Nailers

The 10 Best Framing Nailers of 2020

Best Framing Nailer

Photo: Metabo HPT

When you need a nailer that can piece together larger, thicker, and harder pieces of wood quickly and more accurately, the framing nailer is always the tool to get. With the best framing nailer, there is no house framing, fencing, or even finishing jobs that are too big for you.

These nailers will typically shoot 8 to 11-1/2 gauge nails, which are some of the thickest and will hence provide more holding power than other nailers. And to make them even more versatile, they can shoot various nail lengths.

But, with the many variables that define a good framing nailer, choosing the right one for you is never easy. However, our objective here is to make things easier for you by reviewing some top-rated framing nailer models and also explain what you need to consider.

10 Best Framing Nailers – Review

IMAGE

​PRODUCT

​FEATURES

Bostitch F21PL

1. Bostitch F21PL (Best Overall)

  • 1,050 inch-pound driving force
  • 2-in-1 nailer design
  • Magnesium housing
  • Sequential and bump trigger modes
NuMax SFR2190

2. NuMax SFR2190 (Best Budget)

  • More budget-friendly
  • Durable magnesium body
  • Depth adjust
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Interchangeable trigger
Hitachi NR83A5

3. Hitachi NR83A5 (Best Professional)

  • Professional-grade build and performance
  • Cylinder valve drive system
  • Selective actuation trigger
  • Tool-less drive depth adjustment
  • Non-slip rubber grip
Bostitch F28WW

4. Bostitch F28WW (Best Pneumatic)

  • Powerful 1,050 inch-pounds nail drive
  • Magnesium housing
  • 28-degree magazine angle
  • Adjustable exhaust
  • No-mar tip
Paslode 905600

5. Paslode 905600 (Best Cordless)

  • Portable battery-powered nailer
  • All seasons usability
  • Weighs only 7.2 pounds
  • 30-degree magazine angle
Metabo HPT NR90AES1

6. Metabo HPT NR90AES1 (Well-Balanced)

  • Well-balanced for minimal user fatigue
  • Sequential and contact firing
  • Tool-less depth adjustment
  • Redesigned head guard
Freeman PFR2190

7. Freeman PFR2190 (Versatile)

  • Adjustable depth for versatility
  • Interchangeable trigger
  • No-mar tip
  • Ergonomic secure handle
Metabo HPT NR1890DR

8. Metabo HPT NR1890DR (Fast & Powerful Cordless Model)

  • Powerful brushless motor
  • Air spring drive system
  • Selective actuation
  • Tool-less drive depth adjustment
Valu-Air 9021C

9. Valu-Air 9021C (For General Purpose Use)

  • Great for general purpose use
  • Die-cast aluminum housing
  • Selective trigger
  • Non-slip grip
Porter-Cable FR350B

10. Porter-Cable FR350B (Has Easy Load Magazine)

  • Easy load magazine
  • Selectable trigger
  • Too-free depth adjustment
  • Low nail lockout

PRODUCT

1. Bostitch F21PL

(Best Overall)

Bostitch F21PL
  • 1,050 inch-pound driving force
  • 2-in-1 nailer design
  • Magnesium housing
  • Sequential and bump trigger modes

2. NuMax SFR2190

(Best Budget)

NuMax SFR2190
  • More budget-friendly
  • Durable magnesium body
  • Depth adjust
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Interchangeable trigger

3. Hitachi NR83A5

(Best Professional)

Hitachi NR83A5
  • Professional-grade build and performance
  • Cylinder valve drive system
  • Selective actuation trigger
  • Tool-less drive depth adjustment
  • Non-slip rubber grip

4. Bostitch F28WW

(Best Pneumatic)

Bostitch F28WW
  • Powerful 1,050 inch-pounds nail drive
  • Magnesium housing
  • 28-degree magazine angle
  • Adjustable exhaust
  • No-mar tip

5. Paslode 905600

(Best Cordless)

Paslode 905600
  • Portable battery-powered nailer
  • All seasons usability
  • Weighs only 7.2 pounds
  • 30-degree magazine angle

6. Metabo HPT NR90AES1

(Well-Balanced)

Metabo HPT NR90AES1
  • Well-balanced for minimal user fatigue
  • Sequential and contact firing
  • Tool-less depth adjustment
  • Redesigned head guard

7. Freeman PFR2190

(Versatile)

