Reviews

Bostich Brad Nailer Tested & Reviewed: See How The Smart Point Performed

Finish carpentry requires precision nailing. The Bostitch brad nailer delivers that and more.
Glenda Taylor Avatar
Bostitch Brad Nailer Review

Photo: Glenda Taylor

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If you associate the name “Bostitch” with office and home staplers, you’re not alone. But the company also manufactures top-of-the-line roofing, flooring, and finish nailers. I tested the Bostitch brad nailer in my woodshop, along with several other models, to determine which ones were good enough to be used by finish carpenters, cabinetmakers, and perfection-minded DIYers.

When choosing which products to test, I looked for brad nailers that fired pins cleanly without frequent jamming. If they did jam, I appreciated models featuring tool-free clearing so I could get back to work quickly. I also looked for ergonomically comfortable nailers compatible with a range of 18-gauge brad lengths.

In my tests of the best brad nailers, the Bostitch brad nailer took top honors. Learn more about this top-performing tool and find out if it belongs in your woodshop.

Bostitch BTFP12233 Smart Point 18-Gauge Brad Nailer Kit: At a Glance

Rating: 9.4/10

Bostitch Brad Nailer Review
Photo: Glenda Taylor

PROS

  • Versatile brad nailer shoots a range of brad lengths, from ⅝ inch to 2⅛ inches
  • Narrow tip allows the user to fire pins with precision into intricate trim
  • Easy to switch between single-fire and bump-fire modes

CONS

  • Exhaust port is not adjustable—air can puff in user’s face or blow dust around shop
  • Depth-adjustment dial is small and difficult to see and reach
  • Air-hose connector nipple does not swivel; hose is unwieldy at times

Get the Bostitch brad nailer at:

What is the Bostitch brad nailer?

Brad nailers are tools typically used to install light trim and molding, such as baseboard or door casing, or for constructing cabinets and fine furniture. The Smart Point is a pneumatic nailer, meaning an air compressor powers it. Like all brad nailers, the Bostitch Smart Point brad nailer fires 18-gauge brads (or pins).

The benefit of a brad nailer over a finish nailer (which fires larger 16-gauge nails) is that brads are thinner and have smaller heads, so the holes they leave in the wood are less significant and easier to fill. In my tests, the Smart Point excelled in firing brads into hardwood, including oak and ash, and softer pine boards. It also comes with a couple of nice perks.

Is the Bostitch brad nailer designed for precision or speed?

Both. The Bostitch Smart Point brad nailer features two firing modes—single fire (sequential) and bump fire. In single-fire mode—the most important mode for a brad nailer—I could align the narrow tip of the nailer precisely to accurately fire a single brad. Inserting a nail in the right spot and using the depth adjuster to countersink it just below the wood’s surface gives trim a professional look. This brad nailer also comes with a soft no-mar tip cover that won’t leave an indention in the wood.

For rapid firing, I turned the selector knob near the trigger to multi-fire mode and held the trigger down. Now, every time I bumped the tip of the brad nailer against the wood, it fired a nail. Bump mode makes quick work of attaching something like plywood to wood boxing, where precision isn’t necessary, but it’s a feature I rarely use. However, in my hands-on testing of bump mode, the Smart Point fired brad after brad cleanly and rapidly without any nail jams.

Bostitch Brad Nailer Review
Photo: Glenda Taylor

How versatile is the Bostitch brad nailer?

The real test of a brad nailer’s versatility is not in firing modes but rather in the range of brad length it accepts. The Bostitch beat out the other brad nailers here because it’s compatible with the broadest range of brad lengths. I fired brads as short as ⅝ inch and as long as 2⅛ inches.

A secondary aspect of versatility is the brad nailer’s power source. The Bostitch brad nailer is pneumatic, so it’s limited by the availability of electricity and the length of an air compressor hose. It’s likely best suited for a woodworking shop because it requires an air compressor that produces 60 to 90 pounds per square inch (psi) of air pressure. Fortunately, most air compressors, even portable models, accommodate brad nailers.

While users can work on-site by bringing along an air compressor to power the Smart Point, it’s less convenient than using a cordless brad nailer, such as the DeWalt 20V Cordless Brad Nailer, which also earned a place in the lineup of the best brad nailers.

How could the Bostitch brad nailer be better?

I was blown away by the power and clean firing mechanism of the Bostitch Smart Point, and I appreciated the belt hook that let me hang the nailer on my tool belt during breaks. The Bostitch brad nailer was one of the few models in my testing that didn’t experience any nail jams, so I didn’t get a chance to use its tool-free jam release. I know from experience, however, that this is a must-have feature on a nailer. I was also impressed that Bostitch put a pencil sharpener on the belt hook—a great addition for a finish carpenter!

But with all the positive points I discovered, I had to ding the Bostitch brad nailer in a few areas. First, the depth-adjustment dial is just too small (about the size of a dime), and its placement under the trigger is tricky to access.

The other downside, which is just a minor inconvenience, is the lack of swivel on the air-hose connection nipple. I’m a big fan of swivel nipples on nailers because they allow the air hose to drop off to one side—out of the way if I hang the tool on my tool belt. It won’t be an issue for anyone who doesn’t hang the nailer on a belt.

Bostitch Brad Nailer Review
Photo: Glenda Taylor

Is the Bostitch brad nailer right for you?

Anyone looking for a high-quality pinner or brad nailer for installing trim or building wood projects will be satisfied with the Bostitch Smart Point brad nailer. Its well-engineered firing mechanism resulted in no jams in my tests, which included firing more than 200 brads into hardwood and pine.

However, the availability of electricity, an air compressor, and the air compressor’s hose length limit this brad nailer. Those who want to fire brads in remote areas might be happier with a cordless brad nailer, such as the Craftsman V20* Cordless Brad Nailer, that can be used anywhere—even in remote locations—as long as its batteries are charged.

In addition, hobbyists may not need all the power of the Smart Point, or they may not want a brad nailer that requires an air compressor. For those users, the Bostitch brad nailer may be overkill. They may prefer a simple electric model, such as the DeWalt 5-in-1 Multi-Tacker that fires only one length (⅝ inch) of brad but also fires ¼-inch crown staples, making it well suited to upholstery projects and crafts.

Get the Bostitch brad nailer at:

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Glenda Taylor

Staff Writer

Glenda Taylor is BobVila.com staff writer with a background in the residential remodeling, home building, and home improvement industries. She started writing for BobVila.com in 2016 and covers a range of topics, including construction methods, code compliance, tool use, and the latest news in the housing and real estate industries. 

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