21 Vs. 30-Degree Framing Nailer – What Angle Is Best?


21 Vs. 30-Degree Framing Nailer
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It goes without saying that a framing nailer could be a great choice when it comes to expediting some work related to framing, fencing, siding, and sheathing.

A framing nailer is a unique tool that uses relatively thin nails that can be set at different angles within the nail gun, interesting, isn’t it?

No marks for any guess, two of the most common angles are 21 and 30-degree nailers.

Moving further, I’ll be explaining various aspects of these degrees including the differences between the two so keep reading.

A 21-degree nailer has two plastic strips of 60 to 70 nails and can be used for framing and siding. A 30-degree nailer uses two paper strips of 88 nails and is more versatile in its applications. A 30-degree nailer has a larger capacity, but the clipped head and offset head nails it uses don’t always fit building codes.

21-Degree Vs. 30-Degree Framing Nailer: Comparison Table

Features 21-Degree Nailer30-Degree Nailer
Nail Head Full roundClipped or offset
Nail Length 2 to 3.5 inches2 to 3.5 inches
Collation Type PlasticPaper
Degree Of Collation 20° to 22°30° to 34°
Applications Framing, decking, siding, and sheathingDecking, siding, woodworking, hard lumber applications, and framing
Product Recommendations Bostitch Framing NailerDewalt 20V Max Framing
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Relation Between Angle And A Framing Nailer

It is very important for an individual to understand the relationship between an angle and a framing nailer.

You must be aware of the fact that when using a framing nailer, the nail is usually always driven into the wood or other material at a 90-degree angle or as close to 90 degrees.

In simple words, you can consider it as parallel to woods.

At the same time, you should understand that the angle at which the nail is inserted isn’t what is being referred to here.

Does it make sense?

Instead, that angle refers to the way or the position in which the nails are packed into the strip or magazine that then gets loaded into the nail gun.

In simple terms, the number depicts the angle at which the nails are packaged, and NOT the way in which they are inserted into the material.

For your information, the difference in angle may lead to a few other important differences.


Similarities Between 21-Degree and 30-Degree Framing Nailers

Let’s have a quick look at the similarities between 21-degree and 30-degree framing nailers in order to help you make an informed decision.

Build Type

Both angles come with similar build types.

In layman’s terms, both the 21-degree and 30-degree framing nailers are both nail guns.

At the same time, you must understand the difference between the two which is in the form of the shape of the clip or magazine that holds the nails, which we’ve of course discussed in great detail above.

However, in terms of appearance they almost look identical, and to spot the differences between the two you need to train your eyes for sure.

In fact, both these beasts look like large and cumbersome handguns with bulky rears and large clips to hold nails.

Nonetheless, you must keep in mind that 21-degree framing nailers may also come in a 20-degree or even 22-degree variant.

On the other hand, 30-degree framing nailers may come in 30-degree and 32-degree variants.

Same Power Source

Both of them use the same power sources.

Needless to say, compressed air is going to be the most common power source for most nail guns.

By using compressed air, these units are able to produce optimum power with minimal energy expenditure.

These are popularly known as pneumatic nail guns.

At the same time, I’ll not deny the fact that there are also cordless or battery-powered nail guns out there that don’t have nearly as much power but are fine for some smaller applications.

In the end, the bottom line is that both are powered by the same power sources, interesting, isn’t it?

Nail Size

Most of our readers wouldn’t be aware of the fact that both types of framing nailers feature the same size of the nail.

In fact, both are usually of the same length and width, usually between 2″ and 3.5″ long with a gauge of 16d, popularly known as a 16-penny nail.

In simple words, these are fairly thin and small nails designed to be inconspicuous.

General Applications

Of course, we’re talking about framing nailers and not any other tool so you can use each of these for the same general purposes.

Some of the common applications for which both of them can be used include but are limited to decking, siding, and sheathing.

Differences Between 21-Degree and 30-Degree Framing Nailers

It is equally important to have a basic idea about the things that put them apart.

Nail Head

The 21-degree framing nailer always comes with a head that is fully round in shape.

