23-gauge Pin Nailers Change Everything
These pneumatic trim guns are compact and lightweight, and fire nails so small that they barely leave a trace.
Synopsis: On many job sites, a 23-ga. pin nailer might be a specialty tool, but Arkansas builder Gary Striegler sees them as becoming more mainstream. In this tool review, Striegler and his building crew test eight pneumatic pin nailers, rating a Nikle nailer best overall and a Bostitch pinner as best value. He also discusses fastener length and the best places to use pin nails. In a sidebar, Striegler outlines the types of headless pins available.
I saw my first 23-ga. pin nailer at a tool expo almost a decade ago. Only a few companies were making pinners then, and they all were marketing to big furniture makers and other large production-style operations, partly because the average Joe couldn’t afford to buy one. The features on those old models were limited, but the least-expensive pin nailers back then still cost more than the priciest ones on the market today.
Now, this specialized tool is becoming more mainstream. Prices have dropped, and features have improved. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of the big tool companies jumping on the 23-ga. pin nailer bandwagon, aiming their campaigns at a wider audience.
The typical pinner is light and maneuverable, so it easily fits into spaces that make an 18-ga. brad nailer feel too big. Narrow-gauge pins allow me to fasten the most delicate moldings without fear of splitting the wood. My painter loves me because the nail holes are typically so tiny that they don’t need to be filled; a single coat of paint makes the holes just about invisible.
My crew and I tested eight pin nailers for this tool review, and as always, there were some minor complaints as well as some crowd favorites. The truth is, though, that if you don’t own a headless pinner right…