The Best Framing Nailers for 2022 (2023)

I have fond memories of my first time using a pneumatic nailer to re-roof houses during the summer. It was hard work but these versatile tools greatly improved the speed of the job. They are a must-have to quickly tackle tough projects for both construction professionals and DIY enthusiasts.

To help you select which one is best for you, I have outlined the various features below along with a list of the best framing nailers currently available.

UPDATED: February 17, 2022.

What is a framing nailer?

As the name implies, framing nailers are traditionally used for rough framing in wood construction. However, they can be used for an almost unlimited number of projects including roofing and decking. They are often simply referred to as "nail guns". Note that this differs from a “finish nailer” which typically uses smaller nails or brads for finer projects.

Nailers use fasteners mounted in long strips (similar to a stick of staples) or collated in a paper or plastic carrier, depending on the design of the nail gun. Some full head nail guns, especially those used for pallet making and roofing, use long plastic or wire collated coils.

Safety Tip

The safety tip is a device located a the end of the nailer that moves in when pressed against the surface to be nailed. This is a safety measure that prevents accidentally firing a nail when picking up or moving the tool. Only once the tip has been depressed will the trigger fire a nail.

Firing Methods

While the exact naming will vary by the manufacturer there are two main types of firing methods: sequential and bump (contact).

Sequential firing is a more accurate method commonly used for framing. This allows for precisely placing the safety tip against a piece of wood, then pulling the trigger to fire one nail at a time.

Bump firing allows for rapid nailing which is great for projects like roofing in which a larger number of nails need to be driven in a short time. It works by holding down the trigger and tapping the safety tip against the desired area. This then fires one nail per tap in rapid succession.

There are variations of these methods including single-sequential which requires placing the safety tip first then operating the trigger, this reduces the risk of an unintended bump-firing. Full-sequential uses the same "tip then trigger action" but it must be done for every nail. In other words, it does not bump fire, so it is considered the safest but slowest method of operation.

Single-actuation is a feature that offers the ability to pull the trigger first then tap the tip to start bump firing.

Nail Head Types

Some strip nailers use a clipped head so the nails can be closer together, which allows less frequent reloading. Clip head nails are sometimes banned by state or local building codes. Full round head nails and ring shank nails provide greater resistance to pull out.

The largest sizes of conventional collated fastenings are the clipped head and full head nails which are used in framing, fencing, and other forms of structural and exterior work. These nails generally have a shank diameter of 0.11 to 0.13 in. (2.9 to 3.1 mm) although some manufacturers offer smaller diameter nails as well. General lengths are in the range of 2 in. to 1⁄3 in. (50 to 90 mm).

Shank Types and Materials

The nail shank is simply the long part of the nail to which the head is attached. There is a range of styles including plain, ring annular, and twisted.

These are available in a variety of materials and finishes including plain steel, galvanized steel, sherardized steel, or stainless steel. The selected material will depend on the pull-out and corrosion resistance required for the given application, along with the desired budget.

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Here of some features and components to be aware of when selecting a specific model:

Cordless vs. Pneumatic

Thanks to the advancement of battery technology you can now get the equivalent of pneumatic power along with the flexibility of a cordless design.

Depending on your portability requirements you may want to go with a cordless option. If you are typically working away from an available compressor or are bothered by the hose being in the way cordless is the way to go.

Also, if you already have a standard cordless drill you may want to pair it with the same brand so they can share battery packs. Check to make sure it is indeed the same battery, as it can differ even within the same brand.

(Video) Top 5 Best Framing Nailers 2022

On the other hand, you may not want to deal with recharging batteries and prefer uninterrupted air power. I have included selections of both cordless and pneumatic tools below.

Driving Power

The driving power is a rating assigned to nailers that is typically measured in inch-pounds. This is a measure of the maximum force the tool can apply to each nail to drive it into the desired surface. All else being equal, a higher driving force translates to being able to nail harder and thicker materials.


Depending on the model, nailers are constructed from a range of materials to maximize strength and durability while minimizing weight. There are several materials that fit these requirements such as die-cast magnesium and anodized aluminum. In an effort to reduce the cost of the tool often heat-treated or stainless steel is used for components when possible.

Directional Exhaust

As the name implies a direction exhaust offers the ability to direct the exhaust in a particular direction. This is helpful when working around others or a particular construction material that could be disturbed by the exhaust. Having the ability to position it in the opposite direction can be beneficial.

Depth Adjustment

Some models offer the ability to input the desired driving depth of the nails. This is helpful when working with a range of different materials and nail types as it allows you to accurately customize how far the nails are driven.


Some nailers feature a jam-clearing system that simply helps to reduce the incidence of nails becoming lodged within the tool. This is a useful feature since jams are a major annoyance and can greatly slow down the workflow.


Since you are often holding these nailers at awkward positions it is important to note the weight of the tool, as working with a heavy tool can quickly cause fatigue. For cordless options, the weight provided by the manufacturer will often exclude the battery weight. So take into consideration the additional weight of the battery you will be using. Keep in mind that typically a higher voltage battery does mean a longer run time but at an increased weight.

Overall Dimensions

In addition to the weight take note of the overall length and width of the nailer. Since you will often be using it in confined areas and between studs, joists, and roof trusses, it is helpful to go with a compact design.

Protective Equipment

As with most construction equipment, it is always a good idea to wear protective gear to prevent potential injuries. Nailers in particular can cause serious injuries so it is not something to take lightly. It is recommended to wear approved eye protection, work gloves, and boots. Also given the noise of even the nailers, ear muffs or ear plugs are recommended for hearing protection.

