Best Nail Gun for Wainscoting – NOT PANELING

Wainscoting requires perfection.

And to get that, you must need the best nail gun for wainscoting.

Top Pick

Ryobi Brad Nailer

Premium Pack

Freeman Super Combo

Budget Pick

Metabo Brad Nailer

Some people pick a nail gun for paneling and use them for wainscoting.

But these two are not the same neither are their nailers.

You must be smart enough to distinguish between these two and pick the right nailer to get the job done in the best way.

What Is The Difference Between Paneling And Wainscoting?

Paneling means covering the floor and the walls to the ceiling with various types of materials, including plywood, PVC, fiberboard, or molded materials. The floor is usually covered with thicker materials, so use a floor nailer specially designed for the job.

Paneling isn’t limited to the interior only. It can also cover the outer walls or even the roof of a house. Covering the outer walls and the roof requires different sizes of nails too.

Wainscoting is also a type of paneling but is usually limited to three-quarters of the interior wall, mostly for decorative purposes or to support the room’s construction.

Nailer or Stapler for Wainscoting

A nail gun or a stapler is both capable of completing wainscoting jobs. Users using a stapler for wainscoting will have many more divots to fill.

On the other hand, a nail gun can penetrate deeper due to its greater power, speed, and precision, so users’ jobs become more manageable.

For thicker wood, the stapler can’t provide higher holding power. Using construction adhesive and a nail gun will be much more suitable. Wainscoting requires 2-inch long 18-gauge nails, so select a nailer that can handle these nails.

What Nail Gun to Use for Wainscoting – Pneumatic or Cordless Nailer

Let’s compare them to understand the differences.

Pneumatic nailer

  • Powered by air compressors which can generate an average of 70 to 110 psi with only 2 to 4 CBF of air.
  • Requires an air hose to operate.
  • Power adjusting feature allows the user to provide air power on different surfaces.
  • Good build quality allows users to clean it more easily.
  • Can nail longer than a cordless nailer.

That is why professionals prefer it for wainscoting jobs.

Cordless nailer

  • Requires a battery to operate.
  • Lightweight and portable.
  • Usually use 110-volt or 220-volt batteries with 1000 to 1500 mah.
  • Maximum runtime of 1.5 hours to 2 hours.
  • Penetration power of 1000 to 2000 watts.

That is why they are more suitable for small-sized wainscoting projects.

Pneumatic and cordless nailers both have advantages and disadvantages. But both of the nailers are capable of wainscoting jobs without any issues. For large-scale jobs, use pneumatic nailers, whereas cordless nailers are better for small jobs.

Top 7 Best Nail Guns for Wainscoting

Based on the abovementioned consideration, we have picked 7 amazing nailers for your upcoming wainscoting projects.

NEU MASTER Pneumatic Brad Nailer

It is a brad nailer that can drive 18 gauge brad nails 5/8 inch up to 2 inches in length and also drive 1/4″ crown staples inch up to 1-5/8 inch.

This nailer’s design is very user-friendly, with multiple tool-free settings. The magazine can hold 100 brad nails or crown staples at a time. That’s why it can complete board and batten, overlay, or raised panel wainscoting jobs.

This nailer has multiple features, like

  • A 360-degree rotatable exhaust.
  • Tool-free jam release mechanism removes jams easily.
  • Lightweight (2.6 lbs.) and has excellent mobility and maneuverability.
  • Comfortable rubber grip so that the user doesn’t get fatigued.
  • Compressor can generate 60-120 psi of air power.
  • Good build quality and perfect stability.

Some drawbacks

  • Requires good maintenance and oiling to get better results.
  • Not suitable for a thick wood surface.

Users really liked the simple, user-friendly design of this nailer. Some users complain that this nail gun sometimes doesn’t provide enough power to penetrate.

Ryobi P325 One+ Finish Nailer

It is a good cordless nailer that shoots larger 16-gauge finish nails, which have more holding power than brad nails. The maximum length of the nails is 2-1/2 inches.

These nails can be used in flat panels or beadboard wainscoting. It’s slightly overweight (7.3 pounds) with a dimension of 4.13*11.6*12.7 inches.

Its power source is an 18-volt battery, but its kit bag doesn’t contain any batteries or chargers.

Some essential features are,

  • Good air pressure adjuster to increase or decrease penetration power.
  • Unique LED light can help, even in dark work spaces.
  • Non-marring trigger increases safety by disallowing accidental nail firing.
  • Special knobs to adjust the depth of the nails.
  • Unique front has a jam-releasing mechanism.

