How to choose the right tacker

A tacker is a handy tool for quickly stapling or nailing all kinds of materials. Which type of tacker is best for the jobs you want to do? A pneumatic, electric or manual tacker? Here we explain the differences and give advice on the best choice.

What is a tacker?

A tacker is a powerful stapler, with which you can also shoot nails. The difference between a stapler and a tacker is a tacker does not bend the legs of the staple and, they go straight into the material. Professionals make extensive use of tackers because they work faster than other methods such as nailing or glueing. For DIYers, a tacker is also a handy tool. It is essential to buy the right type of tacker according to the kind of jobs you want to do.

We can subdivide tackers in two ways.

type of drive:

  • Hand trackers
  • Electric tackers
  • Battery tackers
  • Pneumatic tackers

the application:

  • Construction tackers
  • Finishing tackers

Hand tacker

Stanley hand tacker

A hand tacker works on manual power, as the name implies. That means it has the advantage of not depending on electricity or air pressure. A disadvantage of hand tackers is that they are less powerful than their motorized counterparts. Large staples or nails do not fit in it and, therefore, they are less suitable for heavy applications. However, for attaching lighter materials, a hand tacker is an excellent choice, partly because of the low price.

Electric tacker

Stanley electric tacker

If you need more power, you can think of purchasing an electric tacker – especially if you have to work with it for a long time, or in places that are difficult to reach and where you cannot easily apply force by hand. You can set the impact force of an electric tacker which makes it suitable for both hard and soft materials.

Battery tacker

Dewalt battery tacker with battery

As with all power tools, battery versions has become increasingly popular in recent years. Ever-improving batteries ensure that there is practically no power difference between wireless and mains power. You will soon opt for the greater freedom of movement of battery tools. Battery tackers are a bit heavier, which is a minor drawback in terms of user comfort compared to electric tackers.

Tip: buy a tacker of the same brand of which you already have other power tools, then you can often use the same battery.

Pneumatic tacker

Makita pneumatic tacker

Pneumatic tackers are the most powerful tackers. They are also light and compact so you can work with them for a long time without much effort. Widely used by construction professionals, pneumatic tackers are not an obvious choice for DIYers unless you have a compressor to provide the necessary air pressure.

Construction tacker or finishing tacker?

How strong should the connections be? That’s another consideration. For constructions that need to be very sturdy such as timber frame construction, floors or facade cladding, you need a construction tacker. Construction tackers drive large nails into the material and provide a connection that is as strong as nails with a hammer.

A finishing tacker is more suitable for connections in which no constructional requirements are imposed. Think of jobs like attaching skirting boards, panelling or door frames. Finishing tackers shoot thin nails – also called brads – with a small head that sinks into the wood. They are the best choice for light connections where a neat finish is highly significant, hence the name.

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