Top 7 Best Framing Nailers – 2018 Reviews & Buying Guide

Framing nailers are often used for handling high-volume projects. You can use them for siding, framing, room construction, sheathing and just about any big project you can imagine.

Usually, traditional equipment such as hammers are used to carry out these tasks; however, this approach not only takes a long time, but also requires you to expend a lot more energy. Furthermore, the results will typically not be as professional as those achieved with a framing nailer.

Especially for heavy duty jobs, you want to be sure that your framing nailer is of high quality, compatible with your work style/preferences and can get work done efficiently. You need to consider various factors such as nail size, whether or not it should be battery-powered, warranty terms, plus features, etc.

With the best framing nailer, you will save plenty of time and achieve a great feeling of satisfaction with the work it accomplishes.


There are a wide variety of framing nailers on the market, which can make choosing one an overwhelming and tedious process.

Framing NailerModelPower SourceWeightAngleNail LengthMagazine Capacity
Best Framing NailerNuMax SFR2190Air (pneumatic)8.5 lbs21 degrees2"-3.5"N/A
Best Framing NailerBOSTITCH F21PLCordless-electric8.1 lbs21 degrees1.5"-3.5"60
Best Framing NailerHitachi NR90AES1Air (pneumatic)10 lbs21 degrees2"-3.5"64 nails
Best Framing NailerFreeman PFR2190Air (pneumatic)8.5 lbs21 degrees2"-3.5"55 nails
Best Framing NailerBOSTITCH LPF21PLAir (pneumatic)7.3 lbs21 degrees2"-3.25"N/A
Best Framing NailerDEWALT DCN692BBattery7.8 lbs33 degrees2"-3.5"55 nails
Best Framing NailerPaslode 905600Battery7.2 lbs30 degrees2"-3.5"N/A

Our Top Framing Nailer Picks

Our experience and research leads us to the following top picks:

  1. NuMax SFR2190 21 Degree Framing Nailer
  2. BOSTITCH F21PL Framing Nailer
  3. Hitachi NR90AES1 Framing Nailer
  4. Freeman PFR2190 21-Degree Framing Nailer
  5. BOSTITCH LPF21PL 21-Degree Framing Nailer
  6. DEWALT DCN692B Dual Speed Nailer
  7. Paslode 905600 Cordless XP Framing Nailer

1. NuMax SFR2190 21 Degree Framing Nailer

Best Framing Nailer

The NuMax SFR2190 Framing Nailer

The NuMax SFR2190 21 is made with lightweight magnesium and features a non-stick ring. It has a highly efficient, hardened, one-piece steel drive blade.

Features

  • Can shoot 21-degree nails (2-3.5 inches plastic collated round head)
  • Dual-mode trigger
  • Air-powered
  • Unique anti-dry firing mechanism
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 14.2 x 20.1 inches

Pros

  • Made using sturdy, durable materials
  • Lightweight – works best for vertical beams
  • Comfortable hold
  • Has two triggers which makes it easy to switch between single and multiple fire
  • No jamming
  • Safety feature stops it from firing when reload is required
  • Can drive 3.5-inch nails through hardwood with ease

Cons

  • Some firing mechanism parts have been stamped or formed instead of machine-forged
  • Its anti-dry mechanism occasionally shoots blanks after 3-4 consecutive fires

Verdict

The NuMax SF2190 Framing Nailer works best for medium and small size projects and has an affordable price tag. It is massively popular, and has very high average customer ratings.

It can easily push nails through various types of wood, giving you more options on the job. Its anti-dry fire mechanism alerts you if there are 5 or less nails remaining in the magazine.

2. BOSTITCH F21PL Framing Nailer

Best Framing Nailer

BOSTITCH F21PL Framing Nailer

The Bostitch F21PL can double as a metal connector. It can drive 21 degree round head plastic collated stick framing nails from 2-3.5 inches.

The nail gun is made using magnesium lightweight housing and has 1050 inch-pounds of driving power. It also boasts high customer reviews on Amazon and other retail sites.

