1st or 2nd Fix Nailer: Which Is Right For You?

A nailer, also known as a nail gun, is a cordless power tool which can quickly and smoothly drive nails into woodwork, without the need for using a traditional hammer. Here at Speedy, we offer two types of nail guns first fix nail guns and second fix nail guns depending on the job, both nail guns are available to hire from Speedy.

If you know you need a nail gun for your next DIY project and aren’t sure which will be best for your job, the below guide from Speedy will clear things up for you.




What is a 1st fix nailer?

First fix nailers are also referred to as framing nailers. They are used to complete rough woodwork, such as flooring, wood framing, timber frame erection, and roofing, mainly within the construction industry.

For home DIY, use a 1st fix nail gun for building fencing and frame work for decking. 

A first fix nailer uses larger nails and will often leave impressions on the wood, so they are best used on jobs which won’t be visible or will be painted/filled in. They are available in a range of power variations depending on the job you need them for. They work quickly and powerfully to drive nails into surfaces.

Most can be adjusted to accommodate nails at a range of lengths too, so they’re great for thick timber or joists.


What is a 2nd fix nail gun?

Second fix nailers and finish nailers are two terms used interchangeably. Second fix nailers are used for ‘softer’, delicate interior work or finishing work. That is, jobs where the nail will be visible and needs to be neat. Smaller nails are used to reduce potential damage and impressions.

A second fix nailer should be used on more delicate areas. Within the home, this may be on door frames, panelling, and decorative household mouldings.

Like with first fix nailers, a range of power levels are available. Some can drive up to 10,000 nails in a single charge, which is great if you’re renovating a house, building a decorative fence, building furniture or installing skirting boards.

You can also choose from either straight or angled second fix nailers. The difference is simply referring to the angle of the nailer, so don’t worry – you won’t get wonky nails! Angled nailers are usually popular as they can be used in tighter, harder to reach places.


Which nailer do I need?

Now for the big question – which nail gun type do you need?

Anyone working indoors will probably need a second fix nailer. The nails will drive in neater, will be smaller and are generally less visible. This is what you need on most household tasks, especially if the feature is on show. They just give you a bit of a cleaner finish which you will appreciate in the long run.

So, for most people conducting DIY in the home, second fix nail guns are the way to go.

Anyone working outdoors (or in construction) who needs a bit more power behind their tool, will likely benefit from a first fix nailer. It won’t be essential that your nails are neat if they will be covered up; you just want something quick yet secure.

If you’re conducting projects such as building an outdoor pergola or garden shelter, or building a shed, you may need a first fix nail gun instead.


Speedy Tip! CLICK HERE to watch our How to Use a Nail Gun video.


How do nailers work?

Most nail guns use compressed air or gas to create pressure. This force will drive the hammer onto the nail, and then drive the nail into the surface. When the user pulls the trigger, the pressurised gas in the barrel drives the hammer down.

The pneumatic tool connects to an air compressor with a hose. This means that cordless nailers are the most common to find, which is perfect if you’re working outdoors, don’t want to be tied down to plugs, or renovating somewhere without electricity.


Can I hire a nail gun?

Yes, you can. Here at Speedy, we offer a range of tools available for hire, depending on what you need them for and for how long. All tools come with instructions and are checked over before being available for hire again.

Nail guns are a perfect example of why hiring tools is more efficient. Buying a cheap nail gun won’t be as powerful as hiring a top-range model, and you’d just have to store and maintain the nail gun until it is next used. Hiring takes all of that hassle away.

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