Common Beginner Questions and Jargon Buster

Common Beginner Questions and Jargon Buster

Hi there everyone,  

Welcome back to another My Toolkit blog. Today we’re going to be talking about a few of the common questions we get asked a lot on the phone, by email or by walk-ins. Most of these questions come from our DIY customers, people setting up their own businesses, or people who have just taken a beginner’s course that want to branch out on their own. But don’t be put off if you know what you’re doing already, there might still be something in here for you! 

In this blog, we’re going to be running through what power source for your tools might suit you better, which essentials are great for a beginner’s tool box, and a quick guide on some of the industry jargon that you might come across.  

So buckle up and let’s begin!  

Which is better – a cordless or an air powered tool? 

The real answer to the question at hand…there isn’t one! Choosing the right tool by power source is completely down to personal preference and the environment you’re going to be working in. Of course, if you’ve got your eye on a specific tool, that might make the decision for you. Some of our tools do have models that are the same apart from their power sources so it’s always worth a check! Let’s run through the pros and cons of cordless tools vs. air powered tools. 

Air / Pneumatic Tools 



  • Can be much faster to drive staples and nails as the compressor gives the tool such powerful driving pressure 
  • If you’re going to be working in an established workshop, many are kitted out with airlines already so you can just hook up your tool and start working away 
  • Or, if you’re going to be working in a shed or home workshop, compressors can just sit neatly under the workbench and are then always there ready to go when you are  
  • You won’t have to keep replacing the gas cells that power many of our cordless tools. You’re compressor (which involves minimal maintenance) will basically look after itself 


  • Compressors can be quite bulky and heavy, so if you travel with your work a lot, or you are working on site for a customer, they can become a bit of a pain to transport 
  • Some people can get frustrated by being restricted by the length of an airline (although we do sell 10m ones), especially if working on a larger project  
  • The initial cost of a compressor can seem quite expensive. Though we have some very reasonably priced ones, not everyone has the spare cash for a compressor. However, you will start seeing some of that money back when you don’t have to keep paying for gas fuel cells  
  • Some compressors can be a little loud, so if you’re working from home, it may be something to consider if there are going to be neighbours or other people in the house. Saying that, some are only the same noise level as your average sewing machine! Otherwise known as ‘low-noise’ compressors. 
  • You need to make sure you fit your air tool with the correct airline fitting for your compressor or it won’t connect properly 


Gas and Battery Tools 



  • There’s no compressor to lug around between on and off site, as well as not having any cords that will restrict your movement around the workshop – freedom! 
  • The tools are silent apart from the sound of a fastener being driven  
  • These types of tools are so simple to use. As long as there is a gas cell attached and the battery is charged, you can just get it out of the box and start stapling and nailing away 
  • These can be a little slower to use than air powered tools as gas and battery tools don’t have the same kind of pressure which is given off by the compressor  
  • They also require you to be extra vigilant and pay attention to what your tool needs, e.g. if the gas cell is running low 
  • With the gas tools, there will be a repeated cost when your gas cells need replacing every 1000 shots. Most gas cells also have a limited shelf life and won’t work in very cold temperatures – so no stockpiling for the winter! 
  • With the battery operated tools – you obviously need to charge them! So if you forget, it can mean you have a while to wait before you can start working 


Of course, air, gas and battery operated tools are not the only power sources available. We also have some electric tools which are extremely easy to use, as long as you don’t mind always having to be near a plug socket. We also have a fantastic range of hand tools if you’re only doing a simple and quick job that doesn’t need any of the extra features! 

Air Vs Battery tools - Infographic

So there we have it – simply decide which pros entice you the most, paired with which cons you can be prepared to live with! We only sell tools here at My Toolkit that pass our rigorous quality checks so whichever you decide, you can have confidence that you’re buying a tool guaranteed to get the job done! 

I’ve decided to go for a nailer – which one would you recommend to start with? 

So, picking the right first tool can be quite a daunting task. Even if you have read through the pros and cons, you then need to make sure this investment you’re making suits your working needs! While there are lots of specialist tools, and the names might get a little confusing, we think there is one all-round tool that would suit a beginner best – a mighty 18 Gauge Brad Nailer! 

If you’re looking for your one-stop-shop for general joinery, carpentry and DIY, then an 18 Gauge will be a fantastic starting point for you. You can take a look at our range of 18 Gauge Nailers here. What makes this range great for starting out is that the pin is nice and fine with a small head, which goes up to 50mm. This means that you can use it for a wider variety of jobs such as furniture manufacturing, boat building and refurbishment, door framing, pet cages and staircase, among many others. We also have a great variety of brands to choose from within the 18 Gauge category. We have the exceptionally well-priced Tacwise, the classic Stanley Bostitch, the high-tech Senco and also our newest range, Ace & K, along with Rapid, Arrow and BeA versions too.  

Bostitch 18G Brad Nailer BT1855-E

Once you’re comfortable with your 18 Gauge and want to expand your tool collection, you could then make the move to perhaps a headless pinner for more detailed and finer work, or you could take it up a notch and head to a 16 Gauge Finish Nailer for your 2nd Fix Joinery needs. The world is your oyster as they say! 

Why is the stapling and nailing language so confusing? 

We know it can be a little confusing with so many terms, codes, spec and manufacturers’ details floating around, sometimes you can’t keep up! We’re industry experts and sometimes we have to take a step back and do some investigating. So, to try and help the confusion, we’ve put together a list of jargon that you might come across, and a brief explanation of what it really means! 

Jargon Buster 


Refers to the thickness of the staples and nails 


Refers to the type of staple (not used with nails)  


A very thin fastener, almost like a needle, that tend to be headless 


Larger and thicker than a pin with a head 


Even larger and thicker than a standard brad nail. Used for the ‘finishing’ aspects of projects such as skirting 


This is when the fasteners are sat side-by-side in strips rather than individually loose  


An umbrella term used for staples, nails, pins and screws 


These fasteners only have half a head on the top. This allows the fasteners to sit neatly collated on strips, without having to have plastic to separating them to accommodate a full head 


This is when the collated strip is angled in order to fit perfectly into tools with angled magazines 


This is the width of the bar at the top of a staple. If you imagine a staple as a football goal, the crown would be the crossbar 


These are a type of staple that has slight angles on the points of the staple leg – but going in opposite directions. This means that when you drive these staples, the legs will twist into the material instead of just going directly down, and will give you extra holding power 


We hope we’ve answered some of your questions today!  

If you do need some more advice on getting starting in the stapling and nailing world, or if you want to ask a question that we have missed out, don’t hesitate to get in contact with one of our experts. You can call them 0333 8000 345, or you can drop them your query on a message. 

Either way we’re here to help simplify the industry for all those involved! 


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