What Is the Best Flooring Nailer?
As our top pick for the best flooring nailer, the Freeman PF18 GLCN Pneumatic 18-Guage Cleat Flooring Nailer easily stood out because of its ease of use and versatility, as it’s suitable even for exotic floor types. Many customers were also satisfied with the price.
Not all flooring nailers are created equal. In fact, there are variations not only in performance and features, but also the types of flooring surfaces these nail guns are compatible with.
To locate the right flooring nailer, we pored over hundreds of customer reviews, weighed the pros and cons of each tool, and considered the different features each has to offer.
We considered feedback from customers who were professional carpenters, while others were just looking for a handy tool for home DIY projects. We also took into account the costs– both of the devices themselves and any related expenses, such as fuel or back-up batteries.
Top 8 Best Flooring Nailers: Our Picks & Recommendations
- Best Overall: Freeman PF 18GLCN Pneumatic 18-Gauge Cleat Flooring Nailer for Bamboo and Exotic Flooring
- Best Budget: NuMax SFL 618 Pneumatic 3-in-1 15.5-Guage and 16-Guage
- Best 18 gauge flooring: WEN 61741 4-in-1 18-Guage Pneumatic Flooring Nailer and Stapler with Case
- Best Hardwood: Ramsond RMM4 2-in-1 Air Hardwood Flooring Cleat Nailer and Stapler Gun
- Best Dual Handle: NuMax S50LSDH Pneumatic 2-in-1 15.5-Guage and 16-Guage 2″ Dual Handle Flooring Nailer and Stapler
- Best Air: Central Pneumatic 2-in-1 Hardwood Floor Air Nailer, Stapler
- Best Pneumatic: Bostitch MIIIFN 1-1/2–2″ Pneumatic Flooring Nailer
- Best Mini: Freeman PFBC Pneumatic 4-in-1 18-Guage 1-5/8″ Mini Flooring Nailer and Stapler
How to Choose the Right Flooring Nailer?
It’s a good idea to consider several factors when choosing the right flooring nailer.
18-Gage vs. 16-Guage Flooring Nail Gun
An 18-guage nailer is thinner than the 16-guage variety. Therefore, a 16-guage uses thicker nails and is well-suited to thicker flooring surfaces.
Pneumatic vs. Manual Flooring Nailer
Pneumatic nailers are a good fit for tight spaces, while manual flooring nailers don’t work as well there. Pneumatic nailers tend to weigh less than the manual type, too.
Some units have a compact body construction, while others are bulkier. Parts should also be well-designed to prevent dry firing and jamming.
To install flooring securely, you need a tool with a solid build construction. Toward that end, look for a nailer with an aluminum body, which should be sturdy enough to meet your needs.
Ergonomics and Comfort
Ergonomically designed units can be used comfortably, even for extended time periods. They’re made so as not to contribute to backaches and the like. Other points to consider are how much pressure the unit requires and how many nails it can hold when the magazine is full.
Nailers are operated either with gas or electricity. Both work well. It just depends on your preference.
Ergonomic handles allow for a secure grasp without giving your wrists a workout.
Lighter-weight models are easy to carry around. They’re also ideal for working in overhead spaces that might require you to position yourself somewhat awkwardly. Many of the top flooring nailers weigh less than ten pounds, and some weigh as little as five.
8 Best Flooring Nailers Review
Here’s a list of the best flooring nailers we found on the market:
What You Will Love: Durable, yet lightweight, can handle a variety of flooring thicknesses and materials.
If you’re looking for the top flooring nailer overall that can tackle virtually any surface, look no further than the Freeman PF 18GLCN Pneumatic 18-Guage Cleat Flooring Nailer for Bamboo and Exotic Flooring.
With its lightweight aluminum body and ergonomic comfort-grip handle, it’s easy to maneuver. Since it’s equipped with a no-mar foot, it’s designed to prevent scratches in flooring materials when driving nails.
You can use the device with hardwood flooring and finished surfaces. Because it drives 18-inch L-cleats, it’s ideal for a variety of highly-dense flooring materials: Brazilian teak, cherry, strand-woven bamboo, and engineered flooring, to name a few.
With 3 interchangeable base plates, you can install flooring from 3/8″ to 3/4″ thick. The magazine works with cleats between 1-1/4 to 1-3/4″.
