The Complete Guide to Buying Used Nail Guns

Like if this guide is helpful
The Complete Guide to Buying Used Nail Guns

A nail gun is a tool used to drive nails. Usually nails are used to fasten two pieces of wood, but it may be used in conjunction with other materials. There are a few different types of nail guns with various power sources. Some are powered by electromagnetism, compressed air, combustible gases, or explosive powders. Nail guns have come to replace hammers as the choice among contractors, renovators, do-it-yourselfers, construction professionals, and builders.

Nail guns are much more efficient and easy to use than hammers. They quickly and effortlessly drive nails through materials that would take much more effort with a hammer. Unlike hammers whereby the nail is held by the operator and subsequently hammered in, nails are loaded into a nail gun in a long strip. The nail gun can then drive all the nails in the strip very quickly without any sort of reloading or other stoppages. It is important for buyers to consider the power and type of nail gun they need to match the type of nails they intend to use and their own competencies and safety concerns.

Types of Nail Guns

There are different types of nail guns available that have different uses, usually dictated by their respective levels of power or the type of nails they accept. The size, manner of operation, safety features, performance features, and specialisation features should all be carefully weighed against one another for the buyer to find the ideal product. The various types can at first seem overwhelming, but as buyers narrow their intended use for the products, nail gun options become much more straightforward.

Type of Nail Gun


Brad Nailer

Smaller, light projects

Finish Nailer

Finish work

Floor Nailer

Laying flooring

Framing Nailer

General use and construction

Roof Nailer


Nail guns are powered differently, designed for different applications, and have different features which may not align with the user's intended purpose. A high-powered nail gun is not only excessive for the purposes of finish work, it can be detrimental to the delicate materials.

Brad Nailer

A brad nailer is typically an electric powered type of nail gun. It is usually used in conjunction with 18-gauge nails that can be up to two inches in length. Brad nailers are often considered an entry level model and integrate numerous safety features to protect beginner level users. Brad nailers are not only for entry level buyers however. Some models are marketed towards more sophisticated users and can be very powerful with a variety of more advanced features.

Finish Nailer

Finish nailers are typically moderate relative to the other available alternatives, both in regards to size and power. Finish nailers are for more delicate finish work. Nails are usually 15 or 16-gauge that can be up to two and a half inches in length. A unique feature of finish nailers is that they can accommodate finish nails. Finish nails have very tiny heads so when they are driven into wood, they are not easily visible giving a more finished appearance. Finish nailers are often electrically powered.

Floor Nailer

A floor nailer is high powered and large. The unique feature of floor nailers is a 45 degree angle at the end of the barrel. This allows the operator to hold the nail gun in an ergonomic manner while still putting the nails in the right spot on the floor. Floor nailers may be powered by compressed air, electricity, or combustible gases or powders to provide the power necessary to drive the nails through durable flooring materials. Floor nailers are highly specialised and are difficult to use in applications other than laying flooring.

Framing Nailer

Framing nailers are perhaps the most popular of all the nail guns. They are frequently used for general construction applications. They are the heaviest and most powerful of the nail guns available, but also the most versatile. Framing nail guns can accept longer, more heavy duty nails but are ineffective when nailing into concrete, or other exceptionally hard materials. The design of the specific framing nailer determines the range of nails it is capable of accepting.

Roof Nailer

Roof nailers are typically small and low powered, since they are almost exclusively used for affixing shingles to roofs. Roof nailers often have very large capacities, or nail magazines. Since so many nails are required to properly attach a roof, a large capacity is essential to avoid lost time reloading. Roof nailers also accept nails with the widest diameter heads, which are commonly used in roofing. Roof nailers are not very versatile and have little use outside of roofing applications.

Operation of a Nail Gun

Most nail guns are powered by electricity or compressed air. Only specialised nail guns designed for driving nails into exceptionally hard materials rely on combustible fuels for power. Electric powered nail guns are the simplest and most straightforward. These often rely on rechargeable batteries. They are available in both corded and cordless models. Compressed air guns are much more powerful and typically more durable, but require additional hardware such as hoses and air tanks.

Air compressed nail guns are typically much more expensive in addition to requiring far more hardware. However, their increased performance and durability also adds to the value of the product for construction professionals. Home renovators or casual nail users should seek a nail gun that has just enough power to meet their needs. Additional or excess power can detract from the product performance for buyers looking for basic nail gun performance. Nail guns also have different loading mechanisms and may require specially designed coils of nails to function properly.

Safety Features of Nail Guns

Unfortunately, nail guns cause many injuries every year due to misuse and carelessness. Many manufacturers have begun integrating safety features into their nail guns to reduce the risk of harm. Dual contact mechanisms that operate as a "safety" are almost standard on nail guns at this point. A dual contact mechanism means that the tip of the nail gun must be compressed against the surface before the nail gun can be fired. A sequential firing mechanism is another method of ensuring safety. This device only allows the nail gun to fire one nail at a time. The nail gun must be reset from a safety standpoint before another nail can be fired.

Additional Features of Nail Guns

All nail guns jam, so an anti-jamming mechanism for making jams easy to fix is an important feature. This can be accomplished by offering easy access to the feed tube so that the operator can remove lodged nails. Nail depth adjustment is another important feature of nail guns. Operators may not want to sink the nails as deep as possible, so many nail guns include a feature that can set the depth to the desired level. Adjustable feeders to accommodate different nail sizes are another worthwhile feature to consider.

How to Buy a Used Nail Gun on eBay

Buying a used nail gun on eBay is easy, straightforward, and typically more affordable than in a retail environment. Shoppers can start by entering broad search terms into the search box available on any page of eBay's website. Alternatively, shoppers can navigate the intuitive categories eBay supplies to display the results. Shoppers can then filter the results to only display used items in addition to a variety of other features. The results can also be organised according to buying format, price, and even time left at auction.

Shipping costs also must be accounted for but in the case of nail guns, it is unlikely to be a major issue. Shipping is unlikely to be problematic due to the relatively small size of nail guns, however buyers should investigate shipping to ensure the potential for a nail gun to used as a weapon does not cause logistical issues. Regardless of the type of nail gun a shopper seeks or the features they need, eBay provides the most options at the most affordable prices virtually guaranteeing that buyers can find their ideal product.


A nail gun is a great investment for the home renovator or construction professional. A used nail gun is an excellent way to get even more value while still getting exceptional performance. Buyers have many different nail gun options, some of them are highly specialised and some are more versatile. For highly specialised applications, buyers should consider nail guns designed for their specific performance. For more general applications, framing nailers and brad nailers are a great versatile choice.

Buyers should also familiarise themselves with any safety materials provided. Nail guns are potentially dangerous if not properly used so operators should be competent before using a nailer. Nail guns, such as compressed air or specialised nail guns, may require additional hardware, or unique coils for loading the nails into the unit. These additional expenses should be accounted for before a buyer makes a final purchasing decision. Buyers must consider the five most important factors related to purchasing a nail gun are size, operation, safety, specialisation, and additional features.

Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides