16 Vs 18 Gauge Nailer ( Which Is The Best For Your Baseboard )

Among the most commonly used nails in nail guns are 16 and 18 gauge nails. The 16 gauge nails are shot from finishing nailers, while the 18 gauge nails are fired from a brad nailer. These two nail guns have different objectives, and it all depends on the holding power of the respective nails.

16 or 18 gauge nailer for baseboard

“16 gauge is the most versatile type of nail to use. It can penetrate and support thick boards and hold them in position permanently. You should only get an 18-gauge brad nailer if you’re willing to attach trim molding and other delicate trim pieces.”

An 18-gauge fastener is smaller than a 16-gauge fastener. This is very important to keep in mind as the basic choice it presents is whether you want a fastener to leave a small hole to fill or a larger wooden attachment. I think this will help you choose whether you want a 16-gauge nailer or an 18-gauge nailer.

Let’s discuss in details about 16 Vs 18-gauge nailer

Nowadays, pneumatic and electric powered nail guns make it possible for you to do carpentry work faster and do carpentry work with less strain on you. Many people do not realize that using a nail gun instead of a hammer allows you to nail boards in older homes without damaging older plaster or other elements of the home.

The problem is that there are several types of the nailer and many different nail sizes, and which one do you need for what purpose?

Best 16-Gauge Nailer
NuMax SFN64 Pneumatic 16-Gauge 2-1/2" Straight Finish Nailer
Best 18-Gauge Nailer
PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Cordless Brad 18-Gauge Nailer
NuMax SFN64 Pneumatic 16-Gauge 2-1/2" Straight Finish Nailer Ergonomic and Lightweight Nail Gun with Tool-Free Depth Adjust and No Mar Tip
PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX* Cordless Brad Nailer Kit with 1 Battery, 18GA (PCC790LA)
Best 16-Gauge Nailer
NuMax SFN64 Pneumatic 16-Gauge 2-1/2" Straight Finish Nailer
NuMax SFN64 Pneumatic 16-Gauge 2-1/2" Straight Finish Nailer Ergonomic and Lightweight Nail Gun with Tool-Free Depth Adjust and No Mar Tip
Best 18-Gauge Nailer
PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Cordless Brad 18-Gauge Nailer
PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX* Cordless Brad Nailer Kit with 1 Battery, 18GA (PCC790LA)

We asked our expert carpenters if they would prefer to use a 16 gauge or an 18 gauge nailer for baseboard installation.  They gave us the following information.

Nail Gun Basics

A nail gun uses the power of air or electricity to force a nail out of the gun and into the board or item you want it to attach to. Nail guns are effective at driving a 2-inch nail into anything that it is pointed at. Remember that the nail gun can shoot a nail into you and can cause serious injury. You should always be careful when using this type of equipment.

The nails that are used in these guns are categorized by how thick they are. The categorization represents the larger numbers as being the smallest nails. The 18 gauge nail is actually smaller than the 16 gauge nail.

What factors to consider for your nail gauge?

One of the most critical considerations to make when purchasing your nail gun is its gauge or the nail size it can shoot. For instance, a trim carpenter requires nail guns that can shoot 15 to 23 gauge nails smoothly. Choosing the right nail gun can be challenging, and, therefore, you need to have adequate information about the nail gun gauges and specifications before making the final buying decision.

The nail size is measured in gauges, which shows the nail’s diameter. Higher gauges indicate a thinner nail. The nail length isn’t a very critical consideration since most nail guns can shoot nails between 2 and 2-1/2 inches long. There are two primary nail sizes, namely the 16 and 18 gauge. The article below is discussing the importance of nail size and the overall two best nail sizes to consider.

Understand the nail gauges for the correct usage.

It is essential to make a few things clear about the nail gauge before expounding on their differences.  Some of the popular gauge sizes include the 15, 16, and 18-inch gauge keep in mind that the thinner the nail, the higher the measure.

It is quite simple to explain this. How? The number represents how the number of nails per inch. It, therefore, means the 18 gauge gun can accommodate 18 pieces per inch, which means that they are going to be relatively thinner than the 16 gauge gun, which would help only 16 nails per inch.

Here you will find (16 Vs 18 Gauge Nailer) – Which Is The Best Option For You

16 Vs 18 Gauge Nailer

About 16 Gauge Nail Gun 

The 16 gauge finish guns may be as much as two and one-half inches in length. You would use this nail if you were nailing up thick trim. Many carpenters use the traditional 15 gauge nail when they are putting up thick trim. The 16 gauge nailer is not that much thinner, and the larger nail gets a firmer hold than the smaller nail.

What are 16-Gauge Nails?

Among the two nail sizes we will discuss here, the 16-gauge is the largest with a diameter of 1/16 of an inch, which is still small, but you can easily spot some differences when you compare with the 18-gauge nail and more clear differences with the 23-gauge nails.

