What Size Nail Gun for Fence Pickets

While repairing or rebuilding a fence, you’ll need to drive a lot of nails into the wood to keep it together. The problem is, such a task can be extremely overwhelming if you have to do it by hammering nails manually into the wood.

Luckily, nail guns are specifically designed to make that part of the job a lot faster and more efficient. Yet, nail guns come in a variety of types, each with a different nail size range. So what size nail gun for fence pickets work best?

The standard pickets out there are 5/8 inches, which are attached to 2 x 4 inches rails. In that case, having a 6d nail that is 2 inches long should work best. Despite that, the size of the nails used in fence pickets will depend mainly on the type and thickness of the wood used for fencing, so you have to keep that in mind to avoid running into problems.

If you want to know more about nail gun sizes and types for fencing projects, this article will have you covered with all the information you need. So without further ado, let’s jump right in!

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What Size of Nail Guns is Ideal for Fence Pickets

Each type and size of wood has a suitable range of nails that can be driven into it to hold it steady without breaking or splitting the wood parts in half.

Since pickets are used to hold the fence rails together, they need to have a decent proportionality so that it’s not too weak or too heavy that it makes the rails collapse.

In other words, the size of the picket is based on the size of rails used in the fence. For example, most fences are made of 2 x 4 inches rails. In that case, the most common size for fence pickets should be 5/8 inches planks.

To hold these boards together efficiently, you need to drive a nail with a shank length of about 1 1/2 to 2 inches into the pickets and rails. According to nail charts, this translates to 6d, 5d, or 4d nails.

Some people might suggest using 8d nails. While it does work in many cases, there are a few situations where the 2 1/2 inches shank length is just too long that it ends up protruding out of the rail, which can be dangerous and unappealing.

If you want to avoid the problems of using long nails, you can use shorter nails, such as 1 1/4 or 1 1/3 inches long nails, typically between 3d and 4d or 12 to 14 gauge nails.

However, you’ll need to drive one on each side of the fence to secure it, which doubles the time needed to finish the project, defeating the purpose of using a nail gun.

B&C Eagle A3X120HDR/22 Round Head 3-Inch x .120 x 22 Degree Hot Dip Galvanized Ring Shank Plastic Collated Framing Nails (500 per box)

The Type of Nails is Also Essential

The nails are made from a variety of materials too. If you’re looking for nails that will last for a long time without rusting or warping, you should consider zinc-plated or galvanized steel nails of the ring shank type, especially if you don’t use pressure-treated wood.

However, if you use cedarwood pickets or pressure-treated alternatives, you should go for hot-dipped galvanized nails and stainless steel options.

What Is the Ideal Type of Nail Gun for Fence Pickets

As you can see, there are various nail types and sizes out there. Since these nails are used in a variety of ways, there are different types of nail guns to be used as well. In fact, not all nail guns on the market will work properly while driving nails into fences.

Ideally, the overall best type of nail guns to be used for fence pickets is the framing nail guns, also known as “fram nailers”.

Framing nail guns are highly affordable and easy to use. They’re capable of driving 2-inch galvanized nails into different types of wood, which makes them the most cost-efficient type of nail gun for pickets.

However, if you want a more versatile option that can work with a wide range of materials and for different applications, you can go for a coil siding nail gun.

However, you should keep in mind that they’re only suitable for galvanized nails and can be a bit costly, especially when compared to framing nail guns.

Metabo HPT Framing Nailer, The Pro Preferred Brand of Pneumatic Nailers, 21° Magazine, Accepts 2-Inch to 3-1/2-Inch Framing Nails (NR90AES1)

Nails vs Screws: Which One Is Better for Fence Pickets

In addition to the shank length and diameter, you also need to keep the type of nails in mind while choosing the suitable one for your fence.

Nails can either be standard ones or screw-type nails with concentric ridges along the shaft. Ideally, screw nails are better than regular nails at keeping the pickets in place.

However, it would take you a very long time to complete the project using them, especially since you might not need to replace the nails that often. For that reason, using regular nails with nail guns is believed to be a more practical solution.

Power Pro 48604 Wood Screws, #10 x 4", Premium Outdoor Deck Screws, Rust Resistant, Epoxy Coated Bronze, 1lb Box, 52 pcs

What Are the Best Nail Guns to Use for Fence Pickets

Now that you have a better idea about the nails to be used for fence pickets, here are some of the best nail gun options on the market to drive them into the pickets efficiently:

DEWALT Framing Nailer, 30-Degree, Paper Collated, Pneumatic (DWF83PT)


This wraps it up for today’s guide that shows you what size nail gun should be best for fence pickets. As you can see, the size will always depend on the measurements of the fence rail and pickets that you have.

Choosing the right size of nails is essential because smaller nails wouldn’t hold the fence together properly and larger nails will split and damage the wood.

For that reason, you should always do your research and measure your fence before settling on the right nail gun size. Also, make sure that you test the nails out before using them on the fence.

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