These 10 Best Cordless Brad Nailers Are Worthy Additions to Your Shop in 2024

Updated: Jun. 14, 2024

Have cordless brad nailers finally improved enough to replace our trusty pneumatic tools? We put the top models to the test.

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Is a cordless trim nailer right for you? If you’re a pro, the answer is probably yes. For the small odd job or to take care of punch-list items, it’s hard to beat the convenience of a battery-powered brad nailer.

“You can use a cordless brad nailer for anything you would use a hammer and finish nail for,” explains orofessional carpenter and Family Handyman senior editor, Ethan O’Donnell, “I usually use them for any sort of trim work from baseboards and flooring transitions to window and door casings. They also come in handy around the shop if you need to nail a jig or support together quickly but want to dismantle it later. Just pop a few brad nails in it and it’ll hold together for the meantime.”

But there are some caveats. Compressor-powered brad nailers have the advantage of being smaller and lighter, and you don’t have to worry about keeping a battery charged. Plus, you can buy a kit containing a brad nailer, small compressor and hose for about the same price as one of these battery-powered nailers. On the other hand, it’s convenient to be able to grab a battery-powered brad nailer and start working without setting up the compressor and having to drag a hose around behind you. If you’re considering cutting the cord from a compressor-powered brad nailer to the convenience of a battery powered tool, check out our cordless tool guide.

Best Overall Cordless Brad Nailer

DeWalt 18-Gauge Brad Nailer

If you’re looking for an alternative to your cumbersome pneumatic nailer and compressor, look no further. A contractor favorite, the DeWalt 18-gauge cordless brad nailer, features a brushless motor and is compatible with other DeWalt tools with 20-volt batteries. This straight shooter drives nails from 5/8 inches to 2 1/8 inches. The micro nose improves sight lines and ensures a precision hit while the tool-free jam release and depth adjustment dial make quick work of your job. The intuitive design of the low-nail lockout prevents dry firing and the nails are clearly visible in the cartridge. Plus, the DeWalt has onboard lights to indicate low battery or jams.

The Dewalt is capable of single fire or sequential bump fire with the flip of a switch. This finish nailer drove 2-inch brads consistently into solid oak and worked perfectly in our testing. This 18-gauge model weighs in at 10.25 pounds, so it’s heavier than most, but if you’re after long-lasting performance and trouble-free operation, the DeWalt delivers. This best-in-class option comes highly recommended by professionals and DIYers alike.

The tool, charger, battery and branded carrying bag are included in this kit, but the tool is also sold separately if you already own the DeWalt 20-volt battery and charger.


  • Non-marring micro tip for flawless precision
  • Drive depth adjustment
  • Tool-free jam release
  • Low-nail lockout
  • Sequential firing option
  • Three-year limited warranty


  • Heavier than others at 10.25 pounds

Best Budget Cordless Brad Nailer

Ryobi Airstrike Cordless Brad Nailer

If you’re looking for a lightweight brad nailer that won’t break the bank, the Ryobi Airstrike is a quality option at only 7 pounds. The Ryobi 18-gauge nailer accommodates 5/8-inch to 2-inch nails and drives 1,900 nails on a single charge. This model performed well and has all the features of more expensive nailers. It uses Ryobi’s One+ battery, which is helpful if you own other tools using the same battery platform.

Like the DeWalt, this model features a light-emitting diode (LED) work light and tool-free jam release. The adjustable air pressure dial is handy for fine-tuning brad depth. O’Donnell adds,  “I have only used this on one occasion, though my father-in-law, who installs flooring for a living, uses his Ryobi cordless nailer on nearly every job and likes it.”


