The Staple Gun vs. The Tack Hammer for Use with Upholstery

When it comes to installing, replacing or securing upholstery, the best tools are a staple gun and a tack hammer. Both are effective, but they each have advantages and disadvantages. Read on to learn more about these common tools and how they are used.


The first thing to consider is the designed purpose of each tool. Hammers are designed for knocking in nails. The tack hammer is a special type of hammer, typically smaller and lighter in weight than the more common hammers. It also tends to have a much smaller striking head. This is what makes them task-specific for knocking in tacks in order to secure upholstery. 

Staple guns are a much more modern and industrial invention. They’re more mechanical, which means that there are more parts that could possibly break.

Tack Hammers

Think about what it takes to use a hammer, whether it is a traditional hammer or the smaller cousin, the tack hammer. To use this tool, you must have a hand free to hold the nail or tack in place. You also need to use more energy in pulling back the hammer and striking it onto your target. Of course, this could have long term effects on your body. The constant flexing of your arm muscles and the blunt shock from striking the hammer can result in joint and muscle issues later on in life. Hammers also tend to be far from perfectly accurate, even in the hands of more experienced users.

Staple Guns

Staple guns, while more mechanical and with smaller breakable parts, have multiple advantages over hammers, even tack hammers. For one, less energy is required to use a staple gun. All you need to do is hold the gun in place and squeeze the trigger. This also means more accuracy and possibly a quicker completion of the project. It can also be operated by one hand.

For Upholstery

Upholstering often requires many tacks or staples, and so the speed of the staple gun is untouched by a tack hammer. You’ll secure the upholstery with more accuracy as well. But most importantly, the staple gun will allow you to a free hand to sort and stabilize the upholstery. This may be absolutely necessary in making sure your upholstery looks just the way you want it.