Are you trying to do a DIY furniture repair job? If so, you are probably going to, at some point, be in the market for a staple gun to bind the fabric to the furniture’s frame securely.
Uses for Upholstery Staple Guns
A staple gun is a handheld machine that uses force to shoot staples into different materials, usually masonry, wood, or plastic. An staple gun for upholstery is one that is suited for binding heavy fabric (upholstery) to wood. However, its purposes can go far beyond that. Deciding what you may use a staple gun for will be key to making sure that you pick out the right one. You can use them to:
- Apply crown molding
- Upholster furniture
- Repair cabinets or other woodworks
- Tack wires for hanging pictures
- Install insulation
Additionally, many staple guns also shoot nails and brads.
Types of Upholstery Staple Guns
There are three different types of upholstery staple gun: electric, manual, and pneumatic. The variation depends on where the gun gets its power from, and the power source can make a huge difference in your DIY project.
Electric. This type of gun for upholstery gets its power from an electrical outlet, so you have to plug it in. The upside is that a lot more force can be applied with minimal effort on your end. They are ideal for heavy-duty projects, as well as for people who don’t have much experience using a staple gun.
Pneumatic. A pneumatic staple gun, which uses a burst of air, is similar to other guns for upholstery in that it requires minimal force on the part of the person operating it and also requires an outside power source.
Manual. A manual staple gun is the exact opposite; it gets its power from the person operating it. Manual staple guns tend to be cheaper and can be used when electricity is not available. They require much strength, as their power source is the brute force of the person operating the staple gun, so are best suited to smaller projects.
What to Look For in an Upholstery Staple Gun
Ultimately, what features you want in a staple gun depend on what you need to use it for. However, there are some key features that you want to keep in mind. They include:
A long nose. Sometimes, you need something that can get into cracks and crevices so that you can shoot staples (or nails) with precision in hard-to-reach places. Having a long nose on your staple gun will allow just that. Pneumatic guns tend to have this feature more often than electric or manual ones.
A safety trigger. Many staple guns have contact safety surfaces, meaning that the gun has to be pressed firmly against the surface in order for it to work. While this feature can prevent an emergency room visit, it can also make your work more cumbersome and time-consuming. Finding a staple gun with a manual safety trigger that you can press to release a staple without perfect contact can save you lots of time.
Staple size. Nothing will be more frustrating than finding the perfect staple gun but then realizing too late that it won’t take the right size staples for the job. Pay attention to the gauge, which refers to the width of the staple, and the crown, which refers to the tip of a staple. Narrower crowns tend to be better for upholstery projects.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) released statistics saying that nearly 40,000 emergency room visits each year are due to accidents with staple guns. These tools can be incredibly convenient and time-saving, but they can also be quite dangerous, even for people who have experience with them. Take the following safety cautions to heart when using your staple gun.
Know your material. Some materials just will not take staples from a staple gun, and trying to shoot staples into them can cause injury. Check first and be sure that the material you are trying to work with is one that will take staples.
Dealing with jams. Staplers do tend to get jammed, and relieving those jams can cause injury if you aren’t careful. If you are using an electric or pneumatic staple gun, remove it from the power source before attempting to clear out a jammed staple.
Wear safety gear. Always wear protective goggles and heavy-duty gloves when using a staple gun. OSHA has recommendations for protective gear that workers should use with them; consider applying those same recommendations for your DIY projects.
Other safety cautions are:
- Never fire a staple gun if someone else is in the line of fire.
- Never carry a staple gun with your finger on the trigger.
- Make sure that the staple gun has contact with the surface before firing it.
- Always use your dominant hand.
- Never let a child operate a staple gun.
Below you’ll find some of the best upholstery staple guns that are on the market today, as well as links so you can purchase them. Included is a pros and cons section, based on feedback from customers regarding their experiences with the products.
1. Stanley TRE550Z Electric Staple/Brad Nail Gun
This is an electric staple gun, so it requires minimal effort to use and is great for a one-time DIY project. It is an affordable option for those who are trying to save money by upholstering their furniture by themselves. It comes with the trusted name of Stanley Black and Decker, so with this tool, you know that you are getting quality.
This product comes with a dual power lever, with high or low settings. That way, you can use a different amount of force for soft surfaces as opposed to hard surfaces. The eight-food power cord makes the staple gun easier to use, and you can always hook it up to an extension cord if you need some extra length. It can shoot heavy-duty staples, with 1/2-, 9/16- and 5/8 brads. There is also an internal mechanism to quickly clear out jammed staples.
