The Best 18 Gauge Brad Nailer for Your Woodworking Projects

Man in a red shirt holds on to a brad nailer to attach two pieces of wood together

​Choosing the best 18 gauge brad nailer for your woodworking project doesn’t have to be a complicated process. With a little effort and some foresight, you can select a brad nailer that offers you plenty of function with all the features you are looking for, so you can complete that cabinet construction or molding installation in no time.

To help you narrow down your selection, we’ve reviewed four of the top brad nailers on the market today. Don’t make your brad nail gun purchase before you read up on what makes a great 18 gague brad nailer and which model we recommend.

​Brad Nailer Reviews

​Keeping all these factors in mind, we have selected these five brad nailer models for our review, all of which utilized 18 gauge nails. Each offers their own benefits and provides plenty of distinct features that will make easy work out of your wood projects. 

Read on to see how we rated these brad nailers and to find out which one we think is the best brad nailer on the market.

Man in a red shirt holds on to a brad nailer to attach two pieces of wood together

Its also worth noting that there can be a lot of confusion between the different types of nail guns out there. If you're still doing your research, you might want to FIRST nail down which type of nail gun you need (pun intended):

​Bostitch BTFP12233 Smart Point 18 Gauge Brad Nailer

​Weighing in at 3.1 lbs, the ​BOSTITCH BTFP12233 Smart Point 18GA Brad Nailer is a savvy tool that can be used on a variety of wood surfaces. It has triggered operation and a Dial-A-Depth Control that allows you to countersink nails with precision. It can be used with 18 gauge brads that range from 5/8 to 2-1/8 inches.


A smaller nose has been integrated into the model that has been combined with its Smart Point Technology for more accurate brad nail placement. Jams are a breeze to take care of with the jam release mechanism that does not require tools.

Operation of the Bostitch BTFP12233 Smart Point brad nailer uses an oil-free motor for maintenance-free operation. You can also select from sequential or contact operation of the device, allowing you to select the performance preference that works best for you and the job you are working on.

​Product Specs
  • ​Pneumatic​
  • ​18 gauge
  • ​5/8 inch to 2 1/8 inches
  • ​100 Brad Nail Capacity
  • ​70-120 PSI
  • plus
    ​5.5 lbs
  • plus
    ​7 year warranty

You’ll also enjoy the carrying case that this brad nailer comes with as well as the additional accessories such as the belt hook, sample fasteners, air fitting, and no-mar tips. This brad nailer has a 100 brad nailer capacity and is sideloaded.

This Bostitch has an operating pressure of 70-120 PSI, and does include several no-mar tips to use. You receive a 7 year manufacturers warranty with this purchase, which is far and above any other brad nailer warranty we've found. 

When you're looking for a great 18 gauge brad nail gun, you'll be hard pressed to do better than the Bostitch. This pneumatic brad nailer ranks at the top of our list.

​Hitachi NT50AE2 18 Gauge Brad Nailer

​The ​Hitachi NT50AE2 Brad Nailer is a capable tool that you’ll get plenty of use out of. This brad nailer weighs in at 2.2 lbs, making it a very efficient and convenient device to use. It can be used with 18 gauge brad nails from 5/8 to 2 inches in length. It also has an elastomer grip to prevent slipping during operation.


Jammed brads can easily be removed from the nose without the use of any tools, and the Selective Actuation feature allows you to decide if you want bump fire or contact fire operation. This is activated by flipping a switch.

Countersinking nails can be achieved by using the dial-in depth option, so you get the exact finish you are looking for with your brad nails.

​Product Specs
  • ​Pneumatic​
  • ​18 gauge
  • ​5/8 inch to 2 inches length
  • ​100 Brad Nail Capacity
  • ​70-120 PSI
  • plus
    ​2.2 lbs
  • plus
    ​5 year warranty

A high capacity magazine has been integrated into the Hitachi NT50AE2 brad nailer. It has a capacity of 100 brad nails, depending on the size of the nail, which is loaded from the bottom of the tool. A nice feature of the model is its visual nail indicator that lets you know when you need to reload.

