7 Best Pin Nailers – Reviews & Buying Guide

Best Pin Nailer

When you want to fasten trim or join two small pieces of wood and do it without leaving large, unsightly nail holes, the pin nailer is always the best tool to turn to.

With the best pin nailer, working with smaller and more delicate material is much easier as you can easily join the pieces without splitting or leaving large nail holes.

These nailers shoot 23-gauge headless or slightly headed fasteners which explains why they do not leave large holes and most will use fasteners that are between 1/2 and 1-3/8 inches long.

They also come in handy when you need to keep two pieces securely attached as wood glue sets, and they will be ideal for a variety of home improvement, woodworking and crafts projects.

And if you are on the market for one, this piece is for you as we make it easier for you to choose a good model by reviewing 7 top-rated pin nailers and with an in-depth buying guide.

7 Best Pin Nailers – Reviews

Product Name

Image

​Features/Benefits

Rating

Current Price

1. Hitachi NP35A Pin Nailer


Hitachi NP35A Pin Nailer

Top notch pneumatic pin nailer with a dual trigger, larger capacity magazine, rear exhaust, depth adjustment, reload indicator, removable nose plate and larger housing shield

4.4

2. Porter-Cable PIN138 Pin Nailer

Porter-Cable PIN138 Pin Nailer

Great little nailer with a durable, maintenance-free motor, auto adjustment to fastener length, dry lock-out, rear exhaust, non-marring tip and reload indicator

4.6

3. Bostitch HP118K Pin Nailer

Bostitch HP118K Pin Nailer

An amazing headless pin nailer with durable aluminum housing, low-profile and tapered nosepiece, wide range nail size compatibility, reversible belt hook, and an over-molded grip

4.5

4. Freeman PP123 Pin Nailer

Freeman PP123 Pin Nailer

A well-built budget pin nailer that features durable aluminum construction, safety trigger, ergonomic grip handle, reversible belt hook, and one-piece drive belt

3.9

5. NuMax SP123 Pin Nailer

NuMax SP123 Pin Nailer

Great under $50 pin nailer that features an aluminum body, ergonomic grip, trigger safety mechanism, reversible belt hook and also includes a handy pin size selector

3.8

6. Grex P635 Headless Pin Nailer

Grex P635 Headless Pin Nailer

Nice pin nailer that will be perfect for hobbyists/DIYers, and it features self-adjusting magazine, double trigger safety, narrow nose design, and no-mar tip

3.7

7. Grex P650L Headless Pin Nailer with Lock-out

Grex P650L Headless Pin Nailer with Lock-out

Feature-rich pin nailer for pro woodworkers and will feature auto adjusting magazine, dry fire lock-out, narrow nose design, powerful motor, double trigger safety lock, and no-mar rubber tip

3.4

1. Hitachi NP35A - Best Pneumatic Pin Nailer

Editor's Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

Hitachi NP35A Pin Nailer
  • Nail Size: 5/8” – 1-3/8”
  • Power Source: Pneumatic
  • Weight: 2 pounds

Hitachi NP35A is a great all-round pneumatic nailer that will be exceptional to have in the workshop for both hobbyists and DIYers as it will be handy for a variety of projects.

The Hitachi pin nailer comes with a relatively larger magazine capacity for less reloading to minimize downtimes, and it will shoot different size fasteners between 5/8 and 1-3/8 inches and the magazine will adjust automatically to fit the different fasteners

It also has depth adjustment to ensure you always get the perfect depth of drive on different materials and reload indicator to alert you when you are running out of fasteners.

And this is also a convenient pin nailer to use as it has removable nose plate to make jam clearing easy and a larger housing shield and rear exhaust to protect the delicate workpieces from dents.

While the double trigger design will take some getting used to, its many benefits outweigh the cons, and it is one of the key things that make this a safer tool.

Pros:

  • Larger fastener capacity
  • Handy reload indicator
  • Simple depth adjustment
  • Easy jam clearing

Cons:

  • Double trigger takes some getting used to
  • No tool-less jam clearing

2. Porter-Cable PIN138 - Best Pin Nailer under $100

Editor's Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

Porter-Cable PIN138 Pin Nailer
  • Nail Size: 5/8” – 1-3/8”
  • Power Source: Pneumatic
  • Weight: 2.2 pounds

With a durable and maintenance-free motor, Porter-Cable PIN138 is designed for both long service life and user convenience.