  • Affordable
  • Depth drive adjustment
  • Adjustable air pressure speed
  • Tool-free jam release
  • Low-nail indicator
  • Three-year limited warranty


  • Cycles slowly 

Fhm Approved Craftsman Cordless 23 Gauge Nailer Pxl 20220922 145937016~2 Ss Edit Family handyman

Best Cordless Brad Nailer for Small and Fragile Trim

Craftsman 23-Gauge Pin Nailer

When you need a precision trim nailer for your carpentry projects, O’Donnell recommends the Craftsman 23-gauge cordless pin nailer. This compact unit gets into tight spaces and doesn’t mar the wood. According to our testing, it can shoot over 1,100 nails in a single charge. O’Donnell was more than impressed with the performance of the Craftsman, and says, “My main criticism of cordless nailers has always been how many nails I could shoot per battery and how likely they were to jam. Using this criteria, I have consistently had the most success with DeWalt cordless nailers, though I was pleasantly surprised when I tested the Craftsman 23-gauge micro pinner.

This pin nailer accommodates pin nails from 5/8-inch to 1-3/8-inch, has a brushless motor for maintenance free longevity and only weighs 4 pounds. And on the rare occasion that this tool would create a jam, it’s equipped with a tool-free jam release.


  • Non-marring tip
  • Low-nail lockout
  • Brushless motor
  • Only weighs 4 pounds
  • Three-year limited warranty


  • Poorly placed LED light creates shadows

Best Cordless Brad Nailer with Framing Nailer Service Agreement

Ridgid 16-Gauge Hyperdrive Finish Nailer

This 16-gauge Ridgid Hyperdrive framing nailer had the strength to drive 2-1/2-inch nails through drywall to hit the studs. If you appreciate longevity in a tool and a company that stands behind their products, this is the best cordless brad nailer for you. This is a ruggedly built tool with the advantage of Ridgid’s lifetime service agreement. Imagine free seals, pistons and driver blades for life.

We like the transparent magazine cover and the two styles of no-mar tips that Ridgid supplies, so you can choose your favorite. You’ll save time and frustration without pulling out additional tools to make adjustments to the depth drive or power adjustment, or to clear a jam. Easily select between the contact actuation or single sequential actuation mode.

At 6.6 pounds, this 18-volt Ridgid finish nailer easily sinks nails from 3/4 inches to 2 1/2 inches. It fires up to 1,450 nails per charge with the 4.0 amp-hours (Ah) battery (charger sold separately).


  • Includes lifetime service agreement
  • Two non-marring tips
  • Transparent magazine
  • Sequential firing option
  • Tool-free drive depth adjustment and jam release
  • Adjustable power pressure


  • Short battery life
  • Battery charger sold separately

Dewalt 16 Gauge Angled Finish Nailer Ecomm Via Amazon.com1 Via Merchant

Best Cordless Brad Nailer for Tight Spaces

DeWalt 16-Gauge Angled Finish Nailer

If you’re looking for a lightweight, heavy-duty cordless finish nailer to get into those hard-to-reach corners and tight spaces, O’Donnell recommends the 16-gauge DeWalt angled finish nailer. It’s compact and easy to maneuver, weighing in at only 6 pounds. He adds, “Because of my background as a cabinetmaker and trim carpenter, I tend to utilize my 18-gauge brad nailer more often. Even so, there are countless times I’ve used my 16-gauge finish nailer whenever I’m installing thick, hardwood trim, like baseboards, or if I’m dealing with an excessively crooked wall and need more holding power.”

This 20-volt machine is ideal for installing crown molding or baseboards. Like the 18-gauge straight DeWalt nailer, this angled finish nailer offers tool-free stall release, depth adjustment, jam release and selectable trigger for sequential firing. It powers through the job with precision using 1-1/4-inch to 2-1/2-inch nails. With a 110 nail capacity, you’ll finish the job before you know it.


  • Angled for hard-to-reach spaces
  • 16-gauge nailer
  • Only weighs 6 pounds
  • Tool-free adjustments
  • Long battery life
  • Precision tip


  • Doesn’t include low-nail lockout

Best Quick-Response Cordless Brad Nailer

Senco Fusion F-18XP Cordless Brad Nailer

Senco uses a sealed aluminum drive cylinder in conjunction with a motor to drive the brads. This results in good power and almost instantaneous response. We like the balance and feel of this tool, weighing in at 6.6 pounds.

