What are the Difference between Brad Nailer vs. Pin Nailer

In conducting the art of carpentry, or simply doing any trim within crafting and renovations, pin nails are crucial for the overall procedure. Specifically, they are used for the detailed wood application, and most importantly, to prevent the splitting of wood.

However, over the years, many confused pins with brad nailers, and some even thought that they are the same thing!

To be clear, they are not. In fact, they may look similar but do not address the same purpose. If you want to know more, put down your nail gun first and be mindful about their usage, difference, and benefits as you read further down the lines of this article.

Brad Nailer: Features

If you are reading this, you are confused with both nailers due to the similarity, though in the process, the difference turns out to be distinctive. In terms of functionality, brad nailers are widely known for its versatile characteristics, which causes for most workers to prefer it lying around while doing their fieldwork.

In addition, the holding power it possesses is not identical for pin nails as it uses brads, hence the name. Moreover, it mostly needs 18 gauge brad nails since the gauge number depends on the thickness and the higher it is, the thinner the nail.

Although it’s bigger than the pin nailer, brad nailers are typically thinner than any other finish nailer. In terms of structure, it has a flat arch which holds the designated two pieces together with a supported gauge value and power that applies its needed sturdiness.

It is recommended for both professionals and beginners. It is available in different sizes from 2 inches to 5/8 inches. In terms of aesthetics, it does not leave any noticeable holes within the wood surface and is mostly used for any trim work and cabinetry finishing.

Check out our Top Rated 18 Gauge Brad Nailers

Pin Nailer: Features

The pin nailer is recommended for delicate and much lighter material craftsmanship as it is much easier to be careful with thinner nails. It is also known to be the smallest finish nailer with 23 gauge pin value in size. Specifically, it can range in sizes from 2 inches to 3/8 inches.

In terms of appearance and structure, the nail is headless, does not have an arch, and the small size can be inserted in any slightest visible hole available.

Even if there is no arch, the two materials can hold themselves well with great strength and cohesive forces though it is only used to hold lightweight substances. The headless pin is ideal for aesthetics as it gets covered easily or even if it is not, the pin is not that visible.

Accordingly, you are assured that the materials are perfectly joined together even if the pin only goes straight and is thin.

Although it is connected, the holding power is not perfectly assured, which is why it is necessary to use additional adhesive such as glue to address the holding power further. However, most of the pins are only 1 inch long, but you can get 2-inch ones from known models and brands.

Since the holding power is lacking, it is typically used to hold pieces together while the adhesive dries, or to add binding power within it. It is also easy to put in and out into a wood surface, which makes it ideal for movement. It is often used for delicate pieces of work, and on thin veneers as well.

Brad Nailer: Usage

From the nomenclature of brad nailers, it is used to apply brads, that are known to be a thin gauged nail. To be specific, it is a nailer designed for detailed or small applications on the wood surface. If you are still unsure unto where you should use it, here are its top applications:

  • Molding

It is critical to invest in brad nailers whether you are at home carpentry enthusiast or a contractor in the business. Even in unsuspected times, you may find that your baseboard or window casing would need their nails replaced, and this is where the brad nailer saves the day.

In addition, if you prefer to have crown molding all of a sudden, brad nailers may come in handy. Without having it may result for your project not to work well as some tool does not allow brad or thin nails.

  • Baseboards and Trim

Since you would need to replace your baseboards and trim every once in a while, owning a brad nailer would be an advantage if such a situation does occur. However, when you are looking for the nail, you need to take into consideration the nail size, nose size, and handling power.

The nose size is crucial. It separates you from the thin line of aesthetics and splitting of wood since it is the area unto where the nail would be placed.

  • Wood Crafts

If you are a wood or carpentry DIY maker, you would consider crafting as a hobby basis. With this said, you would need to own a brad nailed consistently for your works since it is easy to use, and can be a family activity.

Furthermore, you can teach each member of the family as well if each one has reached their needed age. Doing so can increase your child’s handcrafting skills, imagination, and self-confidence in one’s work.

Pin Nailer: Usage

Pin nailers may be small in size, but its usage can come in handy in terms of need. Since they are tiny, you won’t encounter holes to be filled. Although its efficiency depends on the application, its holding power is not that strong compared to other nailers. Here are some of the uses you may come to encounter with:

  • Joint Pieces

Since it is known to contain little to no holding power, workers typically associate it with holding together wood pieces to dry the adhesive. Instead of using any other binding powers such as clips and pliers, pin nailer can do the trick.

It is also considered as the additional strength in the joint if you choose not to remove it after the drying process.

  • Aesthetics

As a headless nail, the appearance appears not to have any visible holes or nail in its way even if you choose to take it away. As per any other nail that you would need an additional fill for it not to be visible, the pin nailers do not need that due to its smaller size.

Brad Nailer: Pros & Cons

Using brad nailers has its ups and downs. It just depends on what and where you will be using it. To assess the overall function with your preference, here are the following benefits and disadvantages:


  • Versatile Usage

It has various usage and can be used to almost every project. You will always use it even if you are doing any cabinet building or structural improvement. Compared to pin nailers, it is most often to use since the pin nailers are mostly for thin materials.

  • Holding Power

The strength of holding power is great and provides a decent amount that you need. Its stability is greater than pin nailers as seconded by gauge nails value. You can also use it for nailing baseboards, which also signifies its strength in joint.

  • Base-Boarding

Except for any other woodwork, it can also be handy in base boarding. Its strength of holding power can be comparable to those with 16 gauge value.


  • Splitting of Wood

When doing trim with small materials, brad nailers might not be your best choice. Specifically, the gauge value may end up splitting the wood surface with soft materials.

  • Nail Holes

The nail holes will leave a visible mark though it’s not that large that it would seem troublesome. You would need to fill or stain it to keep the aesthetics, but it will still leave a mark on where it is.