In fact, this type of nail head provides a better hold and is considered to be a superior nail head type if your requirement involves a solid hold.

Does it make sense?

If you’re inserting the nails at an angle then a 30-degree framing nailer could be a viable option.

And, the best part is, the head won’t show once inserted but the hold isn’t as good as the 21-degree counterpart.

The 30-degree framing nailers have either clipped or offset the nailer’s heads.

Collation Type

The collation of nails is yet another point of difference between these two types of framing nailers.

In fact, 21-degree framing nailers use plastic for holding together the nails.

The thing that I really like about the plastic is it is durable and won’t come apart when wet.

But, at the same time, you must be aware of the fact that you don’t have an option but to deal with a large amount of plastic mess as little pieces of plastic get ejected constantly when using this type of collation.

On the other hand, the nails are held together with strips of paper in case of a 30-degree framing nailer.

The only problem is that the nails will start to come loose when the paper will get wet.

However, you’ll not have to deal with a mess in this case.

In short, both types come with their own sets of pros and cons.

Degree of Collation

Frankly speaking, the biggest difference here is the angle at which the nails are set.

A 21-degree framing nailer and a 30-degree framing nailer have nails set at different angles which is definitely the primary difference between the two.

Magazine Capacity

Definitely, magazine capacity is a significant difference between the two.

In the case of a 21-degree framing nailer, the magazine has the capacity to fit nails in the range of 60 & 70.

On the other hand, a 30-degree framing nailer is equipped with a magazine that has a higher nail fitting capacity of 88 and above.

So, for larger jobs, a 30-degree framing nailer would be a great option as it will save you a good amount of time by preventing reloading at an epigrammatic duration.

Fitting Into Tight Spaces

The 21-degree framing nailer is more compact as compared to the 30-degree counterpart due to its shape as well as the magazine that it uses which simply implies that the former could be a better choice for jobs that need to be performed in tight spaces.

21- Vs. 30-Degree Framing Nailer: Which One Should I Buy?

To be honest, both come with their own sets of advantages and disadvantages so you need to choose as per your job.

For example, for large jobs, a 30-degree framing nailer could be a viable option as it will save you time by preventing quick reloading because the magazine has a higher fitting capacity.

Another important thing about this little beast is that it will make less of a mess due to the use of paper collation.

The 30-degree framing nailer is the perfect choice for applications such as decking, woodworking, siding, framing, and hard lumber applications.

On the other hand, if you’ve to perform a job in a tight space then you must opt for a 21-degree framing nailer.

The 21-degree framing nailer can be a great choice for applications such as decking, siding, framing, and sheathing.

Other Common Framing Nailer Angles

We at izzysmarthomeguide.com also talk about two other important framing nailer angles as they can be a good substitute.

15-Degree Framing Nailer

If you’re working on a really big project that needs a nail-holding capacity of up to 300 nails then a 15-degree framing nailer can be a viable option.

A 15-degree framing nailer is uniquely built to hold up to 300 nails.

They are collated with wires, and the two wire strips can hold up to 300 nails.

These nails have fully rounded heads and are often preferred as far as building codes are concerned.

A 15-degree framing nailer can be a viable option for corners, wall studs, floor joists, and tight spaces.

28-Degree Framing Nailer

A 28-degree framing nailer uses wire-collated nails that have either clipped or full round heads.

These nailers are ideal for all types of sheathing and framing.

However, 30-degree nailing magazines cannot be used in this nailer. 

Safety Tips For Framing Nailers

It’s always good to be safe than sorry. Let’s have a quick look at safety tips for framing nailers.

  • It’s advisable to opt for a safety glass whenever you’re loading, unloading, and operating a framing nailer
  • Most importantly, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions without skipping a single step
  • Make sure, you’re using framing nails that are designed for your style of nail gun
  • At the same time, it is equally important that you refrain from modifying or disengaging the safety features of your nailer
  • Only point the nailer at your materials or the ground – never at any person or even in the air
  • It is very important to unplug your nail gun when not in use as well as when you’re loading and unloading the magazine
  • Check strips of framing nails for any sort of defects before use – discard damaged nail strips

Milwaukee Framing Nailer 21 Vs. 30

To be honest, the brand Milwaukee doesn’t need any introduction to the world of framing nailers, and the credit goes to its reasonable price, durability, and most importantly, high and efficient performance in the long run.

