I was picking up a new box of brad nails lately, and ran into a bit of a situation. I needed more 2″ nails for testing, and a smaller size for project use. Just maybe a thousand or two of the 2″ nails would keep me supplied for a while.
I was off to Home Depot to pick up some supplies, and figured I would check out the nail selection. In terms of brad nails, there was Porter Cable, Dewalt, and Grip-Rite.
I wanted to buy Dewalt, but they didn’t have any boxes of 2″ brad nails on the shelf. There were boxes of Grip-Rite nails, but I don’t need 5,000 nails. A 2,500 pack was the most I was looking to buy. So I ended up with a pack of 1,000 Porter Cable nails.
I use air nailers, and now cordless nailers, regularly, but I don’t often go through more than a couple dozen nails. So while I would have preferred to buy Dewalt nails, which might very well be the same as Porter Cable nails but in higher quantity packaging – this is a great question for me to ask – that’s more about general brand sentiments than nail quality.
My next thought was to wonder about how you guys buy your nailer nails.
Do you prefer a particular brand? Quantity packaging? Where do you go to buy your nails – online, big box stores, or other suppliers?
Looking online, I found Dewalt 2″ 18 gauge brad nails on Amazon (yay!), but in 5,000 count boxes (boo).
I realize that pro users will go through a box of 5,000 or 10,000 nails in the size or sizes that they use often. If you buy your nails in higher quantity packs, did you settle on a favorite brand, or will you use whatever’s most easily available or at the lowest price?
Please tell us all about your nailer nail preferences!
Although I mentioned brad nailers, the same questions apply to staples, finish nails, framing nails, and the such.
One more question – have you ever come across compatibility issues, say with 18 gauge nails frequently jamming or otherwise not working in your brad nailer as well as another brands?
I feel the same way. I recently bought 5000 narrow crown staples to help me add backs to some cabinets. I think that my grandchildren will inherit some of those one day.
I bought from Amazon as part of the Father’s Day promotion. The reviews there indicated that many boxes come opened with nails and/or staples thrown everywhere in the box. Mine barely made it to me in the original packaging.
I think that next time I will just buy from a big box store.
Lowe’s offers a solid selection of 1,000 count nails in most finish and framing nail gauges in the Hitachi brand. I find they are the same price or better than HD’s porter cable nails and have better packaging.
I bought a bunch of nails at Lowes in the last few months. I bought the Craftsman C3 cordless nailer recently and decided it would be good that have a small stock of a bunch of sizes for when/if I need them. Bought both Hitachi and Bostitch from Lowes.
I bought a Senco 20XP and found that it would shoot all sizes using any brand of nail except 1 1/4. It will only load Senco brand 1 1/4 nails; any other brand and the head sits above the slot by about 1/64, just enough to not allow the slide to engage. I tried Dewalt, Bostich, Hitachi – no luck. After calling Senco they sent me a line of their 1 1/4 nails and they fit.
No one at Senco can explain this other than to suggest I buy Senco nails. I suggested that I would send them the nailer and they could verify it themselves and send me one that works right but Senco was not interested in providing this level of customer service.
Senco has been that way for the last 20 years, probably even longer. Can’t blame them for wanting you to use their nails in their gun. Just put the nail head in the next groove up in the magazine, problem solved.
I had once thought to use the 1 1/2 slot but figured with the extra 1/4 in of travel the nail would not shoot straight. Thanks to you I gave it a shot today and it worked great! No jams or bent nails in over 100 tries.
Thanks again for the advice. And Senco can eat my shorts.
You are very welcome Gary! I have been doing that for many years and countless thousands of nails with no problems, I wish the same for you.
15 and 18 ga Senco nails in qty 700-1200 packs from Amazon. Great price, plenty of nails for my purposes (home renovation, DIY). Also, Senco offers 18 ga. packs of assorted lengths. Work perfectly in Dewalt nailers – I’ve put thousands through with no misfires.
I went on a nail buying spree after getting a porter cable nailer that refused to work right.
couldnt figure out why it wasnt working! so I tried 4 or 5 different brands of nails assuming it must just be very finicky.
Turns out the fine folks at PC forgot to install an important part that was not visible… so nails weren’t the issue.