- Easy to adjust
- Easy to use
- Works well with exotic flooring
- Some people had problems adjusting the unit
- Remember to oil it regularly.
What You Will Love: Durable, versatile, ergonomic design, intended for L-cleats, T-cleats and stapling.
If you want to get the right flooring nailer on a budget, consider the NuMax SFL 618 Pneumatic 3-in-1 15.5-Guade and 16-Guage Flooring Nailer and Stapler.
With its lightweight design and extended ergonomic handle, it’s easy to maneuver and shouldn’t leave you with a backache. And comes with a light strike bumper for low-impact nailing.
Plus, there’s a rubber mallet included to help you secure the flooring. One thing customers especially like about this unit is its versatility– you can quickly switch between T-cleats, L-cleats, and stapling.
When installing tongue and groove hardwood, this can be your go-to tool because it allows you to install 1/2 to 3/4 flooring, courtesy of two interchangeable base plates.
Whether you’re using this flooring nailer on the job site or a home-improvement project, you can expect to achieve professional results, and easy access to the magazine makes it easier to fill it and clear jams.
- 3-in-1 capacity
- Durable, ergonomically-designed
- Allows for different floor thicknesses
- Very few complaints and none of them pointed to any consistent problems.
Best 18 gauge flooring
What You Will Love: Versatility and ease of use for floor nailing and stapling.
When it comes to the best 18-guage pneumatic flooring nailer, our top pick is the WEN 61741 4-in-1 Nailer and Stapler because of its versatility and ease-of-use.
Its ergonomic handle gives you extra endurance for those especially long, tiring jobs. You can use this all-purpose tool to drive 18-guage brad nails from 5/8 to 2 inches in length, or quarter-inch crown staples from from 1/2 to 1-5/8 inches in length.
If you find yourself in a jam, the quick-release nose makes it easy to clear. Give your flooring a professional finish with the (removable) no-mar tip. When you attach the adjustable spring-loaded flooring head, you can angle fasteners at 45-degrees.
When you hook up your air compressor, you’ll be able to run the unit at between 60 and 100 psi. An on-board depth-adjustment wheel allows you to control how deeply your fasteners penetrate flooring surfaces.
You can use the included carrying case to store and transport the unit, protecting it from damage.
- Versatile and precise
- Works with different nail lengths
- Very few complaints; no consistent issues
Best Hardwood Flooring Nailer
What You Will Love: Capable of nailing and stapling, sturdy and built to last.
When it comes to the top hardwood flooring nailer, that award goes to the Ramsond RMM4 2-in-1 Air Hardwood Flooring Cleat Nailer and Stapler Gun. It’s capable of shooting 15.5 and 16-guage 1–2-inch staples, and L-cleats from 1-1/2 to 2″.
If you don’t like having to frequently reload your nailer, you will be happy to know that the magazine holds 100 cleats or staples.
With its wide non-marring base plate and durable die-cast alloy design, it can stand up to the wear and tear that’s a regular part of the job, but it’s lightweight enough to be easy to carry.
It’s also made not to damage your flooring in the course of nailing and stapling. This versatile tool allows you to drive nails quickly and get them close to the wall for secure floor installation.
- Easy to use
- Can deliver professional quality
- 2-in-1 capacity
- A few complaints that the unit leaked after a short time.
Best Dual Handle Flooring Nailer
What You Will Love: Versatile dual-capacity, can be used on a variety of surfaces, ergonomic design minimizes fatigue during big projects.
If you want to add the best dual handle flooring nailer and stapler to your toolkit, check out the NuMax S50LDSH Pneumatic 2-in-1 15.5-Guage and 16-Guage 2″ Dual Hndle Flooring Nailer and Stapler.
It allows you to install 1/2 to 3/4″ solid or engineered tongue and groove flooring in a variety of materials, such as oak, cherry, maple, walnut, and even bamboo and exotic flooring.
With three interchangeable base plates, this air-powered unit is compatible with 16-guage L-cleats (1-1/2 to 2″) and 15.5-guage 1/2″ crown staples (also 1-1/2″ to 2″).
What customers especially like about this unit is its two-handled design that lets you choose whether to kneel or stand during installation. The quick-release nose allows you to clear jams quickly, so they don’t compromise your productivity.
