Using a nail gun should make your work faster, more efficient, and fit the job, which means making sure you’re using the right size nails and type of nail gun for your project. There are many different fencing types, but in this article, we’re going to consider two major categories: wire or mesh fencing and wood fencing. We also look at cordless and pneumatic options, so don’t worry if you don’t have access to an air compressor.
Staples are ideal for wire or metal mesh fences while framing nails are best for sturdy wood fences. Braid nails are not ideal for larger wood fences, such as privacy fences, and you should consider going for a larger framing nail. However, some brad nailers also can handle staples, so you will see us list some combination feed systems and nailers below. Brad nails aren’t a bad choice for smaller wooden fences for pets or aesthetic fences, and in fact, you may prefer them for those applications where a larger nail would split your wood.
Nail guns require some getting used to and may require adjustments to your nail gun for proper nail driving in your wood. Most nail guns have depth adjustments, but it’s extremely important to make sure you are using the right nails in the first place.
Type of Fence?
For wire or mesh fencing, you’re usually attaching a wire or metal mesh to wood posts. These are most common for hog, cattle, or chicken fencing, pet enclosures, barbed-wire fencing, vineyard trellising, electrified single-wire fencing, garden fencing, or other welded wire fencing.
Lightweight wire mesh can easily be held with staples, and these are a fast and easy way of getting your wire fencing in place. Staple guns are generally lighter and easier to handle than nail guns, but you can also get a brad nail and staple gun combo that is a more versatile tool that can be used for other projects.
For wood fencing, you’re attaching wood planks or boards to wood posts. This type includes privacy fences, pet fences, picket fences, post and rail fences, and many more. These require a very heavy-duty nail gun and larger nails than some other applications, so a Framing Nail Gun is going to be your best choice. You’re generally going to be using a 2″ to 3-1/2” length nail with a Framing Nail Gun, so if you had a smaller nail size in mind or are using relatively thin wood, then consider a Finishing Nail Gun or Brad Nail Gun.
Important Question: Do you have an air compressor?
An air compressor is essential for a pneumatic, heavy-duty framing nailer. If you don’t have an air compressor, then don’t worry; there are other options. Electric nailers and staplers are a great option if you would rather use an extension cord instead of trying to buy, rent, or borrow an air compressor. Cordless battery and compressed gas canisters are another type of nailer that may work for you.
In the tables and product descriptions below, we’ve labeled how each nailer is powered and the type of nails or staples it is capable of handling.
Reviews of Nail Guns and Staplers for Fences
We’re going to go through some of the most popular nail guns and staplers that are great options for constructing fencing.
Pneumatic nailers – typically used for 15-to-16-gauge nails – are the most common type and are powered by compressed air. They’re tough and meant for heavy-duty jobs. If you’re dealing with dense wood, such as cedar or cypress, pneumatic nailers will give you the least amount of trouble and can drive the nails quickly and efficiently.
Electric nailers are mostly brad nailers or staplers, and brad nails are usually 18-gauge nails. They lack a pneumatic nailer’s driving power, but the smaller brad nails create a smaller hole in the wood and are best for more delicate tasks such as paneling, trim, moldings, or cabinetry.
|Model||Preview||Power Source||Nail Size||Cost Range|
|Metabo HPT Framing Nailer (NR90AES1)||Pneumatic||21 Degree, 2" Up to 3-1/2" Plastic collated framing nails||$$|
|DEWALT Framing Nailer (DWF83PT)||Pneumatic||30 Degree, 2" Up to 3-1/4" Paper collated framing nails||$$|
|Freeman PCN65 Pneumatic Coil Siding Nailer||Pneumatic||15 Degree, 1-1/4” Up to 2-1/2” plastic collated nails||$$|
|NuMax SFR2190 Pneumatic Framing Nailer||Pneumatic||21 Degree, 2" Up to 3-1/2" paper collated framing nails||$|
|Metabo HPT Cordless Framing Nailer (NR1890DCS)||Cordless||30 Degree, 2" Up to 3-1/2" Clipped & Offset Round Paper Strip Nails||$$$|
|DEWALT Max Cordless Framing Nailer (DCN692B)||Cordless||30 Degree, 2" Up to 3-1/2" paper collated framing nailer||$$$|
|Paslode Cordless Finish Nailer (902400)||Cordless/Fuel Cells||20 Degree, 16 gauge finishing nails||$$$|
|Milwaukee 2745-21 M18 FUEL Cordless Framing Nailer Kit||Cordless||30 Degree, 2" Up to 3-1/2" framing nails||$$$$$|
|SENCO F-35XP Cordless Pneumatic Framing Nailer||Cordless||30-34 Degree, Up to 3-1/2" framing nails||$$$$$|
Freeman PFN1564 Finish Nailer – Pneumatic
This Freeman finish nailer is competitively priced and is a great bang for your buck if you are looking for a reliable 15-gauge nailer that can reach into tight corners or spaces. The 34-degree angle means you can get nails into spots that many other nailers can’t. One thing to keep in mind with any nailer is to make sure the nail chamber and hammer mechanism are oiled occasionally or if you start to notice misfires or jams. Many people swear by different nail brands, and some nail guns seem to work better with different nails. Of course, you first need to make sure you’re using a 34-degree angle, 2-1/2″ collated finish nail, and then try a few different brands until you find what works best for you.
