Nail Gun vs Hammer Which Is Right For Your Needs

For a long time, people have been using both nail guns and hammers for a very purpose. That is, to insert nails into rigid objects. From solving that purpose to recent times, the evolution of both of these tools has been inflated. 

If you don’t have any idea what these two tools do, then this article is for you. Throughout the entire article, I have tried to differentiate between nail gun and hammer and elaborated everything in detail. If you can go till the end, I hope you won’t have any kind of misconception regarding the entire topic. And next time you won’t ask yourself which one to use for a specific purpose. 

Let’s proceed and dive deep into the core; shall we?

What Is A Nail Gun?

A nail gun is basically an automatic hammer that is used to drive nails within objects. The object could have been made of any type of material. For example, wooden, metallic or something closer like these. But a good-grade nail gun will help nails to penetrate the rigid surface of the object. Now, you might wonder how a nail gun operates, right? Well, it works with the excessive flow of air. As in, an outrageous airflow makes the nail penetrate the surface of anything rigid. Sounds legitimate, isn’t it?

The working principle I illustrated upward is pretty general. However, you may have seen nail guns that do not work with the flow of air. I mean, there are a lot more categories. The one that operates with the airflow is called a “pneumatic nail gun.” Except for this one, we have more on our bucket list. For example; powder-actuated, electric, solenoid-powered, pin nailer and stuff. 

Nonetheless, no matter what type of nail gun you’re using, you will end up doing the same thing. The efficiency might be more or less. But all the way you’ll get delivered with the same old task. As in, inserting nails into rigid bodies. And the most beautiful perk of using a nail gun is it’s automatic all the way. You don’t need to take additional hassles to operate it. It’s more like a “plug and play” thing. All you have to do is to click it, and the rest of the task will be conducted by the nail gun itself. Fingers crossed! 

What Is A Hammer?

Now, I don’t think I have to elaborate on what a hammer is to you, do I? Because I strongly believe you have operated with a hammer once or multiple times. And the same thing a hammer also does what a nail gun does. That is, it inserts nails into rigid bodies. The great American psychologist Abraham Maslow has a quote that goes like this- 

“If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail” 

Well, that was way too legit. However, fun fact aside- let’s get into some boring bookish definitions of nails- 

A hammer is a hand tool that is used to drive nails into rigid objects. In some cases, hammers are being used to eject nails as well. The main thing that has differentiated a hammer from a nail gun is it’s not automatic. You have to operate it using either of your hands as it’s a handheld tool. Thus, you’ll need much more time than operating with a pneumatic nail gun. When your task is not that huge, that time it’s recommended to use a manual hammer over an automatic nail gun. I hope you get it. 

The Difference Between Nail gun and Hammer?

If you’re up for inserting nails for any prospects, you can use either a good-grade pneumatic nail gun or you can just go for operating with a manual hammer. A very basic question arises right here. That is when to use a nailer and a hammer, isn’t it?

Well, mate- in this very portion I have come up with something which will provide you with the answers to all these probable questions. Here, I have tried to compare both nail guns and hammers by considering some of the important parameters. You can read this comparison accordingly to get ideas much more precisely.

Let’s dive deep into it then; what say? 

Working Mechanism

Despite having the same objective, both of the tools work in different methods. Here goes the elaboration: 

Nail Gun: As I already said in the intro- nail guns or pneumatic nail guns works with the excessive flow or air. This excessive air flow makes the nail penetrate within any kind of hard and rigid surface. Except pneumatic nail guns, a variety of nail guns are out there that operate in fully different methods. As in, powder actuated nail guns, electric nailers and pin nailers works following an entirely different methodology. 

Hammer: However, the working mechanism of a hammer is not very complicated like a nail gun. As a hammer is a handheld tool, anyone can operate it using either of their hands. It only requires physical energy that ends up getting converted into mechanical energy. The head of the hammer strikes the headstock of the nails and the nails get into the objects. This is the simplest mechanism. As clear as I can make. 

Types and Variations

There are nearly a wide range of variations in terms of both these tools. If we look forward to it, we will know about the types in detail. Let’s proceed: 

Nail Gun: From staple nail guns to palm nailers, the evolution of nail guns has been pretty much inflated these days. However, not all the nailers we use are the same. Each of them are being used for omitting very different purposes. One may have been getting used for inserting nails only and another category is probably suitable for adhesion of different kinds of stuff. So, it varies. However, these are the most common types of nail gun- 

● Staple Nail Guns

● Palm Nailers

● Roofing Nailers

● Pin Nailers

● Brad Nailers

● Siding Nail Guns

● Framing Nail Guns 

Hammer: We can objectify the types of hammer as we have objectified the nail guns. As in, there are a lot of hammers present in the market. They have been getting used for different purposes. The most common hammer you’ll get in the market is:

● Engineering Hammer

● Ball Peen Hammer

● Dead Blow Hammer

● Lineman’s Hammer

● Claw Hammers

Size and Weight

In terms of size and weight, nail guns and hammer have an inversely proportional relationship. Sounds confusing, isn’t it? Let’s get into the comparison then- 

Nail Gun: Most of the nail guns weigh less. As they are made of very specific purpose and are not analog at all, the designers have made it pretty weightless. Operating a nail gun would be much more efficient than a hammer. In terms of the size, I would say it varies. You will get both small and large sized nailers. But if we think of their functions, both do more or less the same thing. 

