Clipped Head Vs. Round Head Nails (Explained for Beginners)

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between clipped head vs. round head nails?

The main difference is the building stress. With round headed nails, the building stress is more evenly distributed on the top of the nail head and hence will not be as high as that for clipped head nails.

The two types are different in many ways but they both serve their own purpose. Let’s take a look at each one.

What is Nail Head?

The nail head is the top part of the nail that penetrates through wood. The purpose of it is to hold down boards together during a construction project. You should hammer the nail head flat before you put it on the wall.

Types of Nail Head

There are two main types of nail heads in nail gun; clipped head & round head.

-Clipped head is small and it’s easier to drive into the wood.

-Round head is large, so it strengthens holding power on the wall or ceiling surface.

Here I’ve point out the clipped head vs. round head nails differences through their pros. and cons.

What is Clipped Head Nail?

A clipped head nail is a pointy type of nail typically used in building construction, woodwork and carpentry. The top part of the nail have D shape.

Clipped head nails are also called ‘Clinch or Clench Nails’.

A clipped head nail is just like any other types of nails which can be hammered into a wooden material to attach two items together.

Pros. of Clipped Head Nail

-Easier and faster to set than round head nails even though a pneumatic gun may be needed due to the extra force required.

-Offer a flat profile that is suitable for many applications.

-The nail must be driven flush to the surface in order for a sufficient amount of holding power to be obtained.

Cons. of Clipped Head Nail

-Harder to pull out once they have been set because of the flat profile.

-The clipped profile doesn’t offer as much holding power as a round head nail especially on softwood construction materials.

What is a Round Head Nail?

A round head nail is a type of nails that are often used to fasten wood boards together.

The round head of the nail makes it look different from other nails, since the top part of the nail has a circular shape, which looks like it’s wrapped in an open circle.

Pros. of Round Head Nail

-Offer a more robust profile compared to clipped head nails.

-Can be set flush or slightly recessed depending on the application requirements.

-Larger holding power especially in the case of fir and pine.

-Easier to pull out once they have been set.

Cons. of Round Head Nail

-Possible damage caused by round head nails to Kraft paper during the automated running of the systems.

-Larger surface area when set which makes them more susceptible to splitting the wood.

-Harder to drive flush compared with clipped head nails because of the larger surface area when set.

-Harder to drive compared with clipped head nails because of the round profile.

How To Use Clipped and Round Headed Nails?

There are several methods to use a round head nail.

-To make the nails easier to drive in, you can start by clamping a pair of boards together and marking each board where you want to drill your nails. Once that’s done, simply pre-drill a hole through both pieces of wood with a drill bit, and then countersink it with a larger drill bit.

-Nails can be driven by using a nail gun, such as an air-powered nail gun or electric brad nailer.

-You can also use a regular hammer and hold the nails between your index finger and the head of the hammer to give it more ease when driving in.

-For large, heavy objects, however, this might not be practical. In these cases, you either need to drill a larger hole that will accommodate the shaft of the nail or just use a larger nail.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between a clipped head nail and a brad nail?

Though both types of nails have the same purpose, but they look very different from each other.

A brad nail is also a type of nail, but it has a small flat head whereas the clipped head nails have an elongated pointy to provide more holding power.

Also, the length of brad nails is shorter than that of common nails or clipped head nails.

What type of nail is better to use: clipped head or round-headed?

The answer to this question really depends on what kind of load you are putting onto the nail.

For building stress less than approximately 150 psi, a round-headed nail may be sufficient.

If you are going to put a higher load onto the nail, then you should use a clipped head nail as these have been tested from 500-800 psi at 70 degrees Celsius.

How would people know which type of nails to use?

Unfortunately, each situation must be analyzed before the decision is made. If you are not sure which type of nail to use, then it may be best to consult an engineer?

How much different are the load-bearing capacity of a clipped head and round-headed nail?

The clipping on a clipped head nail brings the surface area closer to the fastener’s shank.

Because of this, the load-bearing capacity for a clipped head nail is significantly higher than that of a round-headed nail.

Can I use either type of nails with plywood?

You can use both types of nails with plywood. However, if you do use clipped head nails, you must remember to drill a pilot hole first for the nail to go through.

Final Words

Clipped head and round head nails both are mainly used for woodworking and carpentry projects where a pointed nail is necessary. This article implement the basic differences of clipped head vs. round head nails.