The Best framing nailer in 2020

When you have a tough job to do, you need a power tool that doesn’t mess around. While the finishing nail gun has its place, you need a framing nailer in order to get the toughest job done. However, choosing one can be like framing nails on a chalkboard. There are so many buzzwords and each nailer seems so similar, yet so different at the same time. Which framing nailers are the best? In this post, we’ll tell you the best framing nailers money can buy.

Carry on reading or jump straight to our number #1 pick here.

First Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best framing nailers

We looked at various nailers and looked at all the features they had to offer. Most 2 to 3-1/2 inch nailers have similar features, but some offer more. For example, there are some that are cordless, some that are cheap, and some that come in a packaged deal for easy access to all the nailers out there.

We also looked at the reviews. What were builders like you saying? We made sure no nailers had excessive negative reviews. The last thing you want is a nailer that backfires. Ouch.

#1: Bostitch F21PL (Best Value – All-Purpose)

If you’re looking for a full round head nailer, we believe that this one is the best. The price is in that perfect range of not being too expensive, but not being a budget nailer as well.

With any nailer, you should expect certain features, and the Bostitch F21PL has what you’re looking for. For one thing, it has depth adjustment. Nails may need to have certain depths, after all, and the depth adjustment is easy to use for this nailer. It goes from 1 1/2 to 3-1/2 inches. Another reason this is the best framing nailer is that it is very lightweight and easy to hold for most people. The 1 1/2 to 3-1/2 inch nailer also has a diving power of 1,050-inch pounds, meaning that it’s powerful.

It’s also a two in one. Besides being a framing nailer, this beauty is also a metal connector. Just change the nose pieces on the no-mar tip and you can swap. It also has sequential or bump fire. With sequential fire, you can fire multiple nails at once. Bump fire means you can fire a nail one at a time, making it great for those times when you need full round head nails driven in one at a time.

Also, if you want peace of mind, this framing nailer has you covered. It has a warranty of seven years.

This is a pneumatic, meaning you will need an air compressor, but that’s okay. Many people say that that type of power is the best for a framing nailer. Overall, the Bostitch F21PL is number one for a reason. Try it out and see if it works for you.


#2: Max HS130 (Best Machine)

When it comes to the objectively best framing nailer, you need framing nailers that are professional grade. If you own a construction business or are planning to use the nailer for a long time, then it’s worth it to spend the money on this. However, if you are just wanting to do a casual job, then you may not want to spend the money unless you have money to spend.

The reason why you may pick this framing nailer is that it is the most reliable. It is the most powerful at 2,071-inch pounds. Its recoil is the lowest of any frame nailer and using a nose magnet, it won’t jam. If it does, it’s easy to clear it. Also, there is a trigger lock, which means you won’t fire it on accident. It also uses full round head nails.

Other nailers from Max have extremely positive reviews, so we believe that this nailer is worth checking out if you want to get one meant for the pros. With the most power out of any nailer, it’s worth the purchase.


#3: Metabo HTP Cordless (Best Cordless Framing Nailer)

Most framing nailers are pneumatic. Pneumatic framing nail guns use an air compressor to work. However, if you don’t have one, or you would like the freedom of not having to rely on cords, this is the best framing nailer for the job.

First, let’s discuss the battery. Back in the day, pneumatic framing nail guns were king because the cordless ones were expensive, underpowered, and died quickly. Nowadays, you can find get framing nailers that have power. This lasts about half a day and is easy to charge. Half a day is about 400 nails, but you can buy a Multivolt battery that can up that to over 1,100 nails.

While it does cost more than the average framing nailer (the price is also hidden until you put it in your cart. Weird,) it has plenty of unique features. It uses plastic magazine strip nails, which can be an eye hazard, but eye goggles are included. It also has a brushless motor, which means you don’t have to worry about maintenance as much.

Reviews of this framing nailer have been quite positive. Many people say that it delivers the power and is easy to use and charge. One reviewer said that it sounded like a laser gun, which they considered a plus. There are some criticisms when compared to a pneumatic. One reviewer said it can get jammed sometimes and that the magazine capacity is not good enough. But overall, if you want to try cordless framing nailers, this is the best framing nailer for the job.

Another good cordless to try is the Dewalt DCN692B 20v Max. That one does contend for best wireless; after all, Dewalt is a big name for a reason. However, the Dewalt DCN692B 20v Max was only available through third-party sellers, and we like to choose first.


#4:NuMax SFR2190 (Best Low Cost)

Are you looking for a pneumatic framing nailer that’s under $100? If so, then the NuMax SFR2190 has your back. You may think that a budget framing nailer means a low-quality product, but this is not the case here. The 21 degree version of this product is the cheaper one, so we’ll discuss that. For a little more, you can get a 34.

First, this is a powerful framing nailer. Expect to have all the features of other nailers, from a no-mar tip, compatibility with many surfaces, and a lightweight, easy to use device that’s good for any job. It even includes the interchangeable trigger, which means you can quick fire it or use a single shot, just like any other framing nailer.

