The Best Pin Nailers for Woodworking

If you’re looking to attach trim, molding, or mitered corners without leaving a noticeable hole, the best pin nailer can help.

Best Overall

Metabo HPT NP35A pin nailer

Metabo HPT NP35A 23-Gauge Micro Pin Nailer Kit

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Runner-Up

DeWalt Pin Nailer

DeWalt DWFPT2350K 23-Gauge Pin Nailer

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Best Bang For The Buck

Arrow pin nailer

Arrow PT23G Pneumatic Pin Nailer

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There are certain situations in finish carpentry and woodworking where a big finish or brad nail just won’t do. These fasteners often act like wedges through thinner pieces of wood, causing them to split or crack. And when they don’t crack, they leave behind large holes that require going back with wood putty to fill them. The good news is there’s another option: the stealth, compact pin nailer.

Pin nailers, also known as micro pinners, drive very thin fasteners that are actually just sturdy wires. The pins themselves come in stacks similar to those inserted into finish or brad nailers, but they don’t have a head, meaning a pin nailer can drive one without leaving a noticeable hole. Although they don’t offer a ton of holding strength, the best pin nailers can be a huge asset for trim, woodworking, and crafts.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Metabo HPT NP35A 23-Gauge Micro Pin Nailer Kit
  2. RUNNER-UP: DeWalt DWFP2350K 23-Gauge Pin Nailer
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Arrow PT23G Pneumatic Pin Nailer
  4. UPGRADE PICK: Milwaukee 2540-21 M12 23-Gauge Pin Nailer Kit
  5. BEST PNEUMATIC: Bostitch HP118K 23-Gauge Pin Nailer
  6. BEST BATTERY: Makita XTP02Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Pin Nailer
  7. BEST RANGE: Metabo HPT NP50A 23-Gauge Pro Pin Nailer
  8. BEST FOR PROS: Bostitch BTFP2350K 23-Gauge Pin Nailer
  9. ALSO CONSIDER: Ryobi P318 18V One+ AirStrike 23-Gauge Pin Nailer
A person using a pin nailer
Photo: amazon.com

How We Chose the Best Pin Nailers

Choosing the best pin nailers involved a lot of research. We had to call upon all of our experience in DIY projects, woodworking, and finish carpentry to choose the features we thought we’d need most. We also reached out to Jonathan Warshaw, founder and owner of Simple Woodworker, who boasts more than 15 years of experience in woodworking. “When I chose a pin nailer for my projects, I looked for power, battery life, and adjustable depth control,” he says. “These factors ensure versatility and efficiency in various woodworking tasks.” These key ingredients were taken into consideration when picking our top recommendations.

With the important features nailed down, we conducted extensive product research to compile a list of tools we felt might meet our needs. Once we had our list, we compared the features and the pros and cons, as well as the prices, to ensure they would get the job done while providing enough value.

We tossed to the side the pin nailers that didn’t make it and focused on the models that did. We gave each tool an award based on its strengths, creating this list of the best pin nailers.

Our Top Picks

The following is a list of some of the best pin nailers on the market. Each of our top picks is organized by category and comes with a thoroughly vetted list of pros and cons for narrowing down the ideal model for specific tasks.

Best Overall

Metabo HPT NP35A 23-Gauge Micro Pin Nailer Kit

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Product Specs 

  • Power source: Pneumatic
  • Range: ⅝ inch to 1⅜ inches
  • Safety features: Double trigger

Pros

  • Includes case, several tips, wrench, hose adapter, and safety glasses
  • Depth adjustment and dual triggers for tailoring the shot accurately
  • Lightweight at just 2 pounds; suitable for DIY use or on the job site

Cons

  • Depth adjustment requires a wrench which can be cumbersome

When it comes to high-quality pneumatic fastening tools, Metabo HPT (formerly Hitachi Power Tools) is almost always at the top, and this pin nailer carries on the tradition. This pneumatic pin nailer features a lightweight design and weighs just 2 pounds, making it ideal for all-day use. It also has non-marring narrow tips.