- Strong Driving Power
- No Mar Tip
- Tool-free Depth Adjustment
- Occasional jamming
A more lightweight nailer means you can handle it easier, and you get less wrist and arm strain over long periods of use. If you’re looking for something that fits an even larger nail size, then you need a framing nailer. A 15-gauge nail is about as big as finish nailers get.Check Amazon
Metabo HPT NR90AES1 Framing Nailer – Pneumatic
Hitachi renamed their power tools line to “Metabo HPT,” for better or worse. Hitachi, or Metabo HPT, is a well-known brand of power tools used by professionals, and their pneumatic nailers are known for their lasting performance and durability. This model is a framing nailer, which handles 2″ to 3-1/2″ framing nails angled at 21-degrees.
Framing nailers are for big jobs, such as flooring, house framing, truss and window build-up, subflooring, roof decking, and general housing construction. The aluminum body and rubber handle grip mean this nailer feels balanced in your hand and is easy to maneuver. At this price point, a professional-grade nailer is a great deal, especially for DIY projects that need some speeding up.
Do keep in mind you will need a minimum of 70 PSI to operate this nailer as well as a 1/4″ NPT connection to your compressor.
- 5-year Warranty
- Weighs 7.5 lbs
- Anodized Aluminum Magazine
- Swap between sequential and contact nailing with the flip of a switch
- Occasional misfires
There have been some cases of misfires reported in user reviews, and truthfully that’s true for every single nailer that exists. The Metabo HPT has possibly the lowest number of misfires or jams reported after reading through at least 100 customer reviews. One of the best things you can do for any nailer is to make sure there is some lubricant (pneumatic tool oil) in the magazine and a few drops in the air inlet before use.Check Amazon
Metabo HPT 18V Cordless Framing Nailer
Cordless freedom with the power to drive framing nails. With this cordless framing nailer from Metabo HPT, you can drive up to 400 nails per charge using the 3.0-Ah battery. For a cordless, it’s one of the closest options to a traditional pneumatic framing nailer.
It accepts 30-degree clipped or offset round head nails from 2-inch to 3.5-inch length (paper collated only). This nailer uses an air spring drive system, which you can see from the tank on the rear of the nailer. That makes this cordless nailer feel and perform similar to a pneumatic nailer.
- 18V Cordless Framing Nailer
- 3.0 Ah Battery Included
- Accepts 30-degree clipped or offset round head nails from 2-inch to 3.5-inch lengths
- Paper collated nails only
- Pneumatic-like feel from the air spring drive system
- Weighs 9.9 lbs
What We Like
- Powerful cordless nailer that can speed up your fencing build
- Fast recharge time
- Relatively heavy, but this comes with the territory
Freeman PE2118G Cordless Nailer & Stapler
We recently added the Freeman PE2118G to this list as it is a versatile cordless nailer that loads either 18-gauge nails or 18-gauge narrow crown staples. It’s reasonably comfortable to hold at about 6.17 lbs and features a two-stage safety trigger and work contact element to avoid accidental firing.
Switching between fast-paced bump fire and accurate single fire modes is easily done with the side-panel control.
We recommend this model for light jobs only, and it isn’t ideal for heavy-duty fencing as you may need to come behind it with a hammer and finish driving. Stapling wire or mesh fencing should be fine with this unit. For wood fencing, if you are looking to quickly get boards up and don’t have access to an air compressor, this is a workable solution that can speed things up.
You can also use this cordless nailer for molding, trim, insulation, plastic sheeting, and other light home improvement tasks. If you are having trouble with sinking the nails correctly, adjust the power setting, and make sure you are not angling the nailer as best results come from keeping the nail perpendicular to the surface.
- 400 shots per charge
- Includes two 18-V Lithium Ion Batteries
- Quick Charger
- 500 Brad Nails and 500 Staples
- Hard-sided case
- Compatible with 18-gauge (3/4″ to 2″) Brad nails and 18-gauge 1/4″ narrow crown staples (3/4″ to 1-5/8″)
- Tool-free depth adjustment
- No-mar tip (extra tip included)
What We Like
- Easy use with adjustability and versatility of the magazine
- Best used for light jobs (wire and mesh fences or trim work)
NuMax SFR2190 Framing Nailer – Pneumatic
The price tag of this framing nailer is incredible, as well as the overwhelmingly positive reviews. This nailer uses 21-degree, 3-1/2″ nails, so it’s good to check if you can purchase 20-to-22-degree nails locally as some people have complained about not being able to find any. Regardless, you can find plenty of 20-to-22-degree nails from online retailers, but it’s good to have that figured out before you try to drive your first nail!
