Review and Buying guide of the Best Pin Nailer in 2020

A pin nailer or pinner, as it is called, is a power tool that is used for discreet and delicate nailing. It is very similar to a brad nailer only that it does not have as much holding power and it uses much smaller 23-gauge headless pin nails to fasten materials. Pinners are often used where adhesives usually are used, to hold or join two pieces together temporarily until the glue dries.

A pin nailer is more accurate than other types of nail guns, and usually, it performs exceptionally well in detailed woodworking applications. This includes window beading, framing, decorative trim, and installing moldings. Pin nails can be as short as 3/8" and as long as 2" in length. They are usually headless or have a very small head which means that they are almost invisible once the surface is treated or painted.

PIN nailer is a handy tool for woodworking professionals and DIY hobbyists alike, whether you are into exotic furniture, cabinetry or any other home remodeling project. Our pin nailer review evaluates different models with different capabilities to help you choose the best pin nailer for your woodworking projects. These nailers are affordable and best quality than ever, which will save you a lot of time and hassle.

Comparison Table for Top Pin Nailers

Pin Nailer

Magazine Capacity

Operating Pressure

Our Rating

Price

100 pins

65-100 PSI

4.8

200 pins

70-120 PSI

4.6

130 pins

60-100 PSI

4.7

100 pins

60-110 PSI

4.3

100 pins

60-100 PSI

4.5

A high-quality, accurate pinner will bring a world convenience and functionality to your everyday woodworking projects. It will allow you to work quickly, but also have more precision in the finished product. Also, it combines power and versatility for the best finish possible. We’ve gathered top ranking pin nailers on the market to ensure that you’re well informed when choosing one for your next finishing project.

1. Hitachi NP35A Pin Nailer

The Hitachi NP35A pin nailer fires 23-gauge headless pins which leave near-invisible holes. The large-capacity magazine reduces downtime for reloads and added convenience. Besides, the magazine adjusts automatically to different fasteners length for use in a variety of applications including craftwork, paneling, and picture framing. Also, this nailer comes with two no-mar tips to protect delicate workpieces when the nailer is in use.

Features and Benefits of Hitachi NP35A Pin Nailer

  • Large magazine capacity: Hitachi NP35A has a larger fastener capacity which ensures fewer reloads and reduced downtime. The magazine adjusts automatically to 5/8", ¾", 1", 1 3/16" and 1 3/8" which will allow you to avoid setting up the magazine manually while enabling you to use the tool on a wide range of applications. There is also a reload indicator on the magazine that blinks orange to remind you of low nail quantity thus avoiding dry firing.
  • Depth adjustment: This feature will enable you to work with different material from softwoods to hardwoods and even exotic materials. Adjusting the depth of pins is made possible by a wrench, stored right on the side of the magazine. The wrench is user-friendly as you only required to move the plate up or down to adjust the depth. You'll, however, need to change the PSI pressure to help drive the pin to the desired thickness.
    Dual-trigger mechanism: Dual-trigger mechanism is yet another excellent feature that is used to prevent misfires in addition to ensuring more accurate pinning. When working with this pinner, you will need to pull the safety trigger first and then the primary trigger to drive a pin. This will ensure that you won't fire accidentally and also you can easily pin in tight spaces.
  • No mar tips: The NP35A comes with two no mar-tips to protect delicate workpieces from marring, denting or scratching when you are using the pinner. Also, the nailer itself is housed in a plastic body to ensure that it won't damage the workpiece from accidental fall. Besides, it is designed with a rear exhaust to expel any excess oil, debris or dirt away from the work surface and the user.

We Like and Dislike

Pros

  • A handy orange indicator light lets you know when you need to reload.
  • Lightweight and comfortable to hold.
  • The rear exhaust drives oil and debris away from you.
  • No-mar tip to ensure that it does not leave marks on the material.
  • It features a dual-trigger mechanism for safety.

Cons

  • Often, the 1-3/8 inch pins don’t set very well.
  • Manual depth adjustment may be difficult to inexperienced users. 

Verdict:

Hitachi NP35A is the utmost winner. It has a large holding capacity, provides less downtime, it does not jam, and pin loading is effortless. Also, it has a wide range of fasteners, making it a solid performer for contractors and homeowners alike.