This 23-gauge pin nailer is compatible with pins ranging from ⅝ to 1⅜ inches, allowing it to easily serve most general purposes. It also has a cushioned grip for improved comfort. The dual-trigger design allows users to position the tip exactly where they want it without having to worry about the nose bouncing while preventing accidental firing. It comes with a carrying case, several no-mar tips, a wrench, and a pair of safety glasses. It has depth adjustments, but the included wrench is required to make them.

Get the Metabo HPT NP35A pin nailer at Amazon or Lowe’s.

Runner-Up

DeWalt DWFPT2350K 23-Gauge Pin Nailer

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Product Specs 

  • Power source: Pneumatic
  • Range: ⅝ inch to 2 inches
  • Safety features: Double trigger, dry-fire lockout with bypass and reload alert, reversible belt loop

Pros

  • Large compatibility range can accommodate pins between ⅝-inch and 2 inches
  • Toolless depth adjustments and jam-clearing for easy nail removal if required
  • High-tech system with a low-nail lockout that has a bypass and a reload alert function
  • Reversible belt loop and oil-free construction for convenience

Cons

  • Larger magazine is a little bulky; may cause some fatigue and limited mobility

For a top-tier pin nailer that can hang moldings and fasten crafts with the best of them, consider this model from DeWalt. This pneumatic nailer can handle pins ranging from ⅝-inch to 2 inches, allowing for improved versatility compared with other models. It has toolless depth adjustments and a jam-clearing mechanism as well.

The DeWalt Pin Nailer features a double safety trigger to protect the user from accidental activations as well as a dry-fire lockout to protect the workpiece and the tool. It also features a reversible belt loop for convenience and a cushioned grip for comfort and improved ergonomics. Keep in mind that although the ability to drive large pins is nice, the wider magazine does make this nail gun slightly bulky.

Get the DeWalt pin nailer at Amazon or The Home Depot

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Best Bang For The Buck

Arrow PT23G Pneumatic Pin Nailer

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Product Specs 

  • Power source: Pneumatic
  • Range: ⅜ inch to 1 inch
  • Safety features: Double trigger, adjustable exhaust port

Pros

  • Ideal for small, light-duty projects including trim, molding, crafting, and DIY tasks
  • Ergonomic rubber overmold grip provides comfort and control while in use
  • Easy-load magazine for quick reloads and simple jam-clearing

Cons

  • No depth adjustment or no-mar tips included
  • Accommodates smaller pin nails than some of the other options on this list

Just because the materials you’re working with might be expensive or exotic doesn’t mean the pin nailer that fastens them must be. The Arrow PT23G pneumatic 23-gauge nailer drives shorter pins that hide in hardwoods and painted trim work alike. It features an overmold rubber grip for comfort and improved ergonomics.

This pin nailer features a range capable of handling ⅜- to 1-inch pins, making it a solid choice for crafts, picture framing, or any other light-duty work. The PT23G also has an adjustable exhaust cover to direct bursts of air away from the user’s face, as well as a double trigger to avoid accidental firing. Arrow also designed the magazine for easy loading. Other than the range being somewhat limited, the only downsides to this pin nailer are that it doesn’t have no-mar tips and there isn’t a depth adjustment.

Get the Arrow pin nailer at Amazon, Ace Hardware, or Walmart.

Upgrade Pick

Milwaukee 2540-21 M12 23-Gauge Pin Nailer Kit

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Product Specs 

  • Power source: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery, 12-volt
  • Range: ½ inch to 1⅜ inch
  • Safety features: Double trigger, dry-fire lockout, and reversible belt clip

Pros

  • Tool-free depth adjustments and a nitrogen air spring mechanism for proper depth every time
  • Dry-fire lockout system prevents misfires and malfunctions; leaves behind small, clean holes
  • LED light for increased visibility when used in dark or tight spaces
  • Comes with an M12 battery, a charger, and a contractor bag for added convenience

Cons

  • It may be outside of some folks’ pin-nailing budget

For improved portability, consider the Milwaukee M12 12-volt 23-gauge lithium-ion cordless pin nailer. This nail gun uses the brand’s 12-volt battery system. This allows users already invested in the system to take advantage of the batteries they already own, and the battery it comes with can fire up to 750 pins per charge.

