As a framing contractor, I use nail guns just about every day, so it's hard not to notice the way these tools have changed over the years. Today's nailers work better than the ones I've used in the past: They are smaller and lighter and have features that make them easier to use.

For this article, my crew tested 11 stick nailers. We limited ourselves to models that drive 30- to 34-degree paper-collated nails, the fastener we normally use. (Clipped-head nails also come with 28-degree wire or plastic collation, a Bostitch standard that fits guns from a number of other manufacturers.)

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