Nailgun and compressor recommendations

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Forum topic by Brett posted 07-21-2015 03:52 AM 810 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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660 posts in 2103 days

07-21-2015 03:52 AM

What type and size air compressor and nailgun should I buy for use in hobby-woodworking? I just want something to build stuff for my shop and to attach moldings to furniture. Thanks.

-- More tools, fewer machines.

14 replies so far

View Stewbot's profile


190 posts in 504 days

#1 posted 07-21-2015 04:31 AM

If you really only plan to use the compressor for shooting finish nail guns, I would recommend the Makita MAC700. I like mine because it is small, relatively lightweight, quiet and runs like a top. It does not have a huge storage tank, and obviously kicks in more often, but to me this does not matter. I have so many more power tools that’s are more abrasive to the ears than this thing.

As for finish nail guns, I really like Hitachi. I have a Hitachi 18g brad nailer and 15g angled nailer. I use my brad nail gun the most.

-- Hoopty scoop?

View DKV's profile


3940 posts in 1924 days

#2 posted 07-21-2015 04:31 AM

Brett, per your signature it would seem a hammer and nails.

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

View exelectrician's profile


2327 posts in 1848 days

#3 posted 07-21-2015 06:25 AM

The DeWalt DC628 shoots 1 1/4” – 2 1/2” 15 ga nails without compressor or hoses.
This is so handy for doing odd jobs on ladders and so on, uses standard 18V DeWalt batteries, I am very pleased with mine, and my wife likes the fact the compressor does not make her jump every time it starts.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View brtech's profile


882 posts in 2343 days

#4 posted 07-21-2015 09:32 AM

Are you the kind of guy who finds the bargains in HF and ignores the junk, or the kind that thinks everything in HF is junk, and wants “real tools”?

An HF pancake compressor with a 1G tank, and one of their 18 ga nailers (not the combo) will be maybe a quarter to half the cost of PC/Makita/Dewalt/Senco… It won’t shoot brads reliably, nail after nail, day after day. It will occasionally jam, the compressor may leak a bit, be noisy, or even run continuously. It takes a bit more monkeying with settings. But it will do the job you describe, and a whole lot more.

View MrRon's profile


3891 posts in 2664 days

#5 posted 07-21-2015 06:33 PM

With air compressors, noise is a very big factor with me. I have 5 air compressors, all very noisy. I found a real quiet air compressor made by California Air Tools, It has an aluminum tank. Believe me when I say those pancake compressors will drive you batty from the noise.

View Ocelot's profile


1459 posts in 2059 days

#6 posted 07-21-2015 07:01 PM

I have a few air nailer/staplers.

I have a Hitachi framing nailer that I really like – has never had a misfire. I’ve only run half a box of nails through it but it’s been entirely trouble-free. Probably a framing nailer is not what you want, but I think the Hitachi brand is all right. You can often find reconditioned nailers at .

I also have an 18-ga narrow crown stapler that I use a lot for just putting together jigs and anything quick in the shop. Mine is a Ridgid. I’ve run a lot of staples through it – even used it to staple down the OSB flooring in the attic of my shop. It’s OK, but you might do better with a Hitachi.

I have a couple of Harbor Freight units – pin nailer and brad nailer. I haven’t used them.


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392 posts in 2442 days

#7 posted 07-21-2015 08:40 PM

For attaching moldings to furniture, I would be looking at pin nailers. I’ve got a Cadex CPB 23.50 that I’ve had for years and absolutely love.

As to compressors, I work in my basement so noise is a key factor. A lot of hobbyist woodworkers like the oil-less compressors for their ease but they’re god-awful loud. I like the Makita MAC5200 as a compromise. It’s definitely bigger/heavier/more expensive than a small pancake compressor but it provides more SCFM and it’s quieter.

-- Greg, Severn MD

View jonah's profile


687 posts in 2719 days

#8 posted 07-21-2015 11:09 PM

Unless I were opening up an auto body shop, I would never buy any kind of a compressor other than ultra quiet ones that MrRon mentioned. Rolair also makes a good ultra quiet one.

View endgrainy's profile


234 posts in 1309 days

#9 posted 07-22-2015 02:27 AM

I have a Rolair compressor:

It’s my first experience with a compressor, but I find it to be quiet and have had no problems.

I mostly use a 23g pin nailer for attaching moldings, etc. I have a Porter-Cable:

It does a great job. If you dial in the psi well, you can nail directly into the surface without marring fragile woods. The pins are virtually invisible after finishing, unless you look very closely.

-- Follow me on Instagram @endgrainy

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Craftsman on the lake

2506 posts in 2858 days

#10 posted 07-22-2015 02:56 AM

I’ve been using three nailers for the past 10 years. A framing nailer that can do up to 3” nails, an 18 gauge finish nailer, and a pin nailer. They are all Porter Cable ones from Home Depot. I’ve got so much mileage on them I can’t even remember how many 50 lb. boxes of nails have gone through the framing nailer. The finish and pin nailer have had thousands of nails run through them too.

All this with a little $125 Craftsman oil filled 3 gallon compressor.

What can I say. I’ve put tons of mileage on these devices and they all still run well and easily keep up.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View Beams37's profile


163 posts in 611 days

#11 posted 07-22-2015 03:11 AM

I picked up a Ryobi kit that has a pancake style compressor with a finish nailer, brad nailer, and staple gun. It has done an amazing job so far. Would recommend to anyone who is focused on price/value.

-- FNG ... On a quest for knowledge.

View ste6168's profile


250 posts in 592 days

#12 posted 07-22-2015 04:34 PM

As far as compressors go, ive got an 8gallon Husky compressor from Home Depot. Loud, but cheap and has never let me down. If I were to do it again, I would spend the money and get the California Air Tools 10gal ultra quiet.

As far as nailers, all Hitachi here. Have a 23ga pin nailer NP35A, 18ga finish (reconditioned from big sky) NT50AE2, and just recently purchased a 3.5” framing nailer NR90AE, as I built a shed. Have never had issues with any of them. Should the need arise, I would purchase Hitachi for a 15ga or stapler. No need for either at the moment, however.

View coloradotrout's profile


61 posts in 1424 days

#13 posted 07-22-2015 04:55 PM

re: compressors.. consider if you ever want/need more CFM. 15ga. nailers will be fine with a few CFM and about any compressor. I have a Rolair Bull. I had a bigger SEARS that I sold because I was tired of lugging it around. The Bull is still too heavy to carry really. I’m toying with getting an impact wrench. My Rolair delivers 4 CFM which is going to be marginal for that tool. There are so many factors. You might watch around Christmas for a package deals. I have a Porter Cable 18ga nailer and 15ga nailer and palm nailer. No issues with any. I keep thinking to get a newer 18ga that would help prevent dents. Or maybe I rig up a “bump guard” on my PC. I have some Harbor Freight full head framing nailer. Big and bulky but drove several hundred nails with no issues when I built our chicken coop. When I was doing my compressor research I looked at the Makita MAC700 and the Rolair Bull. I chose the Bull for a little more CFM and 100% duty cycle, but I sacrificed portability.

View ste6168's profile


250 posts in 592 days

#14 posted 07-22-2015 05:34 PM

Accidentally quoted myself, instead of editing. Whoops.

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