Which is Better a Stick Nailer or Coil Nailer?

Framers have many choices in nailers but the two basic options are stick nailers and coil nailers. As the name implies a stick nailer uses a straight “stick” of nails that are either paper, wire, or plastic collated depending on the type of nails and the particular nailer design. Coil nailers use “coils” of nails that are held together with thin wires.

Both stick nailers and coil nailers can be used for applications including framing and sheathing with nails from 2″ long to 3-1/2″ long. Depending on the application and code requirements both nailers can get the job done. So the question is which one is better? It all comes down to both personal preference and regional availability of fasteners and tradition.

Stick nailers are the most popular and used of the two. Typically they are a bit lighter than coil nailers and the angled design can make some applications easier than a coil nailer. Stick nailers typically have a long magazine that holds up to two sticks of 25 to 40 nails. They come in a variety of angles and use one of three different nail configurations: paper collated, plastic collated, or wire collated.

Coil nailers have the benefit of holding many more nails. Framing nails come in coils of 200 while sheathing nails come in a 300 nail coil. This provides far more nailing between reloads saving time. However, that comes with a price as the larger nail capacity means heavier weight which can be cumbersome in overhead applications.

The bottom line both nailers are able to handle all nailing applications. In fact, many framers keep both in their trailer. Coil nailers can be really handy when nailing sheathing products due to the larger nail capacity.


Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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