The 18 gauge brad nailer is one of the most popular nailer sizes for woodworkers… mainly because using one means that YOU HAVE ENOUGH CLAMPS AFTER ALL ;) It’s also widely used as the goto for putting up trim. Since just about every manufacturer under the sun makes one I researched to bring you the consensus of the woodworker on the street. Enjoy!

Top 5 Uses for a Brad Nailer
The Brad Nailer Stigma: is it Cheating?
A Note on Electric Brad Nailers…
The 18 Gauge Brad Nailer Showdown
My Brad Nailer Opinion Sources:

Top 5 Uses for a Brad Nailer:
I copied this list from an article in Wood Magazine – for me it helped to outline the main uses of a brad nailer as opposed to, say, a framing nailer for example.

1) Free up clamps in short order. Apply the glue and clamp the assembly, punch in a few brads to secure the joint, and reclaim your clamps immediately for the next glue-up.
2) Speedy, glueless assembly. You can assemble birdhouses and craft items in no time flat. Cabinet backs go on in a flash.
3) No-stick stack-cutting. Instead of using double-faced tape to hold together workpieces for stack-cutting on a bandsaw or scrollsaw, tack them together with brads fired into the waste area.
4) Reinforce mitered joints. End-grain to end-grain joints, such as the mitered corners of a picture frame, are stronger when fortified by a steel fastener.
5) Less splitting. A brad’s small diameter and speed of penetration lessens the likelihood of splitting–even in small moldings and fragile workpieces–without predrilling.

From Brad Nailers for $100 or less in Wood Magazine >>

The Brad Nailer Stigma: is it Cheating?
I never knew this until I started researching brad nailers, but apparently some folks think that Norm Abram is a little over reliant on his brad nailer. Further, that if you’re using a brad nailer you’re, well, you’re cheating. This is a minority position, but apparently it’s a vocal minority. Anyways, here’s a funny brad nailer poll from Sawmill Creek, followed by a great quote regarding the morality of the brad nailer.

Funny Brad Nailer Poll from Sawmill Creek:
36 Votes: I use a brad nailer all the time
12 Votes: I have one, but don’t use it very often
05 Votes: I use one, but hide the brads so well that you will never know, and I won’t tell
03 Votes: Real woodworkers use glue, brad nailers are cheating

This quote from Creeker Todd Burch sums it up nicely: “My advice would be that if you are recreating a museum piece, use what the original used. Otherwise, spend more time with your family and get a brad nailer!”

A Note on Electric Brad Nailers…
Don’t use them. As an overall category they received very poor reviews and comments in a couple different threads I visited. Namely this one at Sawmill Creek: Electric Brad Nailers – Any good? That said, I found one professional at Lumber Jocks raving about the $300+ Dewalt 18 Gauge 2″ Cordless Brad Nailer – DC608K: “I officially will be retiring my air compressor when installing in the field.” Your mileage may vary when it comes to electric brad nailers.

The 18 Gauge Brad Nailer Showdown: PC vs. HF vs. Bostich vs. Senco and MORE!
Here’s the show down itself – I counted recommendations from forums and one magazine review I found to compile this list. I haven’t tested or used any of these tools myself. To check out my sources scroll down to the “sources” section.

Porter-Cable Brad Nailers: 16 Votes
Porter Cable BN200A: 5

Porter-Cable 2″ Brad Nailer BN200A review in epinions

Porter-Cable BN125A: 3

Porter-Cable 18 Ga. Brad Nailer (#BN125A) Review by Tom Hintz >>

Harbor Freight Brad Nailer: 8 Votes
Note: t here’s more than one HF 18 Gauge nailer – most folks in forums aren’t specific about which one they liked. HF nailers consistently come up though, with folks saying they work “good enough” for light use.

Harbor Freight 18-Gauge Brad Nailer/Stapler (review by Tom Hintz who trashed his HF brad nailer)
Harbor Freight Buying Guide (don’t go to HF without it…)

Bostich Brad Nailers: 7 Votes
Bostitch BT200K-2: 2 votes

Bostitch BT200K-2 – 2″ 18-Gauge Oil-Free Brad Nailer Kit

18 ga. Bostich BT125k

Senco Brad Nailers: 5 Votes
18 gauge (Senco FinishPro XP-25)

Senco Brad FinishProTM 18 Nailer – PC1010 Compressor Kit Review by Tom Hintz

Hitachi Brad Nailers: 5 Votes
Hitachi NT32AE2: 3 Votes

Hitachi NT50AE2: 2 Votes

NT50AE review in Epinions

Paslode Brad Nailers: 3 Votes
t200 paslode

Omer Brad Nailers: 3 Votes
Omer 18g 12.40

Dewalt Brad Nailers: 2
Dewalt DC608K: 1

New DeWalt 18 volt, 18 gauge brad nailer Review in LumberJocks.

Makita Brad Nailers: 1
Makita AF503

2″ Brad Nailer – AF503 Product Reviews – was not well liked at Builders Square…

Grizzly Brad Nailers: 1
Grizzly H5527 (known to mar wood)

Grizzly H5527 Brad Nailer – Review

Ridgid Brad Nailers: 1 Vote
Ridgid R213BNA

Ridgid R213BNA Oil-free Brad Nailer review by Tom Hintz

Max Brad Nailers: 1 Vote
Max NF255-ST/18

Brad Nailer: The Max NF255-ST/18 – from Jude Herr at Toologics

My Brad Nailer Opinion Sources:
Brad Nailers (Tools of the Trade)
Brad Nailers?
HF Air Brad Nailer
Brad or Finish Nailer
What gauge nailer do I need?
Need pin/nail nailer…. which one to get?
Electric Brad Nailers – Any good?
Brad Nailers
Hitachi or Porter cable Brad nailer?
Which nailers for trim work?
Nail Guns
Bostitch BT200K-2 – 2″ 18-Gauge Oil-Free Brad Nailer Kit
New DeWalt 18 volt, 18 gauge brad nailer