How to Find the Best Pin Nailer: Top 5 Picks

Best Pin Nailer

Some DIY projects entail the use of delicate materials that can easily be torn apart by large fasteners designed for robust materials. Knowing how to find the best pin nailer will enable you to complete artistic and all other types of DIY projects that involve the use of subtle materials.

Assembling the pieces of furniture you created or installing window trims requires you to hide the fasteners as they don’t look visually appealing. Hence, you have to use the finishing nail gun that is best suited for the materials you’re working with.

However, not all finishing nail guns are designed for the same purpose, as some types of these power tools are too powerful for intricate woodworking projects.

So, in this article, we are going to show you how to find the best nailer and provide you with information that will make it easier to pick the model that meets your demands.

Top 5 best Pin Nailers

Best Overall Fasco 11297F F23C Check price
Best Lightweight Hitachi NP35A Check price
Most Versatile BOSTITCH HP118K Check price
Best for Professional Use Grex P635 Check price
Most Affordable Arrow Fastener PT23G Check price

What is a Pin Nailer?

A pin nailer is a finishing nail gun that is designed to shoot pins at a high velocity into different types of lumber. They are less powerful than conventional finishing nail guns and brad nailers but still powerful enough to pierce through hardwood.

You can only use 23 gauge pins to load a pin nailer, as these tools are not compatible with other types of nails. The maximum size of a pin these power tools can hold depends on the model, but none of the pin nailers on the market can take pins that are larger than 2 inches.

This limits their range of applications, as the pins they utilize cannot hold a heavy wooden board firmly in place. Also, the maximum power output of pin nailers depends on the model, and you’ll need to check if the model you want to get can penetrate all types of hardwood.

To learn more about different types of nail guns, you should go through our guide to the best nail guns.

Types of Pin Nailers

The power source a pin nailer uses determines its power output. An electronic pin nailer is powered by a battery and you can use it with different types of lumber, but you should keep in mind that the battery needs to be recharged frequently.

A pneumatic pin nailer runs on air, and you won’t be able to use it unless you have an air compressor. Read our guide to finding the best air compressor for nail guns if you’re not sure which air compressor you should use to power a pin nailer.

Electronic pin nailers have larger power outputs than pneumatic ones, but their functionality is affected by relatively short battery life. On the other hand, you can use a pneumatic pin nailer for as long as you like, but you may not be able to pierce through hard wooden surfaces.

When to use a Pin Nailer?

You should use a pin nailer during the finishing stages of your project to assemble thin and fragile stock that would be destroyed by any other type of nail. Also, a pin nailer is a great choice if you don’t want the nails to create large holes in the material and remain visible after you drive them.

It is worth pointing out that these power tools are not powerful enough to pierce through metal and you can only use them with lumber and softer materials. In addition, you shouldn’t expect to get a lot of holding power from the 23 gauge pins these tools are using regardless of how long they are.

Consequently, you should use pin nailers if you want to be sure that the material isn’t going to split and for the most subtle assembly tasks that cannot be completed with any other type of finishing nail gun.

The difference between brad and pin nailers

It is difficult to notice the differences between a pin and a brad nailer, as these tools are almost identical visually. However, the type of nails they are using is not the same, since brad nails are larger and sturdier than the pins you can find in a pin nailer.

That’s why brands have more holding power and they are used for a broader range of applications than pins that are usually used to fasten light trim pieces.

Ideally, you will utilize both of these tools during the different stages of your project since the nails they are using don’t provide the same level of cohesive power.

The Core Features of Pin Nailers

There are very few differences between pin nailers in terms of the sets of features they offer. However, the pin length, trigger type, or the number of pins the magazine can hold vary from model to model.

Finding out the exact specifications of the pin nailer you’d like to get will enable you to determine whether or not it fits the context in which you want to use it. Let’s take a closer look at the core features of pin nailers.

Ergonomic design

Pin nailers are handheld power tools, which is why it is important that you can feel comfortable while holding them. A rubber coating on the grip handle is among the features that can make it easier to keep control of the tool while you’re using it.

You shouldn’t opt for a bulky model that weighs more than 2lbs because it may be difficult to hold it for a long time.

Electric or pneumatic motor

Besides the power output, portability is another major factor you should consider when deciding between an electric and pneumatic pin nailer.

Electric pin nailers can be used anywhere as long as their battery is charged, while you must carry an air compressor with you if you want to use a pneumatic pin nailer at a job site.