Since the unit is designed not to mar flooring surfaces, it makes it easier to achieve professional results.
- Capable of nailing and stapling
- Can be used with a wide variety of flooring materials
- Easy dual handles allow you to install floors while standing or kneeling.
- Customer reviews didn’t cite consistent flaws.
Related reading: Numax 3-In-1 Flooring Nailer SFL618 Review
Best Air Flooring Nailer
What You Will Love: Dual-capacity (nailing and stapling), doesn’t damage floor surfaces.
If you want to find the best air flooring nailer, then the Central Pneumatic 2-in-1 Hardwood Floor Air Nailer may just be the solution you need.
Made for 1/2″ to 3/4″ floor panels, this unit uses cleat nails measuring 1-1/2 to 2″ long, or 1–2″ floor staples. The top-loading magazine holds 80 staples or 100 cleat nails.
To top off your toolkit, this unit operates and 90 psi and comes with goggles, hex wrenches, air tool oil, spacers and screws.
Included you will also find a rubber face slug hammer, designed to prevent hammer marks, so your flooring installation looks professional.
- Versatile with its nailing and stapling capabilities
- Designed to protect flooring surfaces when installing
- Some users found that the unit drives nails in such a way that it is difficult to line up subsequent floor panels in the appropriate slots.
Best Pneumatic Flooring Nailer
What You Will Love: Lightweight and durable, designed for high-accuracy, protects floors from damage during installation.
In search of the best pneumatic flooring nailer, we came up with the Bostitch MIIFN. Designed to driving L-shaped flooring cleats, it’s made of aircraft-grade aluminum, making it lightweight and portable.
You can use it on unfinished and pre-finished hardwood flooring. With its long-grip handle, you can install flooring in a natural, comfortable position. Since it’s equipped with an adapter foot and extra-wide base plates, you can drive nails just where you want them.
When you want to operate this flooring nailer, just connect it to an air compressor for 420 inch/pounds, allowing you to power up your tool between 70 and 120 psi. The magazine holds 120 cleat nails, so you don’t have to constantly reload.
With its durable design, this unit works well for DIY home improvement projects, yet it’s sturdy enough to stand up to daily use on the job.
- Allows you to drive nails with precision
- Only a small number of complaints that the unit broke down after a short time.
Best Mini Flooring Nailer
What You Will Love: Durable, versatile, reload indicator lets you know when staples/nails are running low.
If you don’t have a lot of room for large tools or want something that’s easy to transport, take a look at the Freeman PFBC Pneumatic 4-in-1 18-guage 1-5/8″ Mini Flooring Nailer– the best mini flooring nailer we could find.
With its lightweight, die-cast aluminum body, you won’t get a workout toting it around. The handle is ergonomically-designed too. And its quick-release latch makes it possible to quickly remove nail jams without taking the whole unit apart.
One feature customers especially like is the angled flooring attachment that allows you to use the tool as a brad nailer and stapler or a flooring nailer and stapler. With tool-free depth-adjustment, you can conveniently control how the nails fire.
The magazine works with 18-gauge brad nails between 5/8″ and 1-5/8″, and 18-gauge 1/4″ narrow crown staples from 1/2″ to 1-5/8″. Another plus: There’s a reload indicator that lets you know when to replenish your supply of nails or staples.
- Stapling and nailing capability
- Finger-directed depth adjustment
- Reload indicator
- We couldn’t find many.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s a flooring nailer?
The right flooring nailer eliminates the need for a hammer. Not only can you nail down flooring faster with these devices, you can also do it more accurately than you can manually.
What type of nailer do you need for bamboo flooring?
A high-powered 18-gauge nailer is recommended for bamboo flooring. This type of tool can power through the surface while preventing it from splitting or sustaining other damage.
Why do you need a flooring nailer?
A flooring nailer is much more efficient and accurate than nailing by hand. These devices often come with features that protect your work surface, too.
Who makes the best flooring nailer?
When you’re looking for the best flooring nailer, it’s important to do your research so you know what you’re getting. You also need to consider the projects you’re doing, and what materials you need.
Price is important too. You’ll likely want to invest more in a tool for the job site than you would for one you’d buy for the occasional household project.
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