The best staple gun could be just what you need for jobs where a nail gun would be overkill. Staples can penetrate and fasten weaker materials like plywood, sheathing, screen, or fabric without tearing it apart. Whether you’re hanging outdoor holiday decorations, installing house wrap, laying carpet, or mounting delicate moldings, a staple gun can be indispensable for plenty of projects.
To help you choose the best staple gun, we performed hands-on testing with several models. We found the DeWalt DWHTTR350 Heavy-Duty Aluminum Stapler/Brad Nailer to be the best choice overall, with the Bostitch 18-Gauge Crown Stapler being a handy choice for finish work and light-duty projects. Here’s our official ranking:
- BEST OVERALL: DeWalt DWHTTR350 Heavy-Duty Staple and Brad Tacker
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Arrow T50 Heavy-Duty Staple Gun
- UPGRADE PICK: Stanley TR110 SharpShooter Staple Gun
- BEST ELECTRIC: DeWalt Heavy-Duty 5-in-1 Multi-Tacker
- BEST PNEUMATIC: Arrow Fastener PT50 Pneumatic Staple Gun
- BEST FOR FINISH WORK: Bostitch 18-Gauge Finish Stapler Kit
- BEST FOR CONSTRUCTION: Senco SNS41 2-Inch Constrction Stapler
- BEST FOR UPHOLSTERY: Porter-Cable 3/8-Inch Upholstery Stapler
How We Tested the Best Staple Guns
I spent years working as a commercial maintenance technician and carpenter, and I’ve fired my fair share of staples. With that experience in mind, I was able to come up with a test to challenge these staple guns.
For the manual staple guns, they were each loaded with the same T50 staples and then fired into a piece of scrap Douglas fir construction lumber. The depths of the driven staples proved valuable when judging their power. Then, I took a piece of scrap leather and stapled it to the lumber with each gun, again, testing the penetration.
For the finish staplers, I used a similar method but with 18-gauge staples. I stapled a piece of chair-rail molding to that piece of Douglas fir. I stapled in different locations to see how well the staples would penetrate. The test for construction staplers include a scrap of ¾ inch plywood and construction lumber. I fired several staples as I would when sheathing a house, checking on the performance every few staples.
Our Top Picks
Choosing the right staple gun might seem intimidating. To help, we compiled the following list of the best staple guns by performing hands-on tests and seeing what they can do.
When it comes to manual options, our top choice for the best overall is DeWalt’s DWHTTR350 Heavy-Duty Aluminum Stapler/Brad Nailer. This manual nailer fires standard T50 staples and 18 gauge brads, providing flexibility for many fastening projects. It’s lightweight and durable, thanks to its aluminum construction.
During testing, I found that this model packed more punch than any other manual model. Loading staples was easy, but it was a little tricky to figure out how to load the brads at first. Once I figured it out, this model drove them through moldings with ease. I liked that DeWalt includes a built-in view window so the user can see when the staples are getting low, as well as the built-in belt clip (which was very sturdy). Also, compared to the other models, the DeWalt’s build quality really stood out.
- Type: Manual
- Gauge: 18
- Weight: 2 pounds
- Lightweight and durable enough for frequent use at home or on job sites
- Suitable for heavy-duty projects and construction work
- Easy to load compared to other staple guns on the market
- Built-in window for staples or nails for added ease of use
- May not be ideal for driving nails into wood; may only work on soft woods
Get the DeWalt heavy-duty staple gun at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Acme Tools.
DIYers looking for a value-minded staple gun with enough power to tackle most projects should check out Arrow’s Heavy-Duty Staple Gun. This manual model features chrome-polished all-steel construction that’s both durable and rust-resistant. This staple gun shoots the brand’s own T50 staples, so it’s useful for stapling house wrap, upholster, signage, and more.
Testing revealed that this manual staple gun had decent power. Though it did well, the Arrow wasn’t the most powerful in the group (despite being the most difficult to squeeze). I liked the classic design and robust construction. And though it can be a little finicky to load, the price tag is hard to ignore. It performed better than some more expensive models.