2. BOSTITCH HP118K

Ideal for professional use, BOSTITCH HP118K delivers the accuracy you need to work quickly on trim, detailed finishing, and woodworking applications. Its compact body is comfortable to handle, especially when working on intricate projects like crafting custom cabinetry. In addition, it works with a range of pin nails providing an effective fastening to glue set that are generally impossible to clamp.

Features and Benefits of BOSTITCH HP118K

  • Low profile design for comfort and convenience
    BOSTITCH HP118K features design features dedicated to seamless and intuitive use. They include a narrow nosepiece that tapers down to the pinning point to allow for perfect placement and to offer a clear view. And, to ensure comfort while working the tool has an over-molded grip to ensure that it rests comfortably in your hand, especially during continuous use. This nailer also features a rear exhaust to direct air away from you for convenience on the job.
  • Reliable, pneumatic performance: The HP118K is designed with an adjustable high/low power switch to keep you in control at all times. The switch allows you to adjust the depth of the pins without altering compressor settings. This is backed with the impeccable motor driving power of 60 in. /lbs. which ensures that every pin is securely seated. Besides, it has a magazine capacity of 200 pins that range from 1/2 inch to 1-3/16 inches enabling you to work a wide range of task without stopping to reload.
  • Durable, lightweight aluminum housing: Aluminum construction gives an impression a durable yet very lightweight tool that can be used in small and tight areas. This pinner includes a 1/4-inch NPT fitting for quick and easy coupling with your air compressor. Also, it operates between 70 and 120 PSI pressure range to enable you to work with different materials. In addition, it comes with several accessories including a carrying case, oil and 500 pins to get you started.
  • Safe and seamless operation: BOSTITCH HP118K provides a simplified user manual on how to operate this tool. Loading and unloading pins is quite simple as you only need to depress the spring-loaded lever to remove the magazine. The tool also employs the dual trigger mechanism to help prevent misfires while the dry fire lockout prevents the machine from shooting blanks when you run out of nails.

We Like and Dislike

Pros

  • High capacity magazine.
  • The tapered nose gives a clear view.
  • Pleasant case and belt hook for convenience on the job.
  • Compact and ergonomic handles to avoid slipping during use.
  • Great for small and fast projects.

Cons

  • The tip is too sharp; can scratch the wood if not careful.
  • Difficulty to drive longer pins into hardwood.

Verdict:

BOSTITCH HP118K is a low-profile pinner that is designed to provide effective fastening for woodworking applications. It allows you to fit fasteners exactly where you want them, and it offers you a full range of intrinsic features that ensures a smooth and safe operation.

3. PORTER-CABLE PIN138

When you are working on cabinets and furniture, PORTER-CABLE PIN138 makes your work more manageable, and the good thing is that it comes with pin nails to get you started. The PIN138 is used to fasten materials that would otherwise split when using larger guns while delivering impressive durability with its aluminum body. Also, the maintenance-free motor design keeps it from staining the work area, providing a hassle-free tool operation.

Features and Benefits of PORTER-CABLE PIN138

  • Improved motor design: The PIN138 maintenance-free motor design eliminates the need for oil which helps to reduce the possibility of contaminating the work surface in the long run. Further, the motor employs a dual-stack ring which minimizes internal friction resulting in extended tool life. In addition to this, the reversible belt clip allows you to keep the machine by your side when needed.
  • Consistent power and penetration: PORTER-CABLE PIN138 internal piston holds the driver assembly at the highest position possible, resulting in maximum and constant power on every shot. Also, it leads to increased holding power and accurate pin setting while providing even more applications for your pin nailer. Further PIN 138 is designed to counter-sink from 5/8 to 1-3/8-inch pins into hard materials, and there is no need to fill the holes since they are extremely small in size.
  • Workplace and tool safety: Equipped with a dry-fire lock feature, the PIN138 will not allow you to fire when there no pin nails remaining in the magazine. This will help eliminate empty nail holes (witness marks) on the work surface. Further, a low nail indicator is provided right on the magazine to alert you when you are running out of nails. This tool also comes with a narrow nose and a non-removable non-marring tip for improved visibility to prevent wood indentions, respectively.
  • The porter-cable reliability: The Porter-Cable PIN138 holds 130 pin nails, and it provides more effortless loading to fasteners of different lengths into different materials precisely. The design of the magazine adjusts automatically to the pins, and it has fewer problems with nails that are out of spec. You'll also like the fact that this tool comes with a rear exhaust which directs moisture and other contaminants away from the work surface.

