Nail guns use stainless steel nails that are mounted in long strips that almost look like a stick of staples. Stainless steel nails can be encased in a plastic or paper coating. Some full head nail guns that are used to make pallets or to strengthen rooves are in long wire or plastic coils. You can get clip head nails, full round head nails, ring shank nails all for numerous jobs around the home. Industrial nail machines are sophisticate enough to self-load and are used on steel and concrete. Most other nail guns will need to be loaded by hand. Nail guns vary in the length and gauge of the nail that they need to be loaded with.
The smallest nails are 0.025 inches in diameter referred to as 23 gauge. These are called pin nails and practically have no head. These are finishing nails and as their name suggests they are used for finishing touches around the home that you want to look good and where you do not want the nail to be visible. More usual lengths are 10 to 32 mm nails and they can go up to 50mm.
Brad nails are another common kind of nail and they are up to 1.02mm or 18 gauge. They are very strong and thus are used in carpentry or where some hole filling is acceptable for the look and strength you are aiming for with your finished product. Lengths of these range from 16-50mm.
The largest size of usual nail packages are called clipped head and full head nails. They are used in fencing and exterior work. With a shank diameter of 0.11-0.13 inches and lengths of 50 to 90mm. They come in various shank styles including ring annular, twister and are usually steel or galvanized steel or stainless steel. The material used will depend upon the use. Full head nails are used in hurricane zones for structural framing due to their dexterity.
A strap shot nailer will use another type of fastening called a strap fastening, you may know it as a clout nail. These will be used to hang joists and corner plates or to strengthen or connect wooden structures. These types of nails are not sheathed so they can be positioned exactly before you start firing the nail gun and this is therefore the main advantage of strap shot nailers.
Another variation to the nail gun is what is called a palm nailer, this is a very lightweight handheld machine which you can strap to your hand. It is very advantageous when working in confined spaces where you would not have the space to manoeuvre a conventional nailing machine. It is still flexible enough to drive nails in up to six inches in length. It performs a repeated hammer action of around 40 hits per second and this constant continuing pressure is what drives the nail in to the material as opposed to a conventional nail gun which does this through mere inertia.