There’s a fine line between having a backyard of your dreams and a backyard of your nightmares – and that line is, more often than not, a white picket fence.
If you want your new fence to be a DIY project you can proudly show off, though, you’re going to have to get the right tools for the job – and the best nail gun for fencing is one of them.
And to help you out with this decision, I've put together a detailed buying guide complete with reviews of some of the market's leading models!
Let’s get started!
Is It Time to Retire Your Hammer and Pick a Nail Gun?
Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against hammers. They’ve been a toolbox staple for centuries, and they should still be your go-to solution for small and simple DIY projects.
However, building a fence is neither a small project, nor a simple one, and involving a power tool might be the best course of action for several important reasons:
- It Keeps Your Fingers Safe
Let’s face it, we’ve all had that painful, miscalculated swing of a hammer happen to us at least once. Every power tool brings about specific risks, but as long as you stick to the safety protocols, a nail gun will be a much safer option for your fingers.
- It Speeds Up the Process
If you’re experienced enough, maybe you can work the hammer reasonably quickly. However, given that it’s three times as fast, you’ll never come close to the speed of the best nail gun – so, you might as well save yourself some time, and let your hammer sit this one out.
- It Improves Your Accuracy
When you do the nailing manually, two things are likely to happen – missing the target entirely and driving the nail in a crooked fashion. Nail guns, on the other hand, are highly accurate tools – the nails always end up where they need to be, and at a perfect angle, too.
- It Delivers a Consistent Amount of Force
One of the main reasons why nail guns are so accurate and time-saving is that they deliver pressurized force in a consistent manner. They drive the nail with equal force – and in a single hit – which is why they’re superior to hammers power-wise.
Best Nail Guns for Fencing: 5 Highly Recommended Models
Since power tools tend to be somewhat pricey, I figured it might be a good idea to start this round-up with a cost-effective option that will handle your home improvement projects without burning a hole in your wallet – the Numax SFR3490.
I was glad to see that it’s equipped with quite a few handy features, such as the anti-dry fire that prevents you from firing the gun when the magazine’s nearly empty, as well as the protective anti-dust cap and internal air filter that ensure clean operation.
The nail depth is adjustable, too, so that you can use it for various projects.
Additionally, it has a no-mar tip that protects wooden surfaces from dents and scratches, helping you get a professional finish.
And while the manufacturer boasts a “lightweight magnesium construction,” at nine pounds, that’s not entirely true. Moreover, I found it to be a bit bulky, as well, and hard to use in tight spaces.
Now that you know what you can expect from the budget-friendly end of the spectrum, let's take a look at one of the highly-reputable brands – the Bostitch – and their LPF21PL nail gun.
Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast, or a professional, Bostitch’s nail gun is a model you should consider – and here’s why:
First off, it’s very versatile, as it features a selectable trigger that lets you choose between two firing modes with a flip of a switch, as well as a tool-free depth-adjustment dial that enables you to handle different projects with confidence and ease.
Moreover, it has a relatively lightweight, yet sturdy construction, and a low profile, which, combined with a comfortable, textured grip handle, makes it a perfect choice for even the trickiest of projects.
It’s somewhat pricey, though, and it may not be the best choice if you’re looking to save a few bucks – but it’s well worth the money you spend on it.
Right off the bat, it’s evident that the manufacturer put a strong focus on making this nail gun as lightweight and maneuverable as possible – the aluminum body weighs a mere 4.2 pounds, which is impressive by any standard.
If you’re looking for the best nail gun in the lightweight category, it doesn’t get much better than this!
Thanks to the selective actuation, you can easily switch between two firing models – sequential or contact nailing, depending on what you prefer. And to make your job even more straightforward, the nail drive depth is customizable through a tool-free mechanism.
Another thing I liked is how easy it was to deal with jammed nails, due to the specially designed, easy-access nose of the nail gun.
There’s no way to prevent “dry fire,” though, which was a bit of a disappointment, given that some much cheaper models come with that feature. It’s certainly not a deal-breaker, but it’s something to keep in mind.
