Paper Vs Plastic | Battle Of Collated Nails

By Todd Fratzel on Product Reviews

Paslode Paper NailsPaper Collated Nails

If you use pnuematic nail guns then you know collated framing nails typically come held together in strips by plastic or paper. Over the years it seems as though the plastic collated nails have dominated the market place with very few manufacturers offering the paper version. However, recent changes by some manufacturers has seen an increase in the use of paper collated nails.

The big question is therefore which is better? Paper or Plastic? I’m not sure I have an answer myself for this debate but we have had some great luck recently using paper collated nails. We recently tested several new pneumatic nailers from Paslode and Duo-Fast which all used paper collated nails. We were pleasantly surprised by the reduced occurrences of jambs and the added benefit of not having small pieces of plastic shooting out of the guns at us.

Paslode NailsAccording to Patrick Talano, Market Manager for Paslode, paper collated nails increase crew productivity thus offsetting any small additional costs associated with buying paper collated nails. Patrick recently wrote an interesting paper, Nails: More Important Than You Thought To The Bottom Line, which provides some insight into this change in attitude about paper collated nails.

So far our experience certainly justifies the idea that paper collated nails are less likely to jamb and therefore an improvement on crew productivity. Which do you use? Paper or Plastic?

About the author

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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  1. David Mitchell says:

    It seems to me that collated nails are far cheaper than the nearest equivalent regular nails?

    Therefore is there any reason not to buy collated nails whether for use with a nailgun – or to use with a regular hammer?! Just strip the paper and use a hammer.

    Am I mistaken here?

    • Todd Fratzel says:

      Not sure where you’re buying nails, but buying bulk nails by the pound (hand bangers as we like to call them) is way cheaper than collated nails.

  2. Bruce steffen says:


  3. David Erickson says:

    I have a Bostitch F21PL. It calls for 21deg. plastic collated nails. I have some boxes of pater collated 21 deg nails, so is there any problem with using those in this gun?

  4. Sean Quidgeon says:

    Plastic collated nails are to most IDIOTIC invention ever!!!!

  5. Rob says:

    Generally speaking, the head on the plastic collated nails is larger. We never have any real problems with them on the construction site as far as jambs go. The paper collated hold about 10 more nails per strip though. So for a gun that holds 2 strips, that’s 20 more nails. Guys will spend less time in the day switching out nails. In my mind the obvious way to go for production framing is the coil nails. These have a larger head, and can hold many more nails. Personally between plastic and paper, I prefer the plastic because the bigger head. This way, if you’r sheathing or something like that, it’s a good fit, more versatile.

  6. David C Hill says:

    I wanted to know the answer to the same question but the answer is very unclear to me, I have a Hitachi NR 90AE(S1) Plastic collated nailer,Can I use paper collated nails in this gun?

  7. TLR says:

    Things could have changed since I was selling building materials. At that time I asked the new guy/gofer who didn’t know which nails they needed on the job if he needed paper or plastic. Plastic was 21 degree, paper was 30 degree.

  8. Edwin says:

    I have a old Cummins 2300 framing nailer 21 degree. I’m sure its a generic of a major brand nailer. Any thoughts on what model this gun is cloned after?

  9. Eric Z says:

    I like paper because it doesn’t create micro plastic debris whenever you shoot nails. Literally framing houses leaves tons of little microplastic trash everywhere that just blows into everything wherever you’re working.

    If I was smart I would start a lobbying consultancy and work with cities in California especially with this topic…There’s all ready a million requirements and stamps on blueprints…why not require gun nails that don’t add more microplastic debris to the environment…

    Put Grip Rite out of business if they don’t want to switch production to a more sustainable product.

    Come at me.

  10. james rousell says:

    In summary, plastic collated nails leave debris but have a larger head, paper leaves no debris and more capacity with potentially fewer jambs (depending on the gun and the operator).

    Degree ?

    • Todd Fratzel says:

      Well the debris is a non-issue in my book, the plastic is nothing compared to other debris in the site, sawdust, scrap, trash, etc. It honestly comes down to availability in my opinion.

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