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What is a Pneumatic Stapler?

Darlene Goodman
Darlene Goodman

A pneumatic stapler is a tool that is typically used for driving construction grade staples into a variety of materials, such as wood or metal. The term pneumatic is applied to these tools because they use compressed air to force the staple out of the tool and into the desired surface. These staplers are useful for a variety of projects including construction, upholstery, and home improvement projects.

A pneumatic stapler usually requires the use of an external air compressor to create the air pressure necessary to activate the stapler. This type of stapler is one of many pneumatic tools that can be powered by an air compressor. Most compressors are gasoline-powered, but some may be powered by electricity.


The compressor keeps the air at a higher pressure than the general atmosphere. In most pneumatic staplers, when compressed air is released into the stapler’s barrel, it strikes a plunger that forces the staple into the surface. The staple typically enters the wood or metal at an extremely high speed.

Most pneumatic staplers use heavy-gauge metal staples. Typically, the most common staple dimensions fall between 1/4 inches (about 6.5 mm) to 1/2 inches (about 13 mm) in width, and 3/8 inches (about 9.5 mm) to 1-1/2 inches (about 38 mm) long. The curved shape of staples holds the material in two places, so they have potentially strong holding power.

Staplers may be useful for fastening many types of materials. They are most often used with plywood. For the most part, a pneumatic stapler uses enough force to drive a staple smoothly into the building material, often leaving a flush finish. Even with a pneumatic stapler, most types of staples may not be strong enough to cleanly penetrate dense materials, such as mahogany wood, without bending.

The gauge and width of staples may cause them to be visually inappropriate for some projects. They are often considered unsightly, so they are typically used only for joints or fasteners that will not be visible in the finished project. For example, staples may be used to lay down flooring underlayment.

Most of these tools are equipped with safety mechanisms to avoid injury. The trigger of a pneumatic stapler typically has a safety locking switch. This safety lock will not allow the gun to be fired unless the stapler barrel is pressed against a surface. The switch prevents the stapler from firing at random or shooting staples into the air.

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