- Highly-rated Framing Nailer that’s much less expensive than the Metabo HPT model above
- 1-Year Limited Warranty
- No-mar Tip and No-slip Teeth
- Quick swap between bump-fire or single-fire
- Anti-Dry Fire to prevent internal damage
- Shorter warranty than the Metabo HPT Framing Nailer
- Some complaints of trigger failure
As with any nailer, you should put a few drops of pneumatic oil in the air inlet before every use, as this helps the internal components stay lubricated and last longer. Given the relatively short warranty on this model, especially compared to the Metabo HPT, we recommend testing this nailer to ensure everything is within working order within a 30-day window of receiving it. This is a good practice, in general, to avoid losing the opportunity to return a faulty product. With that said, the overwhelmingly positive reviews of this nailer are impressive for a budget-priced framing nailer.Check Amazon
Freeman PCN65 Siding Nailer – Pneumatic
This nailer is a pneumatic coil siding nailer that’s ideal for cement siding, sheathing, fencing, decking, and plywood applications. Freeman is a popular brand of tough and dependable construction tools, and this ergonomic and lightweight nail gun can hold plastic collated nails from 1-1/4″ to 2-1/2″ and wire collated nails from 1-3/4″ to 2-1/2″. The side load magazine is quick and easy to load. For operating this nailer, you will need an air pressure between 70 and 110 PSI.
The warranty from Freeman for this nailer is an impressive 7 years. One of the longest we’ve seen among the nail guns we’re reviewing here. There have been a few reports of jams and double fires, which you will find on every single nailer that exists. The best thing you can do is make sure you have the right size nails, you’ve positioned them correctly, and you add a few drops of pneumatic oil into the air intake before each use.
- Lightweight and Ergonomic grip handle
- Easy Load Coil Magazine with Transparent Cover
- Adjustable Belt Hook
- No-mar Safety Contact
- 7-year Limited Warranty
- Occasional jams and double fires
Freeman PBR50 Brad Nailer – Pneumatic
This Freeman Brad Nailer is smaller than the other Freeman models we’ve discussed above. It is primarily for installing trim, shoe molding, baseboard, crown molding, base molding, door and window casing, door installation, chair rail, hand railing, and other light projects. Brad nails are 18-gauge and generally range from 5/8″ to 2″, which this nailer can handle. It’s super affordable and can be used to set your fence pickets and rails quickly before using screws to secure it finally.
- Affordable, lightweight, and easy to handle
- 18-gauge straight brad nails ranging from 5/8″ to 2″
- Reversible Belt Hook
- 7-Year Limited Warranty
- No significant negative reports in recent years
Overall this Freeman brad nailer is one of the best choices we’ve seen when it comes to nail guns for light-duty applications. For fencing, brad nailers may be an option for you, depending on the type of fence and size of the wood you’re dealing with. Small decorative picket fences, garden fences, or pet fences are jobs a brad nailer should handle. As with any outdoor woodworking project, using screws to finish the job is recommended as nails tend to work their way out of wood due to the periodic expansion and contraction from temperature and moisture fluctuations of wood.Check Amazon
Neu Master N6033 Brad Nailer and Stapler – Electric
An electric brad nailer lacks the driving power of a pneumatic but is still suitable for some DIY projects, including upholstery, molding, baseboards, paneling, or other light tasks. The advantage of electric nailers is that you plug them in and don’t need an air compressor, but that comes with a cost of overall power. This particular model is both a brad nailer and a stapler, which means this model is great for putting up garden wire fencing or chicken wire fencing. The Neu Master Brad Nailer/Stapler includes 18-gauge brad nails, 5/8″ length x100pcs; T50 staples, 1/2″ x 400pcs.
You’re going to have a better experience with an electric nailer/stapler such as this if you’re working with softer woods like pine or plywood. There are complaints about this model not having enough power in some cases. This is pretty much the consensus with most electric nailers that we’ve found researched.
- 2 year warranty
- Power Adjustment Knob (you’ll probably always want it on max)
- Excellent for upholstery or light DIY projects
- Easy reloading
- Not great for hard woods
Dewalt DWHT75021 Multi-Tacker – Electric
Dewalt is perhaps one of the most well-known brands among the product we’ve reviewed in this article and has consistently positive reviews. This “Multi-Tacker” can handle a wide variety of staples and brads, which means its applications are numerous such as installing carpet, sheets of insulation, lightweight trim, or even upholstery. The max length brad nail this nailer can use is 5/8″. You also should be able to use T20, T25, and T50 staples.
