Crown Stapler vs Brad Nailer: When to Use Each Type of Nail Gun

crown stapler vs brad nailer

For a variety of household projects, you will need to fasten and hook things together. ​For this process, you may be torn between using a crown stapler vs brad nailer. Both offer good adhering capabilities depending on the type of material you are looking to piece together.

Deciding on whether to use a crown stapler vs brad nailer really boils down to the type of woodworking project you are working on and whether you are looking for a permanent or temporary hold.

​Our Top Pick


​​In our reviews, we pick the ​​BOSTITCH 18GA Brad Nailer Kit​ to be the best available. It can handle brad nails from 5/8 inch to 2 1/8 inches, and comes with an incredible 7 year warranty.

Crown Staplers & Brad Nailers

​Before we dive into which tool is best for your need, be aware that traditionally both crown staplers and brad nailers are run through compressed air, which requires you to own an air compressor.

Many DIYers do not own a compressor. The good news is that, in recent years, both crown staplers and brad nailers, run by electricity, battery power, or hand power, have come on the market. 

Crown staplers and brad nailers provide a lot of benefit, and now DIYers can have all these benefits without needing to own an air compressor.

What is a Crown Stapler?

A crown stapler is essentially a staple gun. It uses staples instead of nails, which is what is used by a nail gun.

A crown stapler provides a sturdy grip and holds well. It is a permanent fastening solution that uses staples with a round or flat head. This allows for a strong hold when fastening material to a wood surface such as upholstery. 

When you view the crown stapler as a nail gun that uses staples, you can start to see how many uses it has.

When To Use a Crown Stapler?

Crown staplers have a variety of applications but are most often used to hold fabric to a wood surface. They are ideally used to keep fabric in place when upholstering furniture.

crown stapler is used to hold down fabric to wood

They provide a strong grip that can make your upholstery fabric tight and retain the exact shape you are looking to achieve when covering a piece of furniture such as a chair seat or couch structure.

You can also use a crown stapler to make bent laminations, which is where you laminate thin strips of wood together ​in a curved pattern for chairs. A crown stapler makes it easy to hold the laminations together while the glue dries

You can use crown staples for building and repairing cabinets and drawers. You'll also often find crown staples used on the backs of picture frames to hold the image and glass in.

There is a subtle difference to be aware of: narrow crown staples vs wide crown staples. Generally speaking, the more delicate the project, the more you should opt for narrow staples.

​Crown Stapler Highlights

​What is a Crown Stapler?

​​A powerful staple gun, ​similar to a nail gun.

​What is a Crown Stapler used for?

​Usually used to hold fabric to wood, usually in the case of upholstering furniture.

What is a Brad Nailer?

Brad nailers offer a different fastening approach than a crown stapler. This is a nail gun that uses compressed air to drive a brad nail into a wood surface.

It uses small diameter 18-gauge nails with a small pinhead​. The brad goes into both pieces of wood, holding them together while only leaving a very small hole on the surface.

​Brads are not designed to be removed. They are very difficult to remove unless you separate the pieces of wood and then pull them out individually. In other words, don't use brad nails as a temporary fastener. 

When To Use a Brad Nailer?

Brad nailers are perfect for attaching baseboard together

You would most often use a brad nailer to adhere two surfaces together such as a baseboard in your home or a furniture piece that you are adding finishing strips on.

Because a brad nailer uses smaller gauge nails, you are able to adhere thinner strips of wood to a surface without worrying about splintering.

It also only leaves a small hole with its nail head, much less visible than the staple a crown stapler leaves behind. If interested, you can easily fill the small hole with wood putty. 

The brad nailer is very easy to use, especially if you pick up a newer ​one that doesn't rely on compressed air.

A top rated 18 gauge brad nailer will be powerful and easy to use, allowing you to quickly move through the process.

​Brad Nailer Highlights

​What is a Brad Nailer?

​​A powerful ​nail gun that uses compressed air to drive thin nails into wood​​​​

​What is a Brad Nailer used for?

​Usually to attach baseboard to drywall, or finishing wood strips to furniture

Crown Stapler vs Brad Nailer

Selecting between a crown stapler vs brad nailer really depends on the application you have planned for your fastening tool. The wood or material type dictates the need for a crown stapler or a brad nailer as well as if you plan to keep the wood piece fastened permanently.

crown stapler vs brad nailer

Check out these similarities and differences between a crown stapler and a brad nailer to determine which tool will suit you best.

You could just as easily call this a debate between a staple gun vs nail gun, as that is (in essence) what we're talking about here:

Similarities

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    Both a crown stapler and brad nailer are used to adhere two materials together.
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    They are both (typically) operated by compressed air and drive the fastener into the wood surface that you are working with.
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    Both tools are powerful in their design and can drive either a staple or nail into a wood surface with incredible force, depending on which fastening tool you are using.
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    Both are designed for use on furniture, with the brad nailer offering more versatility in other applications.
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    ​Both are designed as a permanent solution.

​Differences

  • One of the pitfalls of a crown stapler is the large holes that it leaves on a wood surface. If you were to pull out the staples that it has driven in, you will certainly have damage to the wood piece.
  • A brad nailer, on the other hand, leaves ​very small hole marks.
  • A crown stapler is ​really only designed for one type of project: upholstery. A brad nailer, on the other hand, can be used on a multitude of woodworking projects. 

Generally speaking, these are very different tools that have a somewhat similar appearance. The crown stapler is perfect for applying fabric to wood, while the brad nailer is perfect for applying wood to wood.

​The brad nailer is more versatile, while the crown stapler is much more specialized.​​​

Related: ​When to Use the Pin Nailer vs Brad Nailer​

​Conclusion

While a crown stapler and a brad nailer are both very capable tools to use in a variety of woodworking projects, you will get more use out of a brad nailer. Because this nail gun uses small diameter nails, it is able to hold well ​while leaving very small holes in the wood.

​Final Verdict

Crown Stapler:

Use for attaching upholstery to furniture only.

​Brad Nailer:

Use for a variety of situations, including attaching baseboard, veneer, siding, and finishing strips.

​A crown stapler is a great tool for upholstering, and perhaps a few other random DIY jobs. A brad nailer, on the other hand, can be used for a variety of woodworking projects. 

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