We Like and Dislike

Pros

  • It works perfectly well with small compressors.
  • Easy to clear jammed pins.
  • Lightweight and sturdy aluminum body.
  • Low nail indicator to prevent dry-firing.
  • The pin nailer adjusts to different pin nail length automatically.

Cons

  • It does not include a control for depth adjustment.
  • It tends to jam often.

Verdict:

Besides durability, PORTER-CABLE PIN138 has a lot to offer for both construction and repair applications. It provides quick and easy loading thanks to the magazine design that auto-adjusts to different fastener lengths for user convenience.

4. Grex P635 23 Gauge

The innovative Grex P635 gives you the power and flexibility you need for detailed woodworking, finishing and fastening delicate wood pieces without splitting. The tool can accommodate different fasteners sizes to make the process of pining easy. Featuring an industrial-grade motor, this pinner is powerful enough to penetrate hardwoods like oaks making it one of the best pin nailer on the market today.

Features and Benefits of Grex P635 23 Gauge

  • Durable all-metal construction: Featuring aluminum housing, aluminum internal parts, and aluminum extruded magazine assembly, Grex P635is built to last. Aluminum is light in weight which makes this tool great for extended jobs; even those involve a lot of overhead work. It also includes a convenient belt hook to allow you to carry the pinner with you wherever you go while the removable nose cover allows for easy jam release.
  • Excellent for a variety of uses: With a high-capacity magazine, you can use the tool for extended periods without the need to reload. It is very reliable, and it accepts a variety of pins to suit the requirements of different applications. However, it does have depth adjustment control which means that you will have to choose the right pin length for the task at hand. A fastener indicator is available to lets you know to reload.
  • Power and versatility: Grex P635 is equipped with a heavy-duty motor to enable it to penetrate hardwood, giving you the power and flexibility you need to perform detailed trim work. And, even with this power, this pinner is capable of fastening delicate wood pieces without splitting. The easy to access magazine accommodates a total of nine different lengths, from 3/8-inch to 1-3/8-inch.
  • Instant accuracy and greater maneuverability: Featuring no mar tip and an extended narrow nose, Grex P635 allows you to access tight area and corners with precision and without scratching your material. The fasteners hardly leave a trace or splits in a finished piece when driven in properly. And to ensure a more conducive environment, the pinner features a rear exhaust port with an inbuilt silencer which directs tool's exhaust away from the work area.

We Like and Dislike

Pros

  • It is effective even on hardwoods.
  • It comes with a belt hook to carry it with you to different worksites.
  • It features extended no-mar and narrow nose which allows for accuracy and access to tight spaces.
  • The magazine accommodates a wide range of nail lengths.
  • Safe double-trigger design.

Cons

  • It does not offer adjustable depth control.
  • Jams frequently.
  • For its price, it should come with some pins.

Verdict:

The P65 is the ideal pinner if you perform detailed trim work frequently. The compact design gives you the flexibility and control needed to produce an attractive product. It is also perfect for accessing tight spots, and it allows you to work with very minimal interruptions.

5. Freeman PP123 Pneumatic

Freeman PP123 is one of the most budget-friendly pinners with an ergonomically engineered body that results in an extremely lightweight and balanced tool. The comfort grip enables you to use the machine over a long period by reducing fatigue and increasing control. Also, the pinner is designed with an anodized aluminum magazine which ensures durability and precise pin placement.

Features and Benefits of Freeman PP123 Pneumatic

  • Safety and precision design: Freeman PP123 has got a pretty stellar design that is exceptionally lightweight and balanced for use over long periods. The ergonomic grip handle increases control by reducing fatigue, making this tool ideal for precise pin placement. Also, it has a couple of safety features, including an air filter, anti-dust cap, nose guard, and a safety trigger to help prevent accidental firing.
  • Tough and dependable: The tough PP123 is designed to leave nearly no trace on your workpieces making is reliable for most projects. Its 60-100 psi provides a hassle-free operation while still driving pins into hardwoods with ease. Also, it is compatible with 23 gauge micro-pins ranging from 1/2 inch to 1 inch, which is ideal for crafts and DIY projects and other finishing needs around your home.
  • Quality and durability: With the high-quality magazine, the PP123 guarantees you of accurate pin nailing with its 100 pin capacity. Although this may seem a bit on the lower side, it is still enough primary nailing and finishing needs around your home. The magazine is easily accessible as it is spring-loaded while the aluminum construction will ensure it will last for ages.
  • Compact and user-friendly: With this pin nailer, you don't have to worry about carrying this nailer from one work location to the other thanks to the reversible hook that helps to keep the nailer closer to you. Also, this pin nailer has an adjustable exhaust port which can be rotated to direct tool's exhaust away from you while working. It is a perfect choice for those on a budget but do not want to compromise quality.

