What Is A Brad Nailer Used For? (Detailed Explanation & Tips)

These days, a wide range of tools are available to help you achieve your home repairing or improvement goals. Among those options, a brad nailer is one useful tool that should appear in every woodworker’s kit box.

However, it is much better to understand “what is a brad nailer used for?” to avoid unfortunate circumstances and incorrect ways of use. Therefore, this article will provide a comprehensive explanation along with beneficial tips regarding this matter.

What Is A Brad?


The production of Brads in a brad nailer comes from 18-gauge wire, which is much slender than the prevalent 15 and 16-gauge nails used in battery-powered or air-powered finish nailers. 

Brads’ head is very thin, which leads to a smaller nail hole after the nail gets deep down into the stock’s surface. In other words, you will need to use less wood filler to fill holes before finishing the wood piece, and sometimes, it is unnecessary to fill the hole.

The range sizes of Brads typically fluctuate from 5/8-inch to 1-1/2-inch. Due to their length and diameter limitation, brads commonly lack holding powers, as in wood screws or larger finish nails. As a result, a brad nailer may inhibit the applications on a tiny, delicate trim piece. It means that you probably wouldn’t need to do any structural work with brad nailers.

What Is A Brad Nailer? 

A brad nailer exhibits a look and requires an operation similar to a nail gun. However, unlike many other nailers on the current market, this model does not shoot nails. Instead, it is a device used to shoot brads. 

As mentioned previously, a typical brad nail has an 18-gauge and a cross-sectional area of 0.0475 inches. That is, as you can see, quite small for a nail.


Many inexperienced DIYers have probably never worked with nails that are so small and thin as described. Maybe, you are pondering, “What can such thin nails be useful for?” Brads, on the other hand, are reliable in fixing extremely thin finishing. 

To exemplify this feature, if you are working on very thin trim pieces, using a regular-sized nail could cause them to crack or even break. Therefore, you must use a brad to make sure that the trim does not break.

Generally speaking, a brad nailer is a reliable tool that’s worth being in your tool shed. It comes in handy during the dedicated applications of molding or trimming. Even in a woodworking or carpentry project, you can make use of this tool well. 

Tip: In some cases, a brad nail does not go through completely, then avoid attempting to hammer the head of your nail. Because the brads are thin, making it easily bend. As a result, your work can be going down the drain in the middle of the process. Rather than banging the rest of the brad, though, you should pull it out and repeat the process to drive a new brad nail.

What Is A Brad Nailer Used For? 

Overall, a brad nailer can be used to apply on baseboards, crown holding, and some other projects. 


Thanks to its small appearance, a brad nailer is ideal for attaching baseboards to wall surfaces. This is primarily due to the ease with which brads drive into different woods, allowing you to easily join smaller pieces of wood into larger ones.


It is unnecessary to prepare a carpenter putty for covering up unsightly nails and holes. The previous part has pointed out how thin brad nails are, so you are probably aware that they won’t leave any visible holes in the surface of your wood. It means that you do not need to use wood putty to conceal such holes.

Crown Molding


People usually use crown molding on the ceiling rather than the baseboards. You can see that a regular ceiling in a typical house in America has a border on the lining between the wall surface and the ceiling. And crown molding exhibits that structure, which requires thin nails, non-visible holes. In such cases, choosing to use a brad nailer will be a great option. 

Other projects

Other small-scale in-house improvement crafts and projects also require the need to use brad nailers. 

A brad nailer is the most cost-effective solution for constructing small pieces of wood furniture, as well as binding rails, stops, and covers, all of which necessitate the involvement of thin nails. Some people prefer doing their home renovations with a brad nailer because it saves money on labor and gives more fun.

What Are The Brad Nailer Sizes? 

Based on the use and the capacity of your nailer, a brad nail comes in different sizes. Typically, there are 18-gauge brad nailers, and 21-gauge brad nailers in the market, each of them has different uses. Because of its more powerful strength in attaching many wooden boards simultaneously, woodworkers tend to use 18-gauge brad nailers daily. 


Besides, when looking for a brad nailer, you should take the material’s thickness into account. Ideally, you intend to choose the length of your nails to be three times the thickness of the material. This selection ensures the nails go through the material completely.

Which One Do You Need For Brad Nailers? – Airpower or Electric Power

You can classify brad nailers into two types: air-powered (pneumatic) and battery-powered (cordless). 

The connection between the air compressor and the nailer’s pipe powers the operation of a pneumatic nailer. Changes in the air pressure execute enormous force on the nail, letting it penetrate the material at which you are aiming.

On the other hand, the electrical energy conversion into kinetic energy is possible with a cordless nailer’s consumption of 1.5 amp per hour from the battery. This operation allows users to shoot the nails with great force.


A battery-powered nailer is typically more expensive than a pneumatic model. Furthermore, the purchase can cost you a little more because you also need to buy pneumatic nailer attachments and an air compressor. 

However, battery-powered models are convenient because they are cordless. It means that you don’t have to worry about lugging around an extended length of wire while you work.

In contrast, because there is no battery inside a pneumatic nailer, it is much lighter. It would be best if you considered the weight of a hose attached to the nailer, though. Some people find it inconvenient to transport the compressor.

Pneumatic nailers have a more abrupt performance because they shoot the nails as soon as you click on the button. Before firing a nail, cordless nailers often spin up for a few seconds. You might probably have to handle some issues concerning the heat buildup of the battery-powered one as well.

Further watching: Tool Review: Battery or Air Brad Nailer – Which Is Better? 

The Bottom Line 

We believe you now have a clear answer to the question “What is a brad nailer used for?” Bear in mind some other technical information about its characteristics; then, you’ll be able to choose a brad nailer that satisfies your needs and project goals.