Whether you’re a carpenter by trade or enjoy woodwork as a hobby then a cordless nailer can make your project a whole lot easier. A cordless nailer gives you the freedom to practice your craft wherever you need, without the need for an air compressor or having the issue of a cord that is too short to reach your desired location.
You may be in the market for a cordless nailer or are looking to be persuaded – wherever you’re at you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we talk through all there is to know about cordless nailers and check out some excellent products for you to choose from.
Table of Contents
- What is a cordless nailer?
- Finish Nailer vs Brad Nailer– What’s the difference?
- Battery powered vs Fuel powered cordless nailer
- What trigger method should I go for?
- Why is the nail angle important?
- What safety features should a cordless nailer have?
- Top 5 Cordless Nailers: Reviews 2019
- #1 Best Cordless Nailer: Porter-Cable’s 20-Volt Cordless Brad Nailer Kit
- #2 Best Battery Nail Gun for price: DEWALT’s DCN692B 20-Volt 30 Degree
- #3 Best Nailer For Trim: Paslode’s 16 Gauge Angled Cordless Nailer
- #4 Best Cordless Framing Nailer: BOSTITCH’s 20 Volt
- #5 Best Battery Powered Nail Gun: Hitachi’s NR1890DR 18-Volt
What is a cordless nailer?
You may have heard of a pneumatic nailer that requires an air compressor to function. This requires quite a bit of kit to cart around with you in order to power the nailer. Alternatively, a cordless nailer is powered by a rechargeable battery so it does not require any cords to be able to function (so long as you’ve charged it first). Thanks to being battery powered, a cordless nailer has the ability to disperse nails at a much faster rate than doing this by hand and is substantially more precise and safer than using a hammer (when used correctly).
Finish Nailer vs Brad Nailer– What’s the difference?
Brad Nailer use gauge sizes 18 (thinner nails for thin pieces)
Finish Nailer use gauge sizes 15 and 16 (larger nails for stronger attachment)
Battery powered vs Fuel powered cordless nailer
Once you have decided that a cordless nailer is the tool for you, the next thing to think about is whether you want a cordless nailer that is battery powered or uses a fuel/battery combo in order to function.
#1 Battery Powered Cordless Nailer
A cordless nailer that is solely battery powered contains a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. This is a good choice if you enjoy DIY/woodwork as a hobby and will be working on small projects as it is less powerful than a cordless nailer that uses fuel power also. Good quality cordless nailers can charge quickly and can maintain their charge for a long time, you can also purchase spare batteries in case you need to use your cordless nailer for a while without a power supply.
#2 Fuel Powered Cordless Nailer
If you’re looking for a cordless nailer with extra power than you might be interested in a fuel powered cordless nailer. This type of nailer does, in fact, contain a rechargeable lithium-ion battery but also has a fuel canister which is powered by the battery and releases the nail. With this combination of power sources this type of cordless nailer can be used for more heavy-duty projects and is most likely to be used by a professional. In terms of maintenance, you will need to make sure that the lithium-ion battery is charged and the fuel tank is topped up before use.
What trigger method should I go for?
The next thing to think about is the type of trigger operation you want your cordless nail gun to have. The trigger operation refers to how the nail is fired from the nail gun. There are two different types of trigger operations – sequential firing and bump firing. Depending on the type of cordless nail gun you purchase it may offer both trigger operations but it is good to have a think about which method suits you before selecting your cordless nailer.
The bump-firing method (sometimes referred to as contact firing) is the fastest method of firing as it does not require you to pull the trigger every time you need to release a nail. Instead, all you need to do is engage the safety tip against the surface in order to fire the nail – it will release on contact with the surface. This method allows quick release of nails and is a good method for projects that require a substantial amount of nails such as roofing or framing. The downside of this method is that it is less safe. It is easier to lose control with this method and there is the potential for incidental firing to occur.
#2 Sequential firing
A safer trigger operation is the sequential firing method. In order to fire the nail using this method, you need to engage the safety tip on the surface and also pull the trigger to fire the nail in place. It is possible to keep the safety tip against the surface and pull along whilst firing so you don’t need to remove the nail gun from the surface each time. Sequential firing is a slower method than bump-firing, however, it still allows you to fire nails at speed and is overall a lot safer as the method is more controlled.
Why is the nail angle important?
Cordless nail guns come in different degrees. This refers to the angle of the nail gun and how good it is at getting to hard to reach places. You will find that cordless nailers come in a variety of angels ranging from 21 degrees, 28 degrees, 30 degrees, and 34 degrees.
If all you need to do is drive nails in straight then having an angled nail gun is not very important. However, if you need to get into tight corners and difficult to reach places then, as a rule of thumb, the larger the angle degree the better it will be at facilitating this.
What safety features should a cordless nailer have?
When it comes to using a nail gun safety needs to be paramount. All cordless nailers should have a safety tip that requires the nailer to be engaged with a surface before being able to fire a nail. This means that, even when you pull the trigger, a nail will not be released until the tip is completely depressed. Also check to see if the cordless nailer you wish to purchase contains a fan, as this is required to clear away the used butane (if using a fuel powered nailer).