Besides durability, this top-rated pin nailer still has a lot to offer such as quick and easy loading thanks to the magazine design that automatically adjusts to different fastener lengths. The magazine is also made from durable aluminum and with a handy reload indicator.

With the included dry fire lock-out mechanism, users will also never have to worry about witness marks on their workpiece while the narrow nose design ensures more precise nail placement by increasing visibility.

Many users will also love the rear exhaust as it helps to protect both the user and workpiece and the no-mar tip that prevent dent and scratches on the material.

The lack of depth control is perhaps the only significant shortcoming with this pin nailer, but for its price, this should not be a big deal. And it also accommodates different nail sizes to ensure you can still choose how deep you want the nail to go using the length.

Pros:

  • Durable, maintenance-free motor
  • Quick and simple loading
  • Dry fire lock-out
  • Convenient low nail indicator
  • Narrow nose for more precise nail placement

Cons:

  • No depth of drive control
  • Quite prone to jamming

3. Bostitch HP118K - Best Headless Pin Nailer

Editor's Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Bostitch HP118K Pin Nailer
  • Nail Size: 1/2" – 1-3/16”
  • Power Source: Pneumatic
  • Weight: 2.5 pounds

For those that prefer to use headless nails on their pin nailers, the Bostitch HP118K will be a great buy as it has been specifically designed for use with these nails.

This nailer is also widely compatible with different nail sizes for increased versatility, and it has been built to last with an aluminum housing and magazine.

The low-profile and tapered nosepiece also makes this one of the best headless pin nailers as it improves sight for more nailing precision. And with a capacity of 200 fasteners, there will be fewer reloads to ensure minimal downtimes

Other convenient features that many users will appreciate include the comfortable over-molded grip that also makes it easier to control and reversible belt hook that helps to keep the tool close.

Because the nailer does not have a no-mar tip, you can easily dent delicate workpieces if you lean into it but with a little precaution and once you get used to the nailer, this will hardly even be an issue.

Pros:

  • Durable aluminum housing
  • Comfortable over-molded grip
  • Low-profile, tapered nosepiece
  • Higher capacity magazine
  • Convenient reversible belt hook

Cons:

  • Does not come with no-mar tip
  • Dual trigger safety has a learning curve

4. Freeman PP123 - Best Budget Pin Nailer

Editor's Rating: 3.9 out of 5 stars (3.9 / 5)

Freeman PP123 Pin Nailer
  • Nail Size: 1/2" – 1”
  • Power Source: Pneumatic
  • Weight: 3 pounds

Given that the Freeman PP123 is the cheapest option among our pin nailer reviews, it will be a perfect choice for any hobbyist or woodworker shopping on a budget.

And despite its smaller price tag, it still has a lot to offer including a durable aluminum construction that will ensure it will last for ages and an ergonomic grip for comfortable use.

With the 380-degree adjustable exhaust, you can also easily direct the exhaust air away from you and your workpiece for safer operation, and the adjustment will not require any tool.

Also, with this pin nailer, you get a reversible belt hook to help keep the nailer closer to you and one-piece blade driver for enhanced durability.

This nailer is relatively heavier when compared to others on our list, but at just 3 pounds, it is still lightweight enough for comfortable use and easy control even for extended periods.

Pros:

  • Ergonomic and comfortable grip
  • Reversible belt hook included
  • 360-degree adjustable exhaust
  • Highly affordable

Cons:

  • Relatively heavier

5. NuMax SP123 - Best Pin Nailer under $50

Editor's Rating: 3.8 out of 5 stars (3.8 / 5)

NuMax SP123 Pin Nailer
  • Nail Size: 1/2" – 1”
  • Power Source: Pneumatic
  • Weight: 2.25 pounds

For the woodworkers/DIYers shopping for a pin nailer on a budget, the NuMax SP123 is another fantastic budget model that will not disappoint.

It also features a lightweight and durable aluminum body and with an ergonomic handle that makes it comfortable to operate and easy to control with minimal user fatigue.

There is also a handy pin size selector that will be very useful for those that use different pin sizes often, a reversible belt hook to help keep it close and trigger safety mechanism to prevent accidental firing.

Users will also love the anti-dust cap and the fact that the nailer is well-balanced which will ensure you get an even easier time.

Given that this nailer will only accommodate fasteners that are between 1/2 and 1-inch long, it might not be very versatile. But the good news is that most pin nailer users will in many instances use nail sizes within this range.