Some drawbacks

  • Heavy weight makes it a little hard to move.
  • Battery is not included.

Some users complain about the bulkiness of the gun. There are also complaints about the nailer’s ability to damage thin pieces while wainscoting.

Bielmeier 20V Cordless Brad nailer

It is a cordless nailer for wainscoting projects that can shoot 18g 5/8″ to 1-1/4″ long brad nails and 1/4″ long 5/8″ to 1/4″ crown staples.

This nailer can work on different types of panels made of oak, plywood, MDF, or soft materials like pine.

The power source of the nailer is a 20VDC 2000 mAh lithium-ion battery that needs approximately 4 hours to charge.

The nailer is pretty lightweight because it can only store 50 nails in its magazine at a time.

It comes with a kit bag that has a charger, a battery, 800 staples, 800 brad nails, and a full manual on how to use it.

Some special features

  • User-friendly depth adjustment wheel to work with different materials and thicknesses.
  • Safety striker guard mechanism doesn’t allow it to start nailing randomly, preventing accidents.
  • An observation window to check how many nails remain in the strip.
  • High-efficiency motor makes its impact rate reach 300 rpm.
  • Unique charging protection to prevent accidents. After a full charge, it can fire up to 2000 nails.

Aren’t there any bad sides?

Yes, there are a few bad sides to this tool too.

  • Its magazine has a small capacity.
  • It doesn’t provide enough power for thicker materials.

Users are very comfortable with this nail gun. Some complaints are also there about not having enough power for thicker materials. Also, the magazine capacity is not sufficient for some users.

Metabo HPT NV45AB2 Roofing Nailer

The Metabo HPT NV45AB2 is actually a pneumatic tool for the installation of roofing panels.

But it can shoot 16-degree roofing nails ranging in size from 7/8 inch to 1-3/4 inch, making it ideal for installing wainscoting too. It is incredibly lightweight, weighing only 5.5 lbs.

This nailer can also fire around 180 nails per minute. It has a quick response and swift driving mechanisms that let users work at a fast speed.

Its special features are

  • Special side-loading magazine for faster reloading.
  • Provides extra penetration power because of its quick drive mechanism.
  • Adjust the depth of nails with its extraordinary depth adjuster.
  • Carbide tip that can push the lever helps the user reduce wear.
  • Rubberized hand grip allows the user to hold it tightly even in a tough workspace.
  • Compressor can generate 70–120 psi.

Some drawbacks

  • Needs maintenance and oiling.
  • Nail heads sometimes bend and have to be driven by a hammer.

The Metabo HPT has been well-known for a long time, and experts recommend this pneumatic air tool for many projects, such as wainscoting insulation.

Users are really satisfied with the nail gun. They mentioned that it is lightweight, powerful, and can serve many purposes. But some users complain about the bending problem of the nails.

NuMax SFR2190 Framing Nailer

This is a 21-degree angled pneumatic full-head framing nail gun that fires plastic collated nails ranging from 2″ to 3-1/2″.

Plastic collated nails are held together with a small strip of plastic, making them suitable for wainscoting projects.

It fulfils all the requirements for your wainscoting tasks. It provides 70-115 PSI. Its 21-degree angled magazine makes it an excellent option for wainscoting installation.

Its special features are

  • 360-degree adjustable air exhaust compressor.
  • Interchangeable trigger is ideal for a quick fire.
  • Magnesium construction allows users to hold it tightly.
  • Unique depth-adjusting mechanism for precise nailing.
  • Non-marring tips protect you from unwanted accidents.
  • No slipping teeth that can hold the workspace tightly to provide extra pressure.
  • Ergonomic grip helps users by reducing hand fatigue.
  • An interchangeable trigger to change nail firing mode.
  • Special anti-dust clap has its inner components made from wood dust.

Some drawbacks

  • Need maintenance and oiling for best results.
  • Some people complain that sometimes it misfires.

Users are happy with the features this gun offers. Some issues are also there, but users are really comfortable with its user-friendly design and power.

KIMO ‎9418A Cordless Brad Nailer

The KIMO 9419A is a cordless brad nailer that can fire both 18 gauge nails and 1/4″ crown staples.

It allows users to choose between nailing or stapling for wainscoting installation. It runs on a battery.

Typically, battery-powered tools are heavy and cause fatigue when used for an extended period of time.