- Can shoot brad nails as well as staples
- Works well on different types of wood
- Rapid fires easily
- Good for lighter-duty projects
- Dual-power lever
- Doesn’t come with staples
- May overheat every 10 minutes or so and won’t work again until it cools off
- Doesn’t work on heavy-duty projects or materials, including metal
- Difficult to use in tight spaces
2. Surebonder 9600B Pneumatic Heavy Duty Standard T50 Type Stapler
This pneumatic staple gun is the best of both worlds: it doesn’t require connection to an external power source (no power cords to trip over!) and still delivers maximum force for minimal input. It does so via an air compressor, which supplies the force needed to make sure that the staple is securely embedded. It is ideal for a DIYer who is on a tight budget. You do need your own air compressor for this one; if you are on a tight budget and don’t already have your own air compressor, you may need to try a different one.
You can adjust the air compressor to accommodate the force of the staple gun. By using different levels of strength, you can use the Superbonder pneumatic staple gun for various projects, including installing carpeting, putting in nails for picture frames, adhering upholstery to a furniture frame, putting in the backs to cabinets, light furniture repairs, woodworking, and putting in plastic tarps.
This pneumatic upholstery staple gun is ideal for someone who has a regular amount of DIY repairs but has some experience with staple guns.
- Works well in tight spaces
- Works with multiple materials, including heavy wood (like oak) and hard plastic
- Can use staples of different depths
- Works with standard air compressors and connectors
- Can do rapid firing
- You have to have an air compressor
- Staples are not included
- May only work with certain brands of staples
- Does not work on metal
3. Makita XTS01Z 18V LXT Crown Stapler
For a more intense, heavy-duty worker who needs a staple gun for more than routine DIY repairs, we recommend the Makita XTS01Z 18V LXT Crown Stapler. It comes with a steeper price tag, but for someone who needs it for regular work, this staple gun will more than pay for itself.
Instead of plugging this staple gun in and having to worry about power cords getting tangled up or becoming unplugged in the middle of a project, this electric staple gun uses lithium-ion batteries to deliver 18 volts of power to your project. It has an easy-to-use knob to let you adjust the force and a window on the magazine to let you see how many staples remain. You can buy just the staple gun itself, or you can buy the entire kit, which includes attachments to fit different-sized staples, lithium-ion batteries, and battery chargers.
- Batteries last long enough to complete projects in one charge
- Powerful enough for a wide variety of heavy-duty materials
- Works with many different staple sizes
- Aluminum magazine makes staple-loading quick and easy
- Comes with a 3-year limited warranty
- Only uses staples (no nails or brads)
- Batteries are not included (unless you buy the kit)
- Staples are not included
- May not work well in confined spaces
- Might be too powerful for basic upholstery projects
4. Stanley TR250 SharpShooter Plus Heavy-Duty Staple/Brad Nail Gun
This manual staple gun is a bargain. It comes with the solid reputation of Stanley Black and Decker, so you will get a high-quality product. Because it is a manual staple gun, instead of electric or pneumatic, you do have to be prepared to use your biceps. However, its superior design means that less force is required to use it.
The Stanley SharpShooter Plus has two different settings, high and low, to make it suitable for use on both soft and hard surfaces. It is also designed with a flush nose so that you can get into tight spaces and still get the job done. If you’re prepared to flex your muscles with a manual staple gun and need it for occasional DIY projects, this is definitely the one to get.
- Uses both brad nails and staples
- Works with many different types of wood
- Fuss-free, easy to use
- Does not come with staples
- May need to use both hands to achieve enough force
- May shoot blanks if you don’t use it upright
5. NEU MASTER Staple Gun N6013
This gun for upholstery is ideal for beginners or for people who just need to have one in their toolboxes for occasional or routine DIY projects. It’s perfect for people who are trying to save money by doing the project by themselves. That price includes 400 staples and 100 nails, so you will be ready to get started as soon as the product arrives.
This staple gun has an adjustable power knob so that you can use it on both hard and soft surfaces. It also has a built-in contact safety mechanism to ensure that you don’t fire it unintentionally. Users have said that you can angle it sideways or upside-down and still get great results. The downside to this model is that users have reported that sometimes, the nails don’t go in all the way, so you may have to be prepared to hammer them in the rest of the way.
This particular line of staple guns also has a heavy-duty electric brad nailer and a soft-grip handle brad nailer.
- Can be used sideways and upside-down
- Works with multiple different staple sizes
- Works with nails as well as staples
- Not powerful enough for heavy-duty projects
- May require two hands to use
6. Freeman PFBC940 4-in-1 18 gauge Mini Flooring Nailer/Stapler
This pneumatic staple gun is for those DIYers who are more experienced and need a professional-level tool, or for professionals who need a high-quality staple gun in their toolboxes. It is a bit pricier, so it isn’t for someone looking to save money by doing a DIY project instead of calling in a professional.
This pneumatic staple gun has multiple different functions. You can convert the angle so that it is ideal for use on floors and carpet padding. You can also adjust the depth of penetration to use it on a variety of different surfaces. Internally, it is designed to be able to remove staple jams easily without having to disassemble the entire product.