Pros:

  • Lightweight aluminum construction
  • Ergonomic comfort grip
  • Trigger safety mechanism
  • Reversible belt hook
  • Handy pin size selector

Cons:

  • Limited nail size compatibility
  • Air exhaust is not adjustable

6. Grex P635 - Best Pin Nailer for Hobbyists & DIYers

Grex P635 Headless Pin Nailer
  • Nail Size: 3/8” – 1-3/8”
  • Power Source: Pneumatic
  • Weight: 2.21 pounds

With the ability to accommodate a wide range of nail sizes between 3/8 and 1-3/8 inches long, the Grex P635 is perfect for DIYers and hobbyists as it comes in handy for a variety of projects.

This headless pin nailer also includes a self-adjusting magazine to ensure quick pin change as you will not need to waste time with adjustments when you put in a new pin size.

With its narrow nose design, it will easily fit into tight corners and provide greater visibility to make it ideal for detail work.

And this is also a safer pin nailer to use as it has a double-trigger that prevents accidental firing and no-mar tip that protects the workpiece from dent and scratches.

Given what you pay for this pin nailer, many users expect it to come with some pins but it does not. However, this should not be a deal breaker as you can always order some with it as they are quite cheap.

Pros:

  • Convenient narrow nose design
  • Safer double trigger design
  • Self-adjusting magazine for easy pin change
  • Protective no-mar tip

Cons:

  • Should come with some pins for its price
  • A little on the pricier side

7. Grex P650L - Best Pin Nailer for Pro Woodworkers

Editor's Rating: 3.4 out of 5 stars (3.4 / 5)

Grex P650L Headless Pin Nailer with Lock-out
  • Nail Size: 1/2" – 2”
  • Power Source: Pneumatic
  • Weight: 2.3 lbs

Professional woodworkers need a pin nailer that is not only feature-rich but also dependable, and if you are on the market for such a tool, the Grex P650L will be one of your best options out there.

It is also a headless pin nailer which means it will work well for those that do not want visible nail holes on their workpiece.

Some of its key features include a wide range of nail size compatibility as it can accommodate fasteners between 1/2 and 2-inch long which makes it one of the most versatile on our list. And it also has a self-adjusting magazine for fast loading and some handy reload indicator windows.

The narrow design allows it to fit in tight corners while the no-mar tip helps to protect your workpiece from scratches, dry fire lock-out prevents dry firing and belt hook helps to keep close when not in use.

Being the priciest model on out pin nailer reviews, some woodworkers might find it a little too expensive, but you always get what you pay for, and if you are professional woodworker, this nailer will be worth every cent.

Pros:

  • Self-adjusting magazine
  • Wide nail size compatibility
  • Dry fire lock-out mechanism
  • Extended and narrow nose design
  • Convenient belt hook

Cons:

  • Quite pricey
  • Still prone to jamming

Pin Nailer vs. Brad Nailer

Pin Nailer vs. Brad Nailer

There will always be a need for a finish nailer for most woodworkers and DIYers that use wood a lot. And in many instances, you can only buy one nailer at a go which means you often need to choose between pin and brad nailers.

Both are very handy tools to have in the workshop and will be ideal for different applications. But, understanding both their pros and cons should make your buying decision easier.

Pin Nailer

Pin nailers are designed to shoot some of the thinnest fasteners among all finish carpentry nailers. These fasteners are typically 23-gauge and will either be completely headless or slight headed.

The thinner gauge and lack of a head mean that these nailers will not leave any visible nail holes like the 18-gauge brad nailers. Also, these fasteners will hardly ever split wood even when dealing with delicate trim and thinner pieces of wood.

But, the small size of the fasteners means that they will not provide a lot of hold power, and so many woodworkers will prefer to use them to hold two pieces of wood as the glue sets as they are also easy to pull out.

Pros:

  • Does not leave visible nail holes
  • Will not split wood
  • Great for keeping wood together as the glue dries

Cons:

  • Not much holding power
  • Limited applications

Brad Nailer

The brad nailers shoot 18-gauge fasteners which are larger than the 23-gauge pin shot by a pin nailer and this means they provide more hold power.

While the holding power might not be as much as what you get from other nailers such as the 15-gauge, it is still enough to make the brad nailer one of the most popularly used finish nailers.