Freeman PFR2190
  • Adjustable depth for versatility
  • Interchangeable trigger
  • No-mar tip
  • Ergonomic secure handle

8. Metabo HPT NR1890DR

(Fast & Powerful Cordless Model)

Metabo HPT NR1890DR
  • Powerful brushless motor
  • Air spring drive system
  • Selective actuation
  • Tool-less drive depth adjustment

9. Valu-Air 9021C

(For General Purpose Use)

Valu-Air 9021C
  • Great for general purpose use
  • Die-cast aluminum housing
  • Selective trigger
  • Non-slip grip

10. Porter-Cable FR350B

(Has Easy Load Magazine)

Porter-Cable FR350B
  • Easy load magazine
  • Selectable trigger
  • Too-free depth adjustment
  • Low nail lockout

1. Bostitch F21PL – Best Overall Framing Nailer

Bostitch F21PL

Photo: Bostitch

  • Power Source: Pneumatic                              
  • Nail Capacity: 60
  • Magazine Angle: 21°
  • Weight: 8.1 pounds

The high driving force of up to 1,050 inch-pound and the versatile design that allows this framing nailer to work as two different nailer types are what make this our best overall model.

With the 2 quick-change nosepieces, you can easily convert this nailer from a framing nailer to a reliable tool for metal connector applications. And this tool is also made to last with a durable magnesium housing.

The design also incorporates a comfortable and non-slip rubber grip, and there are also rubber skid pads that will also be very handy. You will also get to choose between bump and sequential trigger modes, and this nailer can shoot nails between 1-1/2 and 3-1/2 inches long.

Although the depth adjustment on this framing nailer could be a little more refined, it is still workable and should not be a big concern once you get used to the tool. And given that this is an older style framing nailer, finding nails might be a little hard, but you should still get them online.

Pros:

  • High driving force
  • More durable and housing
  • Works for both framing and connector applications
  • Dual trigger modes
  • Comfortable rubber grip

Cons:

  • Depth adjustment could be more refined
  • Nails are harder to find

2. NuMax SFR2190 – Best Budget Framing Nailer

NuMax SFR2190

Photo: NuMax

  • Power Source: Pneumatic                              
  • Nail Capacity: 55
  • Magazine Angle: 21°
  • Weight: 8.6 pounds

NuMax SFR2190 is an ideal tool for framing contractors and DIYers shopping on a budget as it is the cheapest option on our framing nailer reviews. But, despite the relatively smaller price tag, it still has a lot of fantastic features to offer.

This framing nailer has a highly durable magnesium housing, and it will also include a more ergonomic handle with a non-slip grip that will make it easy to operate for extended periods with minimal hand fatigue.

With this nail gun, you can shoot nails between 2 and 3-1/2 inches long, and when shooting, you get to choose between two trigger modes, which are bump and single fire. Also, it has an adjustable depth to make it easy to customize how deep you want to drive the fasteners.

The 360-degree adjustable air exhaust will help keep the hot air away from your face when working and blow away the debris from the workpiece. And this nail gun will also include a no-mar tip to help protect the material when nailing.

This framing nailer seems a little cumbersome when compared to others on our list, but it is still manageable and easy to handle, and at just 8.6 pounds, it is lightweight enough.

Pros:

  • Relatively more affordable
  • Highly durable housing
  • Comfortable and secure handle
  • Non-marring tip
  • Dual trigger mode

Cons:

  • A little cumbersome

3. Hitachi NR83A5 – Best Professional Framing Nailer

Hitachi NR83A5

Photo: Metabo HPT

  • Power Source: Pneumatic                              
  • Nail Capacity: 64
  • Magazine Angle: 21°
  • Weight: 9.1 pounds

Hitachi NR83A5 is a dependable nailer for professional use, and it will come in a durable and reliable design that will ensure you can always get the job done fast and without having to put in a lot of effort.

This framing nailer will shot nails up to 3-1/4 inches and will make use of a cylinder valve drive system to ensure increased durability and to deliver a rapid response.

With the selective actuation on this trigger, you can choose to use either contact or sequential actuation. And this tool is also designed to be more comfortable to use thanks to the ergonomic non-slip grip, while the rafter hook provided increases job site convenience.

Adjusting the depth when using this framing nailer will be more effortless and quick since you will not need to use any tool.

