When we ran our Best Framing Nailer Shootout, we expected to see the classics crop up in the top finishing places. But as these things sometimes go, some of our manufacturers threw us a couple of curveballs to shake things up a bit. Finishing up in 6th place, the Makita framing nailer is one of those surprises. Firing up to 3-1/2″ nails, the Makita AN923 shows it can hang with some of the best in the business.
- Outstanding toenailer
- Outstanding nose visibility
- Good recoil control
- Accepts nails up to 0.162″
- Easy depth adjustment
- Easy mode change
- Slightly low firing strength
Easy Depth Adjustment
Makita opts for an unorthodox placement of their depth adjustment dial. It’s located on the underside of the nailer’s business end, which restricts access just a little over a side or top mount. However, the dial moves smoothly and that’s the most important thing.
Tool-Free Actuation Adjustment
We appreciate tool-free adjustments. There are still models that require you to switch triggers completely to change single fire and bump fire settings. The Makita framing nailer avoids this potentially irritating pitfall and we’re grateful. There’s a simple switch to flip above the trigger where you find it on most framing nailers.
- Dry fire lockout
- Belt hook/rafter hook
- Metal magazine
- Adjustable exhaust (minor feature)
At 9.26 lbs, the Makita framing nailer isn’t light. As a matter of fact, it’s the heaviest pneumatic nailer we tested. For shorter jobs, this probably won’t matter all that much. But if your framing is an all-day affair, you’ll definitely feel that weight. Despite the weight, it’s really well-balanced.
Having said all that though, the head width has a smaller form factor, which allows us into corners more easily than some of the models we tested. The tip-to-exhaust length is 14.25 inches – a little long but still short enough to fit between two studs. The ergonomics wrap up with a solid handle design that’s comfortable to use.
It’s the weight that hurts Makita’s ergonomics score, dropping it 74 points and 13th place.
We hooked all of our nailers up to the Makita Big Bore 5.5 HP compressor set to 100 PSI. We also put it up against our testing surface, 5 glued-up layers of OSB.
Set to single-fire mode, the Makita framing nailer could handle this tough material. However, it struggled a bit in bump-fire mode. We noticed a few proud nails with the depth set to maximum.
The takeaway here is that you can bump fire in pine for your typical stick framing with no problem. If you’re going to work in tougher materials, slow down a bit and run the nailer closer to 120 PSI.
This is a weaker area for Makita, scoring 73 points and sitting in 9th place.
Makita has a reputation for tools that feature solid vibration control. So it’s not a surprise that their framing nailer won’t try to jump out of your hands. With the Makita AN923, you shouldn’t have to double back to rework areas because the recoil made your workmanship sloppy. It earns 90 points for recoil control, only bested by our two Paslode models.
The Makita framing nailer excels at toenailing. All framing nailers feature barbs that angle out from the nose, but some of the designs work better than others when we get down to it. The AN923 features a design that works exceptionally well for toenailing applications and earns a perfect score.
The Makita framing nailer’s nose design also allows for outstanding visibility. Granted, with framing, accuracy might not top your priority list. But it’s definitely nice to have when you need it, and you can be dead-on thanks to a nose design that earns a perfect score for visibility.
Price and Value
The Makita framing nailer retails for $279. As a point of comparison, the least expensive pneumatic model we looked at punched in at $177, while the most expensive cost $329. It comes with a 3-year limited warranty.
Taking into consideration the whole package, Makita is in the middle of the pack in 8th place.
The Bottom Line
Makita finishes our shootout with 87.5 points out of a possible 100 giving it a 6th place ranking overall. While it’s heavy and a little low on firing strength, it still makes the most of what Makita’s design team gives it.
As good as this model is, there are whispers that Makita has a new framer in the works. It won’t take much improvement to jump into the top 3, so we’re excited to see what the next generation will have to offer.
Check out the head-to-head!
Makita Framing Nailer Specs
- Model: Makita AN923
- Power Source: Compressed air
- Nail Length Range: 2″ – 3-1/2″
- Nail Size: .113″ – .162″
- Magazine Angle: 21°
- Magazine Capacity: 74
- Dry Fire Lockout: Yes
- Operating Pressure: 65 – 120 psi
- Selectable Trigger: Yes, flipper switch
- Exhaust: Adjustable
- Weight: 9.26 lbs.
- Length: 22″
- Width: 4-1/4″
- Height: 13-11/16″
- Warranty: 3 years limited
- Price: $279