Reading: Brad Nailer Shootout
All the quiz nailers :
■ are powered by compressed atmosphere
■ shoot 18-gauge brads up to 2 ” or 21⁄8 “ retentive
■ betray for $ 80 and above
With the advancements in glue, screws, and joinery tools ( cookie joiners, pocket-hole jigs, etc. ) over holocene decades, nails have all but disappeared from furniture and cabinet structure. But 18-gauge brad nailers have kept belittled nails relevant, particularly for shop projects, jigs, and difficult-to-clamp assemblies. And, of course, they still excel at installing small trim. We tested a twelve bradders in search of the ideal model for a carpentry patronize. fortunately, we found several that excelled.
The best brads won’t be seen
Operating your nailers at 90-psi hose pressure—making exceptions for higher coerce alone when needed—will extend the life of your nailers.
Ideally, a nailer should seat the head of a brad 1⁄16 “ below the wood open, leaving you space in the bantam cavity for wood filler. Using an air out compressor set for 90-psi hose atmospheric pressure, we drove 11⁄4 “ brads with all 12 nailers into laminated-MDF panels and hard maple with no problems. however, when we drove 2 ” brads at that lapp pressure, only half the nailers could sink them below the come on. Increasing the blackmail 10–20 pounds per square inch ( to a level still within each model ‘s approved range ) helped all but one of the rest sink the brads. The Porter-Cable impart every other 2 ” brad proud of the woodwind surface until we increased the hose pressure to 130 psi, just outside its recommend range. Each of the test nailers uses a thumbwheel below the trigger to adjust smash depth. Most work well, but five were more unmanageable to get a feel on and turn, and the Cadex would bind frequently. ( See the ratings. )
Precise placement prevails
Whether attaching spare to a furniture man or casing to a door jamb, your nailer must drive a fastener precisely where you want it. otherwise, you could end up with a misplaced nail, a nail down hole in an unsightly blot, or even a gala through an adjacent open. Most of the nailers have base hit trips behind the nose, which improve your sightline to the nose for brad placement. These must be depressed against the workpiece before you can fire the nailer via its trigger. Two models systematically fired brads with the kind of accuracy a jeweler could appreciate. The about identical Bostitch Smart Point and DeWalt Precision Point nailers have rear guard trips that serve as the back half of the nose, preferably than being separate elements as on the other nailers. The noses on these two resemble those found on micropinners and are dwarfed by the others in the test group ( shown below ). And with both of these, the opposite-action safety travel defaults to the up ( depressed ) position, so it does n’t need to be pushed up by workpiece liaison. The safety moves down as you pull the gun trigger, so american samoa long as the safety trip contacts something that prevents it from moving down, the trigger will fire. With early nailers, you must fully depress the guard trips before the noses contact the wood, frequently resulting in shallow dimples in the surface.
Fair. The Grip-Rite ‘s front-mounted base hit trip obscures your scene of the nose, impairing the ability to precisely place a nail.
Better. Senco ‘s rear-mounted safety trip allows adept sightlines from the movement, but side-to-side is hush a sting iffy.Best. The narrow nose and rear guard trip on the Bostitch and DeWalt nailers allow for arrant visibility and spot-on nail down placement.
Best. The narrow-minded scent and rear safety trip on the Bostitch and DeWalt nailers allow for perfect visibility and spot-on pinpoint placement.
All 12 of the brad nailers we tested use 18-gauge brads in straight sticks, so they ‘ll work with most brands of brads. Brads are typically galvanized, but you can besides find them in stainless steel, although we ‘ve never needed those.
All the nailers come with at least one no-mar nose point for preventing ( or minimizing ) dents in the wood. But these tips can impair your ability to place a brad precisely, peculiarly with the Cadex, Grex, Paslode, and Porter-Cable nailers. The front safety slip on the Grip-Rite makes it the most unmanageable for brad placement. And with half the nailers, the drivers create dents wider than those made by the brad heads.
What to know about nails and magazines
Among our test group, only the Grex nailer fires brads deoxyadenosine monophosphate short as 1⁄2 “. The Cadex has a minimum of 3⁄4 “ ; the rest startle at 5⁄8 “. We like the 5⁄8 “ capability for nailing together thin store, preventing accidental nail-throughs. For maximal length, five nailers top out at 21⁄8 “ ; the others at 2 ”. Nails this farseeing testify all-important when installing pare. The magazines on all 12 nailers open and close easily, with no issues loading and unloading sticks of brads. They all have view windows, shown below, to alert you when the brads are about gone. We prefer nailers that will accept a full cling ( 100 brads ) a soon as the indicator appears in the view window. But with the Cadex, Grex, Max, and Paslode models, you have to fire 5–8 more brads after the index appears before a full perplex will fit.
