Nail guns are undoubtedly one of the most important inventions the power tools have blessed DIYers and professionals with. They’re powerful, convenient, and time-saving.
However, not all jobs require you to use a full-sized nail gun; you can get away with using a palm nailer.
But wait, what is a palm nailer? You’ll find the answer in greater detail below, but basically, think of them as mini nail guns.
So, is a palm nailer something you should consider buying? It really depends on you, but to help you find the best palm nailers, today we’ve put together a comprehensive look at everything to do with palm nailers.
Most importantly, we review our selection of the 9 top palm nailers currently available on the market.
So, let’s see what we can find out about these little guys.
What is A Palm Nailer?
The easiest way to describe a palm nailer is to say that it’s like a miniature nail gun: it can do what a regular nail gun does but on a smaller scale. Due to their smaller size and lightweight, a palm nailer can fit easily into the palm of your hand—hence the name.
Consequently, that usually translates to a world of convenience that regular-sized nailers won’t be able to afford you. You can get into tighter corners and enjoy higher levels of precision and accuracy.
Most importantly, they are a lot more comfortable to use. Your hand is less likely to get tired or start hurting when you’re using a palm nailer as opposed to a regular one.
But don’t underestimate the power of a palm nailer just based on its size. Some are equally as powerful as their bigger counterparts (as you will see in our reviews).
Best Palm Nailers Reviews
So now that you know about palm nailers, you’re probably wondering what the best ones look like. We’ve done the research, so you don’t have to. Find our top picks below.
1. BOSTITCH PN50 Mini Impact Nailer
The first palm nailer we’ve selected for your consideration is one of the best-performing mid-range palm nailers produced by Bostitch, and it’s priced very affordably. But if you know the name, then you already know that this is a quality product.
Let’s start off with the nailer’s ability to do exactly what it does. With a 360-degree swivel air fitting, your convenience and accessibility are placed at the forefront. And since the exhaust is placed at the front of the tool, the air is directed away from your palm. Little details like these, in our opinion, are the mark of a truly thoughtful manufacturer.
This is an especially good place to start for those who are new to palm nailers. The mechanism is simple to operate, and the tool itself is comfortable to hold thanks to the vibration-reducing rubber body. Plus, the nailer is able to drive the most common nails, including finish, timber, and framing.
One downside seems to be that this thing can be quite noisy. But hey, so can hammers! Plus, as long as you’re wearing earmuffs, you should be good to go; you should be doing that anyway when operating power tools. Not a huge sacrifice, we think.
2. Milwaukee M12- Best Cordless Palm Nailer
You might be under the impression that power tools are only worth buying if they’re from a well-known name brand. This is definitely untrue, and this palm nailer from Milwaukee proves that beyond a doubt.
This cordless palm nailer comes loaded with a host of great features that combine to create a high-level user experience. In fact, I will go as far as to claim that it’s one of the best palm nailers out there.
First of all, since it’s cordless, you won’t have to worry about lugging around an air compressor on the Jobsite. What’s more, the battery won’t even need a replacement for up to 3 years.
The nailer comes with a comfortable and convenient hand strap that is bound to make your life easier. Not only does it increase your control and precision, but it also ensures your safety. We often don’t give enough credit to the proper way of holding our tools!
Something else we really admire about this nailer is the strong-impact handles. These make managing heavy-duty nailing applications that much easier. It’s also the reason why we think this nailer is a great fit for both professionals and DIYers.
The only issue we can point out as a drawback would be the price, which is relatively high. Given the collection of attractive features, though, we think it’s worth it. Besides, it’s a durable product, and those are hard to come by.
3. BOSTITCH PN100K Impact Nailer Kit
What’s better than a palm nailer? A palm nailer kit, of course. The next item on our list is also from Bostitch, which, as you may know by now, is a premier choice in the majority of power tools. There’s a lot to love about this kit, so let’s dive in.
First, let’s peep into what’s inside the box. With your purchase, you’re not just getting a high-performing palm nailer, but also 2 different heads for different applications, a leather glove, and lubrication oil; all fit into one convenient carrying case.
