When framing or roofing, it helps to have the right tools for the job. With so many varieties on the market, we like to test as many as possible to see which performs best. We recently got a hold of both pneumatic and cordless models from a variety of industry-leading manufacturers and put them up against each other in a head-to-head best framing nailer article. After looking at build quality, feature sets, firing accuracy, strength, and more, we sorted out the pros and cons of each. Today, we review the Bostitch F21PL2 framing nailer.
- Outstanding driving strength
- Excellent nailing performance
- Excellent value rating
- No dry fire lockout
- Mode change requires trigger change
- Fairly heavy at 8.8 pounds
Bostich had two models show up for our head-to-head testing. One was the battery-powered BCF30PT, and the other fell into the pneumatic category, the F21PL2. The pneumatic Bostitch framing nailer finished in an overall 5th-place position for our shootout, edging out models from Makita and Paslode. Let’s look at both what the F21PL2 gets right and what can use some improvement.
- Rafter Hook
- Metal Magazine
- Tool-Free Jam Clearance
A lot of the models we tested opt for including a metal back cap, but only a few allow the user to adjust the direction of the exhaust port. We appreciate seeing this feature when it crops up; it’s nice to be able to keep the exhaust from blasting us in the face if we’re nailing from an awkward position.
Every model we tested includes a depth adjustment, but Bostitch takes an unorthodox approach to this feature. Rather than using a dial to adjust the depth of fire, there’s a button up near the nose. You push that button in, pull the nose out to set the depth, and releases the button. It is easy to adjust, but when you’ve got to place your hand near the muzzle, you’re introducing some safety concerns.
Other Features Bostitch Wants You To Know About
- Lightweight magnesium design
- 16″ layout indicator on magazine helps achieve correct distance between studs in a matter of seconds
- Best in class power-to-weight ratio (1,050 in/lbs)
- Recommended tool for use with HurriQuake disaster-resistant nails
- Dry Fire Lockout
- Included air inlet; 1/4″ air inlet is smaller than most and needs to be purchased separately
- Tool-free mode change; you’ll need change triggers to switch between single fire and bump fire modes
The Bostich framing nailer didn’t have the strongest showing in this category either. It isn’t necessarily super uncomfortable to use, as the grip and balance of the tool are pretty decent. But the F21PL2 is a little heavy at 8.8 lbs, even with its magnesium build. It also has head dimensions that make nailing in tight spaces more challenging than some of the other nailers in out test.
This category starts to make up for the mediocre feature set and adequate-but-ultimately-uninspired ergonomics. Between power, recoil control, toenailing, and visibility, the nailer shows its muscle for the harder applications.
The Bostitch framing nailer can tackle nails between 2″ – 3-1/2″. We set our compressor to 100 PSI and fired off 10 rounds into 5 sheets of stacked and glued plywood. Granted, that’s not as tough as LVL, but it helps show us the differences in firing strength between the nailers. It sunk all 10 nails flush, and it was only one of three models we looked at that accomplished this feat. It received a perfect score from this test.
We also considered how efficiently it uses air in case you’re using a compressor that’s a little underpowered. Bostitch ties for the top here, needing just 80 PSI to sink a 3-1/4″ nail into untreated pine.
We like the recoil control on the F21PL2. It scored 90 points in our performance testing. While it ultimately doesn’t seem like recoil mitigation for this kind of tool is all that important, it is nice to have a nailer that won’t fatigue you with its constant kick.
Toenailing & Visibility
Bostitch performed well in our toenailing tests as well. We attribute this to its nose design, which not only allows for great visibility of the work surface but also has excellent barbs to grip the wood at awkward angles. It scored 95 points in the toenailing testing.
Price and Value
The Bostitch framing nailer comes with a pretty outstanding 7-year limited warranty, which is a fair deal longer than even the best warranties on the market. If that doesn’t sweeten the deal enough for you, then hear this: the F21PL2 retails at $219, making it also one of the less expensive options available.
The Bottom Line
We like the power and performance we saw from the Bostitch framing nailer, but its sub-par feature set and mediocre ergonomic scores hold it back from finishing higher than it did. It puts its best foot forward on the performance side where it counts the most. Ultimately, that’s what gets the job done and earns our recommendation.
Bostitch Framing Nailer Specs
- Model: Bostitch F21PL2
- Power Source: Compressed air
- Nail Length Range: 2″ – 3 1/2″
- Nail Size: .113″ to .131″
- Magazine Angle: 21°
- Magazine Capacity: 60
- Operating Pressure: 80 -120 psi
- Selectable Trigger: No, trigger switch required
- Exhaust: Adjustable
- Weight: 8.8 lbs.
- Length: 20-1/4″
- Width: 4-3/8″
- Height: 14-1/4″Warranty: 7 years limited
- Price: $219