- Type: Manual
- Gauge: T50
- Weight: 2 pounds
- Durable, chrome-polished all-steel construction for durability
- Suitable for house wrap, upholster, signage, and more; suitable for DIY or light professional use
- Affordable price point when compared with other staple guns on this list
- Not suitable for heavy-duty or long-term use
- May be difficult to squeeze and load
Get the Arrow T50 staple gun at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Lowe’s.
Stanley’s TR110 Heavy Duty Steel Staple Gun is perfect for any homeowner or DIYer while also being appropriate for the jobsite. With its lightweight construction, this staple gun has a convenient handle lock for safety while storing or changing the staples and a jam-clear mechanism for consistently effective use.
For durability, this manual staple gun is made with chrome-plated steel making it suitable for upholstery, wood, plastics, and more. This model is also made for full-stick bottom-loading and holds T50 heavy-duty staples of ¼ and 9/16 inches. Unfortunately, there are no staples included with the purchase of this gun.
- Type: Manual
- Gauge: T50
- Weight: 2 pounds
- Suitable for light and heavy-duty use; ideal for DIYers as well as professionals
- Durable chrome-plated steel construction for durability on the job site
- Jam-clear mechanism prevents any unwanted misuse or malfunction
- Handle lock for safety while not in use or being stored
- Staples are not included with purchase
Get the Stanley staple gun at The Home Depot or Tractor Supply Co..
The DeWalt 5-in-1 Multi-Tacker is the only electric staple gun to make our list. The Multi-Tacker can fire several sizes and styles of fasteners, including T50s and brad nails. It has a comfortable rubber grip, an on/off switch for added safety, and a power regulator for hard and soft woods.
The Multi-Tacker affordable electric staple gun’s ability to switch between staple styles and brads makes it an attractive option for homeowners as it can take the place of a few tools. It also includes a wire guide for safely stapling electrical wire in place — a handy feature for any job requiring even a little bit of wiring.
- Type: Electric
- Gauge: Multiple sizes
- Weight: 3 pounds
- Suitable for multiple staple sizes and brad nails; ideal for job sites with frequent, long-term stapling
- Comfortable rubber grip prevents strain on the users hands of used for long periods
- Power regulator provides long-term use and effectiveness
- Wire guide for accuracy while stapling multiple materials
- Slightly heavier than comparable options on the market
- Not as portable as some other electric staple guns
Get the Dewalt heavy-duty staple gun at Amazon, The Home Depot, Tool Barn, Acme Tools, or Farm & Fleet.
For those that need a large, heavy-duty staple gun for a multitude of products, the Arrow Fastener PT50 Pneumatic Staple Gun is just the ticket. While not as portable as some other picks on this list, this option is only 1.3 pounds and has an over-molded grip for ease of use while stapling wires, wood, and upholstery.
This Arrow Fastener pneumatic staple gun is also narrow to get into hard-to-reach areas and relies on bump firing for quick stapling with air compressors of up to 120 psi. For added ease of use, this model relies on an easy-load magazine for multiple sizes of T50 staples and exhaust cover for quick reloading and safety. Plus, this model is oil-free.
- Type: Pneumatic
- Gauge: T50
- Weight: 1.3 pounds
- Suitable for heavy-duty or long-term usage; pneumatic construction is fast and effective
- Over-molded grip provides support for the user during longer projects
- Bump firing mechanism for quick stapling; can fire up to 120 psi
- Easy-load magazine for quick changes
- Air compressor required for use; not included with purchase
- Larger than comparable options; may be hard to maneuver for some
- Limited portability compared to similar pneumatic staple guns
Get the Arrow Fastener staple gun at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Lowe’s.
Anyone considering switching to staples for their finish work should check out this 18-gauge Crown Stapler from Bostitch. This heavy-duty pneumatic gun features a tool-free depth adjustment, an overmolded grip for comfort, and it can switch from sequential firing to contact firing easily. It comes with a handy carrying case to keep it safe when not in use and a universal belt clip that can be affixed to either side of the stapler. This pneumatic staple gun uses 18-gauge staples that range in size from 1/2 to 1-1/2 inches.