Now, on to the individual products. I’ve compiled a list of the top models available from well-known manufacturers including DEWALT, Paslode, Metabo, Hitachi, and more. Each unit has been assigned a key feature that makes it particularly noteworthy and has been broken down according to its essential functions to help you make an informed selection.

So here is my list of The Best Framing Nailers for 2022.


Best Overall: Paslode 905600 Framing Nailer

The Paslode 905600 Framing Nailer features a durable stainless steel magazine and lightweight design to reduce fatigue.

  • Powered by a rechargeable 7.4-Volt lithium-ion battery (included) for up to 9,000 nails per charge without the need for a compressor.

  • Features a two-minute “quick charge” option for up to 200 extra shots.

  • Uses nails 2 in. to 3-1/2 in. and 0.113 in. to 0.131 in. shank diameter.

  • Offers a compact design that fits between 16-inch studs, joists, and roof trusses.

  • Features a lightweight at only 7.2 pounds.

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  • Takes 1.5-hours to get to a full charge.

  • Includes carrying case.

Runner-up: Metabo NR90AES1 Framing Nailer

The Metabo NR90AES1 framing nailer drives plastic collated nails from 2" to 3-1/2" long.

  • Equipped with a selective actuation switch that transitions between contact and sequential nailing.

  • Features a head guard that allows for quick disassembly.

  • Includes a two-piece anodized aluminum magazine that makes replacements quick.

  • Features a lightweight design at only 7.5 lbs.

  • Includes a rubber grip for comfort when in use for long periods of time.

Best Value: NuMax SFR2190 Framing Nailer

The NuMax SFR2190 21-Degree full-head framing nailer can be used for a variety of applications, such as framing, roof and wall sheathing, siding installation, wood box assembly, and fencing.

  • Drives 21-degree nails ranging in size from 2 to 3-1/2 inches.

  • Features a 360-degree exhaust to easily point it in any direction.

  • Equipped with a body constructed of die-cast magnesium for low weight and durability.

  • Features interchangeable triggers for single or contact firing.

  • Includes a driver blade made of a single piece of hardened steel.

Best for Professionals: Hitachi NR90AES1 Framing Nailer

The Hitachi NR90AES1 framing nailer drives plastic collated nails from 2" to 3-1/2" in length.

  • Features an actuation switch adds the convenience of being able to quickly change between bump or sequential fire.

  • Includes a tool-less depth of drive that eliminates the need to adjust the pressure at the compressor.

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  • Features simple two-step loading makes fastener replenishment quick and easy.

  • Includes a redesigned head guard that allows for a faster and easier disassembly.

  • Weighs only 7.5 pounds, making it easier to use all day.

Best Low-Profile Design: BOSTITCH LPF21PL Framing Nailer

The Bostitch LPF21PL features a low-profile design that allows the nailer to be used in small areas.

  • Features a versatile trigger drive selector that enables the user to select from single or multi-drive modes.

  • Equipped with tool-free depth drive adjustment to change the fastener’s depth.

  • Includes an internal air filter that prevents contaminants from entering the tool.

  • Features a driving power of up to 840-inch lbs.

Best for Small Jobs: Freeman PFR2190 Framing Nailer

The Freeman PFR2190 drives 21-degree nails ranging in size from 2 to 3-1/2 inches and features a 360-degree exhaust, air filter, and anti-dust cap.

  • Features a body that is constructed of die-cast magnesium for low weight and durability.

  • Includes interchangeable triggers for single or contact firing.

  • Features a driver blade made of heat-treated steel.

  • Features a cylinder that is constructed of anodized aluminum.

  • Equipped with oil-less Teflon o-rings for extended life.

Best Lightweight Design: BOSTITCH F28WW Framing Nailer

The BOSTITCH F28WW is constructed with a magnesium housing for a lightweight and durable design that weighs just 7.6 pounds.

  • Provides up to 1050-in/lbs of driving force.

  • Features an adjustable push-button depth guide to quickly set the nails to a specific depth.

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  • Equipped with a magazine that can hold up to 100 nails.

  • Includes a 16-inch layout indicator to quickly get the correct stud spacing.

  • Equipped with a sequential trigger.

Best Cordless Design: DEWALT DCN692M1 Framing Nailer Kit

The DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless 30 Degree Paper Collated Framing Nailer is powered by a dual-speed motor.

  • Equipped with a tool-free switch to quickly change between sequential or bump fire modes.

  • Designed to drive nails from 2 inches up to 3-1/2 inches.

  • Features a depth adjustment that also does not require tools to change.

  • Equipped with a dry fire lockout to stop the nailer from firing.

  • Includes a 33-degree magazine that holds up to 55 paper collated nails.

  • Features a stall release lever to reset the driver blade if there is a nail jammed.

  • Includes a charger, battery, and a bag for easy transport and storage.

Best Budget Option: 3PLUS H2190SP Framing Nailer

The 3PLUS H2190SP framing nailer can use 21-degree plastic collated full round head framing nails ranging from 2” to 3-1/2”.

  • Equipped with tool-free adjustable depth control.

  • Includes a multi-directional exhaust cover that rotates 360° to direct it away from the operator.

  • Comes with a no-mar tip that reduces potential damage to working surfaces.

  • Equipped with a dry-fire lockout feature extends motor life and prevents missing nails.

  • Includes a hardened claw tip that reduces wear on the nose and minimizes slippage when toe-nailing.

  • Allows for easy change between single shot and bump fire modes.

  • Features rear nail loading for convenient access.

I hope this list of the best framing nailers was helpful.

If you think I left out one that is important or have a suggestion for a future article, let me know in the comments below.

Brandon Hubbard, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C

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