16 vs 18 Gauge Nailer: Which is Right For Your Needs?

16 vs 18 Gauge Nailer: Which is Right For Your Needs?

Nail guns are almost everywhere these days. And why not? They remove unpleasant hammer dents even though permitting you to simply set nails. They are cost-effective, and there is this odd satisfaction to speedily driving nails with the pull of a trigger. So, you are not by yourself if you are searching for a single.

But you will run into a vital option: should I buy a sixteen- or eighteen-gauge nail gun? Your choice will establish what you can and can't do in your store. But no need to have to fret. An knowing of the two options simplifies your decision. The details below will provide you with all the essential info you will need.

What Does “Gauge” Refer To?

The gauge basically communicates the fastener thickness as a whole number, but it will get complicated when searching at the genuine ratings. That is simply because sixteen is higher than 18. No, that is not a typo.

The gauge about refers to the quantity of nails in 1 inch when lined up aspect by aspect. So, nails that fit 18 into one particular inch are thinner than types that only have 16 for each inch.

This implies the rule is as follows: a decrease gauge number = a thicker nail

16-Gauge vs. 18-Gauge

We all know the appropriate fastener is crucial for a profitable project. And in woodworking, selecting the suitable nail thickness is essential to achieving high quality benefits.

So, let’s take a quick tour of the two gauges and narrow down when or the place you may possibly want to use each.

16-Gauge Finish Nailers

16 vs 18 Gauge Nailer: Which is Right For Your Needs?

The sixteen-gauge finish nail has a .0625-inch-thick shank and is typically provided in one to 3½-inch lengths. Because it is thicker, it holds greater than 18-gauge brads. Also, it can be utilized to fasten thicker, denser pieces of wood.

Some widespread uses for 16-gauge nails contain development or set up of:

  • Crown and base moldings
  • Flooring
  • Cabinets
  • Casings
  • Staircases
  • Exterior trim
  • Chair rails

As you can see from the listing, the 16-gauge finish nail is adaptable.

But it does have its downsides. A finish nail that supplies the intense bite you want on bigger projects gets to be a legal responsibility on much more sensitive operate.

There are a handful of causes for this, to start with, the nail is thick adequate to break up items like small moldings. Secondly, substantial power is essential to get via thicker, denser wood or medium-density fiberboard (MDF). This energy adds to the inclination to split thinner wooden.

And finally, as the head is larger than an eighteen-gauge brad, it typically leaves a greater gap that needs to be loaded and sanded.

  • Good holding power
  • Penetrates thicker wood and MDF
  • 1-3½-inch lengths commonly available
  • Can split thinner wood
  • Creates a need to fill and sand nail heads

18-Gauge Brad Nailers

16 vs 18 Gauge Nailer: Which is Right For Your Needs?

The eighteen-gauge brad nail is .0475 inches thick and typically comes in ½ to 2½-inch lengths. Brads, or “pins,” excel with softer, more fragile items like:

  • Decorative molding
  • Trim work
  • Casing
  • Baseboard
  • Paneling and veneer

So, the eighteen-gauge brad nail gun is helpful to have around if you do much more intricate end function.

Yet another advantage of the brad nail is that it has a smaller head and leaves a less visible nail hole when compared to a 16-gauge finish nail. The filling and sanding needed is far significantly less, and often not even needed when making use of an 18-gauge pin.

This dimension nailer does have limitations. For starters, it makes use of significantly less electrical power to steer clear of splitting or harming the perform. Nevertheless, that retains it from penetrating thick pieces of wood or MDF. Also, the thinner shank does not have as considerably keeping power as a 16-gauge nail.

  • Gentler on finer, more delicate work
  • Less filling and sanding of the nail hole required
  • ½-2½-inch lengths commonly available
  • Less strength compared to a 16-gauge
  • Does not penetrate MDF well

Power Source: Battery or Air?

Both dimension nail guns appear in pneumatic and battery-driven variations. So, you will want to know the strengths and weaknesses of the two electricity resources to make an knowledgeable option.

Battery Power

For outlets without having compressed air or men and women who detest dealing with a hose, battery electricity is a wonderful decision. With no the hose tying the gun to a compressor, you can take the nailer anywhere you need to have it. Even to people remote, out-of-the-way places.

16 vs 18 Gauge Nailer: Which is Right For Your Needs?

Batteries also remove the sound and expenditure of an air compressor. If keeping the racquet down is a have to for you, battery electricity is the way to go. But this also demands you have a charged battery to operate. When it is drained, you will have to swap in a new, charged battery. That signifies you want to have additional batteries charging whilst you function. You will probably require at minimum 1 spare, possibly a lot more. Aspect in this additional cost when evaluating a battery-powered nailer.

If you use lithium batteries, be mindful these are much more sensitive to thermal and actual physical shock, so they can “break.” And in basic, batteries do put on out. You need to program on getting new batteries at some position if you use your nailer typically.

Pneumatic Power

A lot of operations and outlets currently have compressed air, so just using what you have helps make perception. It is an endless stream of energy for a nailer and keeps you doing work non-end — aside from reloading the nails each and every now and then.

16 vs 18 Gauge Nailer: Which is Right For Your Needs?

Nonetheless, it does need working with the hose, which can make it hard to get to some areas. Also, it can scratch surfaces even though being dragged all around and it is just a nuisance in basic. You have to control the hose as you operate.

An additional downside, compressors are loud. If you can't tolerate the sounds, you may want to think about battery-powered nailers.

16 vs 18 Gauge Nailer: Which is Right For Your Needs?

Of course, if you do not have a compressor but want one particular, you will have to get it. Plus you will need to have all the hoses, connectors, fittings, and so forth. that are needed to provide air into the gun. Allow for these additional costs when adding compressed air to your shop or cellular operation.

Which Nail Gun is Right for You?

The response to this question is dependent on the kind of work you are doing and can be identified in your past initiatives.

If you frequently install factors like crown molding or staircases, the thicker wooden and need to have for a sturdy set up will imply you want to choose a sixteen-gauge nailer.

If you are functioning with thinner pieces like ornamental molding or paneling, an 18-gauge nailer is a fantastic selection for quickly, straightforward installation without splitting the wooden.

And if your spending budget makes it possible for it, incorporate the two to your device upper body. Numerous stores have one of each and every so they are outfitted to fasten a range of moldings and wooden with the suitable nail or brad.