Last Update: 10 Jan 2021

How Does a Nail Gun Work?

James Kelly
James Kelly

Hi! This is James. I'm a professional writer and working on this field for a long time. Basically I love to write about everything related to tools, diy and home improvement. All my writings speak for itself as I'm passionate about this. I love to explore new things as well as new places whenever I get free time. You'll never find me free for this reason!

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Putting a nail by hammering for a long time is pretty old fashioned. That’s why using a nail gun is the new cool in town.

Nail guns have made the nailing work or woodwork easier than before. In old times people used hammers for nailing works. It was not efficient for energy and time at all. But now we have electric nail guns to make our job easier.

Many people still wonder how does a nail gun work, and for not knowing the mechanism, people are facing many problems using the machine. Many of them even face minor accidents very often.

So we have come up with our article to make you understand the mechanism easily and quickly. Try to read all of it.

Nail Gun and Its Types

So, a nail gun is an electronic device used to drive nails into wooden or other materials. It can put nails into materials very quickly. It is both effortless and less time-consuming.

At present, there are eight types of nail guns. They are:

The Parts of a Nail Gun

A nail gun has some major components that work inside a nail gun body and makes it a nail gun. So, before we start discussing a the working mechanism, let’s get familiar with those background stars.

Air Compressor

The first significant part of a nail gun is the air compressor. It is powered by electricity or gasoline. Its primary responsibility is to provide compressed air to the air reservoir. It supplies the air through an air hose.

Air Reservoir

From the air compressor, the air goes directly to the air reservoir. Its function is to give a push to the air so that the air can trigger the nail.


There is a shaft inside a nail gun that is assembled with a piston. This shaft is called the driver. The driver plays a role in contacting the head of the nail gun.


The piston plays the part of hammering the nail. There is an air capturing valve above the piston, which holds the air in place. Then the piston gets triggered by the air and hammers the nail.

How Does a Nail Gun Work?

Now that we have learned all about the parts of a nail gun let’s get some knowledge of its working mechanism step by step.


When you squeeze the trigger of the nail gun, the valve above the piston unlocks. It forces the air to get into the cylinder. And as soon as the air gets into the cylinder, the pressure above the piston increases.


Once the increased amount of pressure in the cylinder gets to the maximum, the piston will come down rapidly, and it will hammer the nail with maximum force.


After hammering the nail, the piston’s above pressure will decrease, and the below pressure will increase. As a result, the piston will get back to its normal position once again. And the valve opens again to push the used air.


After pushing the used air outside, the valve gets locked automatically. No air can get into the valve in this situation. As a result, the piston gets free from the downward pressure. And the driver, along with the piston head, returns to their original position once again. The little amount of air that remains on the piston head vanishes into the atmosphere in no time.

If you squeeze the trigger again, compressed air will get into the valve again. As a result, the cylinder’s pressure will increase, which will make the piston hammer the nail.

Like this, the whole process will repeat every time you use the machine.

Benefits of Using a Nail Gun

You can indeed get your woodwork done by using a hammer and a few metal nails.

But it will consume more energy and time. Besides, in the end, your project may not look very professional. So this is where using a nail gun can be so advantageous. Moreover, it doesn’t cost very much. That’s why people are being attracted to nail guns nowadays. Let’s discuss some more benefits of using a nail gun.

Safety Precautions

The use of a nail gun can indeed make your life easy and comfortable. But if you don’t follow proper safety measures, you may face serious accidents. Let’s talk about some safety measures that can save you from unwanted accidents.

How To Use a Nail Gun?

Final Verdict

The nail gun has become a go-to tool for plumbers, woodworkers, and maintenance workers. It has made household chores more effortless than before. So, if you are willing to buy a nail gun, go for it. This tool is worth keeping.

And like other beginners, if you also have the question-“How does a nail gun work?” you can seek your answer in our article. Because here we have outlined the working fundamentals, benefits, and safety measures of using a nail gun. So before using the nail gun, carefully read the article to make your work easy and comfortable.

How Does a Nail Gun Work: Learn the Fundamentals to Work Better 1