Today I got a question from a reader about my brad nailer and air compressor, and I thought it might be helpful to pass along that information to the rest of you, just in case you’re in the market for one yourself.
First of all, let me just say that if you’re a regular DIYer, and you haven’t yet purchased a brad nailer and an air compressor, you should march out the door right this minute and head to the nearest home improvement store and purchase one.
WAIT!!! I didn’t mean RIGHT this minute. You can finish reading this post first!!
I put off purchasing a brad nailer and air compressor for several years, because for some reason, I placed those items in the “luxury” category of tools, rather than the “necessity” category. But now that I have mine, I can’t possibly imagine how I went so long without it. It cuts down drastically on the amount of time and effort that projects take. A hammer and nails seem like archaic tools compared to my brad nailer!
So when I finally decided to purchase my own, I went for the cheap one. I knew I didn’t need anything fancy or heavy duty, and since I only do crafty building projects and I’m not planning on building a house from scratch or re-roofing my condo building any time soon, I only needed a brad nailer as opposed to a framing nail gun. And, we’ve already established that I’m super cheap. So I found the cheapest deal at Lowe’s, and ended up with this brad nailer/air compressor combo for $99.
This one shoots up to 2” 18-gauge brads. (Brads are finish nails, by the way—the kind that don’t have large round heads on them.) For the amount of money I paid, it was quite a bargain, and I’ve certainly gotten a lot of use out of it. However, there are a few things about it that I’m not crazy about.
First of all, the air compressor only goes up to about 90 psi. That has actually been sufficient for all of my projects, but because it’s only a 2-gallon tank, it has to fill up quite often during use.
Second, the connector where the hose meets the nail gun leaks air. I’ve recently learned that I can use plumbing tape around the connector and that will probably take care of the problem. I still need to try that.
Third, I’m not crazy about the coiled air hose. In fact, it’s just a pain. I would much prefer to have a straight hose.
So overall, I’m pretty pleased with my air compressor and brad nailer, but this might be the one tool that I wish I had saved up a bit more money for and purchased a slightly nicer model. If I had to do it again, I’d probably purchase a Porter Cable compressor and nail gun.
I think that’s a 6-gallon tank and it comes with a straight hose and a brad nailer for about $179 at Home Depot. The only drawback is that it looks like this brad nailer only shoot up to 1 3/8” brads, and there are times that I’ve definitely needed longer brads. However, the compressor and nailer can be purchased separately, and Porter Cable has several different sizes of nail guns available.
So here’s the bottom line…my two cents on air compressors and nail guns:
- If you’re a DIYer, you need to move this tool from the “luxury” category to the “necessity” category immediately,
- Don’t purchase the absolute cheapest. Spend a bit more and get a mid range product,
- Get a compressor that holds at least 5 or 6 gallons, and goes up to about 100 psi.
- If you’re only using this for light DIY projects (and you’re not planning on framing a house with it), then you only need a brad nailer, and not a framing gun.
- Be sure that the brad nailer will shoot up to 2” brads, which is sufficient for all light DIY projects.
I’m telling you, once you get one, you’ll thank me!! I’ve done all kinds of projects with mine, from the big projects (installing board and batten walls, planking my kitchen ceiling, building closets in my bedroom), to medium sized projects (building a coffee table), to the smallest projects (making candlesticks).
Okay, NOW you can head for the door.
When undertaking any major D.I.Y work in your home it is very important to firstly check that any work you do won’t invalidate your home insurance if it is not completed by a professional. If you are in any doubt it is always best to contact your insurer first.