Window warn. The view windowpane on the Max nailer shows plenty of brads remaining ( left ), and the red indicator in that window calls for a refill ( right ). To avoid wrong to the driver, dry-fire lockouts prevent firing when the brads run out. Four quiz models claim this feature. The Grex works best because it fires all the remaining brads and then locks up its driver. Ridgid ‘s nailer leaves six brads in the magazine when it locks out. Dry-fire lockouts failed to work on the Cadex and Grip-Rite nailers, as they continued to fire on an empty magazine. We experienced only a few nail jams during testing—a good polarity, for sure. But it ‘s comforting to know that all but one nailer have tool-free access, shown below, should a jam occur .
easy open. Tool-free latches, shown here on the Hitachi, help you clear breeze through jams quickly.
tool needed. Grex ‘s nailer requires a hex wrench ( not included ) to open the nose and free a jam collar.
Features that matter
■ Quick connects. All but the Max come with a quick-connect air-hose fitting. Fittings of the Cadex, DeWalt, Grex, Grip-Rite, Ridgid, and Senco nailers swivel, making the creature less awkward in manipulation than the sterilize, straight fittings on the Bostitch, Makita, Paslode, and Porter-Cable nailers. Hitachi ‘s coupling is fixed, but angles upward, reducing the awkwardness. They all work well enough in our test, so it comes down to user preference. ■ Oil or oil free. The Bostitch, DeWalt, Porter-Cable, Ridgid, and Senco nailers do not require anoint for inner lubrication, so if first gear sustenance is a precedence for you, choose one of these. The others require a drop immediately and then, more so with frequent practice, but Hitachi and Max do not include a bottle of anoint. Oil-lubricated nailers typically will be less likely to need repairs down the road. ■ Exhaust. Each time you fire a nail, the compressed atmosphere powering that blast needs to escape after resetting the piston. Four nailers ( Grip-Rite, Hitachi, Makita, and Paslode ) use top-mounted, 360° swiveling exhausts that let you direct the air away from you and the workpiece. These tend to be louder than back exhausts. Of those models with rear exhausts, only Ridgid and Senco have 360° swivels. ■ Blower Cadex has a built-in air cetacean, shown at right, that comes in handy for clearing debris and debris from workpieces without having to set the nailer down .
Give it a blast. To blow air through the Cadex nozzle, push the spring-loaded lever. ■ Eye protection. The Grex, Hitachi, Makita, Grip-Rite, Paslode, and Ridgid nailers come with protective goggles.
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■ Storage. Each of the nailers comes with a storage case, crucial for protecting the nailer ‘s nose and keeping dust from getting into the atmosphere fitting. All are formative except for Ridgid ‘s poll bag .
Three features of less importance to woodworkers
■ Bump-fire trigger. All but the Makita, Paslode, and Porter-Cable nailers have dual-mode triggers that let you choose between one burn ( pulling the trigger each time ) and bump fire ( holding the trigger depressed and then lifting and lowering the nailer each time ). Woodworkers rarely need to bump-fire in rapid sequence. ■ Belt hook. All but the Cadex, Hitachi, and Paslode have a hook shot to let you hang the nailer on a tool belt. Some rotate to suit your dominant hired hand, and the Bostitch, DeWalt, and Porter-Cable have a pencil sharpener in their hooks. ■ Padded trigger. Although some nailers tout this as a value-added feature of speech, woodworkers rarely fire more than a twelve or two brads per use. We found no issues with trip comfort on any model .
Three tools nailed our tests
A brad nailer used chiefly for build furniture and cabinetwork and hanging pare needs to drive brads precisely without marring the wood. The Bostitch Smart Point BTFP12233 and DeWalt Precision Point DWFP12233 nailers excel at that, and earned excellent marks in all secondary categories. They come with test-topping 7-year warranties. For all this, they share Top Tool honors. Ridgid ‘s R213BNE scored closely equally high and has the dry-fire lockout, but a less-precise nose kept it a notch below the top match. The Senco FinishPro 18MG, for $ 90, scored closely deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as the top two and comes with a 5-year guarantee, earning our top Value award.
Keep the hold, lessen the hole
If an 18-gauge brad nailer creates excessively large of a hole for your projects, but you need the holding power of a head nail down, consider a 21-gauge pinner. These tools fire headed wire pins about center between the size of a brad and a 23-gauge headless pin. Senco ‘s FinishPro 21LXP ( $ 250 ) and Cadex ‘s CPB21.50 ( $ 330 ) are the only two we know of, and they both performed well in testing in our patronize .
Bostitch BTFP12233, $120
DeWalt DWFP12233, $120
Senco FinishPro 18MG, $90
Cadex CB18.50A, $160
Grex 1850GB, $200
Grip-Rite GRTBN200N, $90
Hitachi NT50AE2(S), $80
Makita AF505N, $90
Max NF255F/18, $110
Paslode T200-F18, $90
Porter-Cable BN200C, $80
Ridgid R213BNE, $100
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