This complete kit comes with the pin nailer, a charger, a 1.5 amp hour (Ah) lithium-ion battery, and a contractor bag for easy storage. It also features a double trigger and dry-fire lockout for safety, and depth adjustments are tool-free. Plus, the nitrogen air spring mechanism integrated into this electric pin nailer consistently sinks pins at the proper depth and leaves behind modest, clean holes that won’t attract the eye. The device itself is very compact, and it features an onboard LED light for illuminating dark corners and spaces while fastening. The main downside to this model is its price, but it could be worth the expense to some pros and DIYers.

Get the Milwaukee pin nailer at The Home Depot.

Best Pneumatic

Bostitch HP118K 23-Gauge Pin Nailer

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Product Specs 

  • Power source: Pneumatic
  • Range: ½ inch to 1-3/16 inch
  • Safety features: Double trigger

Pros

  • Comes with everything necessary to hook to a compressor hose; made with a ¼-inch NPT fitting and rear exhaust
  • Adjustable power switch allows for depth control without adjusting the compressor
  • Lightweight, durable aluminum housing and overmold rubber grip won’t cause fatigue on the job site

Cons

  • Not a no-mar tip; may leave behind unclean or chipped holes

Those looking for a pneumatic pin nailer that’s ready for tying into a compressor and getting to work should check out Bostitch’s Pin Nailer. This 23-gauge pin nailer comes with a ¼-inch quick-connect fitting for snapping to most compressor hoses without issue. It also comes with a sturdy hard case and an assortment of over five hundred pins.

This nail gun accepts 23-gauge pins ranging from ½ to 1-3/16 inch, allowing it to handle a variety of jobs. It also features a switch to flip between high and low outputs, effectively acting as a depth adjustment. The aluminum housing is both durable and lightweight, and the overmold rubber grip makes all-day work a bit more comfortable. While the tip is narrow and extremely accurate, it isn’t nonmarring.

Get the Bostitch HP118K pin nailer at Amazon, Lowe’s, or Walmart.

Best Battery

Makita XTP02Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Pin Nailer

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Product Specs 

  • Power source: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery, 18V
  • Range: ⅝ inch to 1⅜ inch (but not 1¼ inch)
  • Safety features: Nose no-mar tip, dry-fire lockout mechanism

Pros

  • No-mar tip and dry-fire lockout mechanism prevent damage to the work surface
  • High-quality firing mechanism reduces recoil and force while driving nails
  • Toolless depth adjustments provide flush finishes with every nail fired
  • Uses the brand’s lithium-ion 18-volt battery lineup; compatible with other battery-powered Makita products

Cons

  • Does not come with a battery; must be purchased separately

When it comes to driving nails in tight places or remote locations, it’s hard to beat a cordless pin nailer like this model from Makita. The XTP02Z uses the brand’s 18-volt LXT lithium-ion battery system, allowing folks already invested in the brand to take advantage of their already-owned batteries. With a 5.0Ah battery, it can fire up to 5,300 pins in a single charge.

Along with portability, this model offers adjustability with toolless depth adjustments. It can fire nails between ⅝ and 1⅜ inch (though it does not work with 1¼-inch pins). It has a dry-fire mechanism that prevents the device from firing when the magazine is empty and a safety no-mar tip that must depress to fire the trigger. It also features a refined firing mechanism that reduces recoil, making it less likely to damage the work surface upon firing. If there’s a complaint, it’s that this is a tool-only purchase.

Get the Makita pin nailer (tool only) at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Walmart.

Best Range

Metabo HPT NP50A 23-Gauge Pro Pin Nailer

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Product Specs 

  • Power source: Pneumatic
  • Range: ½ inch to 2 inches
  • Safety features: Double trigger, dry-fire lockout, and 360-degree adjustable rear exhaust

Pros

  • Wide pin-length range for a variety of light- to heavy-duty projects; ½ inch to 2 inches
  • Durable aluminum magazine is lightweight and prevents any unwanted jamming
  • Built-in 360-degree adjustable belt hook is ideal for those that take their pin nailer to the job site
  • Includes case, no-mar tips, oil, safety glasses, and hard case

Cons

  • Depth adjustments are not toolless; may be inconvenient for some users

Versatility abounds with this pin nailer from Metabo HPT. Not only does this pin nailer continue the brand’s legacy of high-end fastening tools, it does so with a wide range of fastener lengths. This model accepts 23-gauge pins measuring ½ inch to 2 inches long, allowing it to tackle small crafts or heavy-duty paneling and trim.