Why Use this 16 Gauge Nail?

If you are looking for better support, thicker nails will offer the best support and enhanced stability. When you connect your board with 16-gauge nails, you are confident that they won’t easily collapse, notably when further joined up with wood glue. Most nail guns that use the 16-gauge nails are particularly for finishing work. It is commonly used when installing crowns and boards where the material is attached to drywall directly. Extra holding power is needed when handling the 16 thick gauge to hold together the pieces in place. The 16-gauge nails are essential when constructing a more permanent structure, unlike the 18-gauge nails, suitable for a temporary and delicate fabric.

Whys and wherefores not to Use 16-Gauge Nails?

Two main reasons exist as to why you should not use a 16-gauge nail. One is when you are working on remarkably thinner crowns or boards that are more likely to crack or split. However, the 16-gauge nail is 1/16 of an inch, but firing these guns on lighter trims is expected to cause them to break. The second reason is when you don’t want to nail your boards and other materials permanently. For instance, you could be in the middle of a project that requires holding various parts together temporarily. Note firing a 16-gauge nail would result in permanent joining and hard to pull out condition.

Best 16 Gauge Nailer On the Market

Our recommendation for the best 16 gauge nailer is NuMax SFN64 Pneumatic 16-Gauge Nailer.

NuMax SFN64 Pneumatic 16-Gauge Nailer

Here are the key features of this 16 gauge nailer:

  • It is a finish nail gun and great for interior/exterior finish projects.
  • A one-piece drive blade of hardened steel ensures the durability of this nail gun. 
  • The comfort grip handle and No-mar safety tip ensure great results.
  • This 16 gauge nailer will help increasing precision and prevent damage to your working surface. 
  • Air tool oil and adjustment tools are included.
  • This air-powered nail gun includes a quick jam release for fast clearing.
  • It is an essential tool for DIYers at home and professional contractors at the job site.

This SFN64 16 gauge nailer can fire 16 gauge straight finish nails from 1″ to 2.5 “. As the name suggests, straight finish nails are great for interior and exterior finishing projects such as finishes, wooden furniture, baseboards/panels, shoe and crown moldings, window coverings, chair moldings, and more.

The thin thickness and the small head allow these nails to disappear in your woodwork, which means passing less time filling and sanding. Do not be fooled by their small size: nails with a finish are solid, and these nailers are an essential part of any professional’s toolbox. Whatever your project, you will get the right size nail for you.

NuMax SFN64 Pneumatic 16-Gauge 2-1/2" Straight Finish Nailer Ergonomic and Lightweight Nail Gun with Tool-Free Depth Adjust and No Mar Tip
  • Nailed It: This pneumatic 16-gauge straight finish nailer features a lightweight and durable aluminum body, and an ergonomic comfort grip handle. A no mar tip prevents dents and dings, and the quick jam release lets you easily clear jams without taking the nailer apart.
  • Many Uses: This finish nail gun is great for interior and exterior finish and trim, furniture, cabinet work, staircases, base boards, shoe and crown moulding, window casing, and chair rail moulding. Sequential firing and tool-free depth adjust allow you to customize for any project.
  • The Right Tool for the Job: We're committed to providing outstanding value, top tier customer service and long lasting, high quality products. We make nailers and staplers for every purpose, from roofing to siding to flooring and everything in between.
  • Tough and Dependable: We make an array of durable construction tools and accessories, including staplers and nailers for siding, flooring, framing, finish, and roofing. Compare our products to similar items by Makita, Hitachi, Bostitch, Senco, Paslode, and Dewalt.

About 18 Gauge Nail Gun 

16 vs 18 gauge nailers for baseboard

The 18 gauge is considered to be the perfect trim gun. The 18 gauge nails are small enough to be used in fine detail work like furniture repair, and they are thick enough to be used in most trim applications. Most of the 18 gauge nail guns can shoot nails that are up to 1 ?? in length.

You can purchase an 18g brad nailer that is capable of shooting a 2-inch nail. The 18 gauge nailer that shoots the longer nails is a little more expensive than the other nailers, but you can use it to hold thicker boards in place, like the common baseboard.

What Are 18-Gauge Nails?

These are nails with less than or equal to a 2/64 of an inch.  They are more delicate when compared with the 16-gauge nails, and this means you can easily bend them with fingers using a small force. They are more suitable for crown molding and attaching trims due to their thinness.

Why use 18-Gauge Nail?

Due to their thin diameter, these nails are more suitable for joining flat boards and other trim pieces since they reduce the risk of splitting or cracking. They won’t leave a mark after firing in your dry lumber since no contact is made.

The brad mailers’ guns more popularly use these nails meant for providing temporary holding power amongst boards, especially when firing nails through delicate materials or for gluing purposes. You can easily remove these nails using your fingers to pull apart the boards. One advantage of the 18-gauge nails is that they don’t leave any noticeable marks on your treasured workpiece. The workpiece surface will remain in its seamless appearance. Moreover, the 18-gauge nails won’t leave any gaping holes, so no messing around your workpiece with wood putty.

