Metabo HPT NT50AE2M 18 Gauge Finish Nailer Review

Metabo HPT Brad Nailer
PTR Review
  • Ergonomics 8.0
  • Performance 10.0
  • Design 7.5
  • Build Quality 9.0
  • Value 10.0

Despite lacking a dry fire lockout and swiveling air inlet, the Hitachi NT50AE2 is probably the best value you'll find for pro level finish nailers.

Overall Score 8.9 (out of 10)

Metabo HPT (formerly Hitachi Power Tools) has enjoyed a very high reputation in pneumatic nailer circles for quite some time now. Go to any jobsite that’s involved in roofing, framing, or finish work and you’re likely to find more than one Metabo HPT nailer in use. I was in the market to replace my aging 18 gauge finish nailer with several projects coming up, so I turned to the Metabo HPT NT50AE2M.

This nailer is no newcomer to the market, having had success for many years now. The benefit to tools with excellent sale life is that the price tends to come down allowing pros and DIYers alike to get professional quality at value prices. At $89, this is one of the best prices you can find on a professional-level nailer. It sure sounds like a no-brainer to me.

Before I dug myself in too far, I wanted to see what kind of customer reactions the Metabo HPT NT50AE2M had been getting. After all, it’s been around long enough that there should be more than enough to make an impression. Looking around major retailer sites, this model is getting a solid 4.6 out of 5.0 rating from users. That’s on par with what I expect from Metabo HPT, so this may be the deal every finish pro needs to consider.

Time to grab that shovel and keep digging.

Metabo HPT NT50AE2M First Impressions and Key Features

You’ll notice how light the Metabo HPT NT50AE2M is the moment you pick it up. At just 2.2 pounds, it’s almost too light for comfort. I like a little heft to my tools to give me confidence that they’re durable. Metabo HPT designed this nailer with aluminum at the core. That’s helping the weight come down. Looking over the tool, I don’t see a bunch of corner-cutting. The light weight is a nice surprise and it doesn’t seem like Metabo HPT sacrificed quality for it.

The side-loading magazine holds 100 nails from 5/8″ to 2″ in length. There’s a yellow indicator in the composite magazine window to let you know when you’re getting low on nails with just a quick glance. This is nice, but it’s also in place of a dry fire lockout. Given the choice between the two, I’d rather have the lockout to prevent damage.

Metabo HPT NT50AE2M 18 Gauge Brad Nailer Nail Indicator

Only a minor complaint, but one worth noting, is that the air inlet is fixed. There’s no swivel mount on this model to swing the hose as you move the tool. The exhaust port does swivel 360 degrees. No matter the awkward angle you’re working around in cabinetry or other finish work, you can direct the exhaust away from you.

Metabo HPT NT50AE2M 18 Gauge Brad Nailer Air inlet

Metabo HPT NT50AE2M 18 Gauge Finish Nailer Specifications

  • Model: NT50AE2M
  • Power Source: Compressed Air
  • Operating Pressure: 70 – 120 PSI
  • Nail Type: 18 gauge adhesive collated brad nails
  • Nail Length: 5/8″ – 2″
  • Capacity: 100 nails
  • Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Price: $49
  • Warranty: 5 years

Ergonomics and Performance

Really, you just can’t get light enough when it comes to all day and overhead work. While 2.2 pounds isn’t weightless, it’s a welcome reduction from other models I’ve used. It’s also one of the reasons that cordless finish nailers may take a little longer to get used to. Sure I’ve got a hose, but I’ve also got nearly 4 pounds less weight in my hand. The balance is excellent like you’d expect from a Metabo HPT nailer. The grip and trigger pull are both comfortable.

Metabo HPT Brad Nailer side

The lack of a swivel intake was noticeable as I worked around some of the lighter trim work for the day. The ergonomics of the nailer on its own are excellent, but fighting the hose stiffness throws it off.

I worked on several remodeling projects using the Metabo HPT NT50AE2M for delicate jobs. The performance was flawless. I didn’t experience any jams or misfires. Given the finish nature of the work I was doing, I didn’t switch to bump fire mode at all. It’s there if you’re feeling frisky though.

When reloading, the side load magazine can catch the end of your nail strip if you’re not careful. After this happened a couple of times, I became more conscious of it. A little extra attention helped keep it from becoming a major issue.

This Metabo HPT 18-gauge nailer requires you to provide some oil maintenance. I found that I’d stay in good shape if I oiled it before getting started and again at lunchtime. Originally, I thought this model was missing a no-mar tip. Take a close look and you’ll find them on the opposite side of the magazine.

No-mar Tip

Final Thoughts

The Metabo HPT NT50AE2M 18 Gauge Finish Nailer is a solid performer. It lacks features like a dry fire lockout and swiveling air intake. That’s the trade-off you’re making for an incredible value while getting Metabo HPT’s pro performance level. This is an excellent option for pros as a starter or backup nailer. The price point puts it squarely in the range of DIYers who want pro performance.

Related articles