For a pneumatic framing nailer, this model seems a little pricier. However, for a professional-grade model, the price is still okay.

Pros:

  • Great for professional use
  • Rapid response
  • Dual fire mode
  • Comfortable handle
  • Easy jam clearing

Cons:

  • A little pricier

4. Bostitch F28WW – Best Pneumatic Framing Nailer

Bostitch F28WW

Photo: Bostitch

  • Power Source: Pneumatic                              
  • Nail Capacity: 100
  • Magazine Angle: 28°
  • Weight: 7.6 pounds

With a drive power of up to 1,050 inch-pound, the Bostitch F28WW is one of the best pneumatic framing nailers out there as it can handle almost any framing job.

You can also be sure that it will handle the abuse that comes with this thanks to the rugged and durable aluminum housing. The exhaust is designed to be adjustable to allow you to direct the air away from you and your workpiece.

Depth adjustment is also quick and tool-free to ensure you are in full control of how deep you sink the fasteners. You will also get to nail more before refilling the magazine as it has a larger 100-nail capacity. And with the no-mar tip, your workpieces will also not be damaged easily.

This framing nailer seems quite weather-sensitive as its performance dips significantly at low temperatures. However, provided you are not using it in super-low temperatures, it will work well. Also, the cheap plastic truss hook is not a very significant concern.

Pros:

  • Powerful drive power
  • Conveniently adjustable exhaust
  • Lightweight and durable housing
  • Quick and convenient depth guide
  • Protective non-marring tip

Cons:

  • Quite weather-sensitive
  • Cheap truss hook

5. Paslode 905600 – Best Cordless Framing Nailer

Paslode 905600

Photo: Paslode

  • Power Source: Battery-Powered                                
  • Nail Capacity: 1 strip
  • Magazine Angle: 30°
  • Weight: 7.2 pounds

Paslode 905600 will allow you to carry and use your nail gun from anywhere. This battery-powered framing nailer runs on a 7-volt lithium-ion battery, which will make it possible to shoot up to 9,000 nails per minute.

Despite being a cordless model, this nail gun is still lightweight enough as it weighs only 7.2 pounds, which means you can hold and use it for extended periods with minimal hand fatigue.

And with the 30-degree magazine and more compact design, it has been built to fit easily into tight spaces such as between roof trusses and joists.

Many framing contractors and DIYers will also love that this framing nailer is designed for use all year round as it will work well at temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit.

Because this framing nailer will only hold one strip of nails, it will have a relatively smaller capacity when compared to others on our list. However, it makes up for this with an easy-load magazine. Also, the higher price tag is typical for a cordless framing nailer.

Pros:

  • Highly portable
  • Lightweight and easy to handle
  • Works well all year round
  • Fits easily into tight spaces

Cons:

  • Smaller magazine capacity
  • Relatively expensive

6. Metabo HPT NR90AES1 – Well-Balanced Framing Nailer

Metabo HPT NR90AES1

Photo: Metabo HPT

  • Power Source: Pneumatic
  • Nail Capacity: 64
  • Magazine Angle: 21°
  • Weight: 7.5 pounds

Metabo HPT NR90AES1 is a more balanced framing nailer that will be easy to maneuver for any user, and it will allow you to shoot nails for extended periods with minimal fatigue. Also, at 7.5 pounds, it is one of the lightest on our framing nailer reviews.

With this nailer, you also get to choose how to drive the nails as it will allow you to choose between sequential and bump firing modes. To make it ideal for different projects, it can sink different nail length from 2 to 3-1/2 inches.

Depth adjustment is also guaranteed to be simple when using this nailer, and you will not need to use any tools. And with the redesigned head guard, the disassembly process will be more effortless and quicker to ensure maintenance does not waste a lot of time.

This nailer will not come with a storage case, but for many users, this should not be a big deal as you can still get one for a few bucks if you already do not have one the workshop.

Pros:

  • Feels more balanced on the head
  • Allows for two firing modes
  • Wide nail length capacity
  • Quick and tool-free depth adjustment
  • Easier disassembly process

Cons:

  • No storage case

7. Freeman PFR2190 – Versatile Framing Nailer

Freeman PFR2190

Photo: Freeman

  • Power Source: Pneumatic                              
  • Nail Capacity: 55
  • Magazine Angle: 21°
  • Weight: 8.5 pounds

Freeman PFR2190 is all about versatility. With the tool-free depth adjustment and ability to shoot fasteners up to 3-1/2 inches, this framing nailer will be ideal for a wide variety of projects.