Magazine size

The maximum number of pins you can load into a magazine depends on the model, and you should pick a model that can hold at least a hundred micro pins.

A large magazine enables you to continue working without having to stop reloading. However, a quick reloading model may be a good choice if you don’t want to spend too much time adding new nails to the magazine.

Trigger type

Bump firing a pinner is not possible as these tools don’t have a safety mechanism. Instead, most models come with a dual-trigger that lets you shoot pins with utmost precision. A dual-trigger system requires you to pull two triggers to fire a pin, which increases your accuracy and safety.

A pin nailer that doesn’t have a dual-trigger can be difficult to operate as it doesn’t have a mechanism that prevents it from accidentally firing pins.

Nose design and depth control

The pin’s depth needs to be adjusted in order to fit the width of the piece you’re processing. Controlling the depth also enables you to decide how deep you want to drive a nail into a material.

Some pinners have automatic depth control adjustments, while on others you have to go through this process manually. Moreover, you should choose a pinner that has a narrow nose design in order to use it in tight spaces.

Fastener compatibility

The size of a pin you can use with a pin nailer varies between 3/8-inches and 2-inches, but most models don’t cover the full range. So, in most cases, a pinner will be compatible with fasteners whose size ranges from 5/8-inch to 1-3/8-inches.

It is worth noting that these pins don’t have a nail head, and once you drive them into a material it is nearly impossible to remove them. All fasteners for pinners have a 23 gauge and they’re incompatible with nails that have higher gauges.

The advantages of pin nailers

Low nail hole visibility

Pin nailers don’t create large and clearly visible nail holes, which is the reason why they are often used to attach an ornament to a piece of furniture and other similar applications.

Keep the material intact

Splitting the material is one of the greatest risks of using a nail gun. Pinners help you avoid this issue as they’re compact enough to pierce a material without damaging it. Also, the pin drives deep into the pieces and keeps them together.

Excellent accuracy

These power tools are designed to enable the user to drive pins exactly where they want them to be. Their design allows you to use them in spaces other nail guns can’t reach.

The disadvantages of pin nailers

Limited cohesive power

The pins used by pin nailers don’t have a head, which limits their holding power. Consequently, they can be used to merge light pieces, but you will need a nail that can provide more holding strength if you’re working with large and heavy materials.

The most important factors to consider while choosing a pin nailer

Pin nailers are used for the most intricate applications, which is why you have to pay close attention to a number of factors that will enable you to get a model that is both lightweight and easy to use.

We’ve shortlisted several features that can help you find a pinner that fits your needs, so let’s take a closer look at them.

Size and weight

The model you choose should be compact and lightweight especially if you’re planning on using it for hours at a time. Also, the size and weight of this tool can affect your accuracy, and for that reason, you should avoid getting a heavy and bulky pin nailer.

The tool’s reliability

Search for a model that is made of durable materials that don’t contain a lot of plastic parts. Pinners that are made of aluminum are probably your best choice, as they are both lightweight and sturdy enough to withstand heavy-duty usage.

Pin length range

Most pinners can hold multiple pin lengths, and you need to check their length range in order to know which pins you can use. Most models don’t support pins longer than 1-3/8-inch, while a handful of pin nailers can be used with all available pin lengths.

Safety features

Avoid getting a pin nailer that doesn’t have a safety trigger because you won’t have control over the firing process. Also, you should choose a model that features a reload indicator because firing a pin nailer that has an empty magazine can damage the tool.

Cost and warranty

Pin nailers can cost between $50 and $250, and you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a moderately priced model capable of great performances. The warranty period of a pinner depends on the manufacturer and it varies between one and seven years.

Fasco 11297F F23C – The Best Overall Pin Nailer

The ability to hold 2-inch pins enables the Fasco 11297F F23C to fasten heavier materials than most competing models. The shortest pin length you can use with this pinner is ½-inch, and the tool will automatically adjust to the length of the fastener you’re currently using.

Fasco 11297 F23C is a pneumatic tool that features a muffler on a rear exhaust that ensures a quiet operation. The tool features a double-trigger mechanism and it is equipped with the Lock Out system that prevents you from firing when the magazine is empty.


