start in your shopping expedition.


My Top 3 Electric Nail Gun Picks

  1. PORTER-CABLE PCC790LA
  2. DEWALT DC608K 18-Volt 18-Gauge 2-Inch Brad Nailer Kit
  3. BOSTITCH BCN680D1 20V Max 18 Gauge Brad Nailer Kit

1. PORTER-CABLE PCC790LA – The Best Value Cordless Nail Gun

Best Electric Nail Guns

The PORTER-CABLE PCC790LA Cordless Nailer Kit

PORTER-CABLE has been in the business of manufacturing power equipment for centuries. You can expect pretty much every product line they release to be successful. If you’re looking for the best cordless nail gun to take home for your DIY projects then the PORTER-CABLE PCC790LA is a perfect choice.

The tool is extremely convenient because you don’t need gas, a compressor, hoses or cables to operate it. Instead, it operates on a 1.5 Ah 20V Max Lithium-Ion battery (1) which last several times longer than NiCad batteries used in other models. Alternatively, you can buy and use a 20V Max 4.0 Ah Li-Ion battery that can drive up to 1300 nails per charge. The battery is sold separately. While this can mean additional expense, buying the battery means you can use it with other compatible power tools from PORTER-CABLE.

One of the biggest problems with low quality nail guns is inconsistent driving depth. The PCC790LA does not have this problem. It is fitted with a dept adjustment wheel which allows you to properly countersink the nails consistently. To increase your productivity, the tool features a jam release, tool less release lever and the previously-mentioned depth adjustment wheel.

This compact tool has an ergonomic handle and weighs only 5.9lbs meaning you can use it for hours on end without fatigue or exhaustion. For ease of use, the device features multi-functional LED lights to light up your workspace and indicate errors. You will also love the fastened length capacity of 5/8″ – 2″, magazine capacity of 100 as well as sequential firing mode and trigger mode.

Pros

  • Easy and convenient to use
  • Powerful 1.5 Ah 20V max battery for professional performance
  • Tool-free depth adjustment wheel
  • Depth adjustment window
  • Multi-functional LED lights
  • One of the lightest in its class

Cons

  • Does not come with a carrying case
  • May not be suitable for extensive use

Interested in the PORTER-CABLE PCC790LA? Check this out!

2. DEWALT DC608K 18-Volt 18-Gauge 2-Inch Brad Nailer Kit

Best Electric Nail Guns

The DEWALT DC608K Nailer Kit

DEWALT is another world player when it comes to production of power tools; the DC608K is a testament to that reputation. This brad nailer is well equipped to provide you with optimal performance at great value. It combines the precision of hand nailing with the speed and ease of pneumatic nailing. This compact, quality driven tool will allow you to drive nails ranging in length from 5/8 inch to two inches as rapidly as five nails per second.

Unlike the PORTER-CABLE PCC790LA from above, this unit is fitted with a slightly less powerful rechargeable 18V NiCad battery that shoots the readily-available 18 gauge brads. Each unit comes with a fast charger to minimize down time if you have big jobs to accomplish. The tool’s straight, box-style magazine has a capacity of 110 and is cleverly engineered to seal out dust as well as debris that may cause your tool to malfunction.

The DC608K features a sequential operating mode which guarantees precision placement, and a bump operating mode meant to provide you with production speed. There is a tendency for nails to jam when using brad nailers like this unit. Luckily, this model features a design that allows easy access to the nosepiece so that you can remove jammed nails without having to use tool wrenches or screwdrivers.

Besides being lightweight, the tool features a narrow, tapered nose designed to fit into even the tightest spaces such as inside cabinets or under toekicks. Other great features include a safety contact lock-off made to disable the trigger, a precise depth control mechanism, a reversible belt-hook and a swing-open nosepiece.

Pros

  • Precise and speedy nailing
  • Cordless operation makes the tool versatile and convenient
  • Fast (1 hour) charger minimizes down time in bulky jobs
  • Easy to remove jammed nails, no tools required
  • Comes with plastic storage case, reversible belt-hook and safety glasses

Cons

  • Rechargeable 18V NiCad battery may not last long
  • The ABS plastic case and safety glasses are handy but are made rather cheaply

Interested in the DEWALT DC608K? Check this out!

3. BOSTITCH BCN680D1 20V Max 18 Gauge Brad Nailer Kit

Best Electric Nail Guns

The BOSTITCH CN680D1 Nailer Kit

You can’t fail to mention BOSTITCH when talking about high-quality and reputable power tool brands. The BOSTITCH BCN680DI is undoubtedly one of the greatest electric nail guns you can ever find in the market today. It boasts a number of features only present in professional-grade nailers that cost four figure amounts. It is fitted with the latest technology of brushless motors that are highly efficient in driving nails into both softwood and hardwood.

The BCN680DI features a tool-free selector switch for sequential and contact-actuation modes, resulting in precise fastener placement and quicker application speed. Like the DC608K, this BOSTITCH unit features a narrow nose designed to make it easy for the tool to access awkward spaces such as inside cabinets. This feature makes this electric brad nailer extremely great and versatile for a variety of applications.