Surprisingly, the KIMO 9418A is very compact, weighing only 5 pounds without the battery. It has both single-firing and contact firing modes.

It comes with a fast charger, which charges the nailer in less than an hour. It can drive up to 1400 nails with one full charge.

It can also fire around 80 nails in just one minute. There are complaints about the gun’s inability to penetrate thick materials. But overall, users are pretty satisfied with its capabilities.

Other features include

  • Rotating, 360-degree air exhaust compressor.
  • Switchable trigger on this nailer makes it simple to fire quickly.
  • Magnesium body allows people to grip it firmly.
  • Incorporates a unique depth-adjusting mechanism for accurate nailing.
  • Users are protected from unintended accidents by their non-marring tips.
  • Doesn’t have sliding teeth that could grip the work area and apply more pressure.
  • Users benefit from its ergonomic grip by having less hand fatigue.
  • Trigger on this nailer may be switched out to vary how the nails are fired.
  • Interior parts of its unique anti-dust clap are formed of wood dust.

Bad sides

  • Plastic build.
  • Not suitable for thicker materials.

Freeman Pneumatic Combo Kit

For a professional carpenter or home designer to work on different interior and exterior renovation projects that include wainscoting, then the Freeman Pneumatic Combo Kit is one of the best tools.

This combo pack includes,

  • A framing nailer with a 21-degree angle for large wainscoting projects.
  • An 18-gauge Brad Nailer does almost every wainscoting task.
  • An 18-Gauge Narrow Crown Stapler for odd-shaped wainscoting panels.
  • For heavier work, consider the 15-Gauge Angle Finish Nailer.
  • A canvas storage bag containing oil, wrenches, and instructions.

This combo kit comes with some great handy features.

  • Depth adjustment to work on different materials with different thicknesses.
  • 360-Degree adjustable exhaust.
  • Durable magnesium body.
  • No-mar tip for giving protection to soft and delicate wooden surfaces.
  • Oil-free design.
  • Quick-release nose.
  • Switch between modes smoothly.
  • Durable magnesium body for added longevity.
  • Easy loading system.
  • Anti-dry fire mechanism.

A single nailer is preferable for a small wainscoting project, but it’s always better to have multiple nail guns as the user may work with different materials for different panels with different sizes and densities.

This combo kit contains everything a user needs. I would recommend this kit even for non-professionals and DIY interior wainscoting workers.

There are some complaints about this nail gun too. Some users face the jamming tendency of the framing nailer sometimes.

Some users also complain about the unavailability of the 21-degree 3-1/2 inch nails in many places. The kit needs high maintenance too.

This kit is the best value for money and can be the most helpful tool for your wainscoting projects because it has so many useful features and not many problems.

Brad Nail Gun Or Finish Nail Gun – Which One Is More Acceptable?

The Brad nailer fires 18d nails that range in length from 1/2 to 2-1/2 inches. These nails are relatively thinner, so they can penetrate soft or hardwood without splitting by making a small hole.

Because of this, these nails can hold the trim in place but not properly attached.

As a result, small-sized wainscotting projects where thin boards are used, like Board & Batten, Overlay, or Raised Panel Wainscoting, are completed with these nailers.

In contrast, a finish nail gun shoots nails ranging from 16-gauge to 14-gauge.

The length of the nails is between 1 and 3-1/2 inches. As these nails are longer and have more diameters, they come with better holding power, which is enough to split the wood.

That is why they are more often used for flat panel or beadboard wainscoting, which is both made of dense wood.

Choosing between these two nailers depends on what type of wainscoting job a customer wants.

Try to use a finish nailer when completing dense wood wainscoting, whereas, for some sized DIY wainscoting, a brad nailer will do just fine.

Straight Nailer Vs. Angled Nailer

These two nailers’ names are apt for their work types. The angle nailers are more commonly used for completing jobs with rough angles and tight spots.

Their magazine’s angle is 34 degrees (DA) and 25 degrees (FN), so the collision angle allows nails to penetrate more tightly.

These nailers use 15-d near-full head nails, which have more thickness and therefore have better holding power.

Their magazines can usually store more nails (130-200), but their overall body structure isn’t that compact.

As a result, these nails are more lightweight than straight nails, which allow them to complete wainscoting designs with tough angles on thick material without needing more penetration power.

The straight nailer’s magazine is straight so that it can penetrate nails at a 90-degree angle.

