Palm nailers are pneumatic power tools used to drive nails into wood. While there are many similarities between palm nailers and standard nail guns, many professionals prefer using palm nailers in tight spaces due to their compact design.

While there are many uses for this handy tool, many people are unsure how to use a palm nailer, especially as it relates to other types of nailers. Lets go through a step by step guide.


How To Use a Palm Nailer

Top palm nailers can be one of the most versatile tools in a woodworker’s arsenal – but only if the tool is correctly used! You can follow these ten simple steps to safely use a palm nailer for cabinetry, framing, furniture making, trim work, and general woodwork repairs! 

palm nailer brandisawyer 07 how to use a palm nailer

1. Familiarize Yourself With Your Palm Nailer

You must familiarize yourself with your palm nailer before using it. Your owner’s manual will explain the different parts of your tool, including the magazine, trigger, and depth adjustment knob.

Understanding the different parts is crucial to correctly using this power tool!

2. Put On Your Protective Gear 

Always wear protective gear when working with your palm nailer – especially eye protection to prevent injuring your eyes with flying debris while nailing.

Some people might also want to use some form of hearing protection due to a palm nailer’s loud and repetitive sounds. 

3. Connect Your Palm Nailer To The Air Compressor

Connect your palm nailer to the air compressor with the air hose while the tool is turned off. This hose connects to the palm nailer’s air inlet and the air compressor’s air outlet.

Depending on the type of fittings, the hose will be pushed, screwed, or twisted into place. The air compressor must be turned on to build pressure for the palm nailer.

4. Load The Right Nails Into The Magazine

You’re now ready to load nails into the palm nailer’s magazine. Make sure you use the right nail size since most palm nailers are designed to be used with specified nail sizes.

Using the wrong size can cause your palm nailer to get jammed. Ensure all the nails are facing the correct direction and are properly seated in the magazine before snapping it closed.

5. Set Your Desired Nail Depth

Most palm nailers have a depth adjustment knob, which allows you to set your desired depth when using the tool. The owner’s manual will explain how to adjust your model’s depth!

The depth should be set so that your nails sit flush with your material’s surface.

6. Hold Your Palm Nailer Properly 

Make sure to hold your palm nailer with your dominant hand. You should place your thumb on the trigger and your index finger on the back of the palm nailer.

Make sure you’re familiar with your palm nailer’s safety mechanism, which will prevent accidentally firing your power tool.  

palm nailer brandisawyer 06 how to use a palm nailer

7. Position Your Palm Nailer To Drive A Nail

While holding your palm nailer correctly, position it over the material you want to drive a nail into.

The palm nailer should be held perpendicular to the material’s surface, with the tool’s nose touching the spot you want to nail.  

8. Squeeze Your Palm Nailer’s Trigger

Always hold your hand steady when driving nails into materials. Squeeze your palm nailer’s trigger to use pressurized air to drive a nail into your material.

Provided your depth adjustment knob was properly adjusted, the driven nail should now be flush with the wood’s surface.  

9. Repeat The Nailing Process As Needed

You must now repeat these steps until you’ve driven all the necessary nails for your project! You should ensure the palm nailer is turned off whenever you’re not using it.

Avoid pointing your palm nailer at anything you don’t want to drive a nail into while operating it!

10. Remove Remaining Nails From The Magazine

When you’re done using your palm nailer, make sure it’s turned off. You can now disconnect the air hose and remove any remaining nails from the magazine.

Store your palm nailer in a cool, dry place to prevent any of the components from rusting and getting damaged. Make sure the palm nailer is out of reach for children!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Benefits Of Using A Palm Nailer? 

The small, lightweight design of palm nailers makes them easy to use while increasing your control and precision. This power tool has many versatile uses and can be used to quickly drive many nails. The small size also means you can use the tool in tight spaces and at awkward angles. 

The following YouTube video highlights the reasons palm nailers are the best power tool nailer to use in small spaces!

Best Tool for Tight Spaces, Palm Nailer: Toolsday

Can You Adjust Nail Depth With Palm Nailers? 

Not all palm nailers have a depth adjustment knob. Unfortunately, this means not all palm nailers allow users to adjust the tool to their desired nail depth. You should consult your owner’s manual to determine whether you can adjust the nail depth. 

How Are Palm Nailers Maintained? 

Keeping your palm nailer clean and lubricated prevents damage to both the external and internal components. Instructions for this maintenance can be found in the owner’s manual. Ensure that your palm nailer is regularly inspected for damaged or worn components that must be replaced.

Why Is Your Palm Nailer Not Driving Nails Properly? 

If your palm nailer isn’t driving nails correctly, you should make sure the right nail sizes are being used and that they’re properly loaded into the magazine. The palm nailer should also be properly lubricated. Issues with the air pressure, power source, and depth adjustment can also cause your palm nailer to struggle to drive nails.


Palm nailers are pneumatic tools that can be used to quickly drive nails into materials using pressurized air. Before using a palm nailer, you should connect the air compressor, load correctly sized nails, and set a nail depth. You can then position your palm nailer to drive a nail into your material before repeating the process!

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