Maybe you have a lovely armchair that’s been in the family for generations that have started to become pretty ragged, and you’d rather try and save it. Maybe you are a professional upholsterer and need something that can help you upholster new furniture and repair old furniture on a daily basis.
Maybe you work as a set designer for a theatre department, and maybe you’re simply a hobbyist with an insatiable love of new and vintage furniture. There is any number of reasons why you may need to reupholster your furniture and just as many choices out there in terms of staple guns.
The big question is, which should you choose, and why?
Porter-Cable US58 – Best Pneumatic Staple Gun for Upholstery
The design of this pneumatic staple gun is straightforward – what you see is what you get. What you get in this case is a standard, zero frills staple gun with a dull metal finish and rubber handle. The Porter-Cable US58’s chamber fits 22-gauge crown staples ranging from 1/4-inch to 5/8-inch long.
Packs a Punch in Tight Places
This staple gun packs a punch of anywhere from 70 to 120 PSI, which is strong enough to work on a variety of harder surfaces. The unit also comes with a one-inch long nose extension that allows it to reach into tight areas, which may prove useful when upholstering furniture with tight niches.
However, the unit does not come with an air compressor, so you will need to buy one yourself.
Safety and Technical Features
On the one hand, the unit does not have a safety mechanism to prevent accidental firing. On the other hand, its rear exhaust port channels the airflow away from the user. On the whole, while it may not be for novices, as long as you read the instructions and know how to use a staple gun, this unit should be safe to use.
Given all these factors, while it may be too expensive for casual use, this staple gun is recommended for those willing to pay the upfront cost for a lightweight, yet powerful pneumatic staple gun.
- At 1.75 lbs, this is a reasonably lightweight staple gun
- The rubber handle can give you a good grip
- At a max of 120 PSI, you can bring a lot of force to bear on hard surfaces
- With the chamber capable of holding 185 staples, you shouldn’t fear running out mid-task
- The unit does not come with a carrying case, which can make it harder to carry
- The unit is lacking in safety mechanisms
Surebonder 9600B Pneumatic Stapler – Heavy Duty Product
Another upholstery staple gun that features a more straightforward design, the Surebonder 9600B is slightly heavier than the Porter-Cable while still having a rubber handle for improved grip. It takes Arrow T50 staples and it is quite versatile, being able to be used on items as diverse as furniture, cabinetry, carpeting, and woodworking projects.
Unlike the Porter-Cable, the Surebonder 96008 has a safety control mechanism, which can help prevent it from firing accidentally. It also has an adjustable exhaust that allows users to direct the flow of exhaust away from their body and the surface on which they are working.
This lightweight staple gun is simple to use with its magazine holding 100 staples. Furthermore, the gun works under a reliable safety mechanism, which prevents accidental firing that can cause injury. This mechanism is relatively strong, meaning it should be hard for children to latch it out of place, reducing the risk of them accidentally firing it. The unit’s bump action trigger means that, rather than go off at the slightest pressure, the unit will fire when the nose drive is properly set on a material, adding another precaution against misfires. The well-balanced body and comfortable rubber grip allow you to use it for longer projects without exhaustion.
It is always important to put safety first, and the safety measures in this model can help users feel safe while using it.
A Powerful Versatile Stapler
One of the best things about pneumatic upholstery staple guns is the fact that they can be used on a wide variety of projects and surfaces, including hardwood and plastic. It can, therefore, be used for many different types of carpentry, cabinetry, and upholstery jobs. The unit boasts between 60 and 100 PSI, which is usually enough power to take on these kinds of tasks.
A Budget Pneumatic
One of the biggest drawbacks of pneumatic staple guns is the fact that they tend to be on the expensive side, with options near $100 not uncommon. By contrast, the Surebonder is very affordable for a pneumatic stapler. Even though that price does not include an air compressor, it is nevertheless significantly below the market rate for pneumatics.
If you already have an air compressor and are looking for an upholstery staple gun that has safety features and can be used on a variety of surfaces, this may be a good choice. The 100 staple limit means that it may not be suitable for those who need to fire hundreds of staples rapidly in large-scale projects.