This pin nailer kit comes with a case, no-mar tips, oil, and safety glasses. The magazine features aluminum construction, the grip has a cushioned design, and the 360-degree rear exhaust can direct any annoying air flow away from the user. The base has a built-in 360-degree adjustable belt hook and a silencer to minimize noise as well. The two included tips are narrow enough to get into tight places and are also no-mar, meaning the user won’t scratch or dent expensive woodwork while fastening. Users can adjust the depth of the fastener, but that does require a wrench.

Get the Metabo HPT NP50A pin nailer at Amazon or Lowe’s.

Best For Pros

Bostitch BTFP2350K 23-Gauge Pin Nailer

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  • Power source: Pneumatic
  • Range: ⅝ inch to 2 inches
  • Safety features: Double trigger, dry-fire lockout with bypass alert, and reversible belt hook

Pros

  • Wide pin-length range for light- to heavy-duty nailing tasks; ⅝ to 2 inches
  • No-mar tip and double trigger for safety and reducing damage to a given work surface
  • Reversible belt hook can be placed on a tool or pants belt for easy portability
  • Toolless depth adjustments for a flush application every time

Cons

  • Wider magazine can be a bit bulky; may not provide optimal maneuverability

Pros who need to get the job done quickly and efficiently should check out Bostitch’s 23-gauge pin nailer. This tool features a wide pin-length range between ⅝ inch and 2 inches, and it doesn’t require any tool to clear jams. Simply unlatch the clasp near the nose, flip up the guard, and clear the jam. The toolless depth adjustment knob is also under that guard.

This pneumatic nailer features a no-mar tip and a double trigger, allowing users to fire safely and accurately without damaging the wood surface. It also has a dry-fire lockout with a bypass alert and a reversible belt hook for excellent portability. Like other models with larger pin ranges, the wider magazine can make this pin nailer seem a bit bulky in tighter spots.

Get the Bostitch BTFP2350K pin nailer at Lowe’s, Walmart, or Menards.

Also Consider

Ryobi P318 18V One+ AirStrike 23-Gauge Pin Nailer

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Product Specs 

  • Power source: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery, 18-volt
  • Range: ½ inch to 1⅜ inches
  • Safety features: Dry-fire lockout, double trigger, non-marring pads, belt clip, and LED light

Pros

  • Battery-powered design relies on Ryobi AirStrike Technology; no hose, gas cartridge, or compressor is required
  • General purpose pin-length range; suitable for DIYers as well as professionals
  • Built-in belt loop and LED lights provide portability and improved visibility

Cons

  • Tool-only purchase; batteries and charger must be purchased separately

Folks who have already invested in several One+ tools from Ryobi should check out the AirStrike 23-gauge pin nailer. This battery-operated pin nailer uses One+ lithium-ion batteries to fire pins between ½ and 1⅜ inches, offering a general-purpose range from a highly portable pin nailer. Plus, it is capable of firing up to 60 pins per minute.

This pin nailer has plenty of built-in features as well. It has a built-in belt clip, an LED worklight, a dry-fire lockout, and a double trigger to prevent accidents and for sequential nail driving. This pin nailer also comes with a convenient GripZone overmold design for a comfortable grip while in use. Keep in mind that this is a tool-only purchase, which can be a good way to save money, but only for folks who already own the batteries.

Get the Ryobi pin nailer (tool only) at Amazon or The Home Depot

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing a Pin Nailer

For a device that fires such a minimal fastener, there is a lot to know about choosing the best pin nailer. The following includes some of the most important information regarding what to look for and how to choose a micro pinner.

Pneumatic vs. Battery

There are two types of pin nailers: those powered by compressed air and those powered by batteries. They’re both more than sufficient to drive such small fasteners, but there are pros and cons to each.

A pneumatic micro pinner nail gun uses tanks of compressed air to fire pins into wood. These tools attach to an air compressor with a long, flexible hose. A press of the trigger releases a small burst of air to drive a pin into the workpiece. As long as there is an air compressor, an air pin nailer will work. However, these tools are only as portable as the compressor powering them.