If you’re looking for efficiency, another standout feature of the Senco F-18XP is the patented instant shot design for smooth consistent operation and no ramp-up time. If sequential firing is important for your needs, this may be the best choice for you, thanks to the quick trigger adjustment and lack of lag time. Like other 18-gauge brad nailers, Senco accommodates 5/8-inch to 2-1/8-inch nails with a 110 nail capacity and a dry-fire lockout. The F-18XP shoots 650 fasteners per charge and takes 60 minutes to fully charge the battery when depleted.

Grab the complete kit, including the tool, battery, charger and tote bag, for your next project and look like a pro.


  • No ramp-up time
  • No-mar pad
  • Sequential firing option
  • Tool-free depth drive adjustment
  • Dry-fire lockout
  • Five-year warranty


  • Pricey 

Paslode 18 Gauge Straight Brad Nailer Ecomm Via 1 Via Merchant

Best Fuel-Cell Cordless Brad Nailer

Paslode 18-Gauge Straight Brad Nailer

This cordless brad nailer is in a class of its own. Paslode pioneered cordless nail guns with its fuel-powered nailers. They contain a canister of fuel that provides the driving force when a small amount of fuel is ignited in a cylinder. The advantage of this design is that the battery can be small and light, because its main function is to provide ignition for the fuel. These nailers are very powerful, but they have some drawbacks. Mainly, exhaust fumes smell bad and you have to buy replacement fuel canisters.

The gas-fuel technology is sort of old-school, but it’s tried and true. In our test, this tool was the lightest at 4.5 pounds and felt the most comfortable. If you’re willing to shoulder the additional cost of fuel canisters and put up with the faint smell of exhaust, put this gun at the top of your list. Even more impressive is that this Paslode nailer can shoot up to 12,000 nails per charge for minimal downtime. You’ll love the maneuverability and precision of this 18-gauge brad nailer for fine trim projects and with its lightweight design, you’ll experience less fatigue.


  • Powerful fuel-powered model
  • Only weighs 4.5 pounds
  • Comfortable to use
  • Dry-fire lockout system
  • Long battery life
  • Two-year service guarantee


  • Finicky performance

Best Contractor-Grade Cordless Brad Nailer

Milwaukee M18 Fuel Cordless Brad Nailer

It’s no wonder that you’ll find this brad nailer on professional jobsites. If you’re in search of the performance of a pneumatic brad nailer without the hassle of the cords and compressor, the Milwaukee M18 Fuel is a reliable choice.The brushless motor of this battery-powered tool means you’ll spend less time maintaining this 18-gauge cordless nailer. Milwaukee uses sealed compression nitrogen to help power this nailer, without the need for cartridges. As a result it fires three nails per second with zero ramp-up time.

From the sleek, compact body to the precision brad-depth adjuster, this tool has a high-quality feel. The nailer responds instantly and performed well in our testing. Our only gripe is that occasionally the view of the tip is obscured by the jam-release lever.

This M18 weighs 6.3 pounds and is outfitted with three non-marring nose pads, dry-fire lockout, sequential firing and adjustable drive depth and a 110-nail capacity magazine. It’s a reliable work partner with a five-year warranty on the tool and a two-year battery warranty.


  • Smooth operation
  • Zero ramp-up time
  • Precise depth drive control
  • Dry-fire lockout
  • Sequential firing 
  • Five-year tool warranty; two-year battery warranty


  • Sight lines can be obscured

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Best DIY Cordless Brad Nailer

Porter-Cable Max Cordless Brad Nailer Kit

Porter-Cable is one of those brands that professional woodworkers rely on, and this 18-gauge straight brad nailer is no exception. We like the weight and balance of this nailer, and it drives brads consistently without a problem. It scored high marks for precise alignment with clear sight lines to the tip. The only downside is the lack of a dry-fire lockout to prevent firing when there are no nails in the magazine, but it’s easy to see your nail supply in the cartridge. That aside, the Porter-Cable has an adjustable depth drive dial and easy-to-read gauge, tool-free jam release, stahl release and safety lock.

