The Difference Of 16 Or 18 Gauge Nailer For Baseboard!

Even if you have the best stainable wood filler to patch up the surface, you’ll need a good nail gun to insert the nails. And thinking of that, most get into fights over 16 or 18 gauge nailer for baseboard and hardwood floors. 

As the 18-gauge and 16 gauge finish nailer don’t give the same results, choosing one gets harder.

Don’t worry! We’ll talk about this topic to give a clear idea of their differences so that you know which is best for your needs.

Now, which nailer is right to use for baseboard or other floors based on specialists? Keep on reading to find the answer….

16 or 18 gauge nailer for baseboard

The Difference Of 16 Or 18 Gauge Nailer For Baseboard & Other Floors

Their ability, travel capability, and usage are the reason why they differ. Plus, the 16-gauge nailer ensures the durable fitting of nails compared to the 18-gauge nailer.

For a successful DIY project, nail guns are important to get. As you are here to learn the 16 or 18 gauge nailer for hardwood floor and baseboard, going through their individuality will help pick the right one. And also, don’t neglect the quality and work type to decide one winner.

My Recommendation.

The Metabo HPT NT65M2S is a great choice if you need a quality 16-gauge finish nailer. Its 1” to 2-1/2” length range let users use it for fitting baseboards, crown, and so on.

Then again, the BOSTITCH BTFP12233 rocks in features and quality as an 18-gauge brad nailer. Its pointy nose and oil-free work make it one of the finest for installing sleek wood pieces.

To understand the following comparison segment, it’s essential to know the basic facts about them:

  • The 16-gauge nailer drives 16 gauge nails. In contrast, the 18-gauge nailer drives 18ga nails.
  • All the nailers aka nail guns are categorized by the thickness (gauge) of the specified nails.
  • The 16-gauge nailer is mostly referred to as finish nail guns and it can shoot for up to 2.5” longer nails. Conversely, the 18-gauge nailer is also known as brad nail gun as it can shoot long nails (up to 2”).

They Definitely Are Different in Usage.

The first point that poles them apart is the application purpose. To put it simply, all nail guns are made to use on specified projects. 

The 16-gauge nailer needs to fit nails on hard constructive floors to fit, such as:

  • Decorative items like crown molding.
  • Attaching board.
  • Chair rails.
  • Flooring. 
  • Baseboard

With the 18-gauge nailer, you can attach sleek and brittle-like pieces of wood for bradding, like:  

  • Casing. 
  • Thin pieces molding.
  • Baseboard.
  • Trim molding.
  • Fitting panels and veneers.

Deferring Both Nailers Based On Their Ability.

The biggest reason why the topic of 16 gauge vs 18 gauge nailer exists is because of the thickness. Basically, both of them has different ability to install in baseboard or other floors.

Starting with the 16-gauge nailer, it can attach a 0.0625” shank that comes in 1” to 3.5” length of the nail. And that’s the reason why it fastens thicker baseboards.

On the other hand, the 18-gauge nailer inserts 0.0475Z” shank that’s supplied in 0.5” to 2.5” length of the nail. And so, it can’t really do much to install thicker wood pieces.

Their Deepening Capability Is Not Same.

Another aspect that makes a huge gap between the 16-gauge and 18-gauge nail guns is the travel capability. Since both of them has an individual thickness (gauge), they tend to travel through wood pieces differently.

The finish nail gun (16-gauge) has a larger head that aggressively travels through the wood frame, making the surface split unlike others. However, this won’t be a big issue as most of the time it’s being used on the denser and thicker baseboards.

Quite the opposite, the brad nail gun (18-gauge) contains a smaller head that leaves no visible marks or holes on the wood surface. And with this, you don’t have to spend more bucks on filling or sanding use compared to the 16-gauge nailer.  

Note: Both 16 gauge and 18-gauge nailers are designed in pneumatic and battery-powered versions. Go for the pneumatic one for the compressor feature in nailers. And if you can’t tolerate buzzing noise, then hop for it.

Frequently Asked Questions.

1. Can you use 18 gauge nails in a 16 gauge nailer?

Not a good idea though. Made to use on specific nail sizes, the nailers can act differently if added an incorrect size. Besides, it might cause early wear of the nailer or serious damage.

2. What can you do with an 18 gauge nailer?

With it, you can make a smaller hole on a slim frame of wood easily. And, it won’t make a mess when used for DIY home projects.

3. What size nails for 3/4 hardwood flooring?

I suggest using 1-3/4” (1.75”) nails for 3/4 hardwood flooring. It’s always better to look into the recommended flooring dimension to know which sized nail is good. 


Well, that was our effort to explain all the differential points of both these nailers. Thinking of the holding power, wood thickness, and working types, deciding one from 16 or 18 gauge nailer for baseboard floors should be easier. 

If you want my opinion on that, I would suggest the 16-gauge nailer for thicker woods like crown mold or staircase appliance to install.

Then again, using the 18-gauge nailer would be ideal for installing thinner wood such as maple or slim timber slice with nails. And this won’t cause wood piece splitting issue.

And if money isn’t a big problem, then just add both to your cart to use on different working types. Hopefully, this guide didn’t let you down and was able to sort your dilemma on picking one. That’s all for today. I’ll catch you on the next guide. Good Bye!

About Sam Maxi

Hi, this is Sam Maxi. I love talking about woodwork tools and my reviews are mostly based on the experience I have from my work. Apart from reviewing, I am a huge fan of surfing. Also, I love watching horror genre movies.

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