Pin Nailer: Pros & Cons

The usage of pin nailers depends on which type of project. However, alongside it, there are benefits and cons that you may encounter as well. To have additional insight, here are the ups and downs in its functions:


  • Does Not Split Wood

Since it is small in size, the pin nail has the benefit of not splitting any wood surface. Even if the brad nails work well with regular sizes, the case is not the same with small sizes or trim. Using this, you can eliminate any inhibitions of breaking a perfectly designed wood.

  • No Nail Holes

On the contrary with brad nailers, the pin ones do not leave any additional marks or holes. You do not need any filling mechanism to hide any markings, which saves you both time and money.

  • Best for Small Trim

It is recommended for delicate trimming, particularly if the wood tends to break easily. Even if it is fragile, the pin nailer can apply the delicate trim that it needs.


  • Not a Versatile Product

Due to its size and function, it is one of those that you rarely use. Nevertheless, it is still needed if you deal with delicate workings of wood.

  • Lack of Holding Power

With pin nailers, you get little to no holding power. On this account, it is crucial to add an additional adhesive to strengthen the area. It is much like two clippings that hold the two materials together. You cannot rely on it all throughout. Since they are also headless, it eliminates and reduces the holding power even more.

Our Top 3 Picks for Brad Nailers

As a certified woodworker or carpentry enthusiast, you would need the best brad nailer available in the market to support your work. To further assess to find out the right type for you, here are some of the top brad nailers available today:

  1. SENCO FinishPro® 18MG, 2-1/8″ 18-Gauge Brad Nailer

If you are looking for a light tool on the go, this type is the one for you! Weighting for about 4 pounds, it makes the work line easy as it is. With a magnesium body that ensures its lightweight alongside functionality, the product is ultra-light and durable. This can drive up to 2 1/8 inch Brad in terms of power.

Similarly, it is also known to be easy to use and has an oil-free design in aesthetics. In addition, the adjustable drive in-depth, rear exhaust, and a selective trigger add into its benefits. There are batteries needed for the product as well.

  1. Makita AF505N Brad Nailer, 2-Inch

The efficient design of this product easily clears jammed nails, which minimizes the time it takes to fix any shortcomings. The nailer is also easy to use with a depth adjustment for a variety of finishing applications.

Moreover, the rubber in the product protects the wood itself for any potential scratches that may occur while applying the product. To not get the tool in the way of work, the hook can be rotated about 180 degrees to modify its angle.

Having equipped with a machine nose piece and reload indicator, it ensures precise contact with the wood surface. It alerts if the nails are reloaded avoiding blank applications. Overall, it provides comfort and great control in its usage.

  1. BOSTITCH BTFP12233 Smart Point 18GA Brad Nailer Kit

This product allows different options to use from! To be specific, it allows you to choose within the countersinking and trigger system, depending on what meets your line of work. It also has an easy nail replacement characteristic alongside to compress the actual contact trip to use the tool.

Furthermore, the oil-free benefits also eliminate the possibility of oil stains and has an easy nail removal in its function. The length that it can use ranges from 5/8 inches to 2 1/8 inches. The preciseness and control allow the easy usage of the product and contact operation.

Thus, its warranty can extend up to 7 years and does not require any additional battery in its function.

Our Top 3 picks for Pin Nailers

When working with intricate details or delicate wood sizes, you would need a pin nailer that does the job right! It should be the one that is efficient enough to support your work, but not hard to operate. So, in order to have further insight, here are some of the best pin nailers that you can choose from:

  1. Arrow Fastener PT23G Arrow 23G Pin Nailer

As any other pin nailer, the product is recommended for trim works and hobby carpentry. The headless nails are also an add-on as it is hardly noticeable after the overall process. Although it is advisable to store it in high or secluded places, it warns to be a choking hazard for children, especially 3 years and below.

Aside from that, its feature includes quick loading of pin nails, and its cover is adjustable that directs the air secreted away from the user. The grip also provides additional comfort, which is great for extended usage. In addition, the product does not require any battery in its function.

  1. NuMax SP123 23 Gauge 1-Inch Pinner Ergonomic & Lightweight Pneumatic Pin Nail Gun

NuMaxexecutes good balance within your work alongside a comfort grip hold. It is also equipped with micro pinner, and like any other nail pinner it has the headless pins as the type of fastener. Besides, it has an anti-dust cap and an aluminum design which delivers its lightweight capability.

In its production, it follows a specific guideline to promote quality control. It adds on a reversible belt hook and trigger for safety measures, which can be an advantage, especially for children’s unexpected contact.

Likewise, the durability of each material used is ensured within quality and accepts nails with 1/2 inch to 1 inch in length.

  1. BOSTITCH HP118K 23-Gauge 1/2-Inch to 1-3/16-Inch Pin Nailer

BOSTITCH, with its adjustable high to low power control, it sets the depth without changing its compressor settings. The product is also light in weight and is durable with its aluminum material. It is recommended for thin materials, and provides efficient fastening in areas that are tough to clamp, thus using pin nailers.

The length varies from 1/2 inch to 1 3/16 inch in length. In addition, it lets you utilize different kinds of fasteners that do the job! The magazine of the device can hold up to 200 pins, which allows you not to reload it often.

The Bottom Line: What to Choose?

Both products may seem similar, but they are different in their overall usage and sizes. Specifically, pin nailers are used for soft and intricate work while brad nailers are more versatile and can be used in almost every carpentry or woodwork available. Though, its versatility does not demand anything.

At the same time, there are still some things that pin nailers can do unto which the brad ones can’t. For instance, assuring the user that the wood won’t split in its usage.

However, still don’t know what to use? Assess, evaluate, and know which one you should buy and use!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Leave a Comment