The Bostitch passed all of our tests without breaking a sweat. Positioning the tip in place was very easy and led to accurate staple placement — something that’s very important in finish work. The staple holes left behind were small and clean, allowing the user to come behind with a bit of nail hole filler for a seamless finish. Using this staple gun was very intuitive, and the built-in belt hook is a nice touch. If there are any complaints, it’s that there’s quite a bit of plastic on this pneumatic staple gun, making it suitable for a DIYer but maybe not a professional finish carpenter.
- Type: Pneumatic
- Gauge: 18
- Weight: 3.3 pounds
- Tool-free depth adjustment for safety and reliability
- Overmolded grip prevents strain on the user’s hands and arms when in use
- Sequential and contact firing depending upon the user’s preference
- Universal belt clip is perfect for those that work in construction or do a lot of DIYs
- Some users have reported air leaks when in operation
Get the Bostitch staple gun at Amazon, Lowe’s, or Acme Tools.
Senco’s 16-gauge staple gun is a pro-grade model that can hold its own on a construction site. This 16-gauge stapler is capable of firing staples up to 2 inches in length. It has an overmolded rubber grip for comfort, and a 360-degree adjustable exhaust port.
Testing the Senco really put its heavy-duty nature on display. This powerful staple gun easily fired staples through plywood and construction lumber, creating a strong mechanical bond that was difficult to break up. It also had a large capacity, holding more than two sticks of 16-gauge staples at a time. Also, I liked that the magazine doesn’t cover the staples, as I could tell how many staples were left at any point.
This heavy-duty staple gun isn’t perfect, though. It doesn’t come with a hose fitting (you’ll need a ⅜-inch male fitting), and it does double-fire from time to time. That’s not a big deal with sheathing, but it could be an issue when installing fence slats or other visible work.
- Type: Pneumatic
- Gauge: 16
- Weight: 4.6 pounds
- Overmolded rubber grip provides added comfort for longer stapling jobs
- 360-degree adjustable exhaust port for added ease of use
- Suitable for heavy-duty use; can be taken to construction sites if required
- Holds ample staples for added convenience
- Slightly heavier than comparable options; may cause some strain with long-term use
Get the Senco staple gun at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Acme Tools.
Whether you are repairing furniture or building an outdoor pergola, this Porter-Cable Upholstery staple gun is a reliable option for any upholstery-related project. With its 22-gauge design, this pneumatic stapler can hold any upholstery to wooden frames for a long time. Plus, it has a bottom-load magazine that is easy to refill with over 185 staples.
This small, lightweight manual staple gun is also easy to hold while tackling hard-to-reach areas. It also includes a 1-inch nose extension for deep piercing, a steel top cap, and a driver guide that resolves jams with ease. Finally, this staple gun pairs with air compressors of over 80 psi.
- Type: Pneumatic
- Gauge: 22
- Weight: 2 pounds
- Bottom-load magazine is easy to load; suitable for first-timers and professionals
- Compact, lightweight design is suitable for long-term use without causing fatigue
- 1-inch nose extension for added convenience and user-friendliness
- Driver guide for accuracy while stapling upholstery, clothing, and other linens
- Compatible with air compressors of over 80 psi for effective use
- No storage case included for nails or additional tools
- Comes with less features compared to similar options
- Air compressor not included with purchase
Get the Porter-Cable staple gun at The Home Depot, Acme Tools, or Target.
What to Consider When Choosing a Staple Gun
With the huge variety of staple guns available online and at the local home center, you’ll need an idea of what to look for when picking out the best staple gun. The following sections will highlight some of the most important considerations to keep in mind when comparing models and hunting for the right staple gun.
Types of Staple Guns
Before you choose a staple gun for your project, you should know that there are several types of staple guns available.
- Manual staple guns: Handheld, spring-loaded manual staple guns that fire thick staples when their levers are depressed. These guns are perfect for hanging exterior decorations.
- Electric staple guns: Electric staple guns either plug in or use a battery to fire staples with the pull of a trigger. Electric staple guns are easy on the arm, so they’re well suited for carpet or upholstery jobs that require large numbers of staples.
- Pneumatic staple guns: Guns that use air pressure to fire thick, heavier gauge staples into framing materials and moldings.
- Flooring staple guns: Typically air-powered guns that fire staples into the tongue of a hardwood plank when struck with a mallet. Some versions are spring-loaded only.