This tool weighs 5.9 pounds and customers find it comfortable to use and ergonomically balanced. Expect to shoot 1,300 nails before you need to charge the 20-volt battery. The Porter-Cable lacks bump firing and features like a dry-fire lockout compared to the higher priced models we tested, but this is a solid tool that’ll make your projects run smoother. 

When you want the perfect finish, Porter-Cable nails it. If you’re new to Porter-Cable tools, be sure to pick up this kit with the battery and charger included.


  • Great sight lines for precise placement
  • Rubber tip for for minimal marring
  • Depth adjuster dial
  • Tool-free jam-release
  • Affordable
  • Three-year limited warranty


  • No dry-fire lockout
  • No carrying case

Makita Brad Nailer VIA MERCHANT

Best Cordless Brad Nailer for Precise Nail Placement

Makita XBN01Z Cordless Brad Nailer

Makita loyalists love the performance, quality and durability of their saws and drills, and find that the brad nailers perform equally as well. This Makita 18-gauge cordless brad nailer is great for DIY projects, especially if you own compatible battery-powered Makita tools. It accommodates nails from 5/8 of an inch to 2-inches, and drives up to 1,000 nails in a single charge using the 18-volt 5.0 Ah battery.

Makita offers features like the easy-to-access adjustable drive depth dial, dry-fire lockout and contact or sequential nailing on this tool. In our testing, we love how easy it is to see the tip, aiding in accurate brad placement. But the shape of this nailer gives it a back-heavy feel that we found uncomfortable at 7.32 pounds. This is the only gun that requires a tool to take apart the nose to clear jams. Even though Makita is a brand that professionals rely on, if you’ll be using this on a daily basis for long periods, you might want to consider a more comfortable option.


  • Easy-to-see tip for precise placement
  • Non-marring rubber bumpers
  • Quick-charging model
  • Dry-fire lockout
  • Contact or sequential nailing modes
  • One-year limited warranty


  • Tool required for jams
  • Bulky design
  • Battery sold separately

What to Look for When Buying a Cordless Brad Nailer

How do brad nailers work? | Construction Pro TipsTMB studio

Before making your decision on which cordless brad nailer is best for your shop, consider these factors:

Tool Weight 

If you’re installing crown molding overhead, a few extra pounds could make the difference between aching shoulders and a pain-free job. Out of the nailers we tested, the Paslode nailer weighs in at a slight 4.7 pounds. At the other end of the spectrum is the 7.32 pound Makita.

Look at the Tip

When you’re installing trim, it’s important to place nails accurately. To do this with a brad nailer, it helps to have a clear view of the gun tip. The Porter-Cable is an example of a gun with sight lines that allow for a clear view of the tip. The tip on the Milwaukee tool is harder to see. A non-marring rubber or silicone tip is important for fine woodworking to avoid damaging the wood.

Drive Depth

Having an adjustable depth drive is also important to protecting the wood. This feature allows you to adjust for the hardness of the wood and drive nails to the perfect level for your project. Nowadays, the depth drive adjustment is easily accessible with a tool-free dial on the body of the machine.

Dry-Fire Lockout

Many of these nailers have a dry-fire lockout feature that prevents the gun from firing when there are no brads. Without this feature, you could keep on nailing without realizing that the gun had run out of fasteners, wasting time and energy. Most of the guns have a small window in the nail cover with some means of signaling that the brads are running low. We like Ridgid’s transparent cover that shows at a glance how many brads are left, as well as what length they are.

Sequential Firing

In single-fire mode, the trigger needs to be released between shots. Switching to sequential firing allows the trigger to be held down to “bump-fire” brads by just pressing the nose of the nailer against the workpiece. Be aware of this feature, but don’t let it drive an entire buying decision. Bump firing isn’t critical to most trim carpentry or woodworking.