Battery-operated pin nailers drive the same fasteners but use the electricity stored within the battery to compress a heavy spring. After the user pulls the trigger, the spring releases, powering the mechanism that drives the pin. These tools are ultra-portable, but when the battery dies, it can leave the project at a standstill.

Pin Length and Size 

Like most fasteners, the pins that micro nailers drive come in varying lengths. They’re available in pin nail sizes ranging from ⅜ inch to 2 inches long. Pin nailers will accommodate several of these sizes, negating the need to own several pin nailers for different fastener lengths. Some pin nailers may feature adjustable depths that allow the user to tailor how deeply a pin is driven.

The pin lengths may vary, but the thickness never does. All common pin nailers fire 23-gauge pins. This thin gauge and lack of a nail head allows for large magazine capacities, as many as 200 pins in some products.

Safety

Although pin nails are very small, they aren’t without danger. The lack of head means a pin could easily pass through skin, so manufacturers build safety features into their pin nailers to prevent errant firing.

Some pinner nail guns may have safety devices built into their noses. The nose must be pressed down onto a surface in order for the user to pull the trigger. Others might feature double triggers that require the user to activate both triggers separately to fire.

Manufacturers build features into these micro pinners for the device’s safety as well. Dry-fire mechanisms that disable the nailer’s ability to fire when it runs out of nails prevents unnecessarily shortening the device’s lifespan.

Ergonomics and Weight

Comparing pin nailers’ weights with other nail guns such as framing or finish nailers, they’re certainly among the smallest nail guns. However, pneumatic nailers tend to be the lightest (often just 2 pounds or so). Battery-operated pin nailers can weigh two or three times as much, which may be a factor for some DIYers. Still, for folks who use their pin nailer occasionally or in a shop setting, weight doesn’t need to be the deciding factor.

Ergonomics are also key. Repetitive use of any tool can wear the user down, so rubber grips, tool-free depth adjustments, and even directionable air exhaust can help make using a pin nailer more enjoyable over the course of a day.

Additional Features 

There are some additional features that might make one micro nail gun more attractive than another. Some may come with special drops known as “no-mar,” and they use special polymers that prevent scratching or denting the work surface. Others may feature very narrow tips, allowing the user to poke the tip of the nailer into very tight spaces for pinpoint nail placement.

Also, it may be worth looking for a pin nailer that comes with a carrying case to protect the tool and make storing it a bit more worry-free. And be sure to check that case for a set of safety glasses, as they can be incredibly important when working with any power tools, but especially pin nailers.

FAQs

Even with all that information, there could be some lingering questions nagging you. The following is a collection of the most frequently asked questions about pin nailers, along with the answers to clear up the confusion. Be sure to check for an answer to your question listed below.

Q. Are pin nailers worth it?

Absolutely. Pin nailers are far less likely to split wood or damage a work surface. The holes they create take far less time to fill, and aligning the tip of the gun is much easier than finish or brad nailers.

Q. What is the purpose of a pin nailer?

The main purpose of a pin nailer is to tack a piece of trim or molding in place while the glue dries. The joint doesn’t get its strength from the pins, but rather from the glue.

Q. Where can I use a pin nailer?

Pin nailers have an array of applications. For example, nailing a return onto a window stool, fastening mitered corners, or installing small pieces of wood trim on paneling. The pins will hold these pieces together as the glue dries.

Q. How do I choose a pin nailer?

First, look for one that fits your budget. Then, choose either cordless or pneumatic and go with one that has a wide-enough range to serve your purposes.

Q. Are electric pin nailers any good?

Battery-operated pin nailers are excellent as they provide the same amount of power and accuracy as pneumatic models but do not require a compressor, hose, or gas cartridge. Some electric models can fire up to 2,500 pins on a single battery charge while coming with useful features like adjustable belt loops/clips and exhaust valves.

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Tom Scalisi

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Tom Scalisi is a freelance writer, author, and blogger with a passion for building. Whether it’s a DIY project or an entire website, Tom loves creating something from the ground up, stepping back, and admiring a job well done.

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