16 Gauge Vs 18 Gauge Brad Nailer

16 Gauge Vs 18 Gauge Brad Nailer: Which is Right For Your Needs?

Every time you plan on purchasing a nailer, brad, or any type, the first thing you will come across is the term called the gauge. It is one of the most common questions asked before purchasing a nailer, and knowing the term will take you a step forward when purchasing any nailer.

A gauge generally means the dimensions of a nail. And, in the case of a brad nailer, it is the thickness of the nail and the diameter of the head.

In this article, we talked about some key points on 16 gauge vs 18 gauge nailers. Because the next biggest question, especially for a novice, is to decide which size to pick. If you are facing such turmoil, then fear no more!

The information and detailed discussion on the attributes and cons of each gauge have been summed in this article. So, stay tuned if you plan on clearing all your doubts.

16 Gauge Vs 18 Gauge Nailer Difference Explained

Below, we’re going to compare both the products head-to-head to help decide between them.

Relevant Reading:

Nail Size

An 18-gauge brad nailer requires an 18-gauge nail. The 18 gauge brad nails are usually between 1/2 inch to 2 inches long and 1.207 Millimeters thick. In terms of nails, the higher the gauge number the thinner the nail. Hence, an 18-gauge nail is a little thinner than a 16-gauge. The 16 gauge finish nail is 1.588 Millimeters thick and is available in lengths ranging from 1 inch to 2-1/2 inches.

Heavy-Duty Tasks

If you are always busy with hefty forms of woodwork, then we suggest that you lean towards picking the thicker 16-gauge nails.

A 16-gauge nailer is capable of firing thicker nails when compared to an 18-gauge nailer. So, it is better suited for jobs that require higher stability and better holding strength. And, when paired with glue, your work is pretty much indestructible. These factors make it great for heavy-duty and structural work.

On the other hand, the much thinner brother of the 18-gauge, the 16-gauge, ensures smoother and cleaner work. But it greatly lacks in the strength and stability department.

So, the debate between 16 or 18-gauge nails for baseboard goes to 18-gauge nails as it ensures higher durability and stability for your work.


Exterior, as well as interior trims on baseboards, doors, and windows, require high precision, holding power, and crafting stability. So, if you are wondering what size of nails for baseboard trims, we suggest the 16-gauge nails.

All kinds of trim works need stronger and more balanced work. When fitting baseboards or door frames, the 16-gauge nailer’s nails that are thicker and have a bigger head provide better grip, and balance is the one, you opt for.

These are also better choices when doing repairs or making furniture.


When it comes to neat finishes, the 18-gauge nailer’s thinner and smaller nails do the trick! It is much smaller than the 16-gauge nail and, hence, ensures the wood doesn’t split, and no footprints are left behind.

Drawbacks You Need to Be Aware of

Makita_18 gauge brad nailer

An 18-gauge nailer doesn’t have the stability nor the strength that many woodworkers desire in their work. This means they do not provide much holding power as well as stability when compared to a 16-gauge finish nailer.

Furthermore, it is quite difficult to penetrate the woods, especially thick woods such as ash, oak, etc. Hence, it is not a good choice when it comes to making structural, framing, or repair works.

But, there are a good number of cons when it comes to using a 16-gauge finish nailer.

First of all, the size of a 16-gauge finish nailer can be a big issue. When the 16-gauge nails penetrate, there is a big chance that it could leave a big hole behind. To get rid of the whole, one might have to use wood putty. But using the putty reduces the smooth and perfect finish of your work.

The second and final problem is that these could cause splits or cracks to end up on the wood you’re working for. Hence, it is obvious that a 16-gauge nailer is not suited for delicate types of carpentry.

which is better 16 or 18 gauge nail gun

If you don’t have to work with heavy-duty wood or aren’t someone who constantly has to work on framings, baseboards, trims, or anything of such sort, then we suggest that you stick to the 18-gauge nailer.

Both nailers have different attributes and are used for different purposes. So, choosing the right type of nailer is entirely dependent on the task at hand.

And, from our speculation, the 16-gauge nailer is a better choice when it comes to more hefty duties. This is because it provides better stability and strength to your work. Plus, the nailer ensures the pieces are firmly attached to each other due to the nail’s high holding power.

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We delivered all the necessary details on the 16 gauge vs 18 gauge brad nailer that you required to pick the tool for your work. And, it is entirely up to you and the type of work you are doing.

Our final advice would be to carry out all these operations in an environment-friendly and safe workplace. Especially away from the reach of kids!