The nailer can fire nails of up to 5 inches, which, as you can imagine, will come in handy in several different nailing applications. Getting those nails into tight spots is also made supremely easy thanks to the interchangeable heads, so you’re covered for any situation. Plus, the nose is magnetic, which helps to keep the nail securely in place before you drive it.
The nailer is also designed for better ergonomics, the benefit of which you’ll come to realize when you’ve been exerting yourself at the job site for hours. No one wants to work with a tired or stiff hand!
We also really love that the kit includes a little container of lubrication oil. This is an important addition to any power tool worker’s toolbox to ensure the smooth and uncomplicated operation of the nailer.
There isn’t really anything we don’t like about this product. All in all, this kit is pretty much the one-stop option for all your palm nailer needs.
4. Freeman Pneumatic Mini Palm Nailer with Magnetic Tip
Even though we’re not supposed to be biased, we’d be hard-pressed to deny that this is one of our favorite items on this list (and that’s not just because Freeman is known for their amazing products). This little guy really packs a punch, so let’s find out more about him.
Imagine the sturdiest and smoothest-performing hammer you own; now imagine it’s been reborn as a palm nailer. The result is this ultra-lightweight and ergonomically designed palm nailer from Freeman. But don’t let that fool you, because this thing can drive nails of up to 3 and a half inches from 6D to 16D.
The best part? It only weighs 2 pounds!
The mark of a thoughtful manufacturer, as we have said before, is in the little details; you see that in this nailer as well. It comes with an integrated air filter and also an anti-dust cap, which works together to keep dust and debris out of the tool to prevent jamming and air leakage.
Something we really love is that despite the fact that this nailer is priced so reasonably, you’re basically purchasing a kit. We say that because your purchase will include adjustment tools and air tool lubrication oil. So really, there’s nothing not to love about this product.
5. Senco PC1195 Mini Palm Nailer
Weighing only 1 pound, this nailer from Senco might be the absolute smallest palm nailer on our list, but still very high-performing. With this thing nestled snugly into your palm, you’ll be driving joist hanger nails one after the other without even noticing.
Despite how small this thing is, the design is truly commendable. With a magnetic nose, your nails will be held securely in place to allow for safe and accurate placement. And when you’re not using it, the nail point can be detached for safer storage.
A nailer is only as good as the nails it can drive, though. You can expect this little thing to be shooting off bulk nails between 2 to 3 and a half inches in length (6D). The nailer is particularly suited to joist hangers, hurricane straps, framing, decking, and fencing. I know, hard to believe, given how tiny it is!
The only drawback we can think of in regard to this thing is probably the price. It’s true that it’s not as inexpensive as some of the high-performing nailers you can get from bigger name brands, but you truly get what you pay for with this thing, so we think it’s alright.
6. 3PLUS HMPN50SP Mini Palm Nailer
The thing about name-branded power tools is that they always set you up for high expectations. Sure, most of them perform beautifully, as they should. But they’re also the reason why lesser-known brands like this one end up surprising people with their performance.
The truth is that there’s nothing surprising about how well this little thing performs. With a cute red die-cast aluminum body, this thing packs a punch like you wouldn’t believe. Not only does it do everything the other nailers we’ve reviewed can, it also accommodates nails of up to 4 inches in length.
There are other little features that we really love about this thing. The front exhaust, for example, ensures that the air doesn’t hit your palm when you’re working, which can be an inconvenient distraction. And of course, like any respectable palm nailer, the nose is magnetic, allowing for greater placement.
And yes, it truly is lightweight, at only 1 pound. Speed and precision will be the names of the game with this nailer, no matter how tight a spot you’re trying to drive your nails into. Be it joist hangers, decking, driving, or fencing; this nailer has you covered.
One thing that you do need to note, though, is that the body of the nailer is not ergonomically designed. While this is definitely important to some, we don’t think it should be a deal-breaker: just snap on some work gloves, and you’ll be good to go!
7. Senco PC0781 Pneumatic Palm Nailer
The next item we’ve selected for our list is this pneumatic palm nailer from Senco. This thing offers a performance that can easily rival that of big-name brands; let’s find out how and why.
First off, you should know that this palm nailer is somewhat heavier compared to most others we’ve reviewed on this list. However, its weight of 2.5 pounds is canceled out easily thanks to the features intended to increase your comfort.
