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The Best Framing Nailer to Help Speed Up Your Job

  1. Freeman Framing Nailer
  2. Makita Round Head Framing Nailer
  3. Stanley-Bostitch Framing Nailer
  4. Hitachi Clipped Head Framing Nailer
  5. Bostitch F28WW Clipped Head Framing Nailer
  6. Senco FramePro 701XP Paper Tape Framing Nailer
  7. Buyer's Guide

If there’s any type of carpentry work where a nailer can help increase productivity, it’s in framing. While a skilled carpenter can drive a 16 penny nail in a few quick whacks, that’s nothing compared to pulling a trigger and having the nail sink in all the way. Even using a 32 ounce framing hammer or rigging axe, the best you can hope for is two whacks; one to set it and one to sink it. Put that nail gun on bump mode and you can really go to town.

While framing doesn’t require the finesses that finish carpentry does, it does require a lot of nailing. Whereas a finish nailer helps make a nice, clean finish job with small nail holes, a framing nailer isn’t at all about beauty…it’s about productivity.

There are several other considerations you should look at before picking a framing nailer. For more detail on what to look for check out our framing nailer buyer's guide we’ve provided below. We've compiled the best framing nailers in 2021.

Here are the best framing nailers of 2021

Freeman Framing Nailer - Best Framing Nailer Overall

This nailer is made with magnesium housing to save weight which brings the total tool weight down to 8.5 pounds. While that's not as light as some, it's definitely better than it would be otherwise. The motor is oil-free, with Teflon O-rings while depth adjustment is the standard tool-free design on the nosepiece. This nailer comes with interchangeable triggers to change trigger mode, with an air compressor filter, compressed air and anti-dust cap also included. Additionally, I really like Freeman’s nailers for their warranty. They provide a seven year limited warranty on all of their products which tells me that the company is very sure about the quality of materials and workmanship they’ve put into their tools.

Makita Round Head Framing Nailer - Runner Up

Makita makes this nailer with the only three mode trigger selector switch on the market which allows you to switch between bump fire, sequential fire and lock modes. The lock mode prevents the gun from being accidentally shot, when not in use and it also has a built-in air filter to protect the tool from any debris entering it which could potentially reduce the tool life. This nailer also has the dry-fire lockout feature that I like so much and with this model, it stops firing when the tool is down to three nails in the magazine. The depth adjustment is tool-free with nine settings for ease of adjustment. Sharp spurs on the nosepiece hold it in place securely for toe nailing. At 8.7 pounds, it's also the heaviest nailer on this list.

Stanley-Bostitch Framing Nailer - Honorable Mention

Bostitch’s round head framing nailer is manufactured with magnesium housing for low weight; coming in at only 8.1 pounds, it’s lower in weight than the Freeman. This nailer has rubber pads on the sides of the housing to protect any work that you lay it down on and there’s also a push-button adjustable depth guide, rather than the normal threaded wheel. This feature makes it faster and easier to adjust depth-of-fire. Two nosepieces are also included so that you can use it as a framing nailer or a metal connector nailer, saving you from having to buy another tool. It comes with both triggers as well so you can switch between fire modes.

Hitachi Clipped Head Framing Nailer - Consider

Hitachi has run through several models of this same nailer, making minor improvements each time, with this model being the latest version. It weighs in at 8.6 pounds which just about ties with Makita for the heaviest unit on our list. The driving port is designed to allow a wide range of nail sizes and types; this gun is typically used with nails ranging from 2" to 3-1/4". The claw tip is hardened to reduce wear, especially when using it at odd angles while a selective actuation trigger allows transition from sequential to bump-fire modes quickly and easily. Unlike some in the series, this nailer does allow depth of fire adjustment.

Bostitch F28WW Clipped Head Framing Nailer - Best Pneumatic Framing Nailer

Bostitch's wire weld framing nailer provides a larger magazine capacity than paper or plastic collating of the nails does, holding 100 nails in one strip. The lightweight magnesium housing keeps the weight down and minimize operator fatigue. This nailer will also handle a variety of clipped-head fasteners, ranging from 2" to 3-1/2" in length. It provides 1050 pounds per inch of driving power, enough for any job you’ve got. The depth of strike on this nailer is set with a patented push button adjuster, making it faster and easier to adjust your shots. The magazine is notched at 16" to save time on measurements, allowing you to use the nailer as a spacing guide for studs.

best Senco FramePro 701XP Paper Tape Framing Nailer

Senco FramePro 701XP Paper Tape Framing Nailer - Best Pneumatic Framing Nailer

Senco has long held a spot as one of the leaders in the pneumatic nailer industry. This rugged framing nailer demonstrates their years of experience. More than anything, they design their nailers to be rugged, as well as making them easy to work with. The nailer is designed to use 15 percent less air than other framing nailers due to a highly efficient interior design while a new, patented magazine design reduces jams and mis-feeds. Senco picked a 34 degree angle for the magazine, claiming that it gives a better line of sight and they've also put a ruler right on the magazine for convenience. While I'm not sure how much that would be used, it's a nice touch. Magazine loading is a simple, two-step process and the gun is designed for aggressive toenail safety. The trigger is designed for sequential action.