Hammer: As i already said, the average hammer weight is a bit more than a nailer. And when it comes to size, all the hammers are in a very constant size range. It doesn’t inflate that much. Neither it gets downward. So, it makes sense. 

Ease of Use

Can you assume anything? Well, I do. Here’s to the assumptions- 

Nail Guns: A good-grade nail gun will render you with much more efficiency than you could ever think. If you know how to operate it, then it would become the easiest task ever to you. 

Hammer: On the other hand, operating a hammer is not that complex but requires additional energy. From that sense, we can conclude that a hammer gives the user less efficiency. 


Both of the tools are portable. But, if i had to talk about hammers, then i must say it has a better portability than a nailer as it doesn’t come in along with spare parts. 


This is one of the most important and interesting characteristics. Let’s get to the discussion- 

Nail Gun: To operate a nail gun, you must need to have some spare parts that come along with it. Even if something doesn’t show up with the package. You’ll have to buy it for use. From this, we can conclude that the dependability of a nail gun is pretty moderate. 

Hammer: Whether, when it’s about operating a hammer, you’ll require nothing but the hammer itself. In this case, there’s no dependability at all for the hammer. I hope you get it. 

Depth Control 

For controlling the depth of inserted nails, you’ll need to operate both the tools using two entirely different manners. Here’s to the elaboration: 

Nail Gun: In terms of the nail guns, you will be able to control the nail depth automatically. It’s very simple. All you have to do is to set the desired depth as in pressure. And then you will just simply operate the nail gun. I mentioned the term “pressure” because as a nail gun gets operated with air pressure, the depth is directly related to it. If we put on a lot of pressure, the depth will get increased and vice-versa. 

Hammer: But when you’re using a handheld hammer, you won’t be able to deal things automatically. That is, a hammer won’t let you control the depth automatically. While you’re putting pressure on the headstock of nails, you have to measure it out manually according to the depth you want. There’s that. 


There are a lot of benefits no matter which tool you’re using. Here’s to the description:

Nail Gun: When you get stuck in a big task where you’ll need to insert a very large amount of nails in a short time, a good grade nailer will provide you with a lot of ease in that case. This is the most major perk of using a nail gun. Moreover, it will provide you with efficiency, ease of use and user-friendliness. You don’t need to operate it using physical force. 

Hammer: In contrast, a hammer will give you advantages only when the task is short. As in, a short volume of work. So next time if you have any small task of inserting nails, don’t forget to choose hammer over nails. 

Cost Efficiency

Which one of these two costs much? Can you guess? If yes, match your assumptions- 

Nail Gun: Obviously a nail gun will cost much. What do you think? It’s an automatic device that makes the nail inserting process much easier than ever before. If you think you can afford a good-grade nailer, I will really be amazed to recommend you one. Just go for it. It will be worth it, mate. 

Hammer: Hammers are also a bit pricey but not as much as nailers. In an affordable budget, you will be lucky enough to get yourself good-grade hammers. 

Pros & Cons

Here comes the magnetic portion. Fasten your seatbelts and dive deep into it- 

Nail Gun

❖ Pros

● Weigh Less

● Gives a good rate of efficiency

● Depth control is easy and effortless

● Has a lots of types and variations

● Perfect for omitting large tasks

❖ Cons

● Dependent on spare parts

● A bit pricey 

● Portability is moderate; not that much rich


❖ Pros

● Perfect for omitting short tasks

● No dependability 

● Affordable price

● Has variations and types

● Portability is overpowered

❖ Cons

● Efficiency is not even moderate; way too poor

● Depth control is manual


When should you use a nail gun?

Ans: If you are up to doing any homely thing that requires nail insertion; you can use a nail gun. If the volume of nail insertion is big, it’s always recommended to use a nail gun over hammers. 

Can you use a hammer for nail gun nails?

Ans: Yes, you can always use a hammer for nail gun nails. But in this case, you must have to maintain additional safety and drive nails carefully. 

Can I use a hammer instead of brad nailers?

Ans: To insert brad nails into stuff, you can always use a hammer but in this case, extra safety precautions must have been mentioned and you have to do the entire process slowly but carefully. 

Let’s go watch a video


Till now, we have been discussing and differentiating between nail guns and hammers and it’s the very end of this article. I assume you’ve had enough out of this article and will acknowledge everything I illustrated here. If yes, I must have been getting going. 

If anything seems spiny to you, feel free to give this article one more read and share this directory with your friends and mates. 

Goodbye and don’t forget to CARPE DIEM! 

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