These framing nailers are a unique blend of robust & sturdy construction along with some enchanting & premium features.

Moving further, I’ll be highlighting some mentionable distinctive features of Milwaukee framing nailer 21 Vs. 30 degrees.

In fact, both variants differ in terms of using nails, that is, different shank diameters & collation angles.

Also, both have separate weights and dimensions.

On top of it, they are priced differently as well as come with different collation types and nail heads.

Milwaukee Framing Nailer 21 Vs. 30 Comparison Chart

Milwaukee Framing Nailer 21-DegreeMilwaukee Framing Nailer 30-Degree
This framing nailer is comparatively heavy at 11.58 pounds in weightThis framing nailer is comparatively light with its 9.6 pounds weight
From this nailer, 21-degree framing nails of 113″-148″ shank diameter will be deliveredFrom this nailer, 30-degree framing nails of 113″-131″ shank diameter will be delivered
It comes with a 20-degree to 22-degree nail collation angle. For this reason, this nailer can’t cope with tighter anglesIt comes with a 30-degree to 34-degree nail collation angle. For this reason, this nailer can easily cope with tighter angles
Milwaukee 21-degree framing nailers are slightly larger than 30-degree framing nailers. It comes with a dimension of 16.5 x 15.5 x 6 inchesMilwaukee 30-degree framing nailers are comparatively smaller than 21-degree framing nailers. It comes with a dimension of 13.3 x 14.1 x 4.7 inches
This nailer uses 2 to 3-½ inches of plastic collation-type nailsThis nailer uses 2 to 3-½ inches of paper collation-type nails
For general framing purposes, its full round nail heads are effectiveFor dedicated framing purposes, it’s clipped or offset nail heads are effective

Milwaukee Framing Nailer 21 | Pros & Cons

Let’s have a quick look at the pros and cons of nailer 21.


  • The presence of zero delays even while bump firing is active
  • Rapidly fires 3 nails in a second
  • Its dry fire lockout prevents misfiring
  • Tool-free depth adjustment ensures precise countersink of nails
  • Quality no-mar tip ensures zero stains on the surface


  • Slightly bulkier than conventional framing nailers
  • Can’t perform nailing in the critical spaces

Milwaukee Framing Nailer 30 | Pros & Cons

Let’s have a quick look at the pros and cons of nailer 30.


  • The lightweight feature of this nailer makes it portable anywhere
  • For being pneumatic air-powered, no hassle of charging
  • Fires perfectly both in sequential and contact firing without jamming
  • The 30-34 degree nail collation angle makes it selectable for tough angles
  • Its easy on/off button provides convenience to newbies


  • This nailer makes sound pollution
  • Its compressor is heavy and takes an extra space for its storage


As discussed earlier, I’ll be responding to the queries related to 21 Vs. 30-Degree Framing Nailer in order to help you make an informed decision.

In case, I’ve not covered your question then feel free to reach out to us via the contact form, and our core team will be more than happy to assist you.

Can I use 21-degree nails in a 30-degree nailer?

Definitely, NOT.

You can’t use a 21-degree nail in a 30-degree nailer.

Though both 21 and 30-degree nailer comes with 2″-3-½” length, their nailhead, and collation angle aren’t identical. You can only use the 21-degree nail clips in a 21-degree framing nailer.

A similar rule applies to the 30-degree framing nailer. 

What’s the difference between a 21-degree and a 30-degree framing nailer? 

Two main differences exist between a 21-degree and a 30-degree framing nailer.

They are nail collation angle and nail shank diameter.

A 21-degree framing nailer arrives with a 20-22 degree nail collation angle and a 113″-148″ shank diameter.

On the flip side, a 30-degree framing nailer has a 30-34 degree nail collation angle with a 113″-131″ shank diameter. 

It’s A Wrap

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