We’re talking about the ultra-soft palm pad, which is made from rubber to ensure greater comfort. On top of that, there is the leather strap, which undoubtedly offers not only a comfortable and secure grip but also allows to drive your nails with greater precision.
But this nailer wouldn’t win any points if it didn’t come with a magnetic head for inserting your nails. One of the biggest recognized downsides of palm nailers is that they have to be fed each nail individually, but a magnetic nose definitely makes that process faster.
Oh, speaking of nails, this little guy can help you drive nails of nearly every type. It can accommodate bulk nails between 5D and 70D with such ease that no matter what application you’re using it for, you’ll always come out satisfied.
8. PORTER-CABLE PN350 Mini Impact Palm Nailer
Porter-Cable is another highly recognizable name in the power tools and construction industry, and for a good reason. For over a century now, they’ve been manufacturing some of the highest-quality products to be found on the market, combining performance and durability.
With the lightweight build and small body that characterize the main appeal of a palm nailer, this thing has been designed for ultimate balance and control during operation. Furthermore, the swiveling male connector ensures that your air hose won’t twist unceremoniously while you’re on the job.
But how does it perform? Well, this thing can drive framing and metal connecting nails of all lengths, so you’re well covered for almost any job. This function owes to the multi-blow function, which comes in handy in several situations. In our opinion, versatility is one of the most important things a power tool can offer.
The front exhaust on this thing also deserves mention, as it works to blow the air away from your palm while you’re working. It also ensures that you can hold the nailer securely in your hand without dealing with a fear of it slipping.
On the whole, the features on this palm nailer are all great and will go a long way in ensuring your satisfaction. Just a great all-rounded palm nailer!
9. Estwing EMPN – Pneumatic Mini Palm Nailer
We’re ending our list of reviews with this handy little palm nailer from Estwing. While that may not be a name you’ve heard before, there is no reason why it shouldn’t catch your eye. Here’s why we think so.
This nailer can drive nails smoothly with a highly efficient and super-fast hammering mechanism and is compatible with all 6D-16D nails from 2 to 4 inches. You’ll have no trouble at all with joist hangers, fencing, decking, and other tight corners where a hammer just won’t do.
One of our favorite features on this thing is the adjustable depth drive, which is something most palm nailers won’t be able to provide. The best part is that you can do this completely tool-free, which is a huge convenience.
We also want to note the 1/4 inch NPT swivel fitting, which has the ability to rotate a full 360 degrees. As you can imagine, this little feature is going to add layers of convenience and accessibility to your experience of using this thing. This product definitely deserves a 10/10 for comfort.
The integrated anti-dust cap and air filter deserve mention as well. It’s not uncommon for palm nailers to get jammed or for air to start leaking; the main culprit behind this is usually a dirty nailer, so this is a huge plus.
So, whether you’re a DIYer or a professional, you can depend completely on this nailer. We highly recommend it.
When Do You Need a Palm Nailer?
“I get it already,” you might be thinking, “palm nailers and compact and lightweight. So what? Why should I buy one?” That’s a valid question.
A palm nailer is still a nailer. And what do nailers do? They put nails into things!
To reiterate, due to their compact size, palm nailers are ideal for situations where you are trying to insert a nail into a tight corner or edge. This is even easier if your palm nailer is cordless, which many are.
While it’s true that most palm nailers aren’t as powerful as pneumatic nailers, they offer relatively higher precision. Due to their compactness, they’re much easier to maneuver and deliver the nail exactly where you want it.
Note that palm nailers aren’t suitable for operations like framing or roofing. For those, a regular nailer is required. For most other tasks though, you can usually depend on a palm nailer.
How Does a Palm Nailer Work?
A palm nailer works just like a regular nail gun: either with pneumatic power or electric power.
In the case of the former, you have to connect it to an air compressor to get it to run. So yes, air compressors are required for any and all models of pneumatic nailers.
One recognized drawback of using an air compressor is that you have to carry it around with you on the job site. However, they are usually more powerful than battery-powered nailers.
But on the other hand, electrically powered palm nailers run on battery. These offer much higher portability as they are cordless. On the flip side, battery-powered nailers may not be as powerful.