- Low upfront cost
- A number of safety measures to help guard against misfires
- Good power with between 60 and 100 PSI
- A versatile staple gun able to work on many surfaces for many types of tasks
- Solid rubber grip
- Costs don’t include an air compressor, which must be bought separately
- Magazine limited to 100 staples, meaning it must be changed frequently for large projects
Unicatch USC71/16L (US2238AL) – Good for DIY
Here we have another pneumatic unit, with the Unicatch capable of delivering between 80 and 100 PSI. What the unit has in power, however, it lacks in elegance, with the unit aesthetically extremely basic.
The one positive, however, is its long narrow nose, which can help with upholstery. One of the most common problems when trying to upholster furniture is finding a way to get the staples into the nooks and crannies where they’re needed without forcing things. In that respect, a long staple gun nose can be hugely helpful. The unit is also able to hold 178 22-gauge 3/8″ crown staples at once, allowing users to place that long nose into place and fire away without fear of running out of staples quickly.
On the negative side, the unit can occasionally jam or misfire. However, this is a common issue with many staplers and is nowhere near prevalent enough to preclude this staple gun from consideration.
While there are lighter units, the Unicatch’s 2.55lb build still makes it relatively lightweight for a pneumatic staple gun. This can make it easier to work for longer periods of time since obviously the heavier a model is the more exhausting it can be to operate.
The lightweight build of this unit may make it a good choice for those looking to work on lengthy projects with a lightweight unit, but still able to deliver up to 100 PSI worth of force. It is a relatively middle of the road option for its type, meaning that it may be suitable for DIY and work around the house.
- The long nose makes it easier to do upholstery work in narrow areas, including furnishings
- 100 PSI is a good amount of force
- At 2.55 lbs, the unit is relatively lightweight
- Good magazine capacity with 178 staple maximum
- Not a very aesthetically pleasing or streamlined staple gun
- The unit can occasionally jam or misfire
Stanley TRE550Z Electric Staple/Brad Nail Gun – Best Electric Staple Gun
Now we come to an electric staple gun. The first notable thing about the Stanley TRE550Z, however, is just how light it is, weighing in at just over two pounds. That lightweight nature may be welcome for those who struggle with heavier options, it may be a good choice for those looking to avoid heftier price tags.
An Electric Performance
One of the most notable things about the Stanley TRE550Z is the fact that it has a high and low setting that you can toggle between. This can be helpful when working on different materials. One of the potential dangers of using staple guns to upholster something is the fear that the staples may drive in too sharply and splinter wood, tear fabric or otherwise damage the furnishing in question. In theory, Stanley TRE550Z’s toggleable settings reduce the risk of this happening, allowing users to do both delicate, as well as heavy duty work.
It is worth noting that, as an electric staple gun, the Stanley TRE550Z needs to be plugged in. However, with an eight-foot long power cord, users are given a lot of slack and are, thus, not forced to remain tethered too closely to a power socket.
The unit is capable of 120 volts, which is enough voltage to be quite effective on wood.
A Versatile Package
Another thing that differentiates this staple gun from other entries on this list is its ability to shoot not just staples, but brad nails as well. This can be useful for those who need to use both staples and nails in a task, or else have different jobs that require them and do not wish to use a separate staple gun for each. It is also able to clear jams relatively easily.
Those especially looking for an electric staple gun may find the 120 volts, toggleable high and low settings, and ability to work well on wood attractive in this unit. If you are working somewhere that you do not have access to a power cord, however, this electric staple gun may not be an option.
- Highly affordable
- Weighing just over two pounds, this is a very lightweight staple gun
- The eight-foot-long power cord gives you some room to work with
- The toggleable high/low settings can be good for heavy-duty/delicate work
- Takes Arrow T-50 staples as well as different sized brad nails
- While eight feet of cord is nice, it still means being plugged in and tethered to a wall during use
- May not have as much driving power as top-tier pneumatic options
Stanley TR250 Staple/Brad Nail Gun – Best for Manual Use
This offering from Stanley is manually operated. It features a matted black finish over aluminum and is quite compact. The aluminum is also anti-corrosive, meaning this staple gun should last a long time. It makes use of slightly smaller staples than other guns on this list. The unit also touts a flush-nose design. As with other staple guns on this list with narrow noses, this allows it to get into tight spots.
On the one hand, the fact this unit is manually operated can help cut down on costs, as you do not have to purchase air compressors as is necessary with pneumatic options. On the other hand, unless you have the strength of Hercules, chances are you won’t get anywhere near as much driving force from a manually operated staple gun such as this. That said, the unit obviously doesn’t require any plugging in or additional setup, which can be the case with some electric units such as the Stanley TRE 550Z, making this a highly portable option.
