Nail Gun: Electric Or Air Compressor - Tools - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 08-08-2011, 06:59 PM   #1
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Nail Gun: Electric or Air Compressor

I couldn't find much comparing these two on here. I love how simple these electric and compressor driven nailers make creating boxes/frames and all sorts of things on the DIY shows. But, which one is the better way to go.

I get it that the compressor needs air tubing near to use it. And looking at homedepot they are about the same prices.



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Old 08-08-2011, 07:29 PM   #2
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I have found air tools last, work well you can dial in the pressure to change the depth of the nail and if you are dealing with soft wood or hardwood you can increase or decrease the pressure. I have not used a cordless nail gun, I have used a powered stapler and it was ok, not great. I have a Bostich set that I purchased at HD or Lowes it works well and does not jam much. Buying it as a kit (compressor and a few guns) seemed to save some money. The other bonus is that once you have to compressor you can buy all sorts of other air tools.

My vote is go air driven,



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Old 08-08-2011, 07:37 PM   #3
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From what I saw the air nailer cost about the same as the electric nailer, plus i still had to get the compressor set up. Was I missing something or comparing the wrong set of tools.
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Old 08-08-2011, 07:46 PM   #4
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You would undoubtedly have to spend more for a complete CA setup, but the CA is also more versitile with regards to the various task you can preform with other air tools.

A cordless nailer is just that and that alone.

My vote is for the versatility of a CA system.

When its all said and done there is usually more said than done
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Old 08-08-2011, 07:50 PM   #5
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Hmm, I guess I need to do some more looking about all the other CA tools/attachments. The nailer function was the only thing I was thinking about, but maybe there's some more stuff I'd want that I'd use the CA for.
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Old 08-08-2011, 07:51 PM   #6
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Another vote for air. I own one 16 gauge 18v finish nailer just to make life easier if I'm putting in a room of baseboards or similar. But if I'm building something, doing lots of trim etc. it's all air driven variety. For what I spent for my cordless nailer, I could have bought 2-3 different air driven nailers/staplers.
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Old 08-08-2011, 11:34 PM   #7
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1 more vote for compressed air. Other uses include; inflating tires, cleaning dusty shop equipment,... There's tons more, it just depends on your budget and needs/wants.
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Old 08-08-2011, 11:44 PM   #8
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I actually had to Google the thing so I had a clue what you were talking about. I didn't remember these things until I looked. They are a 100% wreck waiting to happen if you use them with any kind of volume nailing. These are not new and Arrow bought back a ton of these years back when they would fail after just a couple of clips. The motors heat up and basically self destruct. If you go by the one at HD, it has a single star for a review which means it's pretty much junk....and I agree with that. getting one to set a nail the same in a full clip is unusual. Most of the time it either drives it out of sight or leaves it standing for you to have to set later. I'd suggest you pass on these things. But if by chance you want to try one, I have an Arrow brad electric gun you can have. It doesn't work but it only had a single clip run thru it. Arrow does not offer any repairs either on these things so if you want to forward shipping money, I'll be glad to get, send it to you.
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Old 08-09-2011, 07:18 AM   #9
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On the one hand: I couldn't imagine being w/o my air compressor. It's only a small Sears Craftsman one I bought years ago, mainly to inflate tires and blow things off. But now I've got a butterfly impact wrench and air-powered grease gun, as well. I plan to add an air wrench, at least. Possibly an air chisel. An indispensable tool in the shop and around the home, an air compressor is. (My next compressor will be more powerful.)

On the other hand: The guys that installed our new bay window last year were using a Ridgid cordless nailer. I asked them about it and they were very happy with its performance. Very handy. Not tethered to the air compressor. No heavy air hose to horse-around.

So, even already having an air compressor: I'd be hard-put to decide.
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Old 08-16-2011, 11:51 AM   #10
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Up front, air driven can be cheaper. Lots of decent "reconditioned" tools available online. You can find a lot of the smaller nail guns (16ga, 18ga, staplers) for less than $100 each. If you are going to use it a lot, go the air compressor route. If it is occasional use, then maybe a dewalt battery operated one is the way to go but the entry fee is higher. Downside with the battery is that the battery will eventually fail. And on top of that, vendors always seems to change battery design every several years or so and getting stuck with "obsolete" technology sucks. The paslode guns are nice but the fuel does have a shelf life. If you leave the gun alone for months on end, you may end up with something that does not work or worse yet, a waste of fuel. While not expensive for the fuel, letting it sit unused is a waste.

Pricewise, one new battery operated dewalt 16ga is something like $360 (I claim no great memory here). You can get a compressor for 150-200 (cheaper if you want a PC pancake but that is for another thread) and the guns would be 100-120. Even if you spent 200 for the compressor, you are only at 300 with two guns for 100. The air line is $10-20 unless you want something more specific. Upfront it is cheaper. You lose freedom with the compressor.

my reference for dewalt pricing here:

If you are just doing this for small things and don't want to run impact tools or air sprayer, then the above is true. You will need a bigger compressor to do more stuff.

Last edited by algored2deth; 08-16-2011 at 11:59 AM. Reason: typos
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Old 08-25-2011, 10:17 PM   #11
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It depends on what you are doing and how much you use the tools. When framing I use air, but when setting trusses or pickup I use my Paslode nailer. Setting trim or cabinets I use air. Both work good for what you do with them. Air nailers run all day, Paslodes use gas and batteries so the cost is more but setup time is less and no hose to get tangled up in. I have had battery only finish guns but the batteries do not last long so you only want to do small jobs with them. I like my Paslode framing and finish guns but if I have a lot to do it's better to use air.


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