Features

  • Lightweight magnesium housing
  • 1-3.5 inch framing nailer
  • Possesses good driving power of 1050 inch pounds
  • Comes with integrated rubberized skid pads that have a rubber grip

Pros

  • Powerful impact drives in nails completely
  • Easily drives in nails without any adjustment or incident
  • Reliable and sturdy
  • Can work with metal brackets
  • Easily adjustable head
  • First well between frames

Cons

  • Might sometimes spark when driving a nail, though this lessens with usage
  • Tends to jam when using in upside down position
  • Heavy
  • Noisy
  • Fails to fire if the tip is depressed
  • Has no air connector

Verdict

The Bostitch F21PL is a powerful and heavy framing nail gun that is a top seller on Amazon. It really does its job well.

It can easily drive in different types of nails and even works well for small-spaced studs or frames. It’s a nice option if you’re looking for an air gun that works with different types of nails.

3. Hitachi NR90AES1 Framing Nailer

Best Framing Nailer

The Hitachi NR90AES1 Framing Nailer

The Hitachi NR90AES1 is an ergonomically-designed peneumatic nailer that sits well on the hand. It comes with a non-slip elastomer grip trigger that offers extra safety and comfort.

It has a convenient two-piece aluminum magazine that makes it easy to switch between nails.

Features

  • Two-piece anodized aluminum magazine
  • Non-slip elastomer grip trigger
  • Hardened claw tip
  • Flip actuation switch
  • Weight: 7.4 pounds

Pros

  • Works fine for low and high volume projects
  • Sturdy build
  • Has a safety slide peg at the back of the nail channel
  • Lightweight
  • Rarely jams
  • Its clear window shows all remaining nails
  • Doesn’t leave imprints on hardwood

Cons

  • Its shallow setting can leave deep imprint on softwood
  • Won’t shoot 2-inch brads
  • It’s not oil-free

Verdict

Overall, the Hitachi NR90AES1 is an excellent nail gun. It’s sturdy and can easily withstand a good deal of abuse. There are no jamming issues when using it with standard nails. Note that it doesn’t work so well with 2-inch brads.

You should seriously consider this nail gun for small to mid-size jobs and home projects.

4. Freeman PFR2190 21-Degree Framing Nailer

Best Framing Nailer

The Freeman PFR2190 Framing Nailer

This pneumatic nailer is meant specifically for 21-degree full head nails. It can be used for framing, siding installations, wall sheating, building a fence, subflooring, and also for assembling different types of wood structures.

The Freeman PFR2190 framing nailer uses 21 degree plastic round head collated framing nails between 2-3.5 inches long. Its anodized aluminum magazine and cylinder, anti-dry cycle mechanism and one-piece drive blade, along with its very high average rating on Amazon, makes this gun a top choice.

Features

  • Finger-depth adjustment
  • Anti-dry mechanism
  • One-piece drive blade
  • Anodized aluminum magazine and cylinder
  • Range: 2-3.5 inches
  • Fastener gauge: 8-10

Pros

  • Practically no misfires or jamming
  • Can easily drive a variety of nails: 3/8″, 2″, 3.5″, and ring shanks
  • Quick reload
  • Features special anti-depth adjustment
  • Has rapid fire and single fire trigger
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • There is no nail window
  • Sometimes leaks air after usage
  • Bulky
  • More recoil than normal which can send nails flying all around the workplace

Verdict

If you want one of the best framing nailers that is powerful and sturdy, then the Freeman PRF2190 is a beautiful option. It can work with a variety of nails, and has fewer issues related to misfiring and jamming.

5. BOSTITCH LPF21PL 21-Degree Framing Nailer

Best Framing Nailer

The BOSTITCH LPF21PL Framing Nailer

The Bostitch LDF21PL framing nailer is similar to the Bostitch F21PL, but is classed as the lighter, lower-profile version. This air-powered nailer includes many great features that come in handy for heavy-duty and detailed work.

Features

  • Narrow, attractive design, 22.3 x 12.7 x 5.4 inches
  • Weight: 7.3 pounds
  • Nails can range from 2″ to 3-1/4″
  • Depth Adjustment
  • Sequential and contact mode firing
  • No gas required
  • Requires air supply and hose (air powered)
  • Incorporates an air filter
  • Has a hook for hanging

Pros

  • Its narrow, low-profile design allows for nailing between small spaces.
  • At 7.3 pounds, this lightweight nailer makes longer jobs less tiresome.
  • It is fairly easy to find 21-degree, 2″ to 3-1/4″ nails.
  • Its depth adjustment feature makes for more precise nailing, and thus a more professional-looking finish.
  • The sequential and contact modes are good for different work styles.
  • Since no gas is required, this can save frequent users plenty of money.
  • The air filter will keep the engine free of any harmful contaminants.
  • You can use the hook to conveniently hang the nailer on your pants as you work.
  • It has a 7-year warranty

Cons

  • Since it’s air-powered, it requires an air compressor and hose. This can be uncomfortable for many. Carrying the hose around may lengthen the time required to finish the job.
  • The exhaust direction does not change, which means that you cannot adjust it so that the exhaust leaves the engine in a direction where it is not bothersome.

