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Brad Nailer VS Crown Stapler : Main Difference Explained

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When you need to attach something to wood, there are two main options: nails or staples. Brad nailers and crown staplers are two of the most popular tools for construction and woodworking. 

And the brad nailer vs crown stapler is a very common discussion among carpenters and other professionals. 

Even though brad nailers and crown staplers are power tools, they differ from one another. Crown staplers are also known as stapler guns. 

This device uses staples instead of nails. Conversely, brad nailers deliver small nails of 18 gauge diameter. 

If you are not a professional, it is highly possible to get confused between crown stapler vs brad nailer. That’s why we’re comparing brad nailers and crown staplers in this article.

Differences Between Brad Nailer vs Crown Stapler

finish nails

There are significant differences between crown stapler vs brad nailer. These differences are important because they will help you choose the right tool for your desired outcome. The following are key differences between a brad nailer and a stapler gun:

1. Style of Fastener

The major difference between crown stapler vs brad nailer is the style of fasteners. A brad nailer uses thin nails. This nailer comes with a nail head. After driving this nail, a little visible hole is created in the material. 

In contrast, crown staplers use U-shaped staples which come in three sizes: narrow, medium and wide. Each of these staples has a different use. Narrow staples are usually used to fasten thin materials. 

The medium staple is used for medium-density materials. Likewise, the wide crown staple guns are used for thicker materials. 

2. Measurement of Fasteners

Another difference between a brad nailer and a staple gun is the size of the fasteners. A brad nailer uses nails that are 18 gauge in thickness In contrast, a stapler gun does not use nails, but staples. 

Each of these three styles of crown staples has a different thickness. Narrow staples are the thinnest at 20 to 22 gauge. Medium staples have a thickness of 16 to 19 gauge. Wide staples have a thickness of 15 to 16 gauge. 

It is important to choose the right type of stapler gun depending on the thickness of the material that you are stapling.

3. Holding Capacity

When it comes to stapling, a brad nailer has a lesser holding capacity than the crown stapler gun. A brad nailer can drive nails through wood with ease. 

On the other hand, a construction stapler requires more effort to drive staples into the surface because of its length and thickness. Crown staples are also longer, thus having more holding power.

4. Head Type

The next difference between crown stapler vs brad nailer is the head type. A brad nailer typically has a T-shaped head. In contrast, a stapler gun does not have a head because of its U-shape.

Different Types of Brad Nailers

Finish nailer

It is important to first discuss the different types of brad nailers before comparing them with crown staplers. Without knowing about these differences, you can’t compare crown stapler vs brad nailer properly. Brad nailers generally fall into two categories. The two types are: 

1. Pneumatic Brad Nailgun

The pneumatic brad nailer uses compressed air or gas to operate. A compressor is required to operate it. The pneumatic nail gun features an air compressor that feeds compressed air to the tool through its hose. 

When compressed air is applied, the tool drives the brad nails. For this reason, pneumatic brad nailers are also known as air-powered brad nailers. The pneumatic brad nailer can operate continuously when plugged into an electrical outlet.  

2. Electric Brad Nailgun

Another type of brad nailer is an electric one. An electric motor powers the device. Electrical brad nailers fall into two categories: cordless and corded models. 

  • Cordless Electric Brad Nailgun

A cordless electric brad nailer does not need to be plugged into an electrical outlet. They operate using battery power. 

The design of the cordless electric brad nailer makes it portable and easy to handle during work. You can direct its shooting direction with ease because there is no cord in front of you. 

  • Corded Electric Brad Nailgun

As the name suggests, a corded electric brad nailer has a cord that runs out of it. You plug into an electrical outlet for power. The corded electric brad nailer is not as portable as the cordless model.

Different Types of Crown Staplers

combo nailer

Crown staplers are used to attach fabrics or other materials to wooden surfaces. They are available in different types. These include:

1. Manual Stapler

A manual crown stapler is operated by hand. It requires you to place a stapler into the piston, then squeeze the trigger to drive the stapler into any material that needs attaching. This type of tool can be used for small home repairs and construction projects.  

2. Pneumatic Stapler

A pneumatic stapler has an air compressor that compresses and drives the stapler. It features a high performance design and is used in construction sites for large projects.  

3. Cordless Stapler

The third type of stapler is the cordless one. As the name suggests, it does not depend on a cord to operate. It uses battery power for this purpose.

Crown Stapler Size

temporary fastener

Crown staplers are available in different sizes and you should select the right size for your staples. Most crown staples fall into one of three categories. These sizes are:

1. Narrow Stapler

A narrow crown stapler gun has a 1/4-inch wide staple and a length of up to 1.5 inches. These narrow crown staples are extremely thin. 

These narrow crown staples are only 20 to 22 gauge in thickness. The tool is ideal for holding across the grain on thin strips of wood, such as lattice, without splitting the material. This stapler gun does not require wood putty.

