Milwaukee M18 Fuel 16-Gauge Straight Finish Nailer Review 3020

Milwaukee M18 16 GA Straight Finish Nailer

Milwaukee Improves Visibility and Accuracy With Their Gen II 16-Gauge Straight Finish Nailer

When Milwaukee first launched their M18 Fuel 16-gauge finish nailer, it was met with considerable fanfare, but left some room for improvement. Now, we have the Gen 2 Milwaukee 16-Gauge Straight Finish Nailer in house and there are some big updates that help ease those pain points.

Milwaukee 16-Gauge Straight Finish Nailer Performance

Milwaukee M18 16 GA Straight Finish Nailer
  • Rate of Fire: 3 nails/sec.
  • Magazine Capacity: 110 nails
  • Nail Length: 1 – 2 1/2 in.

Right off the bat, you’ll notice the Milwaukee 3020’s nose is much longer and narrower than the previous model. This is a welcomed change because it offers improved visibility and accuracy over the 2741.

Milwaukee’s power and firing rate are right on par with what we expect from premium cordless nailers. We took a few shots into our oak test block here at the shop and managed to fully sink our 2 1/2-inch nails, leaving clean nail holes in its wake.

Speaking of power, Milwaukee upgraded the firing system on this nailer to their nitrogen air spring drive system. There’s no firing delay like we’ve seen from other brands, and you can shoot up to three nails per second.

Milwaukee 16-Gauge Straight Finish Nailer Design Notes

Milwaukee M18 16 GA Straight Finish Nailer Profile
  • Model: Milwaukee 3020
  • Power Source: Milwaukee M18 battery
  • Nailer Gauge: 16 GA
  • Weight: 6.2 lbs. (bare), 7.75 lbs. (with 5.0Ah battery)

The Milwaukee 3020 weighs in at 6.2 pounds as a bare tool and 7.75 pounds with a 5.0Ah battery. It stands 11.7 inches tall and measures 12.9 inches from tip to tail.

The straight magazine holds up to 110 16-gauge finish nails, and Milwaukee tells us to expect around 700 shots using a 2.0Ah battery. The 3020 is capable of firing nails from 1-inch all the way up to 2-1/2 inches.

Milwaukee 3020 nose profile

One big improvement Milwaukee made to this nailer is the redesigned nose and jam clearing system. Compared to its predecessor, the Milwaukee 2741, this model is much narrower, which allows for increased visibility. Milwaukee did away with the old ring-shaped claw-guard and opted for a more streamline design. Additionally, they include two spare low profile guards that stow on the side of the magazine.

jam clearing

The jam clearing system and depth adjustments are both tool free on this nailer. To clear a jam, just flip up the top lever and lift the cover to access the firing chamber. Adjusting the drive depth is as easy as turning a knob…literally! Simply rotate the adjustment wheel on the side of the magazine until you get your desired depth.

firing control

As you would expect, this nailer has two firing modes—sequential and bump fire. This isn’t anything new for Milwaukee, however, they did relocate the control panel from the rear of the tool to inside the hand guard. While this isn’t a massive change, it is a little more convenient when you want to change modes on the fly.

Additional Features

  • Dry-fire lockout
  • LED work light
  • Reversible belt hook
  • Low-battery indicator
  • Overload indicator

Milwaukee 16-Gauge Straight Finish Nailer Price

The Milwaukee 3020 retails for $329 as a bare tool and comes with a 5-year warranty.

As of the time we’re writing this, there are no kit options available for the Milwaukee 3020.

The Bottom Line

The Milwaukee M18 Fuel 16-Gauge straight finish nailer’s biggest improvements are with its visibility and accuracy, hands down. It’s a big enough deal for finish work that the upgrade is worth it. Some of the other minor changes are simply icing on the cake in our opinion. If you’ve been on the fence about retiring your pneumatic finish nailer and going cordless, we highly recommend giving the Milwaukee M18 Fuel 3020 a shot.

Want to see what’s NEW from Milwaukee? Click here!

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