Highs and Lows
As with the other Stanley staple gun, this unit comes with a high and low toggleable setting. Where the TRE550Z uses this to switch between different electric settings, this unit uses it to switch between different amounts of a driving force. That said, whether you operate it on high or low, while the unit boasts an “easy squeeze” trigger, how easy this is will depend on your strength.
If you want to cut down on the cost of upholstery staple guns and don’t mind getting a little bit of a workout while doing so, this offering from Stanley may be a good low-cost option. It is also a versatile one, being able to shoot brad nails as well as staples and being suitable for work on carpets as well as other general repairs and low-intensity DIY projects around the house.
- Good bargain option
- The flush-nose design makes it able to get into tight spots more easily than other options
- The anticorrosive aluminum finish should make it long-lasting
- Not needing to plug it in or load an air compressor makes the unit highly portable
- The lack of pneumatic or electric power means that you need manual strength to operate it
- Manual use can also potentially increase the chance of hand cramps
Best Upholstery Staple Gun – Buyer’s Guide
Different upholstery staple guns are good at different things, and the options listed above span a wide spectrum. With that in mind, let’s take a deeper dive into what goes into a good upholstery staple gun, how different types and models differ, and how that can help shape which option is best for you.
To begin with, there are three basic types of staple guns:
- Manual: These types of staple guns require users to press the trigger mechanism each time they wish to staple something, which can quickly lead to hand cramps and exhaustion. That’s even more true given the fact that, unless you’re incredibly strong, you likely won’t be able to use this type of stapler to staple especially hard surfaces such as wood. Manual upholstery staplers are more intended for light crafts and domestic use and tend to be very affordable.
- Electric: These are designed as a middle of the road options, neither industrial nor restricted to light home use. They typically make use of a plug or detachable chargeable AC battery. The electric triggers employed by these types of upholstery staple guns means that less pressure is required to activate them. Many electric guns also feature a safety feature that keeps them from accidentally firing. While they are not as expensive as pneumatic guns, they are often pricier than their manually-operated counterparts.
- Pneumatic: If you are looking for a staple gun that can take on the biggest and toughest upholstery tasks, chances are you’re looking for the kind of power and consistency that these types of upholstery staple guns can deliver. The air pressure that these types of upholstery staple guns use creates an immense amount of force, meaning these options can staple through surfaces that are too hard for manual or electric options. That quality does come with a cost, and pneumatic staple guns are often the most expensive of the three major types. However, that extra cost does indeed often buy higher quality as well as versatility, and pneumatic upholstery staple guns can be used on professional-grade projects big and small.
What type of upholstery staple gun is best for you?
It all depends on what you’re looking to accomplish and what you value most in a staple gun.
If you are looking for raw power, there is no question that pneumatic options such as the ones on this list are, on average, the superior choice. For this reason, pneumatic drills are often the staple gun of choice for those who work in an industrial capacity or otherwise use staple guns as part of a job.
On the flip side, for those looking to get a good staple gun at a fraction of the cost, a manual option may be the way to go. These can also be quite useful for those for whom portability is a big deal, as other options require add-ons and additional setup to work. That said, a manual staple gun will obviously require a fair amount of strength to work. For that reason, unless you’re extremely strong, you should probably use it for lighter work.
Electric staple guns fall somewhere in the middle. They can deliver more driving power than most people are able to accomplish with a manual staple gun, though not as much as pneumatic options can achieve with PSI strength.
Of the options on this list, the Porter-Cable, Surebonder, and Unicatch pack the most overall strength. For those looking to work with hardwood, plastic, and other strong surfaces, or doing professional work, the raw PSI power each unit can generate – 80 to 120 PSI – can be useful in getting these tasks done.
The Stanley Sharpshooter, on the other hand, may require a fair amount of physical strength to use, but it is nevertheless a highly portable unit. It may be a good choice for those looking to do some light staple work around couches, armchairs, and other forms of upholstery.
The Stanley TRE550Z is an interesting case. Its electric nature makes it able to generate a fair amount of driving power and is reputed to work especially well on wooden surfaces. It may, therefore, be a good choice for those looking to work on decks and other wooden surfaces in particular.
Certain features can make upholstery work in particular easier. For example, units such as the Sharpshooter and Unicatch, have a narrow nose that is specially designed to help with the tight corners that come with working with upholstery.