Reviews of this nailer for framing have been extremely positive, with most people saying it’s the best nailer for a lower price. People seem to love its ease of use, and the fact that they can get their projects done without spending too much. Some criticisms mostly stem around customer service not delivering, or not being as smooth as some of the more expensive framing nailers, but overall, reception is positive. Check out the Numax SFR2190 if you want a budget, not cheap, nailer.


#5: Freeman P4FRFNCB (Best Combo Kit)

There are some jobs that require all the nailers you can get. Besides a framing nailer, you may need a finish, a straight brad, or a narrow crown stapler. Buying them individually can be expensive, but this combo kit includes all four types for a fair price. For a little more, you can also add 1,000 nails to your order.

Since this is an article about the best framing nailers, we’ll focus on the framing nailer part first. This framing nailer is known as the PFR2190, and it comes with various features you’d expect. For example, it has depth adjustment, an air filter, a no-mar tip, and more. It’s 21 degrees and fires 2 to 3-1/2 inches.

The other nailers that are included have similar features, such as oil-free design, depth adjustment, a quick jam release, and more.

Considering it’s a kit, you may expect the framing nailer to be lower quality, but it’s not. Reviewers say that this kit packs a lot of power for the price. Negative reviewers mostly concern the warranty and other defective issues. If you just need a framing nailer, the others above may be better. However, if you need it all, get this package.


What About the Cheapies? Our Best Products Under $X

 What if you don’t have much money for a framing nailer? Luckily, there is a framing nailer for every budget. While these aren’t the best nailers, they’re still decent enough. Let’s take a look at them.

#1 Best Under $100: Banks 21 inch

This is a 2 to 3-1/2 inch nailer that is great if you don’t have much money. While it’s not the best framing nailer, it’s still quite good. One feature of the Banks 21 inch is that its magazine is rear-load. This means that the magazine is quite fast to load. The magazine also uses plastic. It has power, it’s easy to use, and has all the features you need. This one is also a good contender on the main list for the cheapest nailer, but the other one beat it out by just a little bit.


#2 Best Under $90: WEN 61798 Pneumatic Clipped Head Framing Nailer, 34 Degrees

The WEN Clipped Head is a 2 to 3-1/2 inch nailer that has a lot going for it. While it does need oil, it shoots up to 30 nails per session and its magazine can go up to 100 nails. It has good reviews, and for the price, we say that you can’t avoid this framing nailer. Give it a go and see how well it works for you.


#3 Best Under $80: WEN 21-Degree 

This 2 to 3-1/2 inch nailer can be bought at Walmart and similar retailers. For the price, it has everything you expect from a 2 to 3-1/2 inch framing nailer, including depth adjustment. If you don’t want to spend too much, we say that you can buy this framing nailer with confidence. It’s another easy to use framing nailer that has quite a bit of power to it for the price, along with all the features you’re looking for.


# 4 Best Under $70: Chrome-vanadium Nailer

If you want the cheapest framing nailer, then this is the one. It’s a Chinese product from eBay, so don’t expect it to come quickly when you order it. Shipping from China can takes weeks, sometimes months. Sometimes, you may be able to get it faster, but the price is usually not worth it. It’s no Amazon Prime. However, it does seem to have all the features you’d expect from quality nailers, from a decent magazine to some power. While we are not sure of its quality, take a risk and try it out if you want to.

Is a 21 or 30 Degree Framing Nailer Better?

In order to answer this question, we first need to compare the two sizes of these frame nailers.

21 Degree Framing Nailer

This framing nailer may be 20-22, depending on which manufacturer you choose from. The 21 nailer works well for a nail with a fully rounded head. The nails are held together with a strip made of plastic instead of a coil made of wire. These plastic collated nails are something we’ll discuss in a bit. Twenty-one framing nailers have a capacity of 60-70 nails, which is not a whole lot, but the angle of the magazine does let you get those tight corners.

One downside of this framing nailer is its plastic collated nails. When you fire it, the plastic breaks and some pieces may fly out. Wearing protection when you use power tools is always recommended, it’s especially so for this one. You may have to clean up, too.

30 Degree Framing Nailer

This can go up to 34 degrees as well, depending on what manufacturer. It does have an advantage over the 21, which is that it’s even better for tight corners. This one uses paper collated nails instead of plastic, and the capacity can be a little more. The paper collated nails mean they make less mess and will store easier, but you do have to beware of moisture. Also, there is less reloading in a 30 framing nailer.

So the best framing nailer is 30, in our own opinion.

Speaking of magazine, there are even some nailers that use aluminum magazine nails, which is interesting.

What is the best framing nailer to buy?

Read our list to figure out which is the best. However, if you want a quick answer, we can help you with that as well. It mostly depends on what you’re looking for. For a professional, you may need to spend over a grand to get a 2 to 3-1/2 inch nailer that will last a long time.

Otherwise, we like the Bostitch F21PL. This has all the features you’d need from a good nailer, at a competitive price.

What kind of nailer is used for framing?

It’s just called a framing nailer. There is no unique name for it. If you have nails that need to be used for framing, get yourself one of those and you should be golden.

