Air Compressor, Brad Nailer, and Finish Nailer

Pneumatic Tools - Reviews and Buyer's Guide

Our Pick

For the compressor, brad nailer, and finish nailer, I recommend buying the Porter Cable 3-Tool and Compressor Combo Kit (the kit actually includes an additional stapler that won’t get much, if any, use). For the price, this kit is hard to beat. It includes a pancake compressor, three guns, and a hose for less than the cost of most compressors. The guns aren’t quite as nice as the ones you would get if you had purchased them separately, but they still work really well. Other good manufacturers (Bostich, Makita, Dewalt) also put out sets, so I would honestly buy whichever one is on sale.

Pancake compressors are a less expensive style of compressor. Their tanks are usually smaller and they refill a little slower, so they aren’t frequently used as much by professionals. But for single person use they are fine. Especially when compared to the price of some of the alternatives. I have constructed entire tiny houses using just a single pancake compressor, so they are definitely sufficient. The only issue that I’ve ever had is that they don’t work as well in extreme cold. They work by moving a rubber diaphragm that I have had freeze and brake in extreme cold temperatures (10 degrees Fahrenheit). But you are not usually working outside in those temperatures.

The brad nailer is used to install all the small pieces of trim and interior siding. The finish nailer is used when a slightly longer nail is required for thicker trim like when installing the baseboards and casing around the windows.

This kit also includes a hose, which I recommend replacing, but we’ll talk about that in another section.

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