What Is The Difference Between A Nail Gun And A Staple Gun?

What Is The Difference Between A Nail Gun And A Staple Gun

The most significant difference between a nail gun and a staple gun is the fastener they use to join materials together. Staple guns can use different types of staples with varying crown widths depending on their size.

The crown is the flat part that sits across the top rather than the legs that pierce the material. The crown stays visible when the staple is in place, and the legs work to hold the attached materials together. 

Nail guns also have different versions but work with single-leg fasteners rather than the two legs that a staple uses. Longer and heavier nails are used for wood framing like doorways, and thinner nails are often used to attach baseboards and molding.

Nails tend to be harder to spot than a staple once applied, offering a more discrete and seamless finish. 

Another difference is how you remove them. Nails are far easier to remove than a stable and will cause minimal damage. Staples are far more tricky to remove, and you will likely notice far more damage when you remove them, so it’s best to leave them in place. 

Nail guns and staple guns also have different uses. While a nail gun is used with framing and attaching sheathing to roof rafters, staple guns are used more in upholstery.

They are used to apply roofing felt, hold cabinets or cables in place, and apply house wrap. Often, the task you are completing will determine whether you are using a staple or nail gun. 

What Is The Difference Between A Nail Gun And A Staple Gun

How Do You Know What Size Staples For A Staple Gun? 

To find out what size staples your staple gun needs, you first need to know how staple sizes work. They are displayed as two numbers and a forward slash like 26/6. The first number is the gauge of wire in millimeters, and the second is the depth of the leg in millimeters, also known as shank length. 

For standard desktop half or full strip staplers, a 26/6 staple is usually what you need. Often, you can use any staple brand with your stapler; check their sizing before you purchase!

This type of stapler is commonly used in office or admin work and is probably the one you have in a desk drawer somewhere. 

For heavy-duty staplers, it’s best to check the instructions of the stapler. Depending on the brand, there can be some discrepancies, so check on the product information online or any packaging or instructions that came with your staple gun.

Usually, you will find information about the size staples your gun needs. As we showed you earlier, the sizing will be written in the form of two numbers that you can use to find the right size staples for your staple gun!

How Do I Order Staples For A Staple Gun? 

Once you know the size of the staples you need, you can order staples for your gun online with most sites. Amazon, Home Depot, Staples, and other office supply stores can provide you with staples for your staple gun. You can also head in-store to an office or hardware store and collect staples for your staple gun. 

Most stores will sell a range of standard and heavy-duty staples that are likely compatible with your staple gun. If not, speak to a staff member and see if they can order in the right size for you. Most stores are happy to do so, and you shouldn’t need to wait more than a few days for your staples to arrive.

If you order your staples online, you will likely receive them the next day, too, so you won’t need to wait long to get stapling! 

If you are unsure what size staple you need, we recommend heading in-store with your staple gun. Have a staff member take a look and see if they can match you up with the right size staples for your staple gun.

Often, they can do this in just a few minutes, or you can look up the make and model of your stapler online to find out what size staples you need and then purchase them. 

What Kind Of Staple Gun Is Used For Upholstery? 

What Kind Of Staple Gun Is Used For Upholstery 

For upholstery, you can use an upholstery staple gun. These are fantastic for mature fabric and more industrial use. There are a few different upholstery staple guns on the market, and it’s best to purchase one that best fits your needs. 

Measure the material you intend to work with so that you know the thickness, width, and length that you need your staples in the staple gun to be. You will also want to consider whether you want an air-powered or electric stapler. Air-powered ones are less expensive, but you will likely need an air compressor too. 

It’s worth considering these factors before moving forward and selecting your staple gun. Most people opt for a 20 gauge or 22 gauge upholstery stapler and suitable staples. 

Those with more experience might want to try a long nose upholstery stapler. These have an extended nose and can squeeze into smaller spaces. We usually see these used with more skilled projects where you need to maneuver into tricky areas.

You won’t need to worry about one of these for small and simple upholstery work and can stick to a standard nose upholstery stapler. 

Will A Light Duty Staple Gun Work On Wood? 

Yes, light-duty staple guns work on wood! Most of these staple guns have been designed with wood in mind, so you should find that the gun is powerful enough to push the staples through your wooden surfaces. You might find they struggle with thicker woods, but you shouldn’t encounter any difficulty with craft and small projects. 

It’s worth noting that these light-duty staple guns might struggle if you are stapling another thick material, like leather, to the wood. In these cases, you might need a higher gauge to ensure that the legs of your staple can pierce the fabric and connect it to the wood.

You can find out the gauge of your staples and what your stapler can support by checking its instruction manual or the information on its packaging. 

When it comes to thick wood or large sections, you might need to use a heavy-duty staple gun. If you are using staples on wooden door frames or parts of a house, then it might be better to opt for a heavy-duty stapler instead. They will be to pierce thick wood and should hold in place without any issues. 

For small projects, a light-duty staple gun should work well with wood, but for larger tasks or home improvements, we recommend opting for a heavy-duty staple gun to ensure that it is strong enough for the task at hand. 

How Do You Use A Staple Gun On Wood?

To use a staple gun on wood, you will first need to load the gun. Find the latch that opens the body and press it once. This will release the trap, and you can fill it with staples. Be sure that it is secured in place. Usually, there is a click you will hear to know that it is in place.

Once in place, you can start stapling. How you do this will depend on the gun that you have. Place the gun where you want the staple to be flush to the surface. If you have a manual stapler, you might need to push down on the gun for a staple to release into the surface you are stapling. 

For those with electric staplers, you might need to hold the stapler with one hand and press the button to push the staple into the surface. Check how your staple gun works beforehand, as you might have slightly different instructions, but these can be treated as a rough guide to using your staple gun on wood.


Diarmuid Brock

I'm a carpenter by day and an amateur woodworker by night. I don't believe in limitations, and I love to help others. I'm here to answer your questions and make your life simpler. I craft and create with all-natural, reclaimed, and repurposed materials.

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