When shopping for a nailer, there are many options to consider. One of the decisions you would need to make is choosing between angled vs straight finish nailers.
The answer is not as straightforward as you think.
So, let’s take a look at how they vary and the reason for choosing one over the other.
Types Of Nailers
For most nailers, this isn’t something you need to think about.
Finishing nailers and framing nailers are pretty much the only types that come in both angled and straight options.
The finishing nailer is a nailer for baseboards and crown molding work, to name a few examples. They work with headless nails that are driven deep down the wood, leaving no visible nail heads on the finished surface.
Differences Between Angled vs Straight Finish Nailers
Obviously, the appearance is the most significant distinction between angled vs straight finish nailers. The magazine’s angle gives these nail guns their shape.
Can you use either of them?
Assume you’re holding a nailer with the tip pointing downward and aligned to the floor.
A straight nail gun looks like an ‘L’, having the nail chamber stretching from it and remaining aligned to the floor.
An angled nailer, in contrast, has the nail chamber coming up at an angle. Depending on the type of nail gun you’re looking at, the degree of this angle can vary.
Framing nailers come in a variety of sizes and angles: 34, 30, 28, and 21 degrees. The angle gets sharper with a higher degree and the space taken is reduced.
It’s important to keep in mind that this angle has no bearing on the angle at which the nail enters the wood. The nailer will drive the nail into the wood at a 90-degree angle if you keep the tip flush with the work surface.
These tools are angled specifically for taking less space and making them more versatile.
While it may seem to be a minor difference, whether a nailer is angled or straight has a significant effect on what it can be used for.
The nails are hidden. So, if a nail head is visible on the surface, it won’t matter as much.
Keep in mind that the sharper the angle, the more room you’ll save.
The nails in an angled finish nailer are slightly bigger, owing to the magazine’s nature. The design helps them to carry bigger nails and drive them more effectively into the surface.
These nails are also more expensive and harder to find compared to those used in straight nailers.
- When installing trim, paneling, etc. you need to be able to work around walls, corners, and doors
- Useful for cabinet-making
- Ability to work in tight spaces
- Nails are more difficult to get and a bit more expensive.
A straight nailer uses thinner nails, making the nail head not as noticeable. They’re difficult to fit into smaller spaces, so they’re often used on surfaces with more room.
While they lack the precision and agility of angled finish nailers, they are ideal for framing and doing basic projects.
- Nail holes that are smaller are easier to conceal
- Great for basic, straightforward framing and construction
- It costs less compared to straight nailers
- Not possible to fit into small spaces
When it comes to angled vs straight finish nailers, what is the best option for your project?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer. Like most other things, the selection is determined by how you plan to use it.
An angled nailer is a better option if you are planning to work in tight spaces and need a bit more leverage on where you drive the nail.