first, I build decks and arbors and operate as a contractor. I am a hands on contractor that does this myself with some help. But I love driving nails and making lumber into something of beauty.
I drove nails, 16D ringshanked galv into PT wood on a daily basis up until about 8 years ago. I would actually drive about 3000 nails daily taking about 5 hits for a proper 16D nail set. I began getting hammers elbow if you will. I would have trouble some next days lifting a hammer.
I took the suggestion of a friend and purchased a cordless compact model 325 Paslode nail gun. I just finished a 1100 square foot deck that required over 6000 nails and I did not drive one by hand. I have never enjoyed or appreciated a tool like I have this gun. Now, guns are cheap and expensive, but in my opinion you do get what you pay for with guns just like a gallon of paint. So, if your in the market then lay out some bucks for the best.
Now, if you are a occasional home handyman and you will never drive this amount of nails on a ongoing basis, WHY would you want this tool?
You would not unless you are in the regular contest that demands you buy more so that you are in the age old contest that states: The one with the most tools wins.
Here is the nailer downfall, I rely so much on my nailer that nowadays I can hardly drive a nail in the wood by hand.
Also, consider this, the compact nailer is great because of no hose, no compressor and ease of fitting in tight spots. You know the old story that is true so many days. A set of framers were in the back doing their job when the nail gun stopped working. They dismantled the gun for a jam, but not there. Then they checked their hose, all OK, then they went out front to check the compressor and it had been stolen. Well, this gun does not have all that worry.
This gun will shoot all sizes of nails except for finishing nails. You do want a gun that will shoot all the varieity of nails possible.
If you have been in the military and have been responsible for cleaning firearms, then you will practice this same habit on your nail gun after each project. This is very important also.
Now, I am getting long winded but I want you to know that I would not trade my nail gun for anything. She is great and makes me money on each job. Less muscle down time and quicker decks built.