A Complete Guide to Different Nail Gun Nails

Nail guns can be great to use when it comes to construction or renovation needs as they reduce the time and energy needed to ‘hammer’ nails into walls, doors, etc. Determining the type of nails you want to use with your nail gun however is one of the most important pre-hammering jobs you need to take care of. It is highly likely that your nail gun came with a product booklet indicating the types of nails that are compatible with that particular nail gun. However, this article will help you understand what types of nails are required for specific jobs and what types should not be used. 


Determining the gauge of the nails you want to use is the most important step before deciding which nails you will be using. You can use either the English ‘penny’ system designations for nail lengths or the length and head measurement to determine their gauge in a gauge chart. The penny system labels nails as ‘d’. 

4d to 10d Nails 

These are small nails and should only be used for jobs that require the nails to be hidden after they have been hammered in.  

12d and 16d Nails 

These nails are longer and stronger than 4d and 10d nails and can be used for framing and other wood works. 

Roofing Nails 

Roofing nails are used for roofing, simply put. They come in many different gauges and the corresponding gauge that will work with your nail gun can be checked in the product booklet that came with it. Using the right gauge is very important for roofing. 

Hot-dipped Nails 

Hot-dipped nails are coated with molten Zinc and are very strong. They are usually used for outdoor jobs because of their moisture-resistance which makes them fairly non-corrosive and adaptable to rainy conditions too. 

Electroplated Nails 

Unlike being coated with molten Zinc, these nails are electroplated with Zinc and thus have a Zinc bond not as strong as hot-dipped nails. They can still be used outdoors though in appropriate climate and conditions. 

Blued Nails 

Blued nails are weaker than both hot-dipped nails and electroplated nails and are intended for indoor use only. They should not be used outdoors as they will be unable to withstand moisture and will rust and corrode easily and quickly. 

Aluminum Nails 

Aluminum nails are really weak nails and can only be used for modest jobs like working on Aluminum sheeting for example. 

Copper Nails 

These nails are fairly stronger than Aluminum nails and because of their non-corrosive nature can be used on boats and other marine objects that are potentially going to be largely in contact with water. 

Steel Nails 

One of the most common nails used in nail guns for many different jobs. Steel nails are strong and they don’t rust easy and have a good balance and mix of qualities of other types of nails. This makes them a common choice for many household nail jobs too. 

Hopefully this short guide to nail gun nails will help ensure you choose the right nails for your next DIY project.