What degree nail gun is best for framing?

If you’re looking for the tightest corners for your nails, you may need a 30 degree. While a 21 degree works well, a 30 works the best. They are a little more expensive, but many people will find it worth it. However, a 21 degree is still good in most cases.

What is a Framing Nailer Used for, Anyway?

In almost all cases, a framing nailer is designed for big projects. Big projects can mean building a deck to your home or adding a new frame to your house. Think of a major project that involves wood, and chances are, you’re going to need a framing nailer.

You’re going to need a tinier nailer, like. a finishing nail gun, if you want a project that is smaller.

Should I Pick a Pneumatic or Cordless Framing Nailer?

When it comes to what your nailer is powered by, there are two types: pneumatic or cordless. There’s also gas, but that one is going out of style. The pneumatic is powered by a compressor of air, which attaches to the nailer via a hose. The air will drive the piston to push the nail deep into the wood or other surface.

Then, there’s the cordless. As you probably have guessed, this doesn’t use a cord but instead uses an air canister and a battery to drive the nail. It is annoying to have to replace the air canister every so often, but many people love the freedom it offers. Another disadvantage is that you have to pay more for one. Usually, the battery in a modern framing nailer is enough to drive all your nails into where they belong.

We say it all depends, but we do lead towards pneumatic. Both should work well for whatever job.

Could You Give Me Some Framing Nailer Tips?

if you’re new to the scene, then you may want some tips to get you started. Here are some to help you out.

Get a Rafter Hook and a Tool Belt

If you’re going to be using the framing nailer for a long time, a tool belt can help you. You can put your nails in it, or anything else you require. In addition, you can buy a rafter hook for your nailer. This hook attaches to your tool belt, which means you can carry it around without your hands. A rafter hook is quite cheap as well. With that said, look for a rafter hook that will fit your nailer. Some are different than others.

Make Sure Your Free Hand is Far Away

When you’re using the nailer, keep your free hand away from the nailer as possible. Some people have the hand a little too close to the nailer, and that always gives a chance of accidents. While this is not true in all cases, it’s better safe than sorry. Your nails should be aiming towards the wood, not your hand.

Practice Makes Perfect

As the old saying goes, you should practice if you’re new to this. Some people will use scrap wood to give their nailer a whirl. This can give you a chance to get accustomed to everything and make sure that you don’t make mistakes. When you do practice, work at your own pace. Do not rush yourself, and have fun.

Read the Manual

As they say, RTFM, or read the friendly (or another F-word) manual. Even if you have the basic ideas of how to use a nailer, the manual can tell you everything there is to know about it. For example, if you’re having an issue, the manual can tell you an easy fix to that. Meanwhile, the manual is also good for being able to learn some tips and tricks that are exclusive to that nailer.

Watch Some Videos

YouTube has made it easier to learn some unique tips and to see the nailer in action. When you’re stumped for tips, just watch some videos. Make sure the video comes from a professional or at least someone who is a good authority.

Remember, You’re Not Going to Get it Right the First Time

With any construction project, it’s going to be a skill you build upon as time goes on. You may fail your first project, or you may succeed but wish you could have done something different. Keep trying and you’ll improve.

Verdict: Your Best framing nailer

So there we have it. We think we hit the nails on the head with this one. Haha. Okay, so if you’ve read this far, you may need some reminding as to which nailer is the best. However, if you’re someone who skipped through the article like the dirty person you are, here are the five nailers again.

The best overall is the Bostitch F21PL. This nailer has all the features you’d expect, from a good magazine to some powerful nails. The price is also that sweet spot where it’s not too excessive, but not cheap, either. We say to give this nailer a spin.

The Max HS130 is perhaps the best nailer if you’re looking for professional grade. Most people, unless they are pros, will not need this. However, if you can afford it, you’re going to use it a lot, or you just want the best of the best gun to fire your nails with, this is the one. It’s tough, has the strongest features, and is the best, but it costs a lot of money.

Next up is the Metabo HTP Cordless. As you probably got from the name, this is a cordless nailer. While it doesn’t have as much user-friendliness as pneumatic and you do have to pay more, many people will gladly pay this price to be able to drive their nails without an air compressor. With a fast charger, decent features, and good reviews, it’s worth getting.

Then we have the NuMax SFR2190. This is one of the most affordable nailers you can use to drive your nails. Even though it’s quite cheap, that does not stop it from being filled with features and having quality to it. It has positive reviews, and while it may not be the best or have the most features, it’s still the best budget.

Finally, there’s the Freeman P4FRFNCB Combo Kit. This framing nailer doesn’t have the most features, but if you need all tools related to nails, you can’t go wrong. It comes with a finisher, brad nailer, and more, all in one affordable package. As we said, not the most quality framing nailer, but it has positive reviews. Try it out if you have some nails to burn.

And there you have it. These are the best framing nailers money can buy. When you have nails to frame, these guns will serve you well. Do your research, find the framer that fits your needs, and get to firing those nails. You’ll be glad you did.

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