- Versatile nailer and stapler
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
- Best for carpet, insulation, or lightweight trim
- Only for light tasks, not for heavy-duty nailing
The issue with most electric brad nailers and staplers is they don’t penetrate through most wood except plywood. You often will have to come behind it with a hammer to get your nails flush.Check Amazon
VonHaus Brad Nailer and Stapler – Cordless
As with most electric nailers and staplers, you’re going to have poor penetration in anything except plywood or possibly pine. Pneumatics are going to give you much better performance in all applications. However, if you’re considering this electric nailer and stapler for a fencing application, it would work well for attaching wire fencing to wood posts for pet enclosures, chicken fences, or garden fences.
- Fast firing – 20/min fire rate
- Includes 300 x 3/4″ staples and 100 x 1″ nails
- 6.5 ft. power cord
- Effective for small nails and soft wood
- Not recommended for use with hard woods
Porter-Cable PCC790LA Brad Nailer – Cordless
For a cordless nailer, this is an impressive machine. You can only use 18-gauge nails with this nailer, but it’s excellent for quickly getting fence pickets set before finishing up with a screw gun. No cord and no compressor needed. You’re not going to be able to use this nailer for structural tasks, but doing lightweight fencing tasks as well as baseboards, door casing, and crown molding are certainly possible for this nailer.
- Impressive driving power
- 3-year Warranty
- Lithium-Ion Battery
- Up to 1300 nails per charge (using 4.0 Ah battery with 2″ brad nails into 2″ x 4″ pine)
- Cordless nailers are usually more expensive than corded electric
- Not for use with hard woods
Porter-Cable estimates the 1300 nails per charge based on using the 4.0 Ah battery that’s sold separately. With the battery that’s included, you can expect around 500 nails on a single charge. The good thing about lithium-ion batteries is that they charge relatively quickly.Check Amazon
Kimo 9418A Brad Nailer and Stapler – Cordless
The battery on this Kimo nailer and stapler is slightly larger than the Porter-Cable battery at 2.0 Ah, which gives you enough run time to drive about 700 nails in a single charge. The included nails and staples are pretty generous, with 700 x 18-gauge brad nails and 300 x 18-gauge crown staples. This gun’s nails and staples’ size ranges are 3/4″ to 2″ brad nails and 3/4″ to 1-5/8″ for the 18-gauge staples.
- 80 nails per minute
- 2.0 Ah lithium-ion battery
- Weighs 6.2 lbs
- Dry-fire lockout and Malfunction Indicator
- 2-year Warranty
- Not good for framing or heavy-duty tasks
BHTOP Brad Nailer and Stapler – Cordless
This nailer & stapler is a great deal as it comes with 2 batteries at an impressive price for a cordless model. Using both full-charged batteries, you can expect to be able to drive about 800-1000 nails. The performance of this cordless stapler and nailer seems to be on par with the other models we’ve reviewed. You can expect to use this to attach metal wire fencing to wood posts or set pickets on wood fences.
The main selling point for the BHTOP cordless nailer and stapler is the option to purchase it with 2 batteries at a really great price.
- 1-year Warranty
- 2x Batteries Included
- 100 nails/staples per minute
- Alternate between single and contact firing modes with toggle switch
- Safety trigger
- Not good for framing or heavy-duty tasks
Brad Nailer Vs. Finish Nailer Vs. Framing Nailer
Brad nails are 18-gauge, while finish nails are usually either 15-to-16-gauge. Framing nails are among the largest nails used for constructing homes and buildings and are typically 10-to-12-gauge nails. You can generally get finish or framing nails up to 3-1/2″ in length and commonly are made to fit a 21-degree magazine.
How to Oil Your Nail Gun
It’s a simple as putting a couple of drops of pneumatic oil in the air intake before each use for pneumatic nailers. Don’t put just any oil either; it has to be pneumatic oil. Most pneumatic nailers include oil with the nailer to get you started, and it should last you quite a while.
If you have issues with nails sliding in your nailer’s magazine, then it’s a good idea to put a few drops there to make it load smoother. However, don’t put too much since excess oil can lead to debris building up and causing more harm than good. It’s also a good idea to make sure the magazine stays clean from dirt or wood dust buildup that you often have to deal with on a job site.
For Fences, Nails Aren’t Enough
Fences are constantly exposed to the environment, and it is not recommended that you rely solely on framing nails or brad nails for building a fence. Eventually, the nails will work their way out of the wood due to temperature fluctuations that cause the wood and nails to expand or contract, which means your fence won’t last very long.
For example, it would be fine to set 5/8″ thick pine pickets to your 2″ x 4″ rails using an 18-gauge brad nailer. This allows you to get the fence framed up quickly and in place so that you can start securing it with screws.
Of course, you can skip using nails altogether and go straight to using a screw gun instead!