- Tack-hammers: Staple guns that are struck against the face of a surface to fire a staple into the material. These tools are great for hanging house wrap or resin paper.
Staple Gauges and Sizes
Staple thickness is measured in gauge; the lower the number the thicker the staple. For example, a 16-gauge staple is thicker than an 18-gauge staple. Common gauge sizes for all-purpose staple guns are 16, 18, and 20 gauge, with some upholstery guns firing 22-gauge staples. Within that range, staple guns will use staples in widths from 7/32-inch to 7/16-inch and lengths of up to 2 inches. Outside of these typical ranges, some industry-specific tools may use larger or smaller staples.
“T50” is also a common type of staple for most manual staple guns. This type of staple is a trademark of Arrow Fastener, and other manufacturers have designed their staple guns to operate with them. They’re somewhat of the gold standard in staples.
Electric vs. Pneumatic
Manual staple guns will always be useful for a plethora of projects. However, manual staple guns are not always the best option for heavy-duty work. A staple gun with a power source, whether it be electric or pneumatic, might be best when firing a lot of staples or when stapling through thicker materials.
When it comes to choosing electric or pneumatic, there are reasons for both. Pneumatic staple guns tend to be the most powerful, sinking staples deep into tough materials. The issue is they require an air compressor to run. On the other hand, electric staplers simply plug into an outlet, but they pack less of a punch. If light-duty work is all that’s required, an electric model may be the best staple gun for the job.
Since staple guns are capable of doing some serious damage if used incorrectly, select brands take precautions by including useful safety features. One of the most popular features included is a rubber gripped handle that makes maneuvering and holding secure. Some models also include a wire guide for precise stapling during wiring projects as well as a handle lock to prevent unwanted stapling while working or storing.
Comfort and Ease of Use
One of the complaints about manual staple guns is discomfort. Some users with smaller hands or weaker grips find these tools awkward or difficult to use. In this case, an electric or pneumatic staple gun may be a better choice. These types of tools simply require depressing the safety mechanism at the tip while pulling the trigger with one finger.
But, it’s entirely possible for those with smaller hands to fire a manual staple gun. Most of these models have large lever-style triggers which sit in the palm of the user. All the user has to do is push the lever with their body weight.
Tips for Using a Staple Gun
Staple guns are reliable tools for tasks like wiring, DIY projects, and installing roofing. But, these tools are also dangerous if used incorrectly. One important thing to keep in mind while using a staple gun is to understand how it works and how to refill it with staples. Always be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions before using your gun or reloading the staples as functionality may differ from model to model.
Wearing protective clothing should also be worn while using a staple gun, including gloves, impact-resistant eyewear, puncture-resistant footwear, and even a thick, durable pair of pants and shirt. Finally, before you use your staple gun, be sure to check that all the components are working properly and that there are no jammed staples in the mechanism.
- Never point a staple gun at yourself or anyone else around you.
- Do not use a staple gun as a substitute for any tasks that a hammer, screwdriver, drill, or nail gun is meant for.
- While using a pneumatic model, always be sure you are using the correct air compressor with an ideal psi before using your staple gun.
Even with all that background on choosing the best staple gun, there might be some new questions popping up that you’d like to sort through. The following sections aim to answer those queries, as they’re a collection of some of the most frequently asked questions about staple guns.
Q. What kind of staple gun is best for wood?
If you’re stapling something thin or light to wood, the DeWalt DWHTTR350 is one of the best staple guns on the market.
Q. Can I use a staple gun for carpet?
You can, but make sure you use long enough staples to make it through the pile, and that the staple gun has the power to drive them into the wood. Otherwise, loose staples will find their way into bare feet.
Q. What type of staple gun is the most powerful?
Construction staplers are definitely the most powerful. These models fire thick, heavy-gauge staples into construction lumber, so they have to pack a punch.
Q. Can I use regular staples in a staple gun?
The size and type of staples required for your staple gun will depend on its brand and model. To determine what size of staple you need, please consult the manufacturer of your staple gun.
Q. How many staples are in a staple gun?
The average staple gun can hold up to 210 staples.
Why Trust Bob Vila
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