Another element that makes this one of the best framing nailers is that it has a more durable magnesium body. Also, this nail gun will include an ergonomic handle for extended and fatigue-free use.

The interchangeable trigger will allow you to choose between two firing modes for even more versatility, and with the no-mar tip, you can be confident this framing nailer will not damage your workpiece.

While this Freeman framing nailer seems to double fire occasionally, this is typical of most framing nailer models, and it should hence not be the deal-breaker.

Pros:

  • Highly versatile functionality
  • Interchangeable trigger
  • Comfortable and secure handle
  • Durable housing
  • Non-marring tip

Cons:

  • Double fires occasionally

8. Metabo HPT NR1890DR – Fast and Powerful Cordless Framing Nailer

Metabo HPT NR1890DR

Photo: Metabo HPT

  • Power Source: Battery-Powered                                
  • Nail Capacity: 37
  • Magazine Angle: 21°
  • Weight: 10.8 pounds

The brushless motor on the Metabo HPT NR1890DR is what makes this one of the best cordless framing nailers out there. Besides being more powerful, this motor is also highly durable and will require less maintenance.

This nail gun will drive plastic strip nails up to 3-1/2 inches long at some impressive speeds of up to 2 nails per second. Also, you will be in full control of the drive depth as this tool has a tool-free depth adjustment.

With the selective actuation trigger, you can choose whether to use bump or sequential firing. Because this nailer will use a unique air spring drive system, there will be zero ramp-up time, and you will get a recoil that is more like a pneumatic nail gun.

Many buyers will also love that this nail gun will come as a complete kit that will include the battery, a carry case, and some safety glasses.

While the rafter hook is ridiculously huge, it still works well enough and is quite handy, and so its size will hardly be a concern. Also, for a cordless framing nailer, 10.8 pounds is still quite manageable.

Pros:

  • Durable and powerful motor
  • Easy drive depth adjustment
  • Allows both bump and sequential firing
  • Zero ramp-up time
  • Complete kit with battery and charger

Cons:

  • Huge rafter hook
  • Relatively heavier

9. Valu-Air 9021C – General Purpose Framing Nailer

Valu-Air 9021C

Photo: Valu-Air

  • Power Source: Pneumatic
  • Magazine Angle: 21°
  • Weight: 11.5 pounds

Besides delivering an exceptional service for framing applications, the Valu-Air 9021C will be a highly reliable tool for general purpose fastening jobs, which makes it quite a handy tool to have around.

This framing nailer is made to last with a die-cast aluminum housing and an equally durable aluminum magazine. And when it comes to the use, you can be confident you will have a fatigue-free experience thanks to the comfortable non-slip handle.

Adjusting the depth is easy and with no tool required, and this nailer will also include a selective trigger that will allow you to choose from two different firing modes. And with the heat-treated drive guide, you get a longer service life for all internal wearable components.

This framing nailer feels a little heavier on the hand than most others on our list. However, the 11.5 pounds seem well distributed on the nailer, and so it is quite well-balanced, and so once you get used to it, you will hardly feel the extra pounds.

Pros:

  • Very handy for general purpose fastening
  • Comfortable and non-slip handle
  • Dual trigger modes
  • Quick, tool-free depth adjustment
  • Highly durable housing and magazine

Cons:

  • Feels a little heavier

10. Porter-Cable FR350B – Easy Load Framing Nailer

Porter-Cable FR350B

Photo: Porter-Cable

  • Power Source: Pneumatic                              
  • Nail Capacity: 60
  • Magazine Angle: 22°
  • Weight: 7.3 pounds

Porter-Cable FR350B will ensure that farming contractors and DIYers that will use framing nailers often will have an easy time on the job. It has an easy-load magazine and a low nail lockout that will ensure you know when you need to add more nails.

Another element that makes this one of the best air framing nailers is that it has a selectable trigger that will allow you to choose between contact and restrictive fire modes.

You can also adjust the drive depth easily thanks to the tool-free depth adjustment that will allow you to set the nail heads easily. And with the over-molded grip, this will be a comfortable tool to use, and controlling it will also take less effort.

