15 Gauge Vs. 16 Gauge Finish Nailer: Which One is Best?

Hammer takes longer time and effort to shoot nails. It doesn’t allow you to complete your carpentry project so efficiently because of its poor functionality. Besides, it leaves some signs on the objects that ruin their beauty.

In addition, there may have some narrow places in which it is very hard to drive nails by using the hammer, and in some places, you may need to use a small nail which is almost impossible to drive into the object without a nail gun.

Considering all these issues, a nailer is a must-have tool for all carpentry and masonry projects. But the issue is that there are many different types of nailers, and each is appropriate for some distinct specific tasks. Especially, it isn’t very clear to choose between 15-gauge and 16-gauge nailers.

This article is all about 15g vs 16g finish nailers. Here, we will discuss both of these nailers and find out their differences. So, if you are interested to know, keep reading this article. It will also help you to choose the best one for you these two.

15-Gauge Finish Nailer

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15-gauge nail gun offers higher holding power with its bigger head. It has a larger piston and angled magazine for its extra bulk. Angled magazine helps a lot in getting to the light spot. In many cases, you may get the object in some tight places where it is very tough to fire nails. For doing these kinds of jobs, this nail gun will be better.

This nail gun is appropriate for many demanding jobs like installing baseboards, stair treads, pre-hung doors, crown molding, or door jambs. However, it is not appropriate for small molding or trimming. If you use it in these jobs, the small molding or trim will be split after the fire.

15-gauge nailer can handle lengths up to 2-1/2 inches because of its larger hole. Generally, these nail guns are for daily usage in different construction sites. As it is very powerful, you will get a high-speed rapid firing option from this nail gun.

The main drawback of a 15-gauge finish nailer is, in general, 15-gauge nailers are powered by an air compressor. There are only a few models which are cordless, and the price of the cordless versions is very high. Therefore, it may not be affordable and reasonable for you. Normally, the price of this nail gun starts at less than $200.

16-Gauge Finish Nailer

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A 16-gauge finish nailer is lightweight and smaller, with the ability to handle nails 1 to 3½ inches. It has less holding power than a 15-gauge nail gun. You can perfectly use it in chair rails, crown and base moldings, cabinets, exterior trim, casings, smaller bed moldings, trim, back bands, etc. This finish nailer is the best option for installing more delicate, thinner trim.

The main advantage of this nail gun is its size. As it is very lightweight and small, you can handle it very comfortably and carry it anywhere very easily. Besides, it has many versatile characteristics. You can conduct different types of tasks with this single nailer, and it has good enough power also.

You can even use it in installing hardwood floors. In addition, you will get both cordless and pneumatic versions of 16-gauge nail guns, and the price of the cordless version is reasonable here. So people who want a nail gun for multipurpose can choose this nail gun without any doubt.

In addition, it is also a good choice for projects that need durability, strength, and corrosion resistance. However, one notable thing is, that you should not give over pressure on this nail gun because this one is incapable of heavy-duty work like hanging a door.

15 Gauge Vs. 16 Gauge Finish Nailer: The Difference?

Now you know all the basic information about both 15g vs 16g finish nailers. If you read carefully, you should have noticed that there are many significant differences between them. Both have some unique characteristics and are appropriate for many different cases.

For better understanding, we are giving some key factors here so that you can easily understand its differences and choose the best one for your work. These key factors are as follows:


The first key factor is the power these finish nailers have. Between these two nailers, a 15-gauge nail gun has better power and is appropriate for heavy-duty tasks. This nailer is best for daily construction work.

On the other hand, a 16-gauge finish nailer is best for thin and fine wood, small trims, photo frames, etc. In these cases, if you use a 15-gauge nail gun, the wood, trim, or photo frame, will be split.

User Experience

User experience is best in 16-gauge nail guns. This nail gun is lightweight, small, and very easy to use. You can use it very comfortably anywhere you want. Besides, the overall functionality is better here.

On the contrary, the user experience of 15 gauge is moderate. If you can use it without any issues but not in such a comfortable way as a 16 gauge-nail gun.


Both of these nailers have the capability of depth adjustment. However, a 16-gauge nail gun has the capability of toolless depth adjustment. So, you will don’t need any tools for depth adjustment of a 16-gauge nail gun. On the other hand, you have to use some separate tools to adjust the depth in 15-gauge nail guns.  

Nail Capacity

16-gauge nail guns have the capability to hold 100 nails at a time. But, a 15-gauge nail gun has only the capability to hold 60 to 70 nails. That means, if you consider nail capacity, a 15-gauge nail gun will be lagged behind.


The price of a 16-gauge nail gun is comparatively higher than a 15-gauge nail gun. However, the cordless 15-gauge nail guns are too much expensive. On the other hand, 16-gauge cordless nailers are affordable.

However, the prices are not too much higher or lower. So, price should not be an issue when you are choosing one between these two.

Nail Size

16-gauge nail guns are capable of holding up to 3½ inches long nails on the hand 15-gauge nailer have the ability to hold up to 2½ inch long nails. That means 16-gauge nail guns are ahead of the competition here.

However, it is not a considerable issue to choose your nail gun because you may need both sizes of nails in your different projects.

Safety Measures

Both of these nailers have safety mechanisms for preventing accidents. However, the safety mechanism of 16-gauge nail guns is better and more advanced than 15-gauge nail guns. This advanced system almost made this tool accident-proof.

Pressure Operation

To use nail guns, you need to put some pressure on the object where you want to fire nails. A 15-gauge nail gun needs more pressure to drive the nails perfectly. On the other hand, in 16-gauge nail guns, you will need only normal pressure, which makes the tool more user-friendly.

Jam Issues

Both of the devices have a jam-clearing mechanism. However, the jam-clearing mechanism is advanced in 16-gauge nail guns. As a result, you can easily clear jams in this tool spending a very short time. On the other hand, in 15 gauge nail guns, jam clearing is comparatively complex and time-consuming.

Conclusion: 15 Gauge Vs. 16 Gauge Finish Nailer

We all know that nail guns are used in almost all carpentry projects. In installing windows, doors, baseboards, trim, and many other things, you may have to use nailers to complete your task efficiently and very easily in the fastest time.

You can also do a nail gun’s job by using a hammer which is the traditional way to shoot nails, but you will not be able to do it efficiently like the nail gun. Anyways, 15-gauge and 16-gauge finish nailers are the two most popular and useful nail guns of all time.

However, when you are choosing one between them, it isn’t very clear because of its similarity. In short words, we will say that both are the bests. From some points of view, 16 gauge offers some advanced features.

However, if you want a nailer for heavier jobs, then a 15-gauge nailer is the best option for you. On the other hand, if you need to work light and delicate jobs like thin wood or fine moldings, a 16-gauge finish nailer will work best.

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