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How Much Weight Can a Nail Hold? Stop Using The Wrong Nails

You don’t have to be a DIY guru to be familiar with nails and screws. There are lots of different tasks that you may use nails for.

How Much Weight Can A Nail Hold

From hanging photo frames to nailing the chipboard onto the back of a cupboard, there are lots of scenarios where nails might come in handy. Whatever the task at hand you’re going to want to know how much weight a nail can hold.

In this guide, we’re taking a look at all the important things to know about how much weight a nail can hold. Read on to find out more. Ultimately how much weight a nail can hold will depend on the type of nail that you use.

4d nails are some of the most commonly used in DIY, and these nails can hold around 20 pounds when used correctly. As the size increases, so does the weight capacity.

How Much Weight Can A Nail Hold?

So, let’s dive right in and take a look at how much weight a nail can hold. As we have said, the weight that a nail can hold will differ depending on the type of nail that you are using.

This is why you will need to use different styles and sizes of nails depending on the task that you are completing. If you want to hang a family photograph on the wall, then a 4d nail will be suitable for the job.

4d nails are pretty much considered to be the industry standard, and they measure around 1.5 inches in length. These nails should be hammered into the wall at a 45-degree angle, and when used correctly they can hold around 20 pounds in weight.

That is more than enough for a photograph or a small planter. Generally, as the length of the nail increases, so does the weight capacity of the nail.

For example, 6d nails measure around 2 inches in length but can hold around 58 pounds in weight. So, no matter what you want to hang on the wall, you will typically be able to find a nail suitable for the job.

What Impacts How Much Weight A Nail Can Hold?

As we have said, the main thing that impacts the amount of weight a nail can hold is the length of the nail. But this isn’t the only factor that influences weight capacity. So, let’s take a look at some of the other factors that impact this.

The length of the nail has a direct impact on its density. As the nail length increases, the nail becomes less dense, allowing the weight to be spread more evenly across the body of the nail. This affects how much weight a nail can hold.

Additionally, as the length of the nail increases, so does the percentage of the nail that will be bedded into the wall. Longer nails will bury further into the wall, allowing the wall to accommodate a lot of the weight.

In contrast, shorter nails will not have as much purchase in the wall, hence why they are only able to securely hold lower weight capacities.

Finally, one influence that a lot of people forget about when it comes to how much weight a nail can hold is the wall that the nail is being bedded into.

If the wall that you are hammering the nail into is weak, then the amount of weight that the nail will be able to hold will be limited by the wall.

As the weight is spread between the nail and the wall, you may notice that the wall around the nail begins to crumble. That is why having a solid wall is just as important as having a strong nail when you want to hang things on the wall.

Are Nails Stronger Than Screws?

How Much Weight Can A Nail Hold? (1)

There are some DIY scenarios when you may be torn between using nails and screws. These attachments are often used interchangeably, but are nails stronger than screws?

A lot of builders and craftsmen will use nails instead of screws because nails tend to be a lot cheaper to buy. If you need to use a lot of nails or screws in one job, then purchasing nails makes a lot more sense if you want to save yourself money.

However, if you are more interested in strength, then screws might be the better choice. In comparison to nails, screws generally have a much higher tensile strength than nails.

This is due to the design differences between the two and how they penetrate the wall. So, if you want to hang something heavy on the wall, you should consider using screws rather than nails.

What Type Of Nail Is The Strongest?

If you need strong nails to hang something heavy on your wall, then you will likely want a nail with a higher strength than a 4d nail. As we said earlier, the rule of thumb when it comes to nails is the longer, the stronger.

The “d” scale is used to measure the weight that a nail can hold. 4d nails can hold around 20 pounds of weight, and this increases as the length of the nail increases.

6d nails can hold just below 60 pounds in weight, and 10d nails can hold as many as 108 pounds. Among the common nails used in the US, the 60d is generally considered to be the strongest with a weight capacity exceeding 300 pounds.

These nails aren’t as common as 4d nails, but they are perfect for any tasks where you need your nails to hold a lot of weight.


In short, there are lots of factors that will impact how much weight a nail can hold. The main factor that will impact this is the size of the nail.

4d nails are among some of the most common nails, with a weight capacity of around 20 pounds. As the size of the nail increases, generally so does the weight capacity. Thanks for reading!

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