15g vs 16g Finish Nailer: Which One is Best?

15g and 16g nailers both have a special reputation for perfect finishing jobs. Carpenters and DIYers use 15g and 16g nailers to hold and mold different parts of the materials for their versatile utilities. 

But the question has to be asked which one to be used at which work? To answer, we have to bring in a comparison of 15g vs 16g finish nailer.

15g and 16g nailers both have some similar and distinctive utilities. They are used for different parts of the finishing jobs by professional carpenters and DIYers. 

A 15g nailer is used for strong holding and molding jobs.  On the flip side, a 16g nailer is used for small molding, crowing, and delicate finishing jobs. However, it’s time to get a complete idea of their distinction.

Comparison Chart: 15g vs 16g finish nailer

Let’s quickly go through the differences between a 15g nail gun and a 16g nail gun for easier understanding.

15g nail gun16g nail gun
15g nail guns use 15 gauge nails in finishing jobs.16g nail guns use 16 gauge nails for finishing jobs.
15g nails are usually thicker and heavier, finishing nails with wider nail heads.16g uses thinner nails in its job. It has narrower nail heads compared to 15g nails.
15g has more substantial holding power and grip over the infrastructure.16g has a less firm grip but offers a much more accurate and precise job.
a 15g nail gun shoots nails at a certain angle for narrower reach and tightens grip in the infrastructure.a 16g nail gun shoots nails straight and does a well-finishing sob in lighter non-weight holding jobs.
15g nailers used for carpentry, overhead molding, installing hanging doors, stair tread, baseboard molding, crown molding, etc. 16g nailers are used for woodworking jobs, base molding, crown molding, smaller baseboards, small bed molding, etc. 
15g nailers have stronger nails that drive through thicker frames and woods. It might crack narrower and smaller frames or mold if not used properly.16g nailers have less strong and thicker nails that would bend the nails if used for a strong surface. But this nail is very suitable for narrower and smaller framing and molding.
15g is ideal for exterior trim.16g is ideal for interior trim.

15g vs 16g Finish Nailer – comparison

From the comparison chart, we now know the basics and application of 15g or 16g nailers. Let’s explore these nailers’ further specifications. 

15g or 16g finish nailer- Which has more application?

15g and 16g finish nailers both have different sets of applications. Carpenters usually prefer a 15g nailer for exterior trim and thick woodwork. And in delicate interior jobs, they prefer 16g nailers. Usually, the interior of a home requires more light and delicate tasks. In that sense, we can say 16g has more application.

Do they use the same size nail?

No, 15g and 16g nailers use different sized nails. The difference in the application requires an appropriate nail for finishing. 15g nailers usually use 1-1/4” to 2-1/2” inches long nails. On the other hand, 16g nailers use 3/4” to 2-1/2” inches long nails.

Is 15g finish nailer costly than 16g finish nailer?

The price of 15g and 16g nailers depends on the brand you will be choosing. Usually, 15g nailers cost more than 16g nailers. 15g best nailers are priced between $250-480. 16g best nail guns would cost $200-400. But there are cheaper alternatives available. 

Do both finish nailers require the same using processes?

15g and 16g nailers have different using processes. Although some carpenters or DIYers would tell, they are similar. The 15g nailer shoots nails at a certain angle which offers much holding power and narrower reach. In contrast, a 16g nailer shoots nail straight, making a smaller hole and offering a thorough finishing job.

Which one comes with the bigger diameter?

15g nails come with a bigger diameter. 15g nails are heavier and thicker compared to the 16g nails. The thicker the nail is the bigger diameter it has. 

Which one is suitable for a hardwood floor?

Both can work well. But for aesthetic beauty, you should go for the 15 gauge nailer. We have a guideline to compare 15 and 16 gauge nailers only for hardwood. You can check it out here. Also, you can get the proper suggestions for the best 15 gauge nailer here.

Do both finish nailers are manufactured by the same company?

Companies like Metabo, Dewalt, Makita manufacture both 15g and 16g finish nailers. And nailers from these companies are considered the best nailers for finishing projects.

Best 15g Finish Nailer

  • Support nails 1-1/4-in Up to 2-1/2-in In length.
  • Suitable for window and door casings, crown and base moldings, chair rails, cabinets, exterior trim and staircases.
  • Offers sequential or contact nailing methods for versatility.
  • Drives dial adjusts for tool-less depth adjustment.
  • Offers professional finish.
  •  4.2 lbs weight minimizes fatigue and increase maneuverability.
  • 360-Degree fully adjustable exhaust for comfortable use.A
  • Air duster to keep dust and debris away from you.
  • Angled magazine for tight and confined areas.

We have a complete guide one best 15 gauge finish nailer. You can check that.

Best 16g Finish nailer

  • Lightweight and durable aluminum body for less fatigue and durability.
  • The ergonomic comfort grip handle provides comfort.
  • No mar tip prevents dents and dings in the surface.
  • Quick jam release makes jam cleaning easier.
  • Suitable for 1″ to 2-1/2″ nails.
  • 100 nail capacity for long term use.
  • Anti-dust cap keeps the nailer durable for a long time.
  • 3660-degree exhaust for a cool working experience.
  • Sequential firing allows you precisely drive nails.
  • Suitable forfurniture, cabinet work, staircases, interior and exterior finish and trim, base boards, shoe and crown moulding, window casing, and chair rail moulding.


Let’s shed some light on a few confusion and questions regarding 15g and 16g finish nailers.

Which one is better: 15 or 16g finish nailer?

There can be no direct comparison on which one is better, between 15g and 16g nailers. Each of these nailers has specific applications for which they are best suited. 15g is best for a more powerful holding job. And 16g is best for delicate and precise molding jobs.

Can you use a 15g finish nailer instead of a 16g finish nailer?

No, you can not use a 15g finish nailer instead of a 16g finish nailer. The reason behind this is 16g finish nailer is required for crowing and molding jobs. If you chose a 15g nailer, it would crack or split those frames and molds. This is the last thing a homeowner or carpenter wants to happen.

15g or 16g finish nailer: which one can split small molding easily?

15g finish nailer can split small molding very easily as it is designed for stronger holding jobs. Besides, it has thicker nails, so when it penetrates with force, the damage is surely expected. For small molding jobs, it is safe and best to use a 16g finish nailer.

What gauge finish nailer is best?

The gauge in the finish nailer determines the thickness of its nails. Nails with a higher gauge number are thinner, and nails with a lower gauge number are thicker in size. Every nail size has its respective application at the finishing job. Among many sizes, carpenters usually choose 16g nailers for better finishing performance. 


After going through the whole article, you now have a detailed idea about the application of 15g and 16g nailers. Even professional carpenters sometimes make a mistake by choosing the wrong nailer for the wrong job. That is why we have tried to cover a 15g vs 16g finish nailer comparison.

Of course, both the nailers have a specific usage in their respective fields. But which one does a good finishing job? It is a 16g nailer which is designed to take care of delicate finishing jobs. 

Just because we are concluding 16g does a better finishing job, don’t mistake it by thinking you can interchange their jobs. 15g and 16g jobs can not be alternatives for each other except for very few cases. So bear that in mind and happy carpentering. 

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