Manual vs. Electric Staple Guns: Which is Better?

Manual vs Electric Staple Guns Which is Better

A staple gun can help you perform home repairs and decorating projects without using a hammer and nail.  You can redo covers for your dining room chairs, sofa or living room chairs, do arts and crafts or staple carpets and padding to the floor.

Manual and electric staple guns are the most popular models on the market. The type of staple gun you’ll need depends on what you use the gun for and how often you use it.

How Manual Staple Guns Work

A simple, affordable manual staple gun drives staples in wood or other materials after you squeeze the trigger. The spring mechanism lifts up a staple piston, which then connects with tension bars. The bars disengage from hooks and meet with a loader that clicks the firing mechanism and drives the staple into the material.

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Manual staple guns are the most popular type because they’re inexpensive and easy to use. You don’t need to plug them in, use a battery, or employ any other power source. All you need to do is squeeze the handle to drive a staple into the target material.

Pros and Cons of Manual Staple Guns

You do need a bit of muscle power in your arms and hands to pull the lever on manual staple guns. Some staple gun handles are harder to press than others. If you are a “98-pound weakling” it will take quite a bit of effort to use a manual stapler for more than a few rounds.

On the plus side, manual staple guns are affordable, with many of them are perfect for those on a budget. They are easy to use, even though you need a strong arm to pull the handle and get the apparatus to drive in staples.  Some models have a rubber grip or housing to prevent hand fatigue and make shooting the staples easier.

Staples may also jam more easily on a manual staple gun than with an electric one.

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What Electric Staple Guns Do

An electric staple gun is excellent for fabric tacking, drapery work, covering chairs with upholstery and minor repairs. You can use it for any job that requires lots of repeats stapling. The electric mechanism does the pulling for you. You don’t need to exert lots of muscle to pull the handle and drive in the staples.

If you need to install window or door screens, an electric stapler will make the job faster and easier. You can also use an electric staple gun to install carpet, flooring, and insulation in roofs or walls. Electric staplers are durable enough to withstand any large flooring or carpeting project.

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A construction worker or anyone who needs a staple gun for manufacturing can use an electric staple gun occasionally for smaller projects.

A pneumatic staple gun is more appropriate for tough professional jobs and is usually used by construction workers. It is powered by compressed air instead of electricity or your arm muscles. It is excellent for fastening door jambs, tongue-and-groove boards or plywood cabinet backs and lengthy carpeting jobs. Pneumatic staple guns are more expensive than manual or electric guns.

Pros and Cons of Electric Staple Guns

Electric staple guns are more expensive than manual units, but they’re worth it if you do a lot of upholstery or DIY projects at home.

You’ll need to use batteries or an electrical source to power this tool. Electric staple guns can use tacks and brad nails as well as staples, so you’ll get twice the work done. When you need to work with a staple gun for hours at a time, an electric staple gun saves wear and tear on your muscles.

You only need to press lightly to shoot the staple into the material of your choice. You need to aim the gun carefully, and make sure you don’t press too hard and release too many staples – or cause injury.

You’ll have time to aim the gun between each shot with this type of staple gun. An electric staple gun will drive in staples more evenly because the pressure is the same each time you press the trigger.

Although accidents are more common with electric staple guns than manual models, most of these guns are equipped with safety mechanisms that prevent the device from firing staples unless it is operated correctly.

These automatic staple guns have a safety lock to stop accidental firing and prevent accidents. Because eclectic staplers fire off staples, tacks or brad nails with a light touch, there is always the chance of misfires. Take extra care when using this type of staple gun.

There is a wide assortment of electric staple guns available. Some are geared to stretching canvas for painting, while others work best for stapling carpets and carpet padding to the floor or affixing screens to window frames or doors.

How to Use a Staple Gun

All staple guns work on the same basic principle. You’ll need to release a latch on the gun to load staples. On most staple guns, you’ll press a release button, and then load a tray with staples. (Some staple guns have visual windows, so you can tell when the gun is running low on staples.)

Make sure that all staples are flush in the tray or compartment. Close the staple gun housing and listen for a click that indicates the carriage is locked and ready for use.

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Place the staple gun level with the item you want to staple and press the trigger. Use a light touch if you have an electric staple gun or press hard if you have a manual gun. Repeat the process for every new staple you need to affix to an item.

It may take practice to learn how to pull the trigger without wasting staples if you have a manual gun.  You’ll also need to make sure you are using the right size and staple brand for the gun (or brad nail if it’s an electric combo stapler/brad nailer). Using the wrong size could cause the staple gun to jam or work improperly.

On some staple guns, you may need to fully release the trigger and grip it again before driving in another staple. Even some electric staple guns aren’t as automatic as others in this regard.


Treat a nail or staple gun with the same precautions you’d use when operating a real gun.  Always put your hands on the trigger and handle only. Keep hands away from the opening where staples are dispensed.

Store the gun in a locked case where children can’t retrieve it, and connect the safety lock after each use.

If you use a combination staple gun/nail broader, be aware that pressing one nail into another can cause a ricochet motion and injure you or a bystander. Never point a staple gun at anyone, even if you think it has no nails or staples.

Safety for Staple Gun

Photo credit to Depositphotos

Which Staple Gun is Right for You?

When it’s time to buy a new staple gun, you need to think about how often you’ll use the apparatus, what you’ll use it for, where you’ll use it, and how you’ll store it. There is no such thing as a staple gun type that works for everyone equally. You should do research and find out what works best for your needs.

A manual staple gun will be your best bet if you need to put up insulation, door and window screens, re-cover upholstery, perform small repairs, or create arts and crafts.

Electric staple guns are excellent for most tasks around the house, including flooring and carpeting repair or installation, stapling door or window screens, repetitive stapling during large repair or remodeling projects, upholstery repair, home decorating or installing insulation.

If you’re on a tight budget and only need to use a staple gun occasionally, a manual version is all you need. Do-it-yourselfers and individuals with a big remodeling project ahead of them should buy an electric staple gun.

Staple Size and Brand

Consider the size of staples and fasteners the staple gun accepts. If you will use the staple gun often, it makes sense to buy a model that uses several sizes and brands of staples.

The crown measurement of staples depends on the width of the top. The tine height is expressed in millimeters or inches. Staples with a flat crown are used for many purposes, while arced staples are preferred for electric and telephone wiring or cable installation.

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Different staple gun types and styles within those types use specific staples. Here is a partial list of staple gun styles and their corresponding fastener sizes and types.

A general purpose electric staple gun uses round and flat crown staples and brads. Sizes include 5/16 and 7/16-inch staples, 3/8-inch staples and 5/8th-inch brad nails.

An all-purpose manual staple gun uses flat crown staples measuring 3/8, 7/16 or 9/16 inch. A light-duty manual staple gun uses a light gauge and flat crown staples. Sizes include 5/16, 7/16, 1/4 and 3/8 inch.

A deluxe electric stapler and nail gun need round crown and flat brads, nails, and staples. Sizes include 5/8-inch brad nails and 3/8 and 1/2-inch staples.

Last update on 2023-03-21 at 08:26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API