How Does A Pneumatic Nail Gun Work? (Easy Guide In 2020)

Working with various pieces will make you come to a particular situation. And it’s about using nails for joining. It is a pretty boring task, and also it takes a long time.

This was a huge issue when nailers were not present in the list. Today, most related workers will use a quality nail gun. It is great to sort out such needs in a short matter of time.

There are quite a few types of nail guns available at the market. But one kind is popular when the journey of the nail gun started. I’m talking about the pneumatic nail gun.

Let’s figure out today how does a pneumatic nail gun work.

What is a Pneumatic Nailer?

We all know by now that a nailer drives nail inside materials. Such as woods or boards.

There’s one particular type of combustion nail gun that uses compressed air. And so, it is popularly known as Pneumatic nailer. These driven are my electromagnetism — some needs highly flammable gasses. In most cases, propane is preferably usable.

How Does a Pneumatic Nail Gun Work?

Having the best nailer won’t be enough. Especially if you don’t get deep into the mechanism.

There are quite a few options. For example, DeWalt nail gun and the Bosch pneumatic nail gun. These suit beginners very well. But we should go into those areas later at least after grasping enough knowledge about the ins and outs.

The Anatomy of Parts

Do you know why beginners have so much trouble in understanding the nail gun uses? Because they just directly jump into using it. Maybe after going through a few pneumatic nail gun diagram pictures. Clearly, this is not enough.

And so, we would have a segment covered for the parts in a pneumatic nail gun. Here are some pointers in that regard. There is a part called air compressor. It is usually getting power through gasoline or electricity. This part has the responsibility of supplying compressed air.

The next part is called an air reservoir. This segment is basically a hose that takes the responsibility to push air. The air supplied by compressor and reservoir delivers it into a holding space.

The conventional style pneumatic gun has a typical piston. This part comes with a standard shaft. It’s known as a driver. This part is in charge of contacting the nail guns’ head. Also, it forces the surface you are working.

Finally, the piston is a part that stays inside the nail guns’ cylindrical body. There’s a valve right above the piston. This is to hold air in place.

General Mechanism Idea

At the starting point, air-pressure above the piston is less than the pressure below it. The cylinder can hold piston on top position. By triggering, the nail gun initiates valve. So, it opens and forces air to enter the cylinder. This creates increasing pressure above the piston.

Next, the drive of piston goes downwards, and hammers nail. With a releasing trigger, the air that locates in cylinders’ surroundings starts venting. This happens through tiny holes. The holes exist at cylinders’ bottom half.

So that the below pressure of piston increases once again. This leads to bring back the piston to its original position. Then the valve opens back to push used air. This is possible with the help of a port that stays at nail guns’ top.

The valve then closes itself while a passage opens up to the atmosphere. This positioning does not allow any kind of airflow into the above portion of plungers. Now because of the change in pressure, the plunger will start to rise up so that the air compressed can make a way to head of the piston.

A drive seems to push piston and blade downwards. The nail can propel out from its chamber. The sliding piston then drives air within cylinder through holes back to place. With increasing air force, the chambers pressure level rises. And so, when you release the trigger, plunger slides back to place. Meanwhile, the airflow to piston head gets blocked.

Now that there is no downward pressure, the piston head also makes a return to its original spot. The air on the piston head gets out to the atmosphere.

And that is how a pneumatic nail gun effortlessly drives thick nails into hard materials. You may have to drive a cumbersome tool with the bulky air compressor. But the results are really awesome.

Here’s a video on the easy demonstration of how a pneumatic ail gun works to help you out.


That was my simple guide on how does a pneumatic nail gun work. Hopefully, you have sort out the major concerns related to pneumatic nailers working mechanism.

Of course, you just can’t step into using one after reading this. It might need some time to drill nails into expensive materials properly. So, my suggestion would be to practice over some cheap scrap pieces before actually trying on your prized possessions.

So, do you have any thoughts to share on a pneumatic nail gun? Let Us Know in The Comment Section Below.


Can I use a pneumatic nailer without previous knowledge?

– There are some pneumatic nail guns that come with the quite confusing operation. And so, you may need a valid operator’s permit in some states to work with it. Ensure this by visiting a qualified training agency. Or you can take the help of an instructor. One such example is Hilti guns.

What is a pneumatic framing nailer?

– The framing type of nail gun is popular to use for joining two sperate wooden pieces. It’s used to penetrate the nails deep inside the wood to keep them secure. These are pretty powerful design. They use a special system to work. It’s considered the conventional and standard version of a pneumatic nail gun.

What is a pneumatic brad nailer?

– The design is quite similar to a standard pneumatic nail gun. But a brad nail gun uses a tiny head. Also, it works with a much thinner frame than usual nail guns. These are preferable to work with small trims.

Also, they are great for adding tiny stops or moldings. Usually, the nails are 18-gauge. And so they don’t leave huge holes. In fact, the holes are so tiny that there’s no need to apply putty once you are done.

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