The brad nailer also includes a 360-degree exhaust vent and removable nose cap – both designed to increase the life of the tool. It is constructed of aluminum and comes with a no-mar nose cap to provide additional protection. The operating pressure of the device is 70-120 psi, and a protective case is included. The Hitachi comes with a 5 year warranty as well. 

​Makita AF505N 18 Gauge Brad Nailer

​The ​Makita AF505N Brad Nailer offers plenty of capability that can be used with 18 gauge brad nails with lengths from 5/8 to 2 inches.

It features a narrow nose to get into tight areas with ease and clears jams with a tool-less quick release. The brad nailer is simple to operate with a dial-in depth adjustment so you can countersink brads as needed.


This brad nailer has a non-marring rubber nose as well as bumpers that prevent damage to your wood surface. The nose piece has been cast and machined for added durability and precision when driving brad nails into wood.

​Product Specs
  • ​Pneumatic​
  • ​18 gauge
  • ​5/8 inch to 2 inches length
  • ​100 Brad Nail Capacity
  • ​60-115 PSI
  • plus
    3 lbs
  • plus
    ​5 year warranty

A multi-directional exhaust port allows you to point the exhaust away from you and your wood project, so ​it's less likely you need to use a dust mask ​with this one.

You’ll appreciate the tool hook this brad nailer comes with as it has 180 degrees of rotation. It also features a nail reload indicator window notification, so you know when it’s time to reload a magazine of brad nails. The capacity on the brad nailer is 100 nails, while the operating pressure is 60 to 115 psi, and weight of the unit is 3 ​lbs. Makita provides a 5 year warranty. 

​Dewalt DWFP12231 18 Gauge Brad Nailer

​Rounding out our ​corded nailers is the ​DEWALT DWFP12231 Pneumatic Brad Nailer. This brad nailer drives 18 gauge brad nails with a 5/8 to 2-inch length. It has an oil-free motor for easier maintenance of the tool and comes with a tool-free depth of drive adjustment that allows you to countersink nails without having to adjust the device manually.

Jams are easily removed with the release mechanism without the need for a tool. The exhaust of the Dewalt DWFP12231 brad nailer points to the rear, so it is out of your way and away from your wood surface.

​Product Specs
  • ​Pneumatic​
  • ​18 gauge
  • ​5/8 inch to 2 inches length
  • ​100 Brad Nail Capacity
  • ​70-120 PSI
  • plus
    ​5.15 lbs
  • plus
    ​3 year warranty

​This brad nailer is constructed of magnesium, keeping its weight to a minimum. Sequential operation of the brad nail is standard along with a 100-brad nail capacity.

A non-marring nose tip is included as well as an adjustable belt hook to keep the tool near you as you work. A carrying case is also provided. Dewalt brings a 3 year limited warranty upon sale. 

​Dewalt DC608K 18 Gauge Brad Nailer

​Weighing​ a little over 7 pounds, the ​DEWALT DC608K Brad Nailer has to be our pick for best cordless brad nailer. ​

This machine ​drives 18 gauge nails with up to 5/8 to two inches length ​​with speeds as fast as 5 ​nails per second. It features ​both sequential operation and bump operating mode with a 110 brad nail magazine capacity, for one-at-a-time nail work and high speed operations respectively.

The tool is perfectly suited ​to trim and cabinet workers who ​install base boards, moldings, door and window panels, casings and jambs. It can drive nails with 70-120 PSI through hard and softwood, plywood, among other wood ​varieties.

​Product Specs
  • ​Cordless
  • ​18 gauge
  • ​5/8 inch to 2 inches length
  • ​110 Brad Nail Capacity
  • ​70-120 PSI
  • plus
    ​7.4 lbs
  • plus
    ​3 year warranty

​The device's notable features ​include its narrow tapered nose ​for getting in to tight spaces, ​and its contact lock-off system, a trigger disabling feature​ for added safety. Jams won't be an issue either as this ​nailer has a swing-open nose piece for easy removal of brads.

​Included in this kit is an 18 volt XRP NiCad battery, a fast charger, a reversible belt hook, safety goggles for operation, and a plastic storage case. A three-year limited warranty is also provided by Dewalt upon purchase, along with a two-year limited ​service contract ​for the battery.

