Tool Test: Cordless Finish Nailers
These tools free you from the tangle of an air hose and let you go right to work with little setup.
Synopsis: Cordless trim nailers have several advantages over pneumatic nailers: (1) On jobs where you have only a few pieces of trim to nail, it’s much easier to pull out a cordless tool than to set up a compressor and roll out an air hose; (2) you don’t have to worry about dragging a dirty air hose around furniture and over carpet; and (3) you can perform overhead work without being bothered by the constant tug from the hose. These tools drive nails in one of three ways: internal combustion, mechanical flywheel, or sealed combustion. For this article, associate editor Patrick McCombe tested thirteen 15- and 16-ga. cordless trim nailers to see which had the most power, the best ergonomics, and the greatest nail-driving reliability. After explaining his testing procedures, McCombe profiles each tool, giving information on weight, cost, and type of nail used. The Hitachi NT65GB was his pick for best value, and the Paslode IM250A got the nod for best overall. He tested other nailers from those manufacturers, as well as tools from DeWalt, Bosch, Bostitch, Ridgid, and Senco.
It’s tough to beat the speed and reliability of a pneumatic finish nailer, but when you have only a few pieces of trim to nail, dragging out a compressor and rolling out an air hose can take more time than nailing by hand. Even if you have the time, dragging a dirty hose around furniture and over carpet is unlikely to earn you a repeat customer.
It’s these situations where cordless finish nailers really shine. They’re also ideal for overhead work because you’re freed from the constant tug of an air hose.
I recently put thirteen 15- and 16-ga. models to the test to see which had the most power, the best ergonomics, and…