Furthermore, it might actually be more expensive in the long run to maintain a battery-powered nailer, as you can only recharge it so many times.
Most palm nailer models are able to drive nails between 1.5 inches and 3.5 inches. But more heavy-duty models are available as well, which can drive nails between 2 inches and 6 inches. The right fit for you obviously depends on the scale of your project.
One important advantage of a palm nailer is that it can drive all kinds of nails, not just those designed for nail-gun feeds.
How to Use a Palm Nailer
Just like a regular nailer, you will need an air compressor to power your nailer. The most common choice for air compressors is between 1 to 8 gallons. If not, then make sure the nailer’s battery is charged.
Once you’ve set up your air compressor, hook up the palm nailer to the compressor’s hose. Or if the battery is charged, great! Now it’s time to insert the first nail into the nailer.
The small size of a palm nailer is owed mainly to the lack of a magazine inside the nailer. Since there is no magazine, each nail you need for your project has to be inserted separately into the head of the nailer before you can drive it.
The nailer will have a magnetic operation that allows you to insert the nail quickly and easily into the head of the nailer. Do this by placing the pinhead into the nailer’s tip. You can do this with any and all types of nails.
Most palm nailers also come with a thumb and hand strap. This convenient system allows you to comfortably hold onto the nailer as you operate it, and also allows you to enjoy greater control, maneuverability, and precision
Put the end of the nail where you want to drive it and push down on the nailer. Enjoy the ability to drive nails accurately and swiftly!
It’s also important to keep the nailer lubricated using pneumatic tool oil. Do this prior to every use, and also after each hour of use. This is important if you want your nailer to maintain optimal performance.
Common Palm Nailers Problems
Yes, palm nailers are great. Just like any other power tool, though, it’s not uncommon to run into issues while operating them. So, here are some of the most common issues faced while using a palm nailer, and how to fix them.
Sometimes, your nailer might be prone to leaking air when hooked up to the air compressor. This affects the nailer’s performance and is usually very time-consuming to have to deal with.
The main causes behind a palm nailer leaking are usually dirt, high pressure, or cracks in the nailer’s casing.
The best way to ensure your nailer doesn’t clog up is, obviously, to keep it clean. Always store it in a safe place or in a toolbox to ensure the longevity of the casing. And when you turn on the air compressor, make sure to check the pressure twice.
This is, unfortunately, an issue most people face even with regular nailers. The culprit is usually incorrect air pressure or a nailer that’s on its way to jamming.
The solution is to ensure you have the right air pressure settings required for proper nailer performance. In such cases, it’s a good idea to refer to the manual provided by manufacturers with your nailer. And remember to lubricate your nailer properly with pneumatic tool oil. Do this before every use and every hour during use.
If you feel your nailer isn’t driving the nails in the precise direction you need them to be, that is, once again, usually an indication that you’re using the incorrect pressure adjustments. So, you know what to do.
Another issue is when the feeder or driver tip has a fastener wedged inside it. Inspect the driver tip closely. Use a small tool to remove any jammed fasteners.
Safety Guidelines of Using a Palm Nailer
Generally, palm nailers are safer for use than regular nailing guns. However, it’s always good to keep a few safety guidelines in mind when using them.
The Right Apparel
Protecting your eyes, hands, ears, and nose is of the utmost importance when using any kind of nailer at all.
To prevent any debris from flying into your eye, you should always don a pair of safety goggles. To protect your hands, wear work gloves; and to protect your eardrums from exposure to high volumes, earmuffs are ideal.
Many people also like to use a dust mask, which prevents any wood dust from entering your nostrils or mouth.
Read the Manual
This may sound like a boring task, but it’s always a good idea to read the instructions printed inside the user manual provided by the manufacturers.
The detailed instructions provided are not only to help you figure out how to use the nailer. Using the nailer in the proper way, as instructed by the manufacturers, is also a way of ensuring your safety.
Proper Power Source
Always check that you have the right specifications when powering your nailer.
In the case of a pneumatic nailer, it’s important to use the right air pressure. For battery-powered nailers, too, maintaining the right power levels is important.
Additionally, ensure that the nailer isn’t connected to the air compressor or power source every time you’re performing any maintenance tasks on the nailer, e.g. clearing a jam.