If I only had to use three words to describe the Freeman PFR2190 nail gun, I’d go with fast, durable, and reliable.
You can use this nail gun for a variety of projects since it not only allows you adjust the nail depth accordingly but switches between firing modes, as well, all without worrying about damaging the surface of the wood – the no-mar tip makes sure that you don’t.
If you want highly secure firing, though, remove the tip and rely on the no-slip teeth to provide a better surface grip.
The anti-dry fire feature prevents it from firing when there are not enough nails left in the magazine, which, combined with the air filter and anti-dust cap, protects it from getting damaged, making it both durable and reliable.
The magazine’s capacity is relatively small, which wouldn’t be a big deal if the reloading process wasn’t somewhat complicated. That said, it's up to you to decide if that's a deal-breaker for you.
Okay, let’s finish up this round-up of the best nail guns for fencing with yet another budget-friendly option from NuMax – and a favorite among fellow DIY enthusiasts – the SFR2190.
One thing I noticed instantly was how similar it is to the Freeman PFR2190 I reviewed previously – both regarding overall design and available features. So, you pretty much know what to expect from it:
Easily adjustable nail depth, a no-mar tip that, when removed, uncovers no-slip teeth, a trigger that allows you to choose between two firing modes, and anti-dry fire that kicks in when the magazine is almost empty are all features you’ve seen in the previous model.
What makes them different, though, are the price tag and the power they’re able to deliver.
Also, this one falls on the heavier side, which, combined with a sizeable design, makes it less maneuverable, and tiring to the arms.
That said, it still beats swinging a hammer all day!
Buying Guides: Things You Need to Consider
Unless you’re a professional who’s required to use a specific type of nail gun, you have a lot of wiggle room here – so, be picky, find what works best for you, and make sure you’re getting a good value for your hard-earned buck.
Here’s how to make an informed purchase decision!
Your nail gun will have to use a power source to drive the nails, but did you realize that you have more than one option here?
Power-wise, you have three options:
- Pneumatic nail guns are the most obvious choice, as they’re generally durable and highly adaptable to different nailing tasks. However, they are somewhat loud and require an air compressor to operate.
- Electric, both corded and battery-powered ones are a fairly popular choice in the DIY community, as they’re easy to use and relatively quiet.
- Gas-powered models use fuel as a power source, and while you may appreciate the cordless design, ask yourself if the fuel level is something you want to worry about every time you use your nail gun? Probably not.
Adjustable Nail Depth and Size
As the name suggests, the depth adjustment feature lets you control how deep the nail is driven into the surface of the wood. Since you’re likely to use your nail gun for more than one project – and with different types of wood – it’s essential that you have some versatility in that department.
Moreover, make sure that it can take several different nail sizes, as well. Again, it may come in handy for your future projects – buying a separate nail gun for each nail size doesn’t make sense, now, does it?
Weight and Ergonomics
Although not as "vital" as the factors discussed previously, the unit's weight and design still matter, especially if you're going to use it for larger projects, such as building a fence, that will require prolonged handling of the nail gun.
In that regard, you should look for a lightweight model with an ergonomic handle that will sit comfortably in your hand, without causing muscle strain and discomfort.
The golden rule for buying any power tool is to set a budget you’re comfortable with, and go from there.
Reputable brands are a sure choice, but you shouldn’t spend a small fortune on their products based on the brand name alone. Even if you’re looking for something budget-friendly, you can still find a quality nail gun – but you have to extra picky about the features you’re getting for the money.
Since you’re buying a power tool here, and not a set of polyurethane brushes, warranty is something you shouldn’t skip. Pay attention to what’s covered by the warranty (manufacturing defects, specific parts, etc.) as well as how long it lasts.
If you go with a high-end brand, the warranty usually won’t be an issue, as these manufacturers tend to stay by their customer’s side – but check, just in case.
There’s one more question left to answer today, and that is:
Which one’s the best nail gun for fence pickets?
All things considered, I’d say the title belongs to the Freeman PFR2190 Pneumatic Nail Gun – it’s reasonably priced, and packed with features that will let you handle all your future DIY projects with equal confidence and ease!