What Is The Difference Between Nail Guns And Staple Guns?

Nail guns and staple guns have their differences, although they both can be used to tackle a variety of construction and home projects.

Nail guns and staple guns have structural differences that make them suited to specific projects. Nail guns are lighter and can be used for small construction tasks like paneling and cabinets. Staple guns are heavier and are uniquely suited for upholstery and fastening.

What Is The Difference Between A Nail Gun And A Staple Gun

In this article, I’ll go over the differences between nail guns and staple guns. These differences lie in the use and structure of these versatile tools.

Differences in Use

Both nail guns and staple guns are suitable for small construction projects, but they’re suited to different tasks. For example, nail guns are more housing-focused.

They have more maneuverability to handle tight areas and temporarily pin down a material.

They’re also better for delicate wood jobs. Meanwhile, staple guns are better for tasks involving soft materials like upholstery.

Both types of hand-held tools hold the wood in place either permanently or while the glue dries.

Many projects require this function, making both types of tools handy to keep around the house for everyday situations.

Applications of a Nail Gun

A pneumatic nail gun used for thin wood boards
A pneumatic nail gun used for thin wood boards

You can use nail guns to build roofs, baseboards, and porches.

One of the most popular nail guns, the brad nailer, is used for crown molding, baseboards, and other trim work.

The least common is the pin nailer, which you can use for trim work, cabinetry, and veneers.

Applications of a Staple Gun

A manual staple gun used for upholstery
A manual staple gun used for upholstery

Staple guns are excellent for upholstery, art projects, and home repairs.

They’re good at holding together different materials like fabric, foam, and wood.

These materials need the high-power air compression that comes with staple guns.

But what makes staple guns unique is that they have two points that get shot.

Those two points hold down loose materials better to retain the desired shape. They also work on bent thin wood or laminate that needs extra help to straighten.

Check the table below of other uses of nail guns and staple guns:

Nail Guns UsesStaple Gun Uses
Building your fenceCarpentry work
Joist hangersDecorating
Build roofsBird and dog houses
Layering floorboardsFastening screens and foam
Build baseboardsFastening wires and stripping
Wood sheathingUpholstery
Build decksArt projects
Siding installationHome repairs

Differences in Structure

Despite their differences, both tools shoot their nails or staples with compressed air.

That air operates with speed and power to instantly punch through any wood.

This action helps materials to stay in place while the glue dries or for smaller projects that need fastened wood but not necessarily glue.

Moreover, nail guns have smaller heads that punch the nail, while staple guns have larger heads.

Nail Gun Structure

Nail guns are light, maneuverable tools, ideal for a long day of many small tasks.

The air-compressed power released by a finger trigger can handle all sorts of hardwood applications like cabinets and household framing.

Depending on the job, you can use different nailers like finish nailers and framing nailers.

Manufacturers build each one for specific types of projects.

Electric or pneumatic sources provide power to nail guns.

You can adjust the power and the depth that the tools shoot the nails, so the device is convenient for both thin and thick materials.

The drawback is that the batteries need to be charged or hooked up to cords, while pneumatic guns need oil.

The two types of nails for these tools are the eighteen gauge Brad and the pin.

A nail gun head and Brad nails.
A nail gun head and Brad nails.

Brads are the most popular and come as a row of weakly-glued skinny, flat head nails.

Pins are less common, and they come glued together as a sheet and with no nail head.

Staple Gun Structure

Staple guns are known for their sturdy grip and ability to keep various materials in place. There are three main types of staple guns: manual, electric (cordless or corded), and pneumatic.

Usually, the pneumatic staple guns are larger than nail guns and have no-mar pads that prevent from damaging the work surface.

Staple guns come in handy for heavier jobs. They can punch through wood, rock, plastic, foam, and leather.

The staples are heavier than nails and come in fine, medium, and heavy wire.

Staple gun and staples
Staple gun and staples

They have larger heads and create larger holes. So, they’re not suitable for finishing carpentry projects but hide well in softer materials like carpets.

Staples usually have either a flat bridge or an arch connecting two points.

The arch staples are called narrow crown staples, and the distance between points varies.

Of course, there are also smaller staple guns that are operated manually

Final Thoughts

Nail guns and staple guns have differences in their use and structure.

Nail guns are ideal for finishing touches in household construction. They’re suitable for many projects because there are many types of nail guns.

Staple guns are best at furniture and odd jobs with carpet, wires, and foam.

But both tools are versatile in their uses and the projects they complete.

They’re lightweight, can use electricity or oil, and pack a lot of air-compressed power that can be adjusted as needed.

Cheers, tools owners!

Hi there! My name is Jack and I write for ToolsOwner. I have a passion for everything related to tools and DIY projects around the house. You often find me in my workshop working on new projects.