How to Buy Nails on eBay

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How to Buy Nails on eBay

Whether hanging shelves on the wall or fastening shingles to a roof, nails are used to hold a variety of things together and in place. Just as there are a myriad of reasons to use nails, they come in an array designs, each with their own specific functions. When picking out nails, customers should be familiar with the materials being used and how long the shank of the nails need to be. Additionally, each task requires certain types of nail heads and points, so DIYers should research all the available options before purchasing nails.

Shopping online gives buyers the opportunity to find what they need from home; they no longer have to go venture to their local hardware store to pick up nails. eBay has numerous nails to choose from, and as long nas shoppers know the type, size, amount, and finish they need to get the job done, buying online has never been more convenient.

Anatomy of a Nail

There are three parts that make up the nail: the head, shank, and point. Each type of nail has a unique combination of each. The head refers to the part that is hit with a hammer. The shank is the elongated middle portion of the nail and responsible for holding it in place. The type of point determines how easy the nail is to drive into the surface; dense surfaces may require a sharper point, and blunt nails also have their advantages. eBay shoppers are encouraged to know the options available to choose the best nails for the job.

Nail Head

When buying nails on eBay, it is important to know the difference among the four styles of nail heads. Flat head nails are the most common and used for a variety of tasks. They come in several diameters. The larger the head, the easier it is to drive it into the base. Flat heads are often used in a variety of projects including insulation and sheathing. Checked flat heads have a textured surface, making each hammer strike more effective. This style of nail is often preferred for framing jobs.

Countersink head nails have a conical shape typically smaller than most flat heads. These nails can be driven below the surface and covered with putty then painted over to hide their presence. Countersink nails are popular with finishing jobs. Similarly, the concave design of the cupped head makes it easy to hide in drywall applications.

Nail Shank

The shank is the middle section of the nail; in addition to coming in many lengths, there are several shank designs. The smooth shank is cylindrical in shape and the most popular configuration since it can be used for a variety of jobs. Ringed shanks are often used in woods of medium and soft density. Screw shanks are preferred for hardwoods and dense materials. Barbed shanks are recognised by their herringbone design; they hold better than smooth shank but are not as good as screw shanks. For heavy duty jobs involving cinderblocks and other similar materials, flute shanks provide a solid hold.


The design of the point determines how the nail is driven in, so understanding the various points helps shoppers pick the right nail for the job. Diamond points are the most popular option for common household tasks. Long points are used to drive nails into drywall and hard surfaces. Blunt point nails are the toughest to drive in, and they are the preferred choice when wanting to reduce the chance of accidentally splitting wood.

Types of Nails

Nails come in an assortment of head, shank, and point combinations; many of these designs have a specific name and function. For example, a flat head, smooth shank, and diamond point combination is referred to as a "common nail". The chart below lists the most popular types of nails and their general use.


Description and Use

Box Nail

Less weight and thinner shank than a common nail; best for small household projects

Casing Nail

Recognised by its tapered head to fit just below the surface; narrow head and shank with diamond point; similar to finishing nail

Common Nail

Flat head, smooth shank, and diamond point; versatile nail, and has many variations, such as box, casing, finishing, etc.

Cut Nail

Primitive style nail with squarish head, wedged shank, and blunt point; used to attach wood to concrete since it provides superior hold

Drywall Nail

Also called annular ring or ring shank nails; optimal choice for drywall insulation since the rings on the shank minimise slippage

Duplex Head Nail

One head stacked upon another; popular choice for nails used in temporary situations such as marking

Finishing Nail

Head rounded and slightly wider than the shank; similar to casing nail

Masonry Nail

Used to fasten brick and other similar materials and available in fluted, round, or square heads

Roofing Nail

Noted for its wide, flat head and short shank; often made of materials or galvanised to prevent corrosion and rusting

The materials hammered together and task dictate which style of nail is best for shoppers. While common nails can be versatile, there may other types better suited for the condition. Nailing shingles to a rood is better left to roofing nails, and hanging a painting on drywall needs an annular nail. Becoming familiar with the most common types of nails and their functions allow eBay shoppers to make a more informed decision.

Picking Material and Finish

Finding the right nails also involves understanding the benefits of each composition and finish. Most nails are made from steel, yet eBay also has aluminium, brass, bronze, copper, nickel, and stainless steel options available. Stainless steel and aluminium are engineered to resist rust. Aluminium nails are often used with projects involving more aluminium, especially siding and screening. If cedar and redwood is the preferred material, stainless steel nails are best since they are less susceptible to rusting; moreover, these nails do not stain or streak the wood.

In addition to knowing the primary materials, nails can be cemented, vinyl, or galvanised coated to increase the strength or reduce rust. Cement and vinyl coatings on nails increase the strength of nail. Hot-and electro galvanized are used for creating rust resistant nails. Blue coated nails are ideal for indoor projects. Before buying nails on eBay, shoppers should know which materials and finishes are best for the project they are tackling.

More Tips for Choosing Nails on eBay

Once shoppers have assessed their project and determined which style nail best meets their needs, they still have a few steps to complete before searching on eBay. Keeping in mind the nail must be driven at least two thirds into the base to provide adequate support, customers should know the length required for the project. Most nails are sold in millimetre increments.

Buyers should have an estimate of the quantity for purchase. While they do not need an exact number, it is always a prudent to buy more nails than needed and account for the unexpected. Customers may want to set a budget to avoid overspending. They can establish a base rate by comparing prices at local stores and other websites. Sellers on eBay often list nails lower than retail price, but it is important to be familiar with the average going rate when looking for a bargain. Additionally, shoppers should remember to factor in shipping when calculating costs.

Buying Nails on eBay

Finding the listings for nails you need on eBay is a breeze. Instead of wading through hundreds of options, try adding keywords to help limit your search. For example, if you plan to undertake a roofing project, you can type "roofing nails" into the search bar. Moreover, you do not have to know exactly how many nails are needed, but an approximation helps narrow down results. eBay allows customers to limit results by required number of nails.

Payment Methods

eBay offers sellers four different payment methods to choose from when conducting transactions. Nearly all sellers favour PayPal. With a PayPal account and few clicks, you can safely transfer funds to the seller. Many sellers accept debit and credit cards, which offer the same security, but it requires entering in your card information every time. Large ticket items like heavy duty construction equipment may use escrow accounts to complete transactions. Lastly, a few sellers still accept personal cheques, direct wire transfers, and post orders. Read the seller's approved methods before committing to a listing.


Nails hold a variety of things together, and it is up to the buyer to know which type and size is right for their task. A well-planned project is essential when finding the right nails on eBay. From head to point, each style of the nail has a particular purpose. The shanks on roofing nails are shorter to keep them from protruding through the other side. Common nails can be purchased in an array of sizes and can be used to accomplish a multitude of tasks.

The material and finish is equally as important to the decision making process. Shoppers completing indoor projects do not have to worry about how nails hold up to extreme weather conditions; therefore, whether or not the nail is galvanised does not matter. Nails for outdoor projects need to be made from materials or have protective coatings that prevent corrosion or rust. DIYers familiar with each type and function make the best decisions when buying nails on eBay.

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