Cordless Framing Nailers
Four brands, five reviewers, and 25,000 nails shed some light on the pros and cons of unplugging from the air compressor.
Synopsis: When builder John Spier faced the prospect of assessing today’s crop of cordless framing nailers, he was eager to discover how much the tools had evolved since he first used one a dozen years ago. In this tool review, Spier says that he found that most nailers today still aren’t up to the rigors of full-time use, but that there are instances (small jobs, for example) when a cordless nailer is a worthy alternative to one hooked up to a compressor. The article includes reviews of tools by Paslode, Hitachi, Max, and Powers, and also includes a sidebar on how a gas-powered nailer works.
A dozen or so years ago, I tried out a gas-powered, cordless framing nailer. I wasn’t too impressed at the time; the gun was a lot slower than I was. But I thought the idea of unplugging from the compressor had merit, so I’ve been watching these tools ever since, figuring that the technology had to be improving. When Fine Homebuilding offered my crew the chance to put a few of the newest nailers through their paces, I jumped at it. The five of us used them for a couple of months, doing miscellaneous framing and two gut rehabs, and most recently building a new two-car garage.
What they’re good for, and what they’re not
By the end of our testing, I was convinced that one of these tools easily would pay for itself on those little projects where I don’t want to set up an air compressor and a hose. With a cordless nailer and some battery-powered saws, I can go into a house and build a soffit, change a door or window opening, or frame a closet in less time than it normally would take me to…