Your job site must always be cleared before starting a project. Ensure that any children or pets are not around. Even if you think you’re careful, prevention is always better than cure.
And finally, remember to never operate any power tools while under the influence of alcohol, or when you’re on medication, which can impair your cognitive functions.
Features to Look at When Choosing a Palm Nail Gun
With so many options, it can be confusing to have to choose just one palm nailer. So, before you make your purchase, keep in mind the following factors.
As you may already know by now, palm nailers can be powered in one of two ways. Either they can be air-powered (pneumatic) or battery-powered. While both types provide enough driving force to allow you to do your nailing satisfactorily, there are some differences to consider.
The main consideration for many is portability. While pneumatic palm nailers are usually more powerful, carrying them around can be an inconvenience.
With a battery-powered one, that’s not an issue as long as the battery is adequately charged. It’s important to note, though, that battery-powered nailers tend to be heavier.
Furthermore, some users struggle with properly adjusting the PSI settings on their air compressors. While this is bothersome, it’s something you can get used to over time.
Interchangeable Head Availability
For those of who you are planning to use your palm nailer quite frequently, you probably have a few different types of tasks you want to perform with it.
Even if you’re not, there’s no way to predict all the situations in which you might end up using your palm nailer; you’ll have to go in at different angles at different times. The good news is that many palm nailers come with interchangeable heads.
For example, some nailers might come with an extra over-sized head. This allows you to use nails with wider heads and longer bodies. Some heads might be magnetic, allowing greater maneuverability.
Generally, buying a palm nailer with this capability is a good idea to be prepared for all situations. However, if you’re not going to be using it all that much, then you can skip this feature. Do note; however, this may reduce efficiency during jobs.
Depth of Drive
While it’s true that power nailing tools have made our life significantly easier, they don’t completely eliminate the risk of not being able to sink your nail far enough into your work material.
The “depth of drive” of a nailer refers to the nailer’s ability to drive the nail into your material effectively. Usually, nailers operated on higher air pressures will have a higher depth of drive.
Generally, the more expensive a palm nailer is, the higher it’s depth of driving capability is likely to be. Once again, this has to do with air pressure; if it’s low, the nailer is able to apply less force when sinking in a nail.
What sets a palm nailer apart from a regular nailer?
Palm nailers are small, compact, and lightweight enough that they can fit in the palm of your hand (hence the name). Unlike regular nailers, they don’t have a magazine, and each nail has to be inserted separately.
What kind of nails can be used with a palm nailer?
Palm nailers can accommodate most regular nail types (the kind you would use with a hammer). They don’t require coils or strips like regular nailers.
What is the longest nail a palm nailer can fit?
Most common palm nailers can drive nails between 1.5 and 3.5 inches long. However, more heavy-duty palm nailers are also available that can drive nails between 2 and 6 inches.
What are the main uses of a palm nailer?
Because they are smaller and easier to control, palm nailers are ideal for driving nails into tight spots or hard-to-reach places, like corners.
My palm nailer is leaking air. What should I do?
This is usually caused by too-high pressure, cracks in the tool casing, or accumulated dirt. The solution will depend on the cause.
Does the brand of the palm nailer matter?
Names like DeWalt, Bostitch, or Hitachi are big names for a reason. However, that doesn’t mean lesser-known brands won’t offer you good performance. It depends on your needs.
Should I buy a palm nailer with interchangeable heads?
They are definitely far more convenient than just one head, as they are suited to many different operations. However, if you’re not going to be using the palm nailer frequently, then you can skip it.
What is the difference between pneumatic and battery-powered palm nailer?
Pneumatically powered nailers are usually more powerful but offer lower portability due to the air compressor. Most battery-powered ones will compromise on power but will offer greater portability.
So as we have seen, there is no dearth of great palm nailers on the market. The best palm nailers, though, will undoubtedly be the ones that come with a magnetic nose, interchangeable heads, and ergonomic design and additional features like an anti-dust cap.
Based on that rundown, we hope you are able to find a suitable palm nailer from our list. If not, why not head back to our buying guide so you can decide for yourself?
Whichever path you take, we wish you good luck with all your nailing endeavors!