Browse all single and collated nails for use with battery-, gas- or powder-actuated fastening tools here

Browse all single and collated nails for use with battery-, gas- or powder-actuated fastening tools here
X-P P8 Universal nails Ultimate-performance single nail for fastening to concrete and other base materials using powder-actuated tools
X-P B3 P7 Concrete nails Ultimate-performance single nail for use with the BX 3 cordless nailer on concrete and other base materials

How to choose the right nail

For direct fastening applications from drywall track to metal decking

There’s a large variety of nails to choose from for direct fastening applications. It’s not always easy to understand the differences between the various nail types and to select the right nail for your needs. Here we highlight key things to keep in mind and give you some application examples to help guide your search.

DSH 600-22 with Abrasive blade and B 22-170

Choosing nails: the basics

Consider application, base material and material being fastened

The key factors include:
  1. Application: For example, interior drywall track, electrical fastening, or permanent fastening to concrete.
  2. Base material: For example, soft, medium or tough concrete, masonry, wood or steel 
  3. Thickness of material you're fastening: Everything from cable ties to metal sheets. 

Other factors include environmental conditions, specific approvals and what material the nail is made of. With this in mind, you need to consider what load will be applied, stick rate (percentage of nails that hold firmly) and price.

DSH 600-22 with Abrasive blade and B 22-170

Nail selection 1: applications

Specific task requirements are critical for nail choice

Do you need solutions for light-duty applications like fastening cables and conduits? Or are you doing heavy-duty work like fastening metal decks? What are the load requirements for each fastening point?

Your answers here can determine the system and nails you use. For example ligher duty applications can be done with gas (GX) and battery (BX) - for heavier duty you may only be able to use powder-actuated (PAT) tools.

Direct fastening technology for Hilti nails

Powder actuated fasteners (DX)

  • Driven by powder cartridges
  • Best for: applications which require higher energy levels
  • Fastening to very tough concrete or steel during decking or flooring jobs, fastening wood frames or installing ceiling hangers.

Battery fasteners (BX)

  • Powered by Nuron batteries
  • Best for: light duty applications with the flexibility of cordless
  • Laying down hundreds of metres of drywall track, installing electrical fastenings or fastening foundation waterproofing membrane

Gas fasteners (GX)

  • Powered by gas cans
  • Best for: light duty applications with a single energy source
  • Laying down hundreds of metres of drywall track, installing electrical fastenings or fastening foundation waterproofing membrane
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Nail selection part 2: base material

Understand your base material to help ensure lowest setting failure

For fastening to concrete, the strength of concrete (soft or tough) is key. We have different nail classes here. All classes perform similarly in soft concrete but as concrete get tougher, the stick rate varies. With tougher concrete, premium nails perform better than cheaper counterparts.

For fastening to steel, nail choice depends on steel grade and thickness. You may also need more than one type of nail for your project.

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Nail selection part 3: material being fastened

Consider material thickness and recommended embedment depth

To get the right length nail for your application, you need to look at the thickness of the material being fastenend and the recommended nail embedment for your base material.

Thickness of material and load requirements may also determine the technology you can use. For various applications, you may have options at different price points. Need more information? See the technical data on specific nail product pages or see our Direct Fastening Technology Manual.

Nail selection: sample applications

Interior drywall track

Light-duty (thin steel sheet to concrete or steel). Recommended technology: BX (battery nailer) with collated nails for most productive fastening

Base material
Tough concrete (greater than 40 MPa)

Fastened material thickness
Track thickness is 0.9mm, no intermediate layers. As we have an 18mm embedment requirement in concrete, we select the 20mm long X-P MX.

Cost-competitive solution
X-C B3 MX can also be used with certain compromise on performance

Exterior track to concrete

16-gauge drywall track to concrete. Recommended technology: Powder-actuated (DX) as high tool energy required

Base material
As perimeter wall is structural application, highest possible fastening quality is required. Best performing option is X-U nail

Fastened material thickness
Usually requires 32mm or 38mm (when fastening in seismically active regions) embedment depth: choose X-U 34 or X-U 40 nails

Cost-competitive solution
No alternative as fastening quality cannot be compromised

Permanent wood to steel attachment

2"x4" (38mm x 90mm) wood pieces to steel for residential house framing. Recommended technology: Powder-actuated (DX) as this is a medium-duty

Base material
Carbon steel is used in residential framing, so the only suitable powder driven nail here is X-U

Fastened material thickness
With 38mm wood attached to steel and recomended embedment for powder actuated nails at 12mm, recommended nail length is 50mm. Select X-U 52 MX

Cost-competitive solution
There is no cost-competitive solution for fastening to steel avilable in our portfolio.

Electrical fastenings

Light-duty application not requiring high loads. Recommended technology: BX (battery nailer)

Base material
Cable fastening is usually done on ceilings, so large aggregates in the slab will be closer to ceiling surface. To avoid spalling and ensure highest fastening quality, use X-P nails

Fastened material thickness
Plastic and metal electrical fasteners usually have a hole for the fastening element. Here we need to use a 20mm nail, but it there is a big stand-off, this can be shortened to 17mm. If there is too much spalling of concrete – we recommend  increasing nail length to X-P 20 or X-P 24, to improve fastening quality.

Cost-competitive solution
X-C B3 MX can be used with certain compromise on stick rate

Temporary wood to concrete

Recommended technology: Powder-actuated (DX) as high tool energy required

Base material
Fastening of formstops and temporary barriers usually done to fresh concrete, so standard X-C fasteners should provide good stick rate

Fastened material thickness
To attach a 20mm wood piece you need to ensure minimum 22mm nail embedment in concrete – so you need to have a nail longer than 42 mm. X-C 42 is the right choice.

Alternative solution
If concrete is not as fresh and you are looking for ways to improve stick rate, try our premium X-U nail.

Metal roof decking

Careful selection of nails is particularly important for fastening of metal deck over the roof of steel-based buildings. The nails need enough load bearing capacity to withstand the weight of the deck when subject to wind, snow and other types of loads. This is especially true with diaphragm design.

Base material
Key factors are thickness and steel grade of the structure we are planning to attach the deck to.  Is it a 6 mm bar joist or 12 mm I beam? If it is a bar joist our best performing solution is X-HSN 24.

Fastened material thickness
Since we only have X-HSN in one length we need to make sure that we respect the maximum allowed fastened material thickness.

Cost-competitive solution
For such a critical application, you need maximum nail performance: the X-HSN 24.

Legal note: All applications and calculations listed above are intended as a guide only. The final choice of nail is the customer's decision and strict adherance to operating instructions and other technical data supplied by Hilti during nail installation is required.

Why choose Hilti nails for direct fastening?

Up to 5 times faster

When combined with our direct fastening tools, our nails can help you be more productive than with traditional time consuming methods such as drilling and anchoring, or welding, clamping and bolting.

Tackle multiple applications

Our nails can be used with three direct fastening technologies, providing the right amount of energy to suit most applications, from fastening drywall track to framing or formwork, all in one cordless tool.

More safety on the jobsite

Fasten more quickly and safely on a wide range of surfaces, even tough concrete or high-strength steel. No drilling reduces the dust and noise onsite, plus our cordless systems mean no cables to trip over.


Nails for your project needs

With our color-coded multiline approach, you can easily choose from Standard, Premium or Ultimate options depending on your project needs.

FAQs – Hilti nails

What is direct fastening?

Direct fastening technology is a system in which a hardened nail or stud is driven into steel, concrete, or masonry using a power-actuated tool in which the internal piston drives the fastener into the base material with a driving energy. 

Common fastening techniques include drilling and anchoring, screw fixing, welding, clamping and bolting. But for many applications involving fastening to concrete and steel, using nails as part of a direct fastening system (made up of dedicated tools and nails) can help you save time and money by providing the following benefits:

  • up to 5 times faster installation so you can save time, free up resources and meet project deadlines
  • poential cost savings through reduced labor cost
  • safer installation with tested and approved systems. Direct fastening is also virtually dust free, lower noise and lower vibration
  • simpler workflows thanks to reduced effort, cordless technologies, higher tolerance of ambient conditions and wide application coverage

What do DX, GX and BX stand for?

DX, BX and GX refer to Hilti direct fastening tool types.

DX tools are powder actuated tools. They are driven by powder cartridges and are best for applications which require higher energy levels. Use them for jobs like fastening to very tough concrete or steel during decking or flooring jobs, fastening wood frames or installing ceiling hangers.

BX tools are battery powered. They are best for light duty applications with the flexibility of cordless. Use the for jobs like laying down hundreds of metres of drywall track, installing electrical fastenings, bottom plate fixing to very tough concrete, or flooring jobs on steel.

GX tools are powered by gas cans. They are best for light duty applications with a single energy source. As with BX tools, you can use them for applications like laying down hundreds of metres of drywall track, installing electrical fastenings, bottom plate fixing to very tough concrete, or flooring jobs on steel.

What do the different colors for Hilti nails mean?

Not all projects have the same requirements or budget. We have color-coded our nails to help you find the right one according to your performance and pricing requirements. 

  • Grey represents Standard solutions with Hilti quality at an economical price.
  • Black is for Premium performance for a wide range of applications, with high productivity through Hilti system solutions, versatility and reliability.
  • Red stands for Ultimate performance for demanding applications, with the highest overall productivity and safety benefits, the highest reliability in tough conditions, complemented by world-class engineering and software support.

What factors influence nail performance in concrete?

A nail penetrating concrete needs to create a hole for the shank by crushing and compacting the concrete. It also needs to withstand hitting hard aggregates as it finds its way into the concrete matrix. The resulting holding value achieved by the nail is directly linked to its embedment depth.

Penetrability and compactability,  or a nail's ability to penetrate and compact the concrete, are strongly influenced by three nail design features: tip shape (ballistic, stepped shank, long conical and cut), nail geometry (length and diameter) and nail hardness. A harder nail is easier to drive into tougher concrete. However, if the nail is too hard, it can break instead of bending when it hits a hard aggregate in the concrete.

What is the difference between soft, medium and tough concrete?

The type of nail you use for fastening to concrete can depend on the hardness of the concrete. At Hilti, we distinguish between three concrete types:

Soft (S)

  • Low compressive strength (e.g. 2-5 ksi)
  • Small to medium-size aggregates; e.g. soft limestone
  • Example: lightweight concrete

Tough (T)

  • Medium to high compressive strength (e.g. 5-7 ksi)
  • Medium-size aggregate; e.g. pit gravel
  • Example: normal-weight concrete

Very tough (V)

  • High compressive strength (e.g. ≤ 7 ksi)
  • High proportion of large aggregates, mainly hard; e.g. quartz, granite
  • Example: high-performance concrete, very old concrete

What factors influence nail performance in steel?

For applications involving fastening to steel such as metal decking, nail performance on the jobsite can be influence by factors such as:

  • grade and thickness of the steel being fastened 
  • base material (e.g. structrual steel or bar joist). Note that you may also need a range of different nail types for your project if you are working with steel of different thickness steel. Also, because there are wide variations in supporting base material thickness, it's essential to do on-site test installation. If you have any problems, contact us.
  • load requirements
  • embedment depth

Why is my nail penetrating too deep?

This usually means the nail you have chosen is too short, or you are using too much driving power. Try using a longer nail, or reducing the power setting.

What do I do if my nails keep bending?

If your nails keep bending it could be that the surface is too hard. Try using a shorter nail, pre-drill using DX-Kwik, or try a stepped shank nail X-U 15. Alternately try more power by changing the cartridge.

Can working with nails be dangerous?

All of our Hilti direct fastening tools are equipped with these safety features to help prevent accidents on the jobsite:

  • Drop-firing safety - prevents the tool from firing if dropped
  • Trigger safety - the cartridge cannot be fired by only pulling the trigger
  • Contact pressure safety - the tool can only be fired when fully pressed against a surface
  • Unintentional firing safety - prevents "bump-firing"

Last but not least our tools follow the piston principle, ensuring that the energy from the propellant in the cartridge is transferred to a piston rather than to the fastener, reducing the risk of through penetrations.