Framing Nail Gun Angles: What’re the Degrees of Difference

If you plan on doing some home remodeling or fastening anything with nails, you should know how to handle nail gun angles properly. Framing nail gun angles vary depending on the type of work the nailer is supposed to perform. So, when you decide to buy a framing nail gun, you must know what’s the degrees of difference of framing nail gun angles.

There are mainly four different degrees of nail gun angles, which also determines the nail collation type. Depending on the nail gun angle, you need to use either a coil collation or a stick collation for nailing the objects onto any surface.

This understanding is important since the collation is linked with the number of nails the framing nail gun can hold. Once you know the difference between framing nail gun angles, exactly the nailer you want and use it for better performance.

The Difference among Different Angles and Their Usability

The angle of framing the nail gun refers to its collation. However, many people mistakenly link it with the slant on which you drive the nail. There’s two driving technique for nails. These include straight and perpendicular, but they have nothing to do with the nail gun angle.

Also, the angle depends on the type of nail gun you have. You will only find one angle with the coiled framing nailer-

  • 15-degree framing nailers
  • 16-degree framing nailers

However, if you are talking about straight or stick framing nail gun groups, you will find three various angles. The list includes-

  • 21-degree framing nailers
  • 28-degree framing nailers
  • 30-degree framing nailers

what degree framing nailer is best

The different degrees of framing nail guns have made the tool very versatile. The following sections will explainthe features, benefits, and setbacks of each different degree of framing nail guns.

15-Degree Framing Nailers

The 15-degree framing nail gun is specific to the coiled nail gun group. These nailers typically come with a coiled or circular magazine.  The tool uses two thin wires to hold the nail properly so that you can slant the nails at a 15-degree angle on the surface.

However, not all nails are compatible with 15-degree framing nailers. You can only use wire-welded and full-round head nails with this type of nailer angle.

You will see the 15-degree angled nailers mostly in roofing jobs. Its other applications include using it in tight corners where a regular framing nailer can’t access. You can also use it on wall studs and floor joists with its 15-degree inclination.

The framing nailer will accommodate 200-300 nails per shot. So, you will need less reloading. It saves time and increases productivity. Since it uses a wire coil, it is less prone to moisture. Thus, professionals recommend its use in humid conditions.

The downside of 15-degree nailers is they are veryheavyweight. Since it holds around 300 nails in a shot, the nailer is too heavy for comfortable movement. So, many professionals dislike it.


  • Less time in reloading and faster work rate
  • Accommodates 200-300 nails in each shot
  • Easy to access in tight spots and corners
  • Ideal for use in humid conditions due to wired coil


  • Heavyweight design limits maneuverability

16-degree framing nailers:

The 16-degree nailing angle is a perfect fit between the 15-degree and 21-degree framing nailers with added flexibility. It is also a coiled framing nail gun angle and supports 3-1/2” nails with ease.

Thus, if you need a bit more steepness of the nails, you can get the 16-degree framing nailer instead of the 15-degree option. You can use it for roofing, joists, toenail, and other jobs with tight corner accessibility.

21-Degree Framing Nailers

You will see the 21-degree framing nailer at heavy-duty construction sites. Also, it is the most commonly used framing nail gun angle for many jobs. It uses a plastic strip to hold the nails and creates a 21-degree inclination between the magazine and the head of the nailer.

Although it is called a21-degree nailer, the angle varies from 20 to 22-degree depending on its models and manufacturer. This slight variation on the angle of the nailer increases flexibility at work as you can choose exactly the right angle you need for your nailing jobs.

The nailer accommodates 2″ to 3-1/4″ nails, which also increases your operational flexibility. And it can use full-head nails to drive through the surface. The full-head nails are powerful and usually offer maximum power when you are fastening two surfaces together using the nails.

Thanks to such incredible fastening strength, you will mostly see its usage in home decoration, and at construction site works. Also, it helps you in maintaining the building codes in different states, which is a great bonus.

The plastic strip usually accommodates 60-70 nails in one shot. This brings two inconveniences for users. Firstly, you have to reload the strip frequently, and that will reduce your productivity. Secondly, the plastic strip gets damaged quickly, and you have to invest in a new strip now and then.

Since the plastic strip is prone to breakages, you should wear a helmet and safety goggles to avoid possible injuries.

You will see its applications at large construction sites, to include working with decking, siding, framing, and other heavy-duty nailing jobs.