2. Medium Stapler

A medium stapler gun has a staple length of ½” to 2”. The medium crown staples contain staples 16 to 19 gauge in thickness. Compared with narrow crown staples, these are significantly stronger and thicker.

3. Wide Stapler

A wide crown stapler gun has a staple length of 1-2”. These guns typically have staple gauges ranging from 15 to 16 gauge. The wide crown staplers are thicker and stronger than narrower or medium-sized types because they need to hold thick materials. They are also longer to accommodate thicker materials. They are the best permanent fastening solution.

Application of Brad Nailgun and Crown Stapler

weight bearing applications

A crown stapler and a brad nailer are used for different purposes. You need to know the application of each type of stapler before you choose one. Here is the application of each: 

Uses of Brad Nailgun

Brad nailgun is usually used for delicate applications. This means that it is not strong enough to hold thick materials together. This type of nailer is mostly used for lighter surfaces. Here is some application of brad nailgun.

1. Trim Work

Brad nailer is perfect for delicate trim work or fasten crown molding. It is also ideal for smaller woodwork projects

A brad nailer can be used to attach moldings, trims, and small pieces of the casing around windows and doors without splitting the material.

2. Paneling

This type of nailer is perfect for installing veneer paneling. This tool will easily drive thin brads into the surface. A brad nailer can also be used to attach plywood to lightweight substrates like particleboard or MDF.

3. Cabinetry

Brad nailer is suitable for cabinets and other furniture that utilize molding. A brad nailgun can drive nails into the narrow crevices of wood surfaces like windows and doors. 

Also, it can be utilized to attach other trim pieces, such as quarter-rounds, door stiles, window stools, etc.

4. Attach Decorative Molding

A brad nailer can be used to attach the decorative trim and molding. It can also be used to attach trim pieces that have been pre-assembled into a molding.

5. Attach Baseboards to Drywall

narrow crowns

A brad nailer can be used to attach baseboards to drywall. It is easy to use, safe and doesn’t require much effort.

Crown Stapler Applications

Crown staplers are mostly used to fasten fabric or other material onto wooden surfaces. Here is some application of crown stapler guns.

1. Upholstery

This is the most common application of a crown stapler. It can be used to attach upholstery fabric and padding, as well as vinyl and leather. A crown stapler will easily fasten thick materials because of its long body and thick staplers. It can also be used as a house wrap.

2. Picture Frame Construction

A crown stapler can be used to fasten picture frame parts together. It can also be used for assembling flat-pack furniture.

3. Constructing Furniture

Crown stapler is perfect for assembling furniture that has become flat-pack. The crown stapler gun can quickly fasten the pieces together, thus shortening the construction time. This also ensures that it remains sturdy and solid once assembled without any loose parts or shake.

4. Installing Carpet or Shingles

A crown staple gun is excellent for installing carpet or shingles. The tough crown stapler gun will easily penetrate thick materials and make a solid fastening.

5. Installing Roof Sheathing

A crown stapler can be used to attach roof sheathing together in a single layer. It has the capacity to fasten thick pieces of plywood together. 

It is also suitable to fasten other types of sheathing that are made from thick boards. You should keep in mind that heavy-duty work requires the use of a wide or heavy stapler.

6. Flooring Applications

A heavy crown stapler gun is used for attaching flooring and other materials. It can be used to fasten plywood and OSB together. The wide stapler gun will easily penetrate these materials without much effort.


The following are some frequently asked questions regarding brad nail guns and crown staplers that may be helpful to you.

Can I Use Crown Staples With a Brad Nailer?

No, there is no way to use crown stapler guns with a Brad nailgun. Brad nailers typically use 18 gauge T-shaped brad nails. In contrast, crown staplers drive U-shaped wire staplers.

Is It Possible to Use a Brad Nailer on Carpet?

The use of a brad nailgun on the carpet is possible, but not recommended. Because, this type of tool delivers thin brad nails that will hardly penetrate the carpet’s thick padding and backing. With such materials, you need a crown stapler that will easily drive long staples into thick materials.

Does Brad Have Strong Nails?

Brad nails generally do not have the same strength as other types of nails, such as finish nailer. They are delicate and very thin. This is because brad nailguns are designed to fasten lightweight material.

What Does a Staple Number Mean?

When it comes to crown staples, the staple size is usually indicated by two numbers, such as 26/6 or 10/5. The first number refers to the wire gauge used in mm, and the second number indicates the depth of the leg in mm.


As you can see, some key differences set a brad nail gun and crown stapler apart. A brad nail gun is ideal for delicate trim work, crown molding, and DIY projects. Most commonly, crown staplers are used to secure fabrics to wooden surfaces. We hope that this article has been helpful and you now know the difference between a brad nailer vs crown stapler.

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