Verdict

If you don’t mind working with an air compressor and hose, this high-quality, yellow and black Bostitch design may be ideal for you. Many of its features speak of practicality, as you can use it in tight spaces, requires easy-to-find nails, offers two firing modes, can be hung by its hook, is lightweight and has depth adjustment. While this framing nailer is not free of flaws, judging by its overall features, it is of high quality and definitely worth its price.

6. DEWALT DCN692B Dual Speed Nailer

Best Framing Nailer

The DEWALT DCN692B Speed Nailer

A slightly more powerful and faster nailer, the DEWALT DCN692B is perfect for heavy-duty nailing work that requires firing nails at a higher speed. This nailer is ideal for someone who wants to get work done faster and perhaps pay less attention to the microscopic details such as exact nail depth.

Features

  • Thick, bulkier design – 15.2 x 5.9 x 13.2 inches
  • Weight: 7.8 pounds
  • Nails from 2″ to 3-1/2″, 30-34 degree
  • Sequential and bump speed firing
  • No gas required
  • Battery-powered
  • Cordless

Pros

  • It is lightweight, especially when compared to other framing nailers on the market.
  • It can shoot the larger 3.5″ nails.
  • It has a two-speed setting
  • Sequential mode for greater precision and bump mode for higher speed.
  • Since it does not require a compressor or hose, it’s much more comfortable to work with.
  • Unlike other cordless nailers, this one does not require gas.
  • 3-year warranty

Cons

  • It does not include batteries.
  • It may be difficult to find 30-34 degree nails.

Verdict

Due to its high-speed feature and wider nail size range, the DEWALT DCN692B framing nailer is more appropriate for experienced users.

Furthermore, since it can handle a bigger nail than many nailers out there, it can probably be used for a more ample range of projects. Although the nails might be harder to find, the search is worth this powerful engine’s performance.

7. Paslode 905600 Cordless XP Framing Nailer

Best Framing Nailer

The Paslode 905600 Framing Nailer

The Paslode 90560 is another independently powered framing nailer that can be great for either big or small projects. It doesn’t have different speed settings, but it is fast enough to efficiently get the job done.

Being so lightweight and having such a long-lasting battery life can make it ideal for many remote and extended jobs.

Features

  • Narrow design – 5 x 17 x 17 inches
  • Weight: 7.2 pounds
  • Nails from 2″ to 3-1/4″, 30 degree
  • Battery-powered, rechargeable
  • Requires gas
  • Cordless

Pros

  • The narrow design is great for working in tight spaces.
  • It is one of the lightest framing nailers on the market, which is great for prolonged work.
  • Loads nails and fuel quickly for greater efficiency.
  • The use of lithium-ion rechargeable batteries means there is no need to buy new batteries.
  • A long battery life is good for firing 9,000 nails. A two-minute charge is good for firing 200 nails.
  • Very comfortable to work with as it doesn’t need a compressor or hose.
  • It has a rugged design so it can sustain falls and blows.

Cons

  • 30 degree nails can be very difficult to find.
  • It is recommended to use nails from Paslode’s brand for fewer jams & misfires. However, their nails are generally more expensive.
  • It requires fuel, which means bigger jobs can get quite expensive.
  • It only has a 90-day warranty for all parts & 1-year warranty for specific parts.

Verdict

One of the most attractive features of the Paslode 905600 is its long battery life, which can be recharged easily.

Although there seem to be more downsides to this particular nailer, there is no doubt that it offers some exceptional features that can be very helpful for many types of jobs. It can be ideal for quick jobs where you need it to be charged and ready for use, as well as for extended jobs that require power for long periods.


Now let’s take a closer look at what you should take into consideration when buying the perfect framing nailer:

Types Of Framing Nailers

To buy the best framing nailer, it’s important to first learn about what the tool does. There are three different types of framing nailers available on the market.

