Difference Between Brad Nailer & Finish Nailer
(Last Updated On: April 15, 2018)

Brad nailers and finish nailers are often considered as the same tool and it is justifiable since both look almost exactly the same and both are used to finish up work. But the thing is that both the nailers may physically look alike but their functionality defines both of them apart. The aspects that differentiate both of them apart are nail size, strength, price and projects that are being used in.

So before you choose the nailer for your next project you have to make sure that you understand the difference between these two nailers. In this publication we are going to discuss just that. So let’s get into it.

Nail Type

The main difference between the two nailers is the type of nails they use. The brad nailer use Brad Nails while the Finish Nailer use finish nails. Both nails are different in size and gauges, brad nails are very thin and are between 5/8 inch to 2 inch long with an 18 gauge thickness. The diameter of brad nails is 1.22 mm. If you are to manually drive these nails using hand tools it will be a very difficult task.

Now the finish nailer uses Finish Nails which are larger than the brad nails and 1 inch to 2.5 inch long with variation of 15 and 16 gauge thickness and diameter range between 1.63 mm to 1.83 mm.

Bond Strength

The second aspect that differentiates between the two nailers is the bond strength of the two nailers provide when applied. As we know by now that the brad nailer has smaller nails to work with thus providing less strength when it comes to joining to things together and they are often used for trim work or projects which don’t require a lot of strength from a nail.

The bigger nails of Finish Nailer provide more strength compared to brad nailer and are used for heavy duty joints required in wood work. The extra durability and bond strength provided by finish nailer has it’s place where delicacy or trim work isn’t required.


The usage of both the nailers is also an aspect which differentiates both the nailers from each other. Brad nailer cannot be used in the project where finish nailer is required so both do a specific task which the other nailer cannot perform; you can say that both the nailers are specialists.

Brad nailer is used for lightweight projects, projects which require a delicate holding power of a nail without the ugly nail head appearing right in front. The brad nail is small in size thus it creates a very small hole when driven and it’s existence is barely noticeable. The best suited projects of the brad nailer are molds, trims and frames.

Finish nailer is totally the opposite of the brad nailer and is best suited for heavy duty work like furniture making, cabinet making and door making. The nail of the finish nailer is large thus it shows it presence when driven and can easily scar or crack the surface which is delicate (the area of expertise for brad nailer). The finish nailer provides a strong and durable bond wherever it is used and if you’ll try to remove a finish nail once it is driven it will scar or may even crack the surface so be careful when using it.


The price is another factor which differentiates the two nailers from each other but it is not a very important one. The two nailers perform on different projects as we know and both provide a different level of strength although they both play with nails. So it is understood that the nailer which is designed and manufactured for heavy duty work will be more expensive than the one designed and manufacture for light duty work.

Even in the price range you will find a lot of options available for you, you may find some brad nailers more expensive than finish nailers this will be because of the quality and the features available in that brad nailer.

The difference between the prices is not very much and you will be able to find all kinds of brad nailers and finish nailers easily according to your requirement.


We hope you find this publication useful and we hope that our readers do clear the difference out between the two nailers. 9 out of 10 times the heavy duty tools get chosen by consumers but in this case the odds are levelled since both heavy duty nailer and the light duty nailer are equally important and necessary.

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