​Our Picks for the Best ​Brad Nailer

Category

​Product

​Price

Best 18 Gauge Brad Nailer

Best Cordless Brad Nailer

​Brad Nailer Features to Consider

​Depending on the model of brad nailer you select, you’ll have a range of options to choose from that can make your wood projects a little easier to bear.

We’ve listed the most important features you need to consider when investing in the best brad nail gun for your workshop, that will go best with your saws. This will prevent you from purchasing a brad nailer that does not offer all the capabilities you are looking for.

Keep these factors in mind when shopping for your new brad nailer.

​Brad Nail Gauge

​The thickness of a brad nail is measured in a term called "gauge", with the most common size for brad nails being 18GA.

​Brad nails commonly come in sizes ranging from 15, 16, 18, and 23 gauge. However, for most, 18 gauge is the perfect size, which is why we focus on the top rated 18 gauge brad nailer in our reviews.

​Brad Length 

​You need to have some idea of the preferred brad nail size that you intend to use most often. Most brad nailers offer a range of brad lengths so that you can use the tool for more than one application.

The big decision comes down to whether your want your nailer to cap out at 2" long brads or 2 1/8" long brads. While the difference in length seems very minimal, it can affect what you are able to do with the tool.

Some brad nail guns cap out at 2", while others cap at the longer 2 1/8".

In the end, if possible, opt for a nail gun that can handle the longer length. Some brad nails that say they are 2" actually end up being a little longer, so this ensures that your nail gun can handle these.

Man holds a tape measure to show sizes of various brad nail lengths

​Weight

​Weight is also an important feature in your brad nailer. Because you will be holding this tool for an extended period of time, you want a device that feels comfortable in your hand and is lightweight.

Many brad nailers are constructed of aluminum, which reduces the overall weight and helps with exhaustion and fatigue as you work.

Power Options

There are three power options for these types of brad nail guns: pneumatic, electric, or cordless.

We don't really recommend electric nail guns... they are more expensive than pneumatic, but lack the convenience of a cord free option. Below, we walk through how to pick between pneumatic vs cordless nail gun options.

​Pneumatic vs Cordless

A mouthful of a word, pneumatic basically means that the nailer derives it's power from an air compressor. The compressed air is what provides the power that drives the brad into the material.

​On the other hand, cordless nail guns are relatively self explanatory. High in convenience but typically not as powerful as the pneumatic option, cord free brad nailers are easy to move from job site to job site.

​Pneumatic nailers are a lot more powerful, which seems pretty obvious. Believe it or not, pneumatic brad guns are also significantly cheaper, especially if you already have an air compressor.

If you don't have an air compressor, then that levels the playing field a bit. You'll need to weigh out the convenience upsides of a cordless model vs the cheaper, more powerful pneumatic options.

​Woodworking isn't easy, but it can be with the right set of tools. Read on to see our review for the top ​jigsaw​ in the market.​​​

​Safety Features

​When you are selecting a brad nailer to add to your toolkit, looking for a model that has some safety features that can help prevent an accident from occurring.

Features such as a tool-free jam release system can allow you to remove a jammed nail without injury or difficulty.

Because you also may need to countersink brads as you work, having a brad nailer that allows for dial-in depth makes the process easier and safer for your kids to ​work on ​your projects with you.

​Warranty

​Always choose a brad nailer that comes with a warranty. Many manufacturers offer multiple year warranties that provide you coverage. This will give you plenty of protection should you have an issue with your brad nailer over time.

Red brad nailer in its carrying case

​Additional Features

​Other features to keep an eye out for when shopping for a brad nailer include the nose size. Narrow nose options allow you to get into tight corners without struggling. A narrow nose design also allows for more precise nailing, giving you a more pristine look as you work.

Make sure that you've considered the applications you're going to need the brad nailer for, and that this nail gun is best for you (not its close sibling the pin nailer).

​Conclusion

​When it comes to selecting the best brad nailer for you, we recommend the ​​BOSTITCH BTFP12233 Smart Point 18GA Brad Nailer. This versatile tool allows for plenty of performance while also offering all the features that we think are important in a brad nailer.

You’ll do well adding this brad nailer to your toolbox and get plenty of use out of having it on hand. We give it high marks and recommend it for your woodworking projects.


Leave a Comment: