What Are the Different Types of Nails?

Nails are fasteners consisting of a smooth cylindrical-shaped piece of metal. They have a sharp point on one end and a flat head on the opposite end. This otherwise basic design allows them to be easily driven into wooden structures and objects. Even if you’ve used nails in woodworking applications, though, you might be unfamiliar with some of their respective terms. Below is a glossary of some of the most common nail terms. Almost everyone has used or at least seen the common nail, below both common are uncommon types of nails are broken down.


Box is a type of nail that’s characterized by a thin head and shank. All nails have a head and shank. The head is the top part of a nail, whereas the shank is the smooth cyldircal-shaped body of a nail. Box nails are simply fasteners with a thinner head and shank than that of traditional nails.


Brad is a type of tapered nail. Most nails don’t taper. Rather, they run straight from the head to the tip. Brad nails are distinguished from traditional nails by featuring a tapered design. They also have a partial head that’s thinner and smaller than that of traditional nails.


Helix nails are unique from traditional nails in the sense that they don’t feature a smooth cylindrical-shaped shaft. Instead, they have a square-shaped shaft. The use of a square-shaped shaft allows helix nails to stick securely into structures or objects.


You may come across galvanized nails. Like other galvanized fasteners, galvanized nails are defined by the presence of a protective coating over their surface. During galvanization, a thin layer of zinc is added to the nail’s surface. This zinc acts as a shield to protect the nail from rust and corrosion.


Not all nails have a single head. Duplex nails, for instance, have two heads. They have a standard head at the top, followed by a second head shortly below. Also known as scaffold nails, they are often used in scaffolding because they can be easily extracted.


Corrugated nails, also commonly known as corrugated fasteners, are made from a strip of cold rolled steel and are commonly used when working with wood. Their main use is seamlessly conjoin two pieces of wood together. They can be easily identified by their unique wave shape.

U Nails

Another nonlinear nail is the U Nail, also commonly known as fencing staples. This fastener is commonly available in tow different types, smooth and barded. They are mostly used in the agriculture and gardening industry.


The horseshoe nail is an extremely niche nail. The nail doesn’t come from it’s shape but it’s from its use. The horseshoe is a nail made from or coated in copper that’s used in horse hoof care. The copper is used specifically due to it’s anti-microbial factors.

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