Anyway, now that I have 5000 nails of various brands I’ve tried them all, I cant tell which I am using at any given time.
In 18-gauge (air and Ryobi 18V) I haven’t had any issues with any of the brands I’ve used so far ( Grip Fast, Senco, Bostitch, Harbor Freight). In 15-gauge I’ve only used Senco. Brand usually ended up being decided by what was in stock in the size and finish/material I needed. Usually purchased from big box stores. Our local building supply store went out of business years ago.
In small staplers I’ve only had good luck with matching brand staples.
Funny you should mention staplers. Just today I was cursing Stanley. I have an older stapler from them (not air) that was consistently fowling up on new Stanley staples. When I switched over to a box of Arrow staples, the stapler worked flawlessly. My Porter Cable air stapler will take either package without fuss.
For us the answer to some of your questions was yes.
If we estimated correctly and had enough lead time we’d buy through one of the regular suppliers that we dealt with in 3 different states . If we had a last minute job and did not have the nails in the shop or workout building – then it might be the lumberyard or the big box store. If we needed oddball items like Senclamps or concrete T-nails – we might buy ahead on line from folks like Nail Gun Depot. Thinking about the senclamps we sometimes used in the shop – they came in boxes of 3000 – and we always seemed to have plenty of the size we didn’t need – so I think we bought boxes of all 3 sizes at one time and then realized we only really used one size. I think that sometimes that also happens with nail buying.
So far I haven’t noticed any real differences between Porter Cable, Hitachi, and Bostitch nails for my 15 and 18 ga guns. I went on a nail buying spree when Home Depot clearanced a lot Porter Cable nails last spring so I now have 20k+ nails (for less than $20 when I might have shot 3k nails total between those guns in the last 8 or 9 years. Biggest thing to look for in 15ga nails is if they are a DA or FN as they will be specific to the gun.
I want to say that I have Porter Cable staples for my Hitachi narrow crown gun and they work fine. Same for the Grip-Fast pins I picked up for my Bosch 23ga pinner.
Profit, just grabbed a packet of 1000 18 ga, 3/4 inch brads today for under 3 bucks.
Thinking about the strip nails we all use – I was recalling seeing the nailing machinery in a furniture factory I visited a few years back. The nails (more decorative tacks) were loose – came out of a hopper and were fed to the gun.
A bit of Goggling and I found one system from a company called Design Tool Inc.
– but I also found that UFFY makes a stand-alone one called the TH-T-DECO1 that sells for $599 at Nail Gun Depot.
Hitachi for galvanized and bright: unsurpassed performance, usually the best price, always the best value, almost always available at the Lowe’s up the street.
FastenerUSA for stainless and others: free shipping, no tax, Hitachi-level performance, great value, always arrive on time or early.
The price for stainless nails is crazy ouch!!! I personally buy whats the cheapest.
I hear you, but I do mostly exterior work and can’t afford to use the cheapest steel when installing cedar, redwood, or pressure-treated. Any weather-exposed work calls for hot-dipped fasteners at the very least.
I regularly use my dewalt 18v cordless nailer in all manner of construction task here in florida the only brand that I’ve found to use here are the Senco 16ga angled..there literally nothing else HD sales that I can use..performance hasn’t let me down in 6yrs of use the gin or nails from 2½” to 1¼”..peace and congrats on the baby girl again..
I just laid about 2000 sq ft of 3/4 ” hickory flooring which is harder than oak. I was having trouble with nails not making it all of the way through the hickory using dewalt 16 ga 1 1/2 or 2″ nails. Many would either stick up a quarter inch or more, or they would curl up on top without penetrating the hickory. I went to Home depot and bought some each of porter cable, Dewalt, Hitachi, and Bostich. By far the Hitachi nails were superior. I only had 2 Hitachi nails that did not set all the way through the Hickory out of hundreds shot. The Dewalt nails did not make it through 10 nails without a bent nail or a nail that did not set all of the way in. The other brands were not tested as thoroughly since the Hitachi worked so well, but imo none wewe as good as the Hitachi. Before this test I thought they would all be the same. On softer woods all of the other brands worked fine so I will just use them up on softer woods.
Thanks for this guide.
Anyone can answer my question: Which nails are best for cordless nail guns?