Whys and wherefores not to Use 18-Gauge Nails.

The 18-gauge nails, just like the 16-gauge, have some application limitations. One, due to their sheer size, they are not suitable for offering strong support if any. It, therefore, becomes essential to carefully note the size of your workpiece that these nails can hold in place successfully. For instance, attaching the crown molding into drywall is okay due to its super thin and light nature, but any workpiece larger than this might cause problems. The second downside of the 18-gauge nails is that they aren’t meant for penetrating denser materials, and this means you should avoid MDF boards when firing the 18-gauge nails to prevent these nails from bending.

Best 18 Gauge Nailer

Our recommendation for the best 18 gauge nailer is PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer Kit, 18GA (PCC790LA).

Bosch 4100-10 Table Saw

Here are the key feature of this 18 gauge nailer:

  • This cordless brad nailer is battery powered, so no compressor needed.
  • Its depth adjustment wheel helps to properly and consistently countersink the nails.
  • A tool-free release lever, jam release, and depth adjustment wheel make your life easier.
  • Its lightweight and optimal center of gravity provides great comfort in multiple positions and reduces user fatigue.
  • It included a 1.5 Ah 20Volt MAX Lithium-ion battery that will last longer than NiCad.

The PORTER-CABLE PCC790LA 18GA Brad Nailer is 100% battery powered. This 18 gauge nailer eliminates the need for compressor, hose or costly gas cartridges. The special motor provides consistent firing power into different materials and climate conditions.

This 18 gauge brad nailer features multiple tool-free settings to offer you increased productivity and safety. It also comes with multi-functional dual LED lights. Fastener length capacity of 5/8″ – 2″, sequential firing mode, magazine capacity of 100, and trigger lock. Includes (1) PCC680L Battery, and (1) PCC691L Charger.

PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX* Cordless Brad Nailer Kit with 1 Battery, 18GA (PCC790LA)
  • 100% Battery Power Of The Cordless Brand Nailer Eliminates Need For Compressor, Hose Or Costly Gas Cartridges
  • Motor Design Of 18 Gauge Brad Nailer Provides Consistent Firing Power Into Various Materials And Climate Conditions
  • Multiple Tool-Free Settings Of The Battery Brad Nailer Provide Ease Of Use
  • Unit'S Lightweight And Optimal Center Of Graviy Provide User Comfort In Multiple Positions Reducing User Fatigue

16 or 18 Gauge Nailer for Baseboard

16 vs 18 gauge nailer for baseboard

Crown molding is the narrowest and thinnest of all trims that you apply on or around the walls of your home.

Baseboards are often fashioned from 1? x 4? boards. Some baseboards are done out of 1? x 6? boards, but the 1? x 4? is the most common baseboard size. The average 18 gauge nail gun shoots a nail that is 1 ?? long so it is perfectly long enough to go through the baseboard, but the longer 2? nails can go through the baseboard and draw it up tightly against the surface area of the wall.

When you are nailing trim into position it helps if you cut a small block of wood that you can use to hold pressure on the edge of the baseboard so that it lies flat against the flooring and does not rise up or buckle.

The longer 2? nails can help hold the baseboard more firmly so it cannot warp or rise. The thicker 16 gauge nail will grab more ?meat? when it is nailed into the board and this will allow the baseboard to be more secure in its position.

16 gauge nails are thicker and the thicker nail often holds a board more tightly in place. The 18 gauge nail is thinner and is less likely to cause the trim board to break or be damaged when it is nailed into the board.

Final Thoughts On 16 Vs 18 Gauge Nailer

The experts agree that when it comes to nailing up baseboards the 16 gauge and the 18 gauge nail guns can both do an effective job of holding the trim boards in the proper position. If the board you are using is not perfectly straight then the 16 gauge nail will be able to hold it tighter and not allow the warped portion of the board to affect the outcome of your trim.

If your project is a unique one and it demands the use of a finish nailer, then the manufacturer specifications determine the right choice of the nail gauge you are going to choose with your work piece materials. If you are a professional in the field of gauge nail uses, then you are more likely to make the right buying decisions, unlike a layperson. Remember ignoring this specification can mean an enormous mess with your work.

The 16-gauge nailers are multi-purpose and versatile when compared with the 18-gauge finish nailers. However, the benefits of the 18-gauge nails are that they leave negligible holes on your finished workpiece. On the other hand, if your project requires reliable holding power and more permanent holding, then the 16-gauge nails are best for such a project. If your workpiece needs you to use a finish nailer that people won’t notice your work, then small footprints mean displaying much of what you hug rather than the workpiece makeups have.  

Related Post:

Scroll to Top