We Like and Dislike

Pros

  • It comes with a reversible belt hook for added convenience.
  • Spring-loaded magazine that is easy to reload.
  • Experiences very minimal recoil.
  • Lightweight and well-balanced design.
  • Adjustable 360-degree exhaust port.

Cons

  • Safety is often compromised.
  • It lacks depth settings.
  • Mainly for DIY projects.

Verdict:

The Freeman PP123 is exceptionally easy to use and is the ideal tool for you if you work heavily on assembling objects. The pins seem like they are invisible to the naked eye and they don't disappoint on the capability of some really delicate work.

What to Look for When Buying a Pin Nailer

So, what makes a good a good pinner? If your pinner is versatile enough to handle all possible tasks and it can work with a variety of pin sizes, then we can call it a good pinner. You'll need to think about the applications that you will be engaged in and how frequently to enable you choose a model that is tailored to your needs. Here are a few essential things that you need to take into account when choosing the best pin nailer for your projects;

i. Fastener length

The length of the pin that a nailer can shoot is one of the most important considerations that you need to keep in mind when looking for the best pinner. If you don't have a specific size in mind, it is always a good idea to purchase a tool that accommodates multiple sizes.
Several models accept pin nails from ½" to at least 1" while more advanced models can accommodate from 3/8 inch to 2 inches. Shorter pins are ideal for softer materials, while longer ones will come in handy when working on thicker and harder materials. 

ii. The capacity of the Magazine

One thing that you don't want to do now and then is reloading pins. The larger the capacity, the better. Reloading too often can interrupt your workflow, and that's why you need a tool with a high magazine capacity.

The magazine should at least be able to hold 100 micro pins which will enable you to work efficiently without often stopping to reload nails. Also, it will add value if you look for a pinner that has been designed for quick reloading.

You'll also need to consider the possibility that your pin nailer will jam. Jamming is a common problem with most nail guns. This is why it is important to choose one that allows for easy and quick release to enable you to get right back to work.

iii. Depth control

You'll constantly need to adjust the depth of the pin, especially when working with different materials. This will certainly depend on the thickness of the material that you are working on and how deep you want to drive the pin nails. Also, you'll need to adjust the depth when you either switch to shorter or longer pins even if the material remains the same. Some tools need manual adjustment while others adjust automatically to accommodate different fasteners.

iv.The design of the nose

A narrow nose is a great feature in a pin nailer as it allows you to work in tight areas with ease. A narrow nose will also enable you to perform other small projects that are not possible with other nail guns. A pin nailer is designed for use on delicate materials, and as such, it should also incorporate no-mar tips made from rubber to ensure that no damage occurs to the workpieces.

v. Safety

Safety is always important when it comes to pneumatic tools. Most high-quality pin nailers will have a dual-trigger mechanism that requires that you first release the safety trigger before pressing the second one to shoot the pin, thus preventing misfiring. Also, most models will have a rear exhaust port to direct exhaust air and air out. The exhaust needs to be adjustable or pointed away from the user or the work surface.

Pulling a trigger on an empty magazine can damage your workpieces, leaving behind strike marks. The dry-fire lock system will prevent your nail gun from firing when you run out of nails, avoiding any damage to your projects and the tool. On the same note, some models will have a reload indicator to let you know that you are running low on nails, thus preventing a dry-fire.

Why Hitachi NP35A is the overall best

After carefully considering each of the models presented above, the Hitachi NP35A pin nailer was the overall winner. It is a complete package, designed to be compact and lightweight so that you can use it anywhere. The kit includes a hex bar wrench, 1/4inch NPT plug safety glasses and carrying case. And, since it can be used with pins ranging from 5/8 inches to 1 3/8 inches, it is versatile, and it can be used on a variety of applications. Overall, you will get yourself a pin nailer that offers you hundreds of nails to work with while being inexpensive in addition to superior quality.

In conclusion, the best pin nailer does not have to be the unit that costs the most. Instead, it is one that meets your nailing needs while allowing you to breeze through a variety of DIY applications. Evaluate your options and weigh the variations each model has to offer before making that final decision.

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