Like the PCC790LA, the BCN680DI is powered by a massive 20V Max Lithium-Ion battery that is well known for power and long life. Furthermore, this tool features multi-functional LED lights that not only illuminate your workspace but also provides system diagnostics in case any problems arise. This feature is common to all high-quality electric nail guns because it also boosts accuracy, especially in low-light situations.

Pros

  • Comes with powerful and long-lasting rechargeable 20V Max Li-Ion battery
  • Comfortable, ergonomic handle
  • Lightweight for easy portability
  • Intuitive multi-functional LED lights for workspace illumination
  • Narrow nosepiece allows for work in tight spaces
  • Highly affordable

Cons

  • An expensive nailer
  • Relatively new to the market – requires further testing

Interested in the BOSTITCH BCN680DI? Check this out!


How to Choose the Best Electric Nail Gun to Buy

Now that we’ve looked at top-of-the-line electric nail guns currently in the market, the next question is how you can go about finding the best one for you if you don’t like any of the ones reviewed above. Luckily, I will provide you with a useful buying guide that can help you arrive at the right decision. Here are the most important factors to consider when buying an electric nail gun:

Power

The most important consideration according to my evaluation is the power of the nail gun. In most cases electric brad nailers are powered by batteries or have cables to connect them to the power grid. Obviously, corded electric versions may be more powerful but they are not as portable as cordless ones. However, the advent of 20V Max Li-Ion batteries has made it possible to find cordless nail guns that have the power of pneumatic versions.

Size, weight and comfort

Compact, smaller units are always lightweight and easy to handle. You should also look for comfort features especially in the grip; this will allow you to work continuously for long hours while minimizing fatigue and exhaustion. However, you must not compromise quality for size as some lightweight models are lousy and won’t deliver optimal performance.

Consistency

Nailing consistency is one of the most important attributes to look for in a nail gun. In fact, you must look for this feature in any nail gun you intend to buy. This eliminates the need to go back manually and feed nail, something that will interfere with your overall productivity.

Cost

You have to buy things intelligently. This means you should establish a budget prior to shopping for an electric nail gun. One thing you need to keep in mind is that high cost models are, generally speaking, better quality. However, so many factors contribute to the final price. Hence, you need to carry out adequate research before you settle on the amount to buy. Try to match the price with features and quality.

Extra features

Besides the above mentioned factors, extra features such as multi-functional LED lights, carrying cases, tool-less depth adjustment and easy jam clearing are important to consider. These features will make your life much easier when using an electric nail gun.


My Final Verdict

ScottIf you’ve been looking for a high-quality, value-packed electric nail gun to buy for your needs, then you can either make your choice from the top 3 models I’ve reviewed on this page or use my buying guide and do your own research.

Get my #1 electric nail gun recommendation at a fantastic price HERE.

Best of luck shopping for your electric nail gun!

Thanks for reading my buying guide. If you have any questions, feedback or comments, don’t hesitate to drop them in the comments below. Feel free to share this page using the buttons below.

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8 Responses

  1. nick R. says:

    good buying guide, thanks. i’m been looking to buy a good nail gun that’s going to serve me well… the ones you review here look pretty good. i’ve tried a few pneumatic ones but I want to try electric. as you said, many of the really lightweight models are pretty lousy, and I’m okay with spending a bit of money for quality. at this point I’m leaning towards the PCC790LA. which one do you own and use yourself?

    • Scott says:

      Thanks for the comment Nick. Just out of curiosity, why did you decide to look to electric nail guns? Yes, I would absolutely recommend spending the extra bit of money on a quality nail gun that’s going to do a good job and last you a good long time; it’s worth it. I actually own both the PCC790LA and the BOSTITCH BCN680D1, but I use the PCC790LA more. However, I’ve used all three of the nail guns I reviewed here and can attest to their value. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  2. Brent says:

    Hey, good write-up. I used pneumatic nail guns for the longest time, but I found the air hoses super annoying, not to mention the noisy compressor, so I then I switched to combustion nail guns which have worked great. now though I want to try using electric nail guns. It definitely looks like the electric type is much less popular than others, but it does have its benefits, namely the fact that they weigh considerably less than pneumatic and other types, and also the fact that it’s less noisy than air-powered guns. In what ways would you say electric nail guns fall short when compared with pneumatic nail guns?

    • Scott says:

      Hi Brent. Yeah, what you say is true; electric nail guns have their advantages over other types. As for electric nail gun drawbacks, one would be the fact that if you’re doing a project that requires the power to be off, you’ll need several power cords to keep your electric nail gun working off some other power source (that is, unless the gun is battery-powered). Also, electric nail guns, particularly cordless ones, have less impact power than pneumatic guns which means that you’ll likely have to use a hammer to drive many of them the rest of the way in. Good luck with your shopping!

  3. The Grantinator says:

    Hm, I’m not sure I’d get any of these. I’m not at all saying they’re bad, but I have my reasons. What’s another electric nail gun you’d recommend that didn’t make it onto the list (preferably something a bit less expensive)?

  4. Charley says:

    Hi. Are there any other brands for nail guns (not just electric, but in general) that are known for quality or that you would recommend?

    • Scott says:

      Aside from the brands listed on this page, brands like Senco and Hitachi are known for making great nail guns. You can look at Paslode as well, but some people don’t like the feel of them.

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