Buying or Renting Nail Guns
If you can afford it, buy both a 15-gauge finish nailer and an 18-gauge brad nailer. The two guns make a winning combination. The 15-gauge nails, ranging in length from about 1-1/4 in. to 2-1/2 in., are strong enough to secure door jambs and other heavy trim materials. Plus, the angled nose on most15-gauge nailers allows you to nail in corners and drive toenails more easily. Prices for 15-gauge nailers range from $230 to $350.
Fifteen-gauge nails are too thick for many fine nailing tasks. And this is where the 18-gauge brad nailer excels. They shoot very skinny 5/8-in. to 1-1/2 in. long, 18-gauge brads. These are perfect for nailing miters (Photo 2), nailing the skinny section of door or window casing to the jamb (Photo 3) and other nailing jobs where a larger nail would split the wood or protrude through the other side of the material. Prices range from $70 to $200.
Having both guns connected to your compressor with separate hoses means you can nail the inside and outside edge of casings without having to change nails. And you'll always have just the right size nail for the job at hand.
If you don't do enough trim work to justify the expense of two nailers, a 16-gauge nail gun is a good choice. The 16-gauge nails are a bit skinnier and not quite as strong as 15-gauge nails. But they're less likely to split thin pieces of wood. Most 16-gauge nail guns will shoot nails ranging from 1 in. to 2-1/4 in. Prices range from $200 to $300.