I have a question regarding Brad nailers and what uses/ shortcuts people use them in there projects or jig? I have never owned one and have always relied on clamps.
Do they save a lot of time?
It would be great to hear any suggestions and makes or models of Brad nailers.
I like battery powered nailer. Far more convenient in a small shop than having an air hose.
For general use I like my Milwaukee 23 gauge pin nailer over the others. If I'm gluing things the pins hold parts together and in alignment long enough for either the glue to set, or to get clamps or screws on.
The little pinner is small, light, and very handy. Obviously it can't put up crown moulding, but I find it extremely useful.
I use them all the time, but prefer air as the guns are lighter and a LOT cheaper than battery options. I find a retractable hose with a coiled extension for the gun works well.
I use an 18ga mostly - it's fantastic for fixing jigs together quickly and for constructing mock ups.
I recently bought a 23ga (probably on John_C2's recommendation again) and love it for fine work.
I also use an 18ga stapler which is great for fixing fabrics or where items need a firmer grip. This sees little use.
My fine nailer was an expensive item and there is a world of difference in the fit and finish of a NZD 400 (never on special!) nailer compared with an NZD 45 (on special) nailer - I've never had a functional problem with the cheapo gun though and would happily buy another.
Higher priced guns will often fire a greater range of pin lengths - My cheapo maxes out at 35mm whereas a more expensive 18ga would easily fire 50mm pins. I don't miss this functionality often as if something needs a nail that long, it probably needs proper joinery.
Brad nailer have there place, they can make jig assembly easier, great for shop furniture, etc. I don't use them much for fine pieces except maybe for attaching backs or assembling internal frames or assemblies that won't be seen.
As to the debate over cordless or air that depends upon their primary function. In the shop where I already have a compressor I definitely prefer my air nailer, smaller, lighter, more easily controlled not to mention cheaper. Outside the shop the cordless comes into its own unless I already have a compressor on site.
I think the above posts sum up the differences between air and electric brad nailers. I have 16g, 18g, and 23g nail guns, an 18 g staple gun, and a staple gun for upholstery. In general, I don't use these much, but if I had to just buy one it would be an 18g and it is handy. My second choice would be the 23 g. The other 3 are for specific uses. I find the 18 g is my go-to for jig building, mostly router templates. If I need to attach a fence to a template, I can put a little glue on the wood, line it up with a square, and tack it in place. Nothing moves, unlike with clamps, and it is a one-hand operation on the nail gun. 18g is also the size for most of the trim I add to built-in cabinets. The 23 g is great for fine moldings on cabinets as well. The pin holes nearly disappear. Could I live my life without one, yes, but they make things easier and faster.
I have 3 guns; an electric brad nailer and 2 air nailers. I use the electric for thin veneers and plywoods 1/4" or thinner. It works well with 5/16 & 1/2" brads. I have a 23g pin nailer that holds up to 1" pins. I use it to hold glue joints in soft woods like pine & poplar. The other air nailer holds up to 2" nails & staples. I use mostly 1" nails because I work with a lot of 3/4" stock.
I use them mostly because they speed up assemblies and lessen the need for clamps.
The electric and pin nailers are Arrows. The largest is a DeWalt.
Don’t overthink it.
Think a bit about what you need (or at least would find most useful), and then buy a quality tool that fills that need. I like air nailers because of cost, and I already have a portable compressor and suitable hose. But if you see battery-powered as fitting better in your work flow, go that route.
I find that 90%-plus of what I use a nailer for is readily and well achieved by either a fine 23G pin nailer or an 18G. Both of mine are DeWalt, but there are others equally good or better.
Final note: don’t forget the options offered by double-sided tape, especially for jigs, etc.
I use pin and brad nailers a lot for housework, like attaching quarter round trim. I sometimes use very small 1/4" quarter round inside boxes or to conceal table top / apron gaps and pin nailers are good for that. Unless you're using it heavily, I don't think brands are that important. I have new and reconditioned Porter Cable brad nailers, and a Hitachi pin nailer.
I have PC brad & pin. I filed the tip of the pin nailer so it sinks the shiny spot sub-surface. Mine are all air-power run off a coiled hose the will reach everywhere in my small shop.
I work building cabinets, furniture, and working on doors and trim... I've been a finish carpenter for years.
I live on a slow diet of pin nails, 18 ga nails and sawdust...
I have some Porter Cable, RIdgid, Dewalt and Hitachi guns. All have lasted for years... Although several have clearly reached the end of life, or rebvuild time.
Any of the ones you get at the big box stores are fine and will last a homeowner/hobby woodworker for a lifetime.
I use pin nailers to hold small pieces of trim while the glue sets. I use them to keep pieces in place until I can get clamps on them. Life saver, the pin nailer.
I use 18 gauge nails to hold piece sin place permanently and to pull small pieces tight.
I use a 15 gauge gun to hold larger panels together when building on the jobsite. I rarely, if ever, pull the 15 ga gun out in the shop.
I use a narrow crown stapler to put thin backs on cases. I also use it to hold things together that won't show, but need a nice solid connection.
I use a t-50 staple gun because I hate squeezing staple guns.
I use to use a framing gun... well, for framing. But I quit that crap and sold my framing gun five or six years ago.
I am a full time furniture maker and cabinet maker. I cannot imagine a shop without a number of different pneumatic guns.
As for battery operated? I have not had a lot, nor any really exciting, experience with them. I find them to sink inconsistently, and always run out of battery power when I am at the top of a ladder, with only a few nails left... And nobody around to hand me a new one.
But, I do own two battery operated guns... Because sometimes it really is just easier than setting up a compressor and dragging hoses around a jobsite.