1. Pneumatic framing nailers

Pneumatic nailers use an air compressor and have a much higher work capacity. With a pneumatic nailer, it’s possible to finish a large number of tasks within a short time frame.

Best Framing Nailer

2. Cordless framing nailers

These nailers are best for personal use. You can carry this tool along with you and they run on battery, which makes them highly mobile. They also have the convenience of a detachable air compressor.

3. Electric framing nailers

These nailers are like other nail guns and can easily handle volume jobs, but work more effectively than pneumatic framing nailers. At the same time, corded electric nailers (see my electric nail gun guide here) require a power source, and you may find that you can’t work as quickly with an electric nailer as you can with a pneumatic one.


When choosing a framing nailer, you should first know the kind of project you’re interested in.

Is it a small one time project that doesn’t require too many nails, or is it a large project that requires hundreds of nails? Are you a first-timer, a professional carpenter, or a DIYer?


Features To Look For In The Best Framing Nailer

Easy Jam Clearing

Your pneumatic nailer will jam. Make sure your nailer comes with easy access to the nail feed so that when the gun jams, it’s easy to clear and doesn’t slow you down.

The Swivel Tube

While running a pneumatic framing nailer, you would need a swivel tube connector to avoid tangling of the tube. It also makes the reloading process easier.

Nail Depth Adjustment

Nail depth adjustment allows you to control how deeply you drive in nails. This feature is important on finishing nailers, and depth adjustment is easier on some nailers than others.

Adjustment For Nail Size

There are different sizes of nail. If you’re planning to use multiple nail sizes for your project, make sure you buy a pneumatic nailer that accepts a range of sizes.

Check out this video to learn how to use a framing nail gun properly:

Types of Nails

Nail guns are normally designed to handle specific types of nails. Many framing nailers come with longer cartridges or magazines to hold nails. Some of them feature coils of nails.

Types of Triggers

Framing nailers have two main types of triggers: single fire and bump fire.

With single fire, you just have to press its tip against the piece and then pull trigger to use a nail.

A bump fire trigger requires the user to hold the trigger and bump the nail tip right into the wood. Although this trigger is faster, you get more controlled and precise results with single fire trigger.


Caution

Every pneumatic nailer has specific requirements for the fasteners. Use only the fasteners specified by the manufacturer and make sure they fully comply with all building codes and regulations for work you’re doing.


Conclusion

Due to their high quality, power and reliability, these are some of the best framing nailers available on the market. Designed with a specific user in mind and having superb features (all of them being fantastic for the money), these exceptional machines compete only with the best.

Sure enough, people who have purchased these nailers are generally very satisfied with what they have been able to accomplish.

Best of luck shopping for your framing nailer!

Thanks for reading this 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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4 Responses

  1. Brent says:

    A very useful piece on framing nailers. As someone who is planning on doing a host of home improvement projects over the summer and needs a quality gun for framing, this will definitely help me along the way. The way the information was parsed here really helped me out. At this point I’m debating between the NuMax SFR2190 and the Freeman PFR2190 – my buddy has the PFR2190 and he loves it. There are also a couple of other good candidates that you don’t mention here. In any case, thankyou.

    • Scott says:

      Nice Brent! I’m glad this was helpful to you. Freeman’s PFR2190 is one of the best nailers I have ever used. What other nailers are you considering?

  2. Rena Martin says:

    Ok, I decided to buy the NuMax SFR2190 framing nailer. I have to say I am very impressed with how it’s working so far. It worked beyond my satisfaction and I have definitely gained a level of trust in the whole process.

    I was able to finish far ahead of schedule and the quality of the work done was great. Also, as somebody who does not have loads of experience in using nailers, the guides on this article really helped me out. I was actually able to complete the tasks by myself without my husband – he works a lot and doesn’t have much time for home improvement projects, so I do some of it myself.

    Thanks for the helpful video. This nailer should serve me well for a long time to come. Can you come out with a guide on brad nailers? We do a lot of smaller home renovation projects and are looking for a reliable brad nailer as well. Thanks!

    • Scott says:

      Very glad to hear it! It’s definitely a good idea to have a quality framing nailer if you’re a heavy DIYer. As for your question, that’s a great idea – I’ll mark that down to be developed and posted to the site in the near future.

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