Pneumatic vs Cordless Nailer: What is the Best Choice?

Susan Fernandez November 11 2021

Finding a nailer these days is very straightforward. Although it is possible to find the nailers that run on gas canisters, most of the nail guns available in the market are powered through electric or pneumatic power. Therefore, when you are to buy a nail gun, your primary concern should be how it is powered.

When we talk about the pneumatic vs cordless nailer, both have their pros and cons that one needs to be aware of, as you would never like to be get burned when it is about such tools that can be very critical for your project.

What is an electric nailer?

An electric nail gun is powered by an electric cable or a battery, while the battery voltage ultimately depends on the nail gun that you buy. Some electric nailers have larger batteries, and therefore, they are bulkier and more powerful, while others come with smaller batteries so that you can have increased maneuverability.

Electric nailer is powered through an electric cable or a battery

What is the best type of nail gun?

We highly recommend that you buy cordless nailers. Cordless nailers are lighter, which makes them easier to use in different situations, especially when you need to drive nails into tough spots like ceilings and where there isn't much room to maneuver. They make for a very efficient tool if you want speed and ease of operation.

Since they aren't connected to any power source via cables, these tools can be carried around with relative ease; moreover, it's quite easy to start using them even in awkward positions because all you need is to pull the trigger! However, if your budget doesn't allow buying a cordless tool set or if you need high-performance nailing on tough surfaces, you might need to opt for conventional pneumatic or gas-powered nailers.

The cordless nail gun has become very popular, especially among amateurs, because these nailers operate off battery power. When we compare these to the pneumatic nailers, their power source is more cumbersome which is compressed air.

Pneumatic nailers

This kind of nail gun runs on compressed air, and it is useless on its own. But when it gets hooked up to an air compressor, then it becomes a handy and versatile tool. Pneumatic guns can commonly be found in the market and are primarily seen in the hands of professionals rather than amateurs.  A pneumatic nail gun runs on compressed air, which makes it very convenient to use. A compressor can be used to power the nail gun, and this usually comes free with the tool itself.

A pneumatic nailer is also an excellent choice if money isn't constrained, as these are very powerful tools that can drive nails with great speed and ease of operation. Pneumatic nailers are cordless too; the only difference is that they run on compressed air rather than electricity.

Although they cost more than electric models, they come with greater features like adjustable speeds, reversible triggers, etc., which makes them even more versatile. Their major drawback, however, lies in their bulkiness and weight which can make them difficult to handle especially when you need to work in tight spaces with low clearance.

The fire rate and the superior power are among the most apparent benefit of a pneumatic nail, and if you want to drive a nail into a thick or a rigid surface, then a pneumatic nail gun can be your best bet.

Cordless nail guns

A cordless nail gun is a famous variety these days, and the majority of users keep it with them. It can be commonly seen that people think of a cordless nail gun when you are talking about any electric nail gun. 

A cordless nail gun can be either battery-powered or it can run on electricity. It usually comes with batteries and chargers, and the new models have become very powerful and efficient to operate. This kind of electric nail gun has made things easier since it doesn't require any cables and is quite easy to use, but they are somewhat more expensive than their pneumatic counterparts.

When comparing pneumatic vs cordless nailers, the cordless nailer is very easy to move around, and therefore, it has become popular on the big job sites where easy movement is required.

Comparing both types of nailers

  • Power

A pneumatic nail gun can be your best option if you are looking for power and efficiency. But unless you are a professional woodworker or a carpenter, a cordless nail gun will indeed have enough power to meet all of your requirements.

  • Performance

The firing rates of the air nailers are fast because they have a decent compressor as soon as you pull the trigger. A cordless nailer that is powered by a battery has a slight delay between the actuation of the trigger and the nail firing. 

However, the majority of new models that we find today come with improved performance.

  • Ease of use

Ease of use is one area where cordless guns have a clear advantage as compared to pneumatic ones. One can never understate how useful it can be not to have a lug around the air compressor. It can also be a good feeling that you don’t have to worry about tripping over hoses.


Both pneumatic and cordless nailers are accessible in today's market, and both have their own distinctive pros and cons that everyone needs to be aware of before making a purchase. When these two tools are compared side by side, it is obvious that pneumatic power nailers are better in terms of performance.

Apart from the fact that it is better in performance, you also need to know that a pneumatic tool will help you improve your accuracy while working on delicate projects. Pneumatic nail guns are certainly far superior when compared to cordless models, and you can rely on them for all kinds of jobs. The only downside with these tools is their price, but once you get used to using one, there are high chances that you will not want to switch to any other model or type ever again.

On the other hand, there are benefits associated with electric nailers as well. One of the biggest advantages of an electric gun is its cost-effectiveness, as it is available for a cheaper price when compared to pneumatic models. Moreover, since it does not come with any wire or hose, you will be able to work in small and hard-to-reach places without any trouble at all.

However, there are some concerns related to electric nailers as well. For starters, the cord can interfere with your working process sometimes. Plus, these guns can shoot nails only when they are in contact with the power supply which means that you cannot use them when there is no electricity nearby. Also, if the electricity goes off suddenly while you are doing your job, then this tool will become completely useless until someone gets hold of an adaptor or a cord for it again!

In Conclusion

You can go for the pneumatic version if there is an air compressor in your garage. Usually, a battery-powered cordless nailer produces little noise and is easy to use, which is essential for the majority of home users. 

When comparing pneumatic vs cordless nailers, it is better that you have both as a professional handyman or a DIY enthusiast. The pneumatic version can be used for heavy-duty jobs, while the cordless version offers you portability.

So ultimately what you should be doing is that you must weigh the pros and cons of both electric and pneumatic nail guns, before spending your hard-earned money on one. Doing so will save you a lot of trouble in the long run!