Although this framing nailer will not come with a carry case, this should not be a significant drawback as there are many good and affordable aftermarket ones you can get for a few bucks. Also, the no-mar tip can be annoying as it keeps falling off, but it still does its job well enough.

Pros:

  • Easy nail loading
  • Dual-mode trigger
  • Tool-free adjustable depth
  • Reversible rafter hook
  • Over-molded grip

Cons:

  • Carry case not included
  • Annoying anti-mar tip

How to Choose the Best Framing Nailer

How to Choose the Best Framing Nailer

Photo: Metabo HPT

1. Pneumatic or Cordless Framing Nailer

While a pneumatic framing nailer is a distinct nail gun category, these tools are still available in different subcategories, with the two main ones being pneumatic and cordless. Hence, as you shop for the best framing nailer, you will first need to decide the type that you want.

Pneumatic Framing Nailer

Pneumatic framing nailers are the most common type of the two. These framing nailers are powered by an air compressor, which also makes them the most powerful option, and will hence be the best for heavy-duty use. However, to use one, you will need to buy or rent an air compressor if you do not own one, which means extra cost.

Cordless Framing Nailer

Cordless framing nailers are powered by batteries, which in most instances, is a lithium-ion battery. These framing nailers offer a portable framing solution as you can carry and use them from anywhere. However, this comes at a price as besides being more expensive, they are relatively less powerful and have limited runtimes.

2. Stick or Coil Magazine

Framing nailers can also be classified by the type of magazine that they use. Here, you will have two main options, which are stick and coil framing nailers.

Stick

Stick framing nailers will have a stick-like configuration for holding the nails more like a magazine for a rifle. One stick holds between 20 and 40 fasteners, and they will be held together by pieces of plastic, wire, or paper.

Coil

Coil-style magazines provide a relatively large capacity, and here the nails will be held in a drum or canister. These fasteners will be held together by a wire that then forms a long strip, and the magazine will have a capacity of up to 300 nails.

3. Clipped Head vs. Round Head

You will also need to decide whether to go for a clipped or round head framing nailer. And besides considering your specific projects, it is also vital to make sure you take into account the building regulations in your locality.

Clipped head framing nailer will use nails that have the head clipped, which means it is either partially or completely removed. By clipping the nails, the magazine will be able to hold more of them as they can be packed very close.

Round-headed nailer use nails with a complete round head. This design means that each fastener takes up more space as you cannot pack them very close and hence a smaller magazine capacity. Round head nailers will provide more hold powers, while the clipped ones might not be legal to use in some jurisdictions.

More Detailed: Clipped Head vs. Round Head Nail

4. Magazine Angle

The magazine angle is another crucial factor to watch out for as you choose the best framing nail gun as it will affect the compactness of the tool and also determine the kinds of nails that you can use.

Framings nailers with a 21-degree magazine like the Metabo HPT NR90AES1 and most others on our list are the most common types. But, there are still other options like the 28-degree Bostitch F28WW.

As you consider the magazine angle, it will also be crucial to note that a higher angle magazine will be perfect when working in tight spaces

5. Weight

Framing is a demanding task that will often require you to work for extended periods. Hence, when choosing a framing nailer, it is vital to make sure that it will allow you to work for long periods with minimal hand fatigue by being lightweight.

Depending on the type, the nailers can weight anything from 5 to 15 pounds. But there are still a few models that are lighter or a little heavier than this.

To ensure the framing nailer will be easy to handle, you should go for something under 10 pounds that has a well-balanced weight distribution like the 7.5-pound Metabo HPT NR90AES1.

6. Extra Features

There are some extra features that might not be compulsory for a framing nailer to work effectively but are still great to have as they enhance the overall performance and user experience.

One such feature is the drive depth adjustment that will allow you to dictate how deep you want to sink the fasteners. This function makes the tool more versatile and ideal for use with different materials.

Also, a selectable trigger that allows you to choose between different fire modes and rafter hook will be useful additions to the nail gun.

Conclusion 

Picking the best framing nailer will only require you to understand what defines a good medal. And with this piece to guide you, this should be a more effortless task.

From our list of products, the Bostitch F21PL takes our best overall spot as it will provide up to 1,050 inch-pound driving power and comes in a versatile 2-in-1 design.

For the DIYers and hobbyists looking for a more budget-friendly option, the NuMax SFR2190 is our cheapest option.

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