Brad nailers are ideal for various applications such as base-boarding, trim work cabinetry, and crown molding. However, the larger fasteners with flat heads that they shoot are more likely to split delicate pieces and will leave larger nails holes that often require filling.

Pros:

  • Relatively more hold power
  • More versatile and ideal for various applications
  • Great for base-boarding

Cons:

  • Can easily split delicate pieces
  • Leaves relatively larger nail holes

Buying Advice: Both pin and brad nailers will be very useful to have around, and if you can afford both the better. However, if you are looking for something more versatile and with more hold power, go for the brad nailer. But, if you want a nailer that will not split your delicate pieces and does not leave noticeable nail holes that require filling, the pin nailer is your best bet.

How to Buy the Best Pin Nailers

How to Buy the Best Pin Nailers

Finding a pin nailer is easy as the market is flooded with several models from different brands, but finding the best one requires you to know what to look for.

However, picking the best 23-gauge pin nailer from the many options is also not rocket science as you only need to consider the following things.

#1. Pneumatic vs. Electric Pin Nailers

The power source will determine how powerful and efficient the pin nailer will be, and it will also affect other things like the cost. You will typically need to choose between the pneumatic and electric pin nailer when shopping

Pneumatic Pin Nailers

Pneumatic pin nailers are powered by an air compressor which means you need to buy one if you do not already have it for powering other power tools.

They are generally more powerful than most electric types, and this explains why they are the preferred option for professional woodworkers. And besides the cost of buying an air compressor, pneumatic pin nailers are relatively more affordable.

However, with these nailers, the cost of operation is relatively higher and they are also not very portable as you have to drag the air compressor along with you.

Electric Pin Nailers

Electric pin nailers run on a motor that can either be battery-powered or plugged in depending on the type. And they are highly convenient nailers that are very popular with hobbyists and DIYers.

These pin nailers offer the convenience of not having to buy or use an air compressor, and this also makes them relatively more portable despite being relatively heavier than the pneumatic pin nailers.

The only significant shortcoming with the electric pin nailers is that they are relatively pricier when compared to the pneumatic types, but the good news is that they have a lower operation cost.

#2. Nail Size

The nail size that the pin nailer uses will determine the applications you can use it for, and so it is also an important factor to consider when shopping.

A pin nailer that shoots nails that are between 1/2 and 1-inch long should be good enough but those that can accommodate 3/8 to 2-inch long nails are more preferable.

The projects you intend to use the pin nailer for should guide you when determining the nail size you need. Generally, short pins are ideal for softwoods while longer ones are what you need for hardwoods.

#3. Depth Adjustment

Given that you will probably be dealing with different material sizes and thicknesses, a good pin nailer is one that allows for depth adjustment to suit different materials.

With depth adjustment capability you can easily determine how deep you sink the pins and hence the amount of hold power you get.

But, besides having depth adjustment, the pin nailer should make the depth control easy and those with a simple tool-less depth control knob or wheel are the best choice.

#4. Magazine Capacity

Magazine capacity might not be important to those that only have to fire a few pins to hold two pieces together as the glue dries and do it occasionally. But, for woodworkers that use their pin nailer regularly the magazine capacity matters.

The magazine capacity or the number of nails the pin nailer can hold will determine how much you can do before you have to reload.

A larger magazine is always the best as it will reduce the reloading frequency which minimizes downtimes and increases productivity.

And while the right magazine capacity for you will depend on how you use your pin nailer, something that can hold at least 100 fasteners is often good enough.

#5. Extra Features

Many pin nailer manufacturers will always give their tools a few extra features to make them more efficient and convenient for the user.

Some of these extra features to look out for is tool-free jam clearing as it will help minimize downtimes, dry fire lock-out mechanism to prevent dry fire damages and a dual trigger safety lock to prevent accidental firing.

Also, a pin nailer that comes with a no-mar tip to protect the workpiece from dents and scratches, rear exhaust system, safety glasses, and a carry case will also make a good buy.

Conclusion

Pin nailers are highly useful power tools for those that deal with delicate trim and wood pieces or want something to keep wood pieces together as the glue dries.

Finding the best pin nailer to add to your tool collection should also now be an effortless task as this piece highlights the important things to consider which include the power source, nail size, magazine capacity and drive depth adjustment.

And because we also review 7 top rated models, all you now need to do is just pick one that suits your specific needs and budget.