Clearing Jams

In the past, you may have had to disassemble the tool to clear jams, many newer models have quick-release mechanisms to clear jams quickly. Tool-free jam release is a term you will see when shopping for a user-friendly brad nailer.

Stall Release Feature

Occasionally, the driver in these brad nailers will get stuck. A few tools have a stall release lever to reset the driver. Other tools instruct you to remove and then replace the battery. Then, you press the nose against a scrap of wood and pull the trigger to reset the driver. Be sure to read this section of your instruction manual to see how your tool works.

Why You Should Trust Us

Our hands-on testing team is in the trenches each day working on projects. These experts have experience with an array of tools, large and small, including these battery-powered nail guns. As cordless tools become more popular, we wanted to share their insights and testing results to help you make the right purchase for your investment.

How We Found the Best Cordless Brad Nailers

The tip of a brad nailer | Construction Pro TipsTMB studio

Our team of Family Handyman Pros tested these brad nailers and have used many of them on their personal and professional building projects. The majority of brad nailers we tested are 18-gauge models, the most versatile brad nailer. To see how these battery-powered brad nailers performed under adverse conditions, we drove hundreds of 2-inch brads into 2-1/4-inch solid oak. Then, we tested in real-world conditions by nailing oak casing to an oak jamb.

You’ll probably never have to drive a 2-inch brad into solid oak—even some conventional nailers can’t do that. But hey, we thought it would be an interesting test. The Makita and Ryobi nailers were the only ones that struggled with this task, but every model we tried is capable of driving 1-1/2-inch brads through 3/4-inch oak into a pine jamb, which is (probably) the most difficult nailing job you’ll encounter in normal circumstances.

In our testing, we had very few brads get jammed in the tip of the tool. But when this does happen, it’s nice to be able to clear the tip without tools. All of the brad nailers, except Makita, have tool-free jam clearing. On most tools, you release a latch on the front to access the jammed brad. To access a jam on the Milwaukee tool, you just release the nail clip cover.

Most of the nailers we tested use the motor to compress air in a cylinder. The compressed air pushes a piston that drives the brads. While the Paslode uses a cartridge of ignited fuel in addition to battery power, DeWalt and Porter-Cable have taken a different approach from the two methods above. In their nailers, a spinning flywheel provides the driving force. To ensure rapid firing, a few of these nailers rev up as soon as you press the nose to the workpiece.

Other than the significantly lighter weight of the Paslode, we didn’t find any advantage of one technology over the other. There’s a split-second delay with the flywheel models, but it’s not bother­­­some. Every model, regardless of the tech behind them, drove brads well enough to install standard trim.


What’s better: a 16-gauge or 18-gauge brad nailer?

The 16-gauge model will drive longer nails for stronger fastening while an 18-gauge brad nailer is meant for finer trim and carpentry work. “As with any fastener, the length is determined by its application,” says O’Donnell. “When working with trim between 3/4-inch and 1/2-inch thick, I always use brad nails between 1-1/2 and 2 inches in length.”

In the last decade, cordless brad nailers have come a long way,” O’Donnell continues. “For large jobs, like framing, I still prefer a pneumatic nail gun and compressor. But for smaller jobs, I reach for a cordless brad nailer immediately if I am just nailing up some quarter-round or re-securing a flooring threshold.”

Can I use a brad nailer for baseboards?

Absolutely, a brad nailer is the tool to use to install baseboards.

How do you use a DeWalt cordless brad nailer?

DeWalt is one of the most reliable and feature-rich brad nailers on the market. First, read the user guide and get familiar with the tool. Operation of a cordless nail gun is as easy as charging the battery and having some scrap wood to practice on. Get to know the depth drive adjustments on different wood species. Get a feel for the rhythm of your tool, its lag time, bump features or consecutive firing modes. The more comfortable you are with the tool, the easier it will be to tackle your project.