  • Increased strength in nailing and fastening jobs
  • Flexibility with the nail gun degrees and angles
  • Ideal for heavy-duty jobs in alignment with building codes
  • The nail strip accommodates different sizes of nails


  • Frequent reloading reduces productivity
  • The plastic strip breaks rather too easily

28-Degree Framing Nailers

Next on the list is a 28-degree framing nailer built to work in tighter spaces with increased flexibility. Its many features and benefits are identical to 30-degree nailers, but both angles of the framing nailer also have distinctive features.

Unlike the 21-degree framing nailer, it uses a wire strip to hold the nails. So, it is safer and also more durable than the plastic strip. Also, it won’t create any dirt in the workplace. It reduces your workload of cleaning the area after you finish the fastening jobs.

The most striking benefit of 28-degree nailers is their capacity to fire all three types of nails. Since the magazine is a bit longer in this framing nailer, you can use it to shoot-

  1. Full-round head nails
  2. Clipped head nails
  3. Offset nails

So, you enjoy better flexibility at work. Plus, it saves space for the magazine, which boosts the nailer’s compactness. Therefore, you will enjoy better maneuverability and comfort while working with this nailer.

On top of this, in the 28-degree framing nailer, two heads of the nails can overlap and nestle together. It allows you to use them as double nails if need be.

The nailer strip accommodates 100 nails per shot. So, it has better productivity than the 21-degree nailer angle.

For applications, 28-degree nailers can be used everywhere you woulduse a 21-degree framing nailer. But you need to check the local building codes since many building codes prohibit the use of offset and clipped head nails.


  • You can use it for all three types of nails
  • Ideal nailer for working in tighter spaces
  • Wire strip is durable and safe than the plastic ones
  • Best for heavy-duty construction works


  • Slightly on the heavier side
  • It may not beideal for DIY workers

30-Degree Framing Nailers

The last on the list is a 30-degree framing nailer is a favorite of professionals for its compactness. It can drive nails from 30 to 34-degree angles and boosts flexibility at construction sites.

You can use it in closer angles, thanks to its steeper inclination. Nonetheless, it holds the nails using a paper strip instead of plastic ones.  While it is vulnerable to breaking easily, the paper strips also have a few benefits.

First off, the paper strips accommodate longer magazines and are lightweight. So, you will find it easy to carry. Lastly, the paper strip can easily fit into the tightest space where the sturdy plastic strip won’t reach or would find it difficult to reach.

Previously, it could only hold full-round head nails. Nowadays, some modern models also allow you to use clipped head nails. You will enjoy the enhanced convenience with it.

Each nail strip can hold up to 80 nails, and the gun accommodates two fully loaded strips. So, it needs less reloading.  It can perform all the tasks that 21 and 28-degree framing nailer guns perform. Plus, professionals use it to drive longer nails through hard lumbers and when accessing tight corners in cabinets and furniture.


  • Supports driving nails from 30 to 34-degree angle
  • Lightweight and compact design for easy portability
  • Best for tightest spaces in cabinet and corners
  • Ideal for working with engineered lumber and frames


  • Paper strip breaks down quickly
  • Holds only 80 nails per strip

Difference Between 21 vs 30-degree framing nailers:

You need to know these distinctions to figure out which framing nailer you should get for what type of nailing job.

Factors21-degree framing nailer30-degree framing nailer
Nailing angle20 to 22-degree30 to 34-degree
Nail stripPlasticPaper
Type of nailsFull-round head nails onlyClipped nail, offset nail, and round-head nails
Nail length2” to 3-1/4”2” to 3-1/4”

You need to choose between the two framing nailer angles depending on the local building code and your inclination for the nailing jobs.

What degree nail gun is best for framing?

The best degree nail gun for framing is dependent on various factors. For instance, if you prefer less reloading and work on high moisture space, a 15-degree coil nailer will be suitable for this. On the contrary, a 30-degree nail gun is favorable for use in the tightest space with its compact design. So, you have to consider your project needs and choose the nail gun degree accordingly.

Final Words

The different framing nail gun angles are designed to work in different conditions and inclinations. For professionals, 30-degree framing nailers are undoubtedly the best option. DIY and enthusiast homeowners can use 15-degree framing nailers and 21-degree framing nailers for small home renovations, repairs, and decorative works.

Nonetheless, when you choose the best degree framing nailer, consider your work type, where you want to nail or fasten the surfaces, and your budget. This way, you can figure out which framing nailer angler will be the best option for you.