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Nail Guns

If you are going to be hammering a lot of nails of the same size, you might want to consider getting a nail gun to make your job easier and faster. Nail guns have a variety of power sources:

  • spring
  • motor
  • electric solenoid
  • compressed air
  • combustion

The most common type of carpentry nail gun is driven by a separate compressed air generator. Although they can deliver high driving force, compressed air (pneumatic) guns are most suitable for use in small work areas because the gun is always attached to the air tube which in turn is connected to the compressor -- something that you generally do not want to be constantly dragging around a work site.

Spring, motor-powered, and solenoid nail guns are usually electrically powered, so if you are not nailing all day long, you can gain a measure of freedom by choosing a battery-powered model, although all three types are generally less powerful than the compressed air nail guns.

For mobility and power, powder actuated guns use a small explosion within the gun to drive the nail.

When buying a nail gun, consider:

  • driving power
  • nail sizes
  • if not driven by a constant power source, compare the number of operations before reloading/recharging
  • nail packaging (strips or coils)
  • adjustments for driving power and nail depth
  • weight and gripping comfort of the gun

Remember, nail guns can launch a nail with deadly force. Look for a gun with safety features that complement its use (such as "sequential trip," which requires the gun be against a nailing surface before the trigger is pulled to release the nail).
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