- Works with both nails and staples
- Comes with attachments to work with different angle
- Can use different staple sizes
- Works on many different materials, including bamboo and ceiling tiles
- Detachable foot allows it to be used on baseboards
- You have to have your own air compressor and connector
- No nose protector (may cause surfaces to become marred)
- Doesn’t come with staples
7. Fasco 11081F F1B 50-16 1/2-inch Crown 20 Gauge Duo-Fast 50 Series Upholstery Stapler
If you have some experience with staple guns and are looking for a pneumatic staple gun for more professional use, then you might want to take a look at this one from Fasco. This one has a steeper price tag, so it isn’t for an amateur or someone on a budget for a quick DIY job but rather for someone who will use it on a pretty regular basis. It is ideal for commercial use.
This pneumatic staple gun can hold up to 110 staples in its magazine, so you won’t find yourself continually loading and reloading with it. It also has an adjustable knob so that you can shoot staples at up to 100 psi, depending on the surface. Be careful that you have it adjusted to only the strength that you need, as users have reported that it can shoot too deeply.
- Very rarely gets jams
- Uses both staples and nails
- Works on many different materials
- Suitable for various projects that have different requirements – flooring, cabinets, furniture, carpeting, etc.
- Only takes staples with a ½” crown
- Nail component sometimes doesn’t work after using staples
- You have to have your own air compressor
- Doesn’t always shoot straight
8. Freeman P5FRFNFWSCB 5 Piece Framing/Finish Nail Gun Kit Set of 5 Pneumatic Nail Guns with Framing Nailer, Finish Nailer, Brad Nailer, Narrow Crown Stapler, Fine Wire Stapler
For those professionals who really need to get upholstery work done, this is a set of five different pneumatic staple guns. They are all different sizes so are suited to various tasks, perfect for a professional-level workshop or other commercial use. If you’re in the business of repairing furniture or produce high-quality products for retail sale, then you will want to take a look at this high-quality set from Freeman. Its higher price tag does mean that it is definitely not for the amateur who is looking to do a budget DIY job.
This complete kit comes with a 21-degree full-head framing nailer, 16-Gauge straight finish nailer, 18-Gauge brad nailer, 18-Gauge narrow crown stapler and a fine wire stapler. It uses an air compressor (you will have to provide your own) instead of a battery or electric power source, so you won’t have to worry about the battery dying in the middle of your project or the cord getting tangled or coming unplugged. If you are in need of a complete staple gun kit and prefer the powerful pneumatic variety, this kit may be just what you need for your toolbox.
- Works on a wide variety of materials
- Easy to use, even for people who have never used a staple gun
- Takes both nails and staples of various sizes
- Compatible with a wide range of projects
- Very few misfires
- You need your own air compressor and may require a special connector
- May be prone to getting jams
9. Roberts 10-600 120-Volt 15-Amp Professional Electric Stapler
This electric staple gun is ideal for people who are looking for a professional-quality tool but aren’t yet ready to invest in a pneumatic staple gun. It holds up to 85 staples (size 3/8” only) and is easy to reload. The cord is a full 12 feet long, so you may not even have to use an extension cord, and the staplers delivers 120 volts of power to make sure that you get the job done. This electric staple gun is ideal for a personal workshop for someone who is more than a hobbyist but not quite a commercial-grade producer of furniture. It is in the higher price range, so it isn’t for people who are looking to save money on a few DIY projects, but it still made the cut for best staple gun for upholstery.
This electric staple gun can be used on laminate, flooring, upholstery work, carpet padding, et cetera.
- Works on a variety of materials including plastic, types of wood, and laminate
- Can be used sideways and upside-down
- Can be used for ceiling tiles
- Can shoot rapidly
- Only works with staples that are Duo-Fast Gold Crown 20 Gauge staples 3/16″ wide and 9/15″ in length (no nails)
- Might be faulty of used on heavy-duty projects
10. WOLFWILL 3 in 1 Heavy-Duty Staple Gun Kit with Remover
This manual staple gun is ideal for an everyman’s toolbox for routine DIY jobs around the home. It can use T-type, U-type, and Door-type staples, so it is ideally suited for various tasks and projects. It also takes different sizes of staples and features a remover, in case you accidentally shoot one in the wrong place or need to pull out a nail. It features an easy-squeeze mechanism, so you can use it more easily without developing fatigue or cramps in your hands, and also has an adjustable setting so that you can use it on different types of materials – everything from wood to upholstery to ceiling tiles to tacking wires and cables. This is an inexpensive gun that will fit the budget of someone who needs an accessible tool for periodic projects around the home or a small workshop. Considering the price tag, this is a high-quality project that will get little, routine projects done satisfactorily.
- Works with both nails and staples
- Comes with staples
- Good for multiple light-duty projects
- Comes with a staple remover
- Requires much force to use
- May be prone to jams
- Not for heavy-duty use