Why Framing Nail Guns Have Different Angles

When you’re looking at framing nail guns for your next construction project, are you confused by the different angles on the market? With angles between 15 to 34-degrees, it’s challenging to identify exactly which one you need for the job. 

So, which one is right for your job?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. At Elephant Construction Solutions, we have extensive knowledge of construction tools and equipment. We’ve put together this article to help you better understand the nitty gritty on framing nail guns so you can get your project rolling. 

Don’t want to wait? Contact us now for all of your equipment rentals, and we’ll help you get started and choose just the right tools for the job. 

Understanding the Angle

When discussing framing nail guns, it’s important to understand that the angle doesn’t refer to the angle with which the nail fires. It’s actually about the magazine holding your nails. The magazine is attached to the head of the gun and angled away from it. When using a larger angle, you can work in tight spaces more efficiently and complete such work quickly.

It’s also important to note that the angles aren’t adjustable, so a 15-degree angle can’t expand to a larger size. You may think this means you should buy a gun for each angle, but that isn’t necessarily the case, either. While that may be acceptable for teams of professionals working on a large-scale job, an individual or a small team can easily find multiple uses for a single framing gun.

Different Nails for Different Angles

You load nails into a framing gun packed in magazines. However, each angle uses its own size of nail as well as magazine type. While this could appear to be an inconvenience at first, it’s a design decision that helps each gun perform the tasks it excels in better.

For example, the 15-degree nail gun is ideal for floor joists and corner framing. Magazines for these tools typically hold a few hundred nails, significantly reducing the need to reload during a project. Given the number of joists and wall studs in the average framing project, this is a big plus.

Nail collation also depends on the degree. Magazines for each angle use different means to hold the nails themselves. While seemingly minor, each one has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, 30-degree nailers use paper strip collation, which is lightweight but may malfunction on wet days. 21-degree framing guns use plastic and avoid this issue, but leave debris with each use.

Two Different Nail Heads

Framing guns use nails with two different heads: round and clipped. The former is the classic circular nail head most people are familiar with. The latter features a clip on one side, causing the head to resemble a capital “D”.

The main difference between the two is collation: you can fit more clipped nails on a strip because their shape means you can load them close together. The main appeal of clipped nails is that you will need to reload less. However, round head nails are more secure for most construction purposes, including framing.

For comparison’s sake, let’s look at the 15-degree and 28-degree nailers. The 15 uses round heads and holds more nails per magazine. However, the magazines are much larger to compensate for the space needed. The 28 can use clip heads. If the magazines are physically the same size, the 28 will hold more nails.

15 and 21-degree angles use round head nails. 30 and 34-degree nailers use only clipped head nails. 28-degree are the only type that can use both, though their full-head nails are off-center to fit more in a magazine, much like a clipped head.

However, when it comes to framing, you can’t simply pick the nail-head you feel best fits your needs. That’s because building codes sometimes prohibit the use of clipped or off-set head nails for safety reasons. With that in mind, research local area building codes and see if they limit your options. 

What is the “Best” Choice?

This question gets asked often, especially in the world of power equipment rentals. When people rent a power washer or need an air compressor jackhammer, the differences between models are typically more readily apparent. 

When it comes to framing nail guns, the truth is this: the best choice is whatever works best for you and your needs. Larger angles have a more comprehensive range of motion, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be most comfortable for you or the job you’re performing. Instead of looking at just the angle, consider these factors:

  • How many nails fit in a magazine
  • The length of the nails the gun uses
  • The weight of the gun when fitted with a magazine
  • Whether the type of nails the gun uses violate any local building codes 
  • How the gun is powered (battery, electric, air compressor, etc.)

Smaller angled guns can perform the same tasks as larger ones but may not do so with the same ease. Likewise, a larger angle may be easier to fit in most areas physically but could be cumbersome to wield or have lower magazine capacity. The best angle is the one that you are most comfortable using.

Rent from Elephant Rental

For many contractors, renting is the best option for their business and their budget. 

Reach out to us at Elephant Construction Solutions to get your free quote for any machinery your site may need. 

Whether it’s as simple as a lawnmower, as important as scaffolding, or as small as a nail gun, we have the tools you need to successfully finish your next project and stay under budget while doing it.


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