Toolipedia: Brad Nailer

Toolipedia: Everything you wanted to know aboutan 18-Gauge Brad Nailer.

a brad nailer from senco with labeled parts | Construction Pro Tips

What isabradnailer?

A brad nailer isapowered nail gun that shoots18-gaugebrads(small nails).Brad nailers are used bywoodworkers and especiallyfinish carpentersto install casing and base trimup to 3/8 inches thick.For reference: larger guns, called finish guns,shoot15-gaugeand16-gaugenails and areused to install thicker trim (1/2and up). When working with dainty trim,finish carpenters use a gun called a pinner which shootstiny23-gaugepin nails.Most brad guns can shoot brads that range in length from 5/8 inches to 2 inches.

Here are the basic parts of an 18gauge brad nailer:

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  1. Air inlet
  2. Belt hook
  3. Nail slide release
  4. Magazine
  5. No-martip
  6. Latchto gain access to clear jammedfasteners
  7. Depth adjuster
  8. Trigger
  9. Handle
  10. Adjustable exhaust

How isa brad nailerused?

  • To load most brad nailers:engagethe slide release.
  • Pullback the magazine slide.
  • Insert the bradspointy end down.
  • Ensure thebradheadsrests in the appropriate groove(there are different grooves for different size brads).
  • Close the nail slide and clickitin place.
  • Attach the air hose to the air inlet.
  • Turn the adjustable exhaust so that it points away from yourface.
  • Hold the trim in place andput thetipon the location you wish to nail.
  • Press theguninto the wood until thesafety disengages.
  • Pull thetrigger.


  • Remove air hose or battery when clearing jammedfasteners
  • Do not remove or disengage the safeties
  • Wear proper eye protection
  • Keep hand away from the barrel as you shoot the nail gun

What are the different typesof18-gauge brad nailer?

  • Most brad nailers are pneumatic (air powered)which requires a compressorand air hoses
  • Someare powered by a canister of compressed air
  • Somenailersrun onbatteries
  • Some run onfuel cells andbatteries
  • Older gunsusually need to be oiled occasionally
  • Some guns can shoot longer bradsthan others

What makes a good18gauge brad nailer?

  • Abilitytoshootawidevariety of brad lengths
  • Adjustable exhaust
  • Depthadjuster
  • Nomar tip
  • Smaller tipfor tight corners
  • Clear sight-line towhere the bradcomes out
  • Comfortable handle
  • Dry-firelockout (prevents gun from firing afterthe last bradhas been fired)
  • Light(for battery models)

Sencomakeshigh quality18 gauge brad nailer

Construction Pro Tips

Brad NailerTip

Whennailing into door jambs or other areas where only one side shows, point the gun slightly to the hidden side where it wont show if the nail pops through

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LeRoy Demarest
I have worked for over a decade as an environmental scientist working on an advanced bioremdiation clean up project. For the past six years I have also worked as an adjunct instructor for several colleges, both F2F and online, teaching a number of science courses. Finally, I have been freelance writing for a variety of publications on the topics of: gardening, environment, construction, science, science education, academics and technical work.