  • Supports a wide range of pins
  • A narrow nose makes it easier to work in tight spaces
  • Excellent safety features
  • 80 to 120 PSI rating


  • More expensive than most pin nailers on the market
  • Limited portability

Hitachi NP35A – The Best Lightweight Pin Nailer

The 65 to 100 PSI rating ensures that the HitachiNP35A can shoot pins through hardwood with ease. The tool has a large magazine that can hold pins with lengths that range from 5/8-inch to 1-3/8-inch, while the reload indicator informs you when you start running low on pins.

You have to make the depth adjustments manually, but the adjustment process is straightforward, so you won’t spend too much time adjusting the depth of pins.


  • The magazine can hold a 100 pins
  • No-mar tips prevent the tool from leaving marks on the material
  • Dual-trigger
  • Weighs just 2lbs


  • Pin depth can’t be adjusted automatically
  • Not a budget-friendly option

BOSTITCH HP118K – The Most Versatile Pin Nailer

Its compact design makes the BOSTITCH HP118K an attractive option for both professionals and experienced DIYers. The tool utilizes a sequential firing mode and its magazine can hold 200 pins.

Its operating pressure varies between 70 and 120 PSI which provides you with enough power to drive pins through most types of lumber. The tool accepts all pins that have lengths between ½-inch and 1-3/16-inch but you should keep in mind that it may struggle to drive long pins into the hardwood.


  • Impressive magazine size
  • Reloading the tool is easy
  • 7-year limited warranty
  • Nails, oil, and a carrying case are included


  • Struggles to drive pins into hardwood
  • Safety features could be improved

Grex P635 – The Best Professional Pin Nailer

A powerful motor that needs between 60 and 110PSI for optimum performance is one of the reasons why the Grex P3635 is so highly regarded by professional woodworkers. In addition, the tool is made of lightweight and durable materials and it is compact enough to reach tight spaces.

The magazine can take up to a hundred pins in sizes that range from 3/8 to 1-3/8-inches, and the tool supplies enough power to drive pins into hardwood without difficulty.


  • Great safety features
  • Powerful motor
  • A narrow nose improves the tool’s accuracy
  • Features a reload indicator


  • Prone to jamming
  • Short warranty period

Arrow Fastener PT – The Most Affordable Pin Nailer

If you’re looking for a moderately priced pin nailer that comes with a great set of features, then you should consider getting the Arrow Fastener PT. The tool has a 70 to 120PSI rating, which indicates that it can drive pins through most types of wood.

This pinner is compatible with pins that have lengths between ½-inch and 1-inch, but its magazine doesn’t have the capacity to hold a large number of pins at the same time.


  • Adjustable exhaust
  • Lightweight and comfortable to hold
  • Affordable pinner for novice users
  • Loading the magazine doesn’t take a lot of time


  • Limited range of applications
  • Can’t drive long pins

Frequently asked questions about pin nailers

Question: Do I need an air compressor to use a pin nailer?

Answer: You won’t be able to use a pneumatic pin nailer without an air compressor, however, you can opt for a model that runs on batteries if you don’t want to use a pneumatic pinner.

Question: Can I pierce metal with a pin nailer?

Answer: Regular pin nailers are designed to drive pins through lumber, and you’re going to need a steel pin nailer if you’re working with metal.

Question: What to do if a pin nailer gets jammed?

Answer: Removing a jammed pin from this tool shouldn’t be too difficult, as most models allow you to reach the nose quickly and get the pinout.

Question: How often do I need to oil a pin nailer?

Answer: You should add oil to a pin nailer each time you want to use it, even if you’re using the tool every day. Checking the manufacturer’s instructions should help you determine how often you should add oil to your pin nailer.

Our Verdict: What is the best pin nailer on the market?

Fastening trims or putting together handmade furniture is much easier if you have a pin nailer, as you won’t have to deal with large nail holes or try to conceal nail heads.

Most importantly, the pins these tools use are not going to split or damage the material regardless of how light or thin it is. We recommend choosing the Fasco 11297F F23C if you need a pinner that enables you to drive pins of all lengths.

The BOSTITCH HP118K may be the right option for you if you need a pin nailer that can drive large numbers of nails quickly, while the Arrow Fastener PT is a great choice for inexperienced woodworkers.

We hope that our guide to finding the best pin nailer has provided you with the information you needed to choose the model that is best suited to your needs. Which pin nailer are you going to choose?

Let us know in the comments or continue reading our brad nailer vs finish nailer comparison to learn more about the differences between these power tools.


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