Staple Gun Vs Nail Gun

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  March 15, 2022
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Though staple guns and nail guns look alike, they offer very different functionality. Both of the tools are used for distinct purposes. So when you need something to be joined and looking for a tool to serve that purpose, you must know the differences between staple guns vs nail guns. Otherwise, you will end up wasting your money on the wrong tool.
Here in this article, we will present some pivotal differences between these two tools so that you can make your own choice of buying the right tool.

Differences Between Staple Gun and Nail Gun


The first noticeable difference between a staple gun and a nail gun is the fasteners they fire which also depend on the purpose you will be using it for. A staple gun uses double-leg fasteners. A double leg fastener has two legs and a bridge joins them together making a crown or flathead. Each type of staple gun uses a different crown width for the convenient application of staples. On the other hand, the nails used by a nail gun don’t have a head. It’s just a plain metal pin that goes invisible after putting it on any surface. The nails are called single-leg fasteners.


In terms of staple guns, the staples remain visible after application. The staples have a flat head that joins the two legs together. When you penetrate the staples into something, the legs go in-depth and leave the head on the surface. On the contrary, a nail gun is invisible after you penetrate it into any ideal surface. Unlike staples, it doesn’t have a head. That’s why when you apply it on the surface, the whole portion of the nail goes into the surface leaving no trace. Considering the invisibility of the nails, it is used mostly in beautification projects.


Staple guns are considered stronger than nail guns because of the ammunition they fire. The staples have a flat head that sticks to the surface while the legs penetrate inside. The flat head gives more rigidity to the joint made by the staples. You can use staple guns for any heavy-duty project. But in terms of a nail gun, the holding power is not that strong as a staple gun. But it’s perfect for holding two wood surfaces together. Due to not having a head, nails cause less distraction on the surface when removed. But staples are more likely to cause damage to the visible part of the surface. The nails are easier to remove than their application. But the staples are hard to pull out because of their strong holding power.


Staple guns are mostly used in heavy-duty projects like repairing, upholstery, cabinetry, indoor renovation, woodworking, etc where holding strength is the priority. It is greatly used for making wooden furniture where appearances do not bear any significance. Staple guns have fasteners of a variety of strengths that will allow you to choose following your requirements for the project. But nail guns are preferred to use in projects where maintaining elegance is a standard for its easy removal and invisibility after penetration. For example, if you want to join a picture frame, the visibility of the flat head of a staple would likely disfigure the beauty which is the whole point of having a picture frame. In that case, a piece of nail can do the job of joining two wooden frames retaining the fine external appearance of the frame. This is the ideal tool for any carpentry work.


A staple gun is comparatively a bit heavier than a nail gun. In terms of any of the tools, you don’t need to worry about oil changes. Because both of the tools use compressed air to function. A staple gun is equipped with an adjustable exhaust that will allow you to direct the penetration anywhere you want. But a nail gun provides the adjustable facility to its power that can be increased up to 30%. The other functionality offered by both of the tools is identical.
Staple gun vs nail gun

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a staple gun be used for molding?

If your staple gun can accommodate round-crown staples or brad nails, you are good to go with molding. A lot of electronic staple guns these days allow brad nails that are ideal for molding or trim.

Final Words

Choosing the right staple gun or nail gun is a prerequisite for succeeding in any project. In that case, the almost similar look of staple guns and nail guns is enough to make people think, both the tools are the same. This article depicts the difference between them so that you can pick the right one for your projects that will surely make your task easier and long-lasting.

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.