Top 5 Cordless Nailers: Reviews 2019
#1 Best Cordless Nailer: Porter-Cable’s 20-Volt Cordless Brad Nailer Kit
If you’re tired of messing around with fiddly nails and getting tangled up in power cables when doing woodwork, then you should check out this cordless brad nailer gun. As it is battery powered, you also don’t need to worry about buying costly replacement gas cartridges or air compressors, saving you money today and tomorrow. For precise woodworking and framing projects with smaller nails, this is an excellent choice.
Other things to like about this cordless brad nailer are that: it has a handy wheel that allows you to adjust the depth for different materials and projects; this thing doesn’t jam easily; it uses lithium-ion batteries, the top-end battery type that lasts for years without losing run time, and; it comes with a 3-year warranty which includes full repair without charge during that time. The downside of this cordless brad nailer is that it is quite a pricey option and is not so good with larger nails so is not the most versatile nailer.
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#2 Best Battery Nail Gun for price: DEWALT’s DCN692B 20-Volt 30 Degree
If you’re looking for a more heavy-duty nailer and want to say goodbye to annoying cabling getting in your way, then you should check out this nifty device. This model doesn’t come cheap, but for the price, you get a versatile nail gun with the necessary force to power nails large or small into both softwoods and hardwoods. This is a great option for projects where lugging your air-compressor into place is not going to be an option.
Other benefits of this battery nail gun are that: it has a quick switch setting to adjust the magazine for larger and smaller nails; it has two operating modes, the bump mode facilitates speed, whilst the sequential operating mode helps you to ensure precise placement; it comes with a 3-year warranty, and; the brushless motor helps to ensure longer battery life. The downside of this battery nail gun is that it can sometimes get jammed easily (especially if you forget to change the nail setting) which can be quite frustrating.
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#3 Best Nailer For Trim: Paslode’s 16 Gauge Angled Cordless Nailer
If you’ve ever had trouble with nail blowout when using a nail gun for trim, then you should check out this special piece of kit. Designed to make it easy to hit exactly the right spot without the need of a clamp, this nailer is a great choice for beginners and professionals alike. The angled design makes it easier to get to those hard to reach places. For precision placement, go for this nailer.
Other pluses of this trim nailer gun are that: it has a no-mar tip that helps to ensure you don’t damage smooth or delicate surfaces you’re working with; it’s Li-Ion battery goes all day for a full 12,000 nails making it a good choice for industrial-scale jobs; it weighs under 5Lbs making it easy to handle and position exactly where you need it, and; it will free up your time to make sure you get your measurements right. The downside of this trim nailer gun is that it is very, very loud so you need to wear good quality ear protection and it does occasionally jam.
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#4 Best Cordless Framing Nailer: BOSTITCH’s 20 Volt
If you’re planning to work with heavy wooden beams but don’t want to have to lug an air compressor about or be tripping over cables, then you should check out this high-power framing nailer. The brushless motor design is built for power and durability which will ensure this device lasts you well beyond the warranty. For a framing nailer with power and versatility, this is an excellent option to choose.
Other pros of this cordless framing nailer are that: it is the most versatile nailer on this list in terms of nail sizes it can use; this powerful framing nailer drives nails up to an impressive 3.5 inches deep; it is a great choice for hardwoods and tougher materials; it has a quick-flick-switch between bump and sequential modes, and; it is nicely portable. The downside of this cordless framing nailer is that it is quite prone to jamming with some of the larger nails, although the stall release lever makes it easy to fix this problem.
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#5 Best Battery Powered Nail Gun: Hitachi’s NR1890DR 18-Volt
If you’re after a battery-powered nail gun that offers comparable force to a pneumatic nailer, then this is probably as close as you are going to come. The innovative design and air spring driving system help to ensure consistent power is delivered at speed. If you’ve got the cash to splash and want a powerful battery-powered nail gun, then this is one of the most powerful battery nailers out there.
Other advantages of this battery-powered nail gun are that: it uses a brushless motor which gets more out of the battery from a single charge and will keep this device running for years; its bump fire mode is particularly fast and maintains consistent power; it is lightweight making it a good choice for portability, and; it saves you money on gas charges and removes the need for an air compressor. The downside of this battery-powered nail gun is that it is right at the top-end of the spectrum when it comes to cost.
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Investing in a cordless nail gun is an important step in advancing your woodwork projects to the next level. With this piece of kit in your repertoire, you can dispense nails at an incredibly fast rate and it will also help to make your work more precise.
Choosing a cordless nailer requires careful consideration, and you need to think about whether a battery powered or fuel powered is the best model for you. The angle of the nail gun is also important, with a higher angled nail gun more suited for hard to reach places such as corners. Make sure you check out the safety features of the cordless nailer before purchasing and always read the instruction manual before using it.