Ridgid’s 18V Framing Nailer Has the Power to Sink Nails in LVL
The idea of a cordless framing nailer isn’t new—they’ve been around for years. But dialing in the performance, power, and runtime to seriously consider switching from pneumatic has been a challenge. We got our hands on the Ridgid 18V cordless framing nailer to see how well it stacks up to other options on the market.
- Brushless motor
- No firing delay
- No gas cartridge required
- Lifetime service agreement (with registration)
- Extended magazine available
- No significant drawbacks
Ridgid 18V Cordless Framing Nailer Performance
In order to get a feel for this nailer, grabbed some scrap studs, loaded it up with 3-inch framing nails, and went to town. We were looking for a few key characteristics.
First of all, there’s no firing delay. That’s something that plagued early cordless models, but as brands move away from flywheel mechanisms, they successfully solved that particular pain point.
We were also looking out for recoil. When there’s too much, it’s fatiguing and can work against the sinking power. Compared to Ridgid’s pneumatic framer, there is some additional recoil to contend with. It’s not too difficult to manage, but we noticed that we had to be more intentional with our technique to avoid leaving nails proud when we were bump firing, especially in harder materials.
Shifting into actual framing, the nailer didn’t struggle at all with toe-nailing. While Ridgid doesn’t stray from their typical nose design, you’ll need to remove the no-mar tip beforehand. Otherwise, you won’t be able to get the bite you need to get the proper angle and it’s more likely to slip. We anticipate that most Pros won’t use the plastic guard for framing applications anyway.
At the same time we were building our initial impressions, PTR Reviewer Luke Smith was out building fences. While framing houses is what the nailer is really built for, Luke’s agricultural construction business really benefits from the cordless design. Whether he’s building a barn or building fencing for a horse farm, it’s far more convenient for him to use a cordless nailer than a pneumatic model.
Studs and fencing don’t tell the whole story of this nailer, though. We had the opportunity to test the Ridgid 18V cordless framing nailer on LVL and it shined. Setting the depth of drive thumbwheel to its greatest depth (which was agreeably easy), we were able to sink nails consistently. That’s not something we’ve been able to do with most cordless framers.
Ridgid uses a brushless motor to get the benefits of longer runtime to go with its impressive power. Using a 4.0Ah battery, expect to get roughly 750 shots on a charge. If you’re doing punch list work and want to shave some weight, a 2.0Ah battery nets you around 375 shots.
Ridgid 18V Cordless Framing Nailer Design Notes
The overmold hex grip is a bit on the larger side. However, since this nailer is a bit on the heavy side, the extra girth helps maintain control and reduces fatigue.
Compared to pneumatic models, this comes stock as a compact configuration and helps save some weight. This particular model is 15×13.5 inches. Bare, the tool weighs 9.1 pounds and a 4.0Ah Max Output battery brings it up to 10.6 pounds. That’s quite a bit heavier than pneumatic models, of course, but right in line with the top cordless models.
Another cool design worth mentioning is the somewhat flat top. The framing nailer will firmly sit upright when placed on its head. It’s helpful while on the job since you can’t stand a nailer up on the battery the way you do drills and impact drivers, and you don’t always have a joist to hang it on.
Internal Air Pressure Tank
Ridgid’s 18V framing nailer has a refillable internal air tank. Okay, so what’s the big deal…right? While other cordless nailers also have internal air tanks, they require a trip to the service center when it’s time for a refill. Ridgid’s model includes a valve stem beneath a removable plate so you can fill it yourself. The max pressure for the tank is 125 PSI, so make sure not to overfill as this can damage the tool.
The good thing is you don’t have to worry about filling it frequently. You can expect around 50,000 shots before it needs a refill. We tip our hats to Ridgid for their creativity here. Their design ultimately saves time and keeps the tool in service without interruption longer.
We’d love to see some sort of pressure indicator so you know when you’re getting low, but that’s a nut no one has cracked on cordless framers so far. The best way to gauge it is when the nailer isn’t driving nails with as much power as you’re used to. Try a fresh battery first and if that doesn’t do it, try refilling the tank.
If you want higher capacity, Ridgid offers an extended magazine. It’s helpful when you don’t mind the additional weight of a second strip of nails. If punch list work is primarily what you’re doing with it, we recommend sticking with the smaller magazine. Go for the extended magazine if you’re switching to cordless as your primary framing nailer or you’re willing to carry some extra weight to avoid more frequent loading.
There’s an LED indicator on the back that serves a couple of different functions. When it’s green, there’s nothing to worry about. When it turns solid red, it’s letting you know your battery is getting low. If it’s flashing red, there’s a jam you need to clear.
When a jam occurs, the tool automatically resets the drive blade. Getting a stuck nail out isn’t a tool-free operation, though. You need to use the onboard hex wrench to get into the nose and get it out. Fortunately, that’s not something we’ve had to deal with in our use so far.
- Dry fire lockout
- Tool-free thumbwheel depth of drive adjustment
- Single and bump fire modes
- Rafter hook
- Belt hook
- Compatible with all Ridgid 18V lithium-ion batteries
Ridgid 18V Cordless Framing Nailer Price
Expect to pay $329.00 as a bare tool in either a 21-degree or 30-degree configuration at the Home Depot. Additionally, there’s currently a 21° kit option which includes two 2Ah batteries for $448.00.
The Bottom Line
Ridgid’s cordless framing nailer gets it right by eliminating the firing delay, delivering the power to drive in LVL, providing the runtime of a brushless motor, and offering an extended magazine if you want more capacity. Compared to the other cordless models available, it’s an impressive design.
Ridgid 18V Framing Nailer Specifications
- Model: Ridgid R09894 (21° model)
- Runtime: 750 nails per charge with 4.0Ah battery
- Nail Range: 2-inch to 3 1/2-inch
- Nail Gauge: 0.113 – 0.131-inch
- Capacity: 33 nails
- Weight: 9.1 lbs bare, 10.6 pounds with 4.0Ah Max Output battery
- Warranty: Lifetime service agreement with registration
- Price: $329 bare
To check out Ridgid’s full cordless lineup, click here