How to Buy Nail Guns on eBay

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How to Buy Nail Guns on eBay

Nail guns are becoming increasingly popular woodworking tools and can save users hours when compared to old fashioned hammers. Nail guns tend to be fairly expensive, but the cost is well worthwhile when the amount of time saved on construction is taken into account. A nail gun features a piston that is driven onto the head of nail at high speed, forcing it into the timber in a single strike. Nails are between 15 and 100 millimetres long and are held in magazines. There are three main types of nail gun, which differ by the methods used to drive the firing pin. The pin can be driven by compressed air, gas, or an electric motor and spring.

As these tools can be fairly expensive, eBay is the perfect place to shop. Sellers offer a wide selection of nail guns and the number of items available keeps pricing competitive. To find the perfect nail gun, learn how to search effectively and narrow or expand the results displayed. A good knowledge of the type of nail guns available and the features to look for helps buyers to make the best purchasing decision. Before committing to buying a nail gun, learn how to evaluate items and sellers on eBay and how to use eBay Shops.

Types of Nail Guns

Before buyers start shopping for a nail gun, they should assess the user's needs. The type of nail gun chosen should be able to perform the tasks required. Nail guns all work in the same way, but are classified according to how their firing pins or pistons are driven. The table below lists and describes the three most common types of nail gun.

Type of Firing Pin Driving Method


Compressed air

Also known as a pneumatic nail gun

Attached to an air compressor via a hose

Must be compatible with the compressor

Operates within a range of pressures measured in pounds per square inch (psi) and minimum air volume measured in cubic feet per minute (cfm)

Compressor's psi and cfm must be equal to or greater than the nail gun's requirements

Most common type for factory use

Butane gas

Powered by butane gas mixed with air in a combustion chamber and ignited by an electric spark

Spark created when trigger is pulled

Factor replacement gas cartridges into the price


Most common for use on building sites

Electric motor

Electric motor and spring drive piston or firing pin

Lightweight, but less powerful

Can be battery operated

Opt for a more lightweight nail gun for infrequent use. Commercial construction workers on building sites tend to use butane gas nail guns.

Gauge of Nail Guns

In addition to the firing pin driving method, consider the size or gauge of the nails that will be used. The table below lists and describes common nail gun gauges, corresponding nail diameter, and their features.

Nail Gun Gauge

Nail Diameter (mm)




Used for construction, decking, fencing, and heavy duty applications

Can accept nails in angled strips

Cannot be countersunk

Ideal for weight bearing uses



Used for construction and large furniture, where the nail head can be visible

Can accept nails in 34 degree angled strips

Nails cannot be countersunk

Can bear weight



Used for skirting, panelling, and interior trim

T-shaped heads are less visible

Can take straight or angled nail strips

Nails can be countersunk

Can bear some weight



Also known as brad nailer

Used for cabinet work and furniture construction, framing, and finer work

Nails can be countersunk

Cannot bear weight and unsuitable for construction



Used for attaching fine trim and accents in decorating and furniture making, model building, and miniature making

Nails can be countersunk

Holes can be filled easily

In some cases a nail gun may not be the right tool for the job as the materials in use are not easy to fix using a single row of nails or pins. Consider investing in a staple gun for tasks like fastening fabric when upholstering furniture or securing chicken wire to fencing.

Factors to Consider when Buying a Nail Gun

Although the way that the nail gun is driven and the type of nails used are the two most important factors to consider when buying a nail gun, some additional features should be taken into account. Ensure that the nail gun has a hardened and tempered firing pin as this is the most important part of the tool. The gun should be simple to load and clearing jams should not be a lengthy or complicated process.

Cordless guns are the easiest to use as there are no wires in the way. If you opt for a model that is corded or used with a compressor, look for swivel attachments to reduce the risk of tangles. Pay attention to the trigger size: a larger trigger is easier to use. The user should be able to operate the gun comfortably while wearing work gloves.

For the most flexibility, choose a nail gun with adjustable nail depths that can be used with a variety of nail sizes. The adjusting process should not be an onerous task. Always check how this is done, how technical the process is, and how long it takes before deciding which nail gun to buy. Never use the wrong nails in your nail gun as the device can malfunction, increasing the risk of injury to the user and those in the general vicinity.

How to Search for Nail Guns on eBay

Searching on eBay is simple. Type a phrase or keywords, for example "Makita nail gun", into the search field, which is located on every page or choose a suggested autocomplete option to see the items available. All items tagged with the keywords you have entered are listed. Include the most suitable item features to refine your search. If you would like more control over your search results, use the advanced search option to narrow or expand the results displayed.

How to Evaluate an Item on eBay

Before you buy, learn all that you can about the item on offer. Click on an individual product to view the item listing page where you can find information such as the full item description, any images, the seller's accepted payment methods, buying options, postage and packaging costs, and the seller's feedback details. If you would like more information or have a question about an item, use the "Ask a question" link to get in touch with the seller. Remember to add postage and packaging costs to the item's final selling price to work out the total cost.

How to Evaluate a Seller on eBay

Getting to know the seller is as important as learning about the item. Click on the number next to the seller's username on the item listing page to see his or her feedback information. Buyers leave feedback for sellers regarding their products and customer service once transactions have been concluded and they have received the items. Detailed seller ratings provide additional information about aspects such as the seller's communication, the accuracy of the item description in the original listing, and the reasonableness of postage and packaging costs. You can also view comments from individual buyers and a list of the items that have been sold by the seller previously.

eBay Shops

Some sellers specialise in specific products or product types and have eBay Shops. If you find a seller who has products and customer service that you like, visit his or her eBay Shop to see more great deals. This allows you to find everything you need in one place, from one seller.


Whether you are building an office block or a doll's house, using a nail gun to drive in nails or pins can save you hours. All nail guns work on the same principle: a piston or firing pin strikes the nail at high speed and shoots it into the wood. The firing pin can be driven by air, gas, or an electric motor and spring. The type of driving method determines the nail gun's suitability for various tasks. Those that work with compressed air are best suited to factory settings; those that work with gas are portable, powerful, and used on construction sites; and those that work with mains power or batteries are often used by DIY enthusiasts.

In addition, the nail gun should be able to accommodate nails of a diameter that is suited to the task being performed. Thinner nails usually cannot bear weight and are not suitable for construction. The gun should be simple to use, with a convenient loading mechanism and easy access to remove jams. Choose a trigger that can be pressed by a user wearing work gloves.

Buying on eBay is simple if you know how to search effectively. Use the item features to narrow your selection. Always evaluate the item and the seller before you buy. Remember that you can ask the seller questions about a listing if you are unsure of anything or would like more information. eBay sellers offer a wide range of nail guns at competitive prices.

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