Nail Guns

Nail guns can be really handy when it comes to getting heavy-duty jobs like installing decking, flooring or fencing done more quickly. But as the nails are driven in by a powerful piston mechanism, you need to be careful about how you use this particular DIY tool in order to avoid any nasty accidents.

Nail Gun Safety

Whether you’ve rented a nail gun for a one-off project or it’s a key part of your toolkit – and whether you’re planning to insert tacks, pins, staples or nails – it’s important to always use it responsibly and safely. Here’s some advice from the Electrical Safety First team.

Safety First

  • Make sure you buy your nail gun from a reputable dealer, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
  • If you’ve bought your own nail gun, it’s important to register it with the manufacturer so that you can be contacted if a safety notice or recall is required. It also makes it easier for you to return a faulty product or order a repair. To register any of your appliances, regardless of age, visit our Product Registration page.
  • Use our Product Recalls checker to find out if any of your electrical items have been recalled.
  • Check that your appliance has a UK plug; if it doesn’t, don’t try to use a UK travel adaptor. Get in touch with the retailer and ask for their advice.
  • Do regular checks of the plug and socket for burn marks, sounds of ‘arcing’ (buzzing or crackling) or if it feels too hot to touch. If you have fuses blowing or circuit-breakers tripping then contact a registered electrician to investigate.
  • Any socket you plan to use to plug in a nail gun should have RCD (residual current device) Protection. An RCD is a life-saving device that protects against dangerous electric shock and reduces the risk of electrical fires. If you don’t have RCD protection in your fuse box for your sockets, consider using an RCD plug to protect you and your property from serious appliance faults.
  • Before you start work, ensure that the cord is long enough to easily reach the area you’re working in – if it isn’t, plug the nail gun into a fully-unwound extension lead to extend your reach.

Using your nail gun safely

  • When you’re using a nail guns, nails can get deflected and splinters can also start to fly around, so be sure to wear the proper eye protection, gloves and a dust mask.
  • If you’re using an electric nail gun, always keen the cord well out of the way.
  • Make sure you position yourself safely – that the nail gun is pointing away from you, and that your hand isn’t anywhere near the firing line.
  • When operating, ensure you press the nail gun firmly against the surface before smoothly pressing the trigger.
  • Don’t hold the trigger while carrying the gun as you may accidentally fire it.
  • Remember that the gun’s not a toy – never fire it at someone as a joke as they could get seriously hurt.
  • Unplug the nail gun and remove nails before cleaning or storing away.