Buyer's Guide

Of all the types of nailers available, framing nailers are the largest. They are designed to handle nails ranging from 6D to 16D (that's 6 penny to 16 penny, for those that aren't familiar with the nomenclature). Another way to look at that is 2" to 3-1/2" nails. Since 8D and 16D are the two most common sizes used in framing, that's ideal.

Using a framing nailer helps the carpenter to work much more efficiently. Even using a 32 ounce framing hammer or rigging axe, a carpenter can't drive nails as rapidly hammering them as they can with a nailer. Hammering requires a minimum of two whacks, as opposed to one pull of the trigger with a framing nailer. Framing nailers also make it much easier to toe nail studs when that’s necessary. The fast drive of the shot prevents the stud from moving, like it’s wont to do when being hammered manually.

Before buying a framing nailer, it’s a good idea to check on the building code requirements for the city where you live. If round head nails are required, any work done with a clipped head nailer won’t pass inspection. Of course, if the work doesn’t have to be inspected that’s not an issue.

Most framing nailers today have sharp prongs on the nose rather than a padded foot like you find on a finish nailer. This allows the nailer to grip the wood that it’s going to put the nailer in. This is especially good for toe nailing where you often have to hold the piece of wood with one hand while holding the nailer with the other. If you’ve never tried toe-nailing with a framing nailer, you’re going to love it.

Framing Nailer Types

Framing nailers can be broken down into three different categories:

Pneumatic Clipped Head

This is the traditional type of framing nailer. In order to get the nails to collate close together, part of the head is clipped off rather than having a round head.

Round Head

Some building authorities will not accept clipped head nails, claiming the smaller head doesn't provide as much strength. So to pass inspection, round head nails need to be used. The industry has responded to this need by creating round head framing nailers. The round head requires that the nails be collated differently so there aren't as many nails on a strip.


Cordless nailers don’t use air compressor or compressed air to provide the motive heavy duty power tools to drive the nails, but rather a gas cartridge in the nailer. Burning a small quantity of the gas causes it to expand, driving the nail in much the same way that a gun fires a bullet.

Cordless framing nailers are much newer in the marketplace than their pneumatic cousins. As such, there aren't as many to choose from. They tend to be smaller than the pneumatic ones with a smaller magazine as well. Of the various types of cordless nailers on the market, cordless framing nailers have taken over the smallest market share due to the high volume of nails used in framing.

Framing Nailer Design

Framing nailers are always built with an angled magazine, ensuring that the magazine doesn't hit the framing to be nailed on inside corners or when toe nailing studs. However, the angle of the magazine can vary from an angle of 21 degrees to 28 degrees. It’s important when selecting nails that the angle of the collated nail strip match the angle of the magazine or else the nails will jam in the throat of the nailer.

In addition to the angle that the nail strip is collated at, the type of collation is important as well. There are three types of collation: paper tape, plastic strip and wire weld. The three are not interchangeable, so you must match the strip type to the gun, as well as the angle of collation.

Options to Consider

There are several things you want to look at when looking at framing nailers, besides price, heavy duty capacity, and name brand. Weight is an important factor, to reduce operator fatigue, as well as having a padded handle. An open magazine or a magazine with an open window makes it easier to tell when it is time to reload. Nailers which have a lockout to prevent them from shooting when empty, help prevent damage to the nailer.

Tool-free Nosepiece

Pretty much all nailers today have tool-free nosepieces so the nose can be opened to remove a jam quickly and easily. Framing nailers also have nosepieces with prongs on them, allowing positive location of the nailer in regards to the target.

Depth of Fire Adjustment

You should also look at the depth of fire adjustment on the nailer, something that can make a tool much easier to work with. Most are now tool-free wheels, but this is one area where manufacturers are seeking to make their tools easier to work with.


The other thing to consider is the trigger. There are two basic trigger styles used on nailers, bump fire and sequential. With bump fire, you can pull the trigger and the nail gun will shoot a nail every time the nosepiece is depressed. In sequential mode, the trigger has to be pulled for each shot. Some manufacturers build both into the tool with a switch to change between them while others require changing out the trigger which may require buying the second trigger as an option.

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