Nail Gauge Chart | Which Nail Is Right For Your Needs?

In terms of operating a nail gun correctly, you must know about its nail specifications. As in, what kind of nails you can insert into it, the diameter of the nails and even the gauge of the nail. Without knowing all these parameters, your nailing journey won’t be that much smoother. From that sense of perception, I have come up with this directory of the nail gun gauge charts. Here, I will break all things apart and give you ideas about different kinds of nail sizes and, finally, will portray a brief gauge chart that you can follow while picking up the nails for your nailer.

Let’s not procrastinate and jump to the plane; what say?

What is Nail Gauge

Every circular shape has its own diameter, isn’t it? As nails also come in with a circular shape, they also consist of a diameter. Now, what’s a nail gauge? Well, mate, a nail gauge refers to the diameter of a nail. And that’s as clear as I can make. The relationship between nail gauge and nail thickness is somewhat proportional. Implies, the higher the gauge number, the thicker the nail. Also, the higher the thickness, the stronger the nail.

For example, a 16D nail is much stronger than a 15D nail. In contrast, their thickness also varies. The 16D one is thicker than the 15D.

However, not all nailers support a fixed nail gauge containing nail. Thus the different kinds of nail sizes have evolved. You might have been wondering what size nail you need to insert into your nailer, right? For this, you must contact your manufacturer and get a list of the nails. In some nail guns, this list is normally attached to the products’ label. Though, if you don’t find it in any manner, contacting the manufacturer would be legitimate.

Nail Types with Gauges and their Uses

Starting from 2D to 60D, you will find umpteenth nails in the market. All of them are different from each other and have their particular operational region. For example, you won’t be able to use a 2D or 3D nail for heavy framing. And on the flip, a good grade 40-50D nail will not adapt itself for finish work purposes. Along with the diameter, their headstock also varies. Some of them might contain a small head and some others will contain a large flat head. Actually, everything varies.

However, in this portion, I will exhibit some nails to you according to their gauge size and will also show you their uses. Let’s proceed:

2D: These types of nails are the most miniature ones. Their diameter is more or less 0.027-inch and it doesn’t really vary that much. These come in with a small head and are perfect for all types of finish work.

However, some 2D nails also contain a large flathead. With them, you can definitely get your wood timber, lathe works along.

5D, 6D: In terms of mediocre uses, 5D and 6D nails are pretty common among all the woodworkers these days. Though, both of these two sizes of nails don’t really vary that much in measurement. Both of these come in with a size of 0.08 inches. And they both have a combination of small and large flat heads. However, you can get all your lightweight tasks done using these two nails. For example shop works, finishing works, lathe stuff, casing, small timber etc. etc.

Postscript: In recent times, manufacturers have started making 2-inches of 6D nails. So, if you don’t want to get bewildered, kindly ask them about the dimension before purchasing a stock.

10D: Like the previous nails, 10D does not contain any large flathead. They only come in with small heads. And their diameter is stuck at 0.148-inch. Sounds fascinating, isn’t it? Well, you can use 10D nails for all moderate-heavy works purposes. For example: to attach baseboards, casings, ceilings and stuff. Though, if your purpose is heavier than this, you will need to make a switch for sure.

60D: These are the most powerful nails you may ever see anywhere. The dimension of these nails are somewhat 0.262-inches and they will provide you with beast-like adhesion. In terms of doing extra-heavy stuff, 60D nails are perfect all the way. For heavyweight framing and or construction purposes, you can definitely apply 60D nails and these are worth it.

However, I intentionally overlooked some of the very common nail sizes like 16D, 30D, 40D and more like these. But if you’re up for doing something light, you can keep your view between 2D to a maximum of 10D. As long as you’re not inflating the work volume, your nail size shouldn’t be inflated and that’s all.

Nonetheless, for your convenience, I’m adding a detailed size chart down below. Look at a glance and get things precisely-

SizeLength (inch)Diameter (inch)Head ShapeUses
2D10.072Small HeadFinish work, Shop work
3D1.50.08Small and Large FlatheadFinish Work, Shop Work, Small Timber, Wood Shingles, Lathes
6D2,2.50.113Small and Large FlatheadFinish Work, Shop Work, Small Timber, Casing, Stops Wood Shingles, Lathes
8D2.50.131Small and Large FlatheadCasing, Baseboards, Ceilings, Siding, Subflooring, Roll Roofing
10D30.148Small and Large FlatheadShop Work, Casing, Baseboards, Siding, Sheathing, Framing
40D50.225Large FlatheadHeavy Framing, Bridges
60D60.262Large FlatheadExtra Heavy Framing, Bridges

There’s that, mate. Follow this chart and get nails accordingly. Best of luck to you!

Difference Between Nails and Screws

Often the user gets confused. Is there any difference between nails and screws? Well, yes, there certainly are. If you’re up for operating a nailer, it’s nearly mandatory for you to know about this pseudo difference. Because, if you fail to differentiate nails and screws, you might mess up while operating. Nobody wants that interruption.

To be very precise, the only thing that has differentiated nails and screws is their surface. In terms of nails, the surface is smooth. To insert a nail, you might need to use a hammer or pneumatic nail gun. But the surface of the screw is somewhat threaded. For inserting screws, you’ll need to use a screwdriver. Both of them are normally CNC machined.

Why It Is Important to Know The Nail Gauge Chart

You won’t always use a nailer for omitting only one task. Sometimes you might need to do tasks that need different sizes of nails. Following that perspective, a nail gauge chart is nearly mandatory to have for you. Through this, you’ll get to know about nail sizes all the time. This way, your operation will be much more efficient than ever before.

In a nutshell, having a nail gun gauge chart is worth it all the way!


16D or 18D nails; which one is better?

Ans: Both are better, to be honest. But which one you should pick depends on your operational requirement. The diameter for these two nails doesn’t really vary that much. Though, if you want to get suggestions from me, I would suggest you pick up the 16Ds.

Are 18 gauge nails okay for baseboards?

Ans: Yes, you can smoothly attach baseboards using 18 gauge nails. Along with baseboards, you can also implement these for shop works and even in finish works.

When would you use an 18 gauge nail?

Ans: If you’re wondering about nails for omitting your shop work, sheathing, ceilings, or baseboard purposes, picking up the 18 gauge nails will work just fine.

15D or 16D; which one is better for finishing work?

Ans: This answer might get biased because I’m a big fan of 16D nails as they fit onto all the nailers, nearly. However, no matter what your purpose, you can definitely pick either of these two nails. No problem with that. But the 16Ds provide good finishing.

Will 18D nails work in a 16D nailer?

Ans: Despite being a 16D nailer, if that can contain 18D nails, then the thing might work. Though, it’s very rare these days. You have to scour a lot online to get one of these.


Throughout the entire article, I talked and shared my point of view about the nail gauge chart and finally rendered a detailed size chart for you. I hope this article will help you enormously. If this is so, then it’s my farewell time. However, mate; share this directory with your friends and mates who need this most and don’t forget to reread the article if you feel confused by any of the points.

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