They use 16-d nails, which are powerful enough to penetrate most wainscoting projects. So try to use straight nailers for perpendicular types of wainscoting designs.

What Size Nails For Wainscoting?

Usually, 2″ long, 18 gauge or 16 gauge nails are suitable for almost all the wainscoting. These nails have more penetration and holding power. 18 gauge nails create smaller holes than 16 gauge nails, making them more effective for softwoods or holding panels together. There is also less chance of splitting or damaging the materials.

On the other hand, 16-gauge nails will give you bigger holes, so they need adhesive to cover the holes. Their penetration power is required for hardwoods or to attach two panels together. These nails can split wood panels, so do not apply extra pressure.

How To Pick The Best Nailer For Wainscoting

Let’s check how you can pick the best nail gun for wainscoting projects.

Different Types of Wainscoting Panels

What kind of nailer you should use depends on which type of wainscoting you are going for and what material you use. There are typically five different types of wainscoting panels.

Raised Panel

It is more traditional and primarily used in formal dining and living rooms. It requires an artisan to bevel the edges of each wood panel before adding wood trim on top of the raised panels. Using wood strips vertically is the most common design for this type of wainscoting. The distance between two panels is usually 30 to 40 inches.

Flat Panel

It is also called a “shaker panel.” Thin boards of plywood or MDF with no bevelled edges or molding are attached to the walls. The flat panel’s thickness and rail width are usually 5/8 inches and 3 inches. Route width and route depth change according to the user’s design.


This wainscoting is relatively less formal and easy to install. Strips of wood or trim to the beadboard are applied to create panels. These panels can have a length of between 32 and 48 inches, whereas the width is usually 4 inches.

However, users can use 8-foot-long panels if necessary, but these panels use specially manufactured grooves and beads that are molded into them.

Board and Batten

It uses rectangular sections joined by strips of material called battens to cover the seams between the boards. The width of the battens is between 4 and 6 inches, and the distance between them is about 6 to 8 inches. As a result, it can cover just a short section of the wall or all the way to the ceiling.


It uses a combination of both flat and raised panels. This wainscoting panel has a neoclassical design that imitates the solid wood raised panel. This panel is glued between the styles and rails of a flat surface to create a recess.

As mentioned above, there are different characteristics for each type of wainscoting. Materials used in different wainscoting also differ in size, type, and thickness. But almost all of the wainscoting has similar parts, including panels, rails, stiles, and baseboards.

Usually, the materials used in wainscoting are not that thick. Users can use both nailers and staplers for most of the wainscoting.

Features Like Those Should Be Available For Wainscoting.

A nail gun should have some essential features for perfectly installing wainscoting.

Depth adjuster

It’s a must-need feature for wainscoting. The panels used in users’ jobs differ in size and thickness. With this feature, users can adjust the penetration power of their nail gun. When the panels are thin, they can lower the power and avoid damaging the materials.

Nail size adjuster

Usually, a nail gun can use different types of nails. With this feature, the nailer’s tip angle and power generation settings automatically change when the user fills the nailer with different-sized nails.

Nailing mode changer

A nail gun can fire nails in two modes: single or rapid firing. Users can change the firing mode depending on the work type and wood type to nail precisely.

None-marring tip

The user benefits from this feature by having accidents prevented. If the trigger is pulled even marginally in the wrong direction, even mistakenly, that nailer will start nailing. This feature will not allow nails to be nailed during that period. The nailer can only nail once it comes into contact with a hard surface like wood or cardboard.

Air pressure controller

The air power output of the pneumatic nailer can be adjusted due to this feature. Air that is being channeled in a specific direction with a piston and can be adjusted as needed also helps users nail more precisely.

Anti-dust cap

When using the nail on wood, this feature makes the nailer clean. If dust seeps into parts, it could cause them to jam the nailer.

A quick jam release mechanism

After prolonged usage, even an elevated nailer will periodically clog. However, the effects of conflicts amongst mechanical parts are minimized by this feature. As a result, the nailer rarely gets stuck.

My Last Suggestion for You

When you have the best nail gun for wainscoting projects, all your wainscoting work will be much easier and less time-consuming. Based on your project size, the materials you are using, and the budget, you can choose any of the tools for your wainscoting.

You should also look for the extra features a tool provides. Some guns give you the versatility of using both nails and staples. Some guns offer you features like higher magazine capacity or a built-in LED for working in dark places. Based on your project, you can choose one that is more efficient for your wainscoting tasks.

Leave a Comment