Ryobi Improves Its Cordless Brad Nailer with an Updated Model
Out of the five Ryobi nailers and staplers I have bought, the one I reach for most often is my Ryobi Cordless 18 Gauge Brad Nailer. Ryobi refreshed many of their cordless nailers, including the handy Ryobi P326 16ga nailer as well as their narrow crown stapler. Having owned the first-generation Ryobi P320, I got my hands on the new Ryobi P321 cordless brad nailer to see what changed from the older 18 gauge brad nailer.
- Good build quality
- New tip allows more precise nail placement
- Improved ergonimics
- Better tool-free jam clearing
- Work light that activates without firing the tool
- Drives 18-gauge brads from 5/8-inch to 2-inches
- ONE+ 18V battery works with over 225 Ryobi tools
- Still can’t drive the very longest nails into hardwoods like oak
Ryobi P321 Cordless Brad Nailer Performance
Perhaps the most welcome change to the new Ryobi P321 Cordless Brad Nailer is the reduction in the size of the protective tip on the nose. It is 45% smaller than the old model. The more precise placement of nails is very handy when firing into thin moldings like around doors and windows. Like all Ryobi cordless nailers, this one included a replacement tip stored on the tool.
A side-by-side comparison of the old and new Ryobi 18-gauge brad nailers reveals a slight change in the shape of the handle. Having used both, I don’t have a preference for either handle. They both feel comfortable to use. Neither one gives you any sort of hot spot on your hands, even with all-day use. I also like the huge “18 gauge” gray band that quickly identifies the tool.
The new Ryobi P321 cordless brad nailer can drive 18 gauge nails from 5/8-inch to 2-inch. When using this brad nailer on plywood, plastic trim, softwoods, and similar construction materials, the Ryobi sings. It drives nails quickly and accurately. That’s exactly what you want from a brad nailer.
It had no issues driving nails of any length except for the longest nails into hardwoods like oak. The more I test out nailers the more I appreciate how dense and hard oak and maple are. It has been my experience that only the most premium nailers can drive the very longest nails into these materials.
Ryobi P321 Cordless Brad Nailer Design Notes
Since I have five nailers and staplers from the same manufacturer, they all look alike. It can be difficult to tell the difference between them. Ryobi has finally started adding clear branding to help you tell them apart. Especially helpful has been the addition of color-coded stickers near the magazine release which clearly label each nailer.
One complaint I had about the old 18-gauge brad nailer had to do with the power control knob. Located on the top, I found it stiff and hard to use if you have arthritis (as I do). The Ryobi P321 cordless brad nailer replaces the knob with a much easier-to-use lever. Incidentally, the new brad nailer also comes with a belt clip. Unfortunately, someone at the office seems to have misplaced it! You can attach the belt clip to either side of the tool.
Ryobi even made it easier to clear jams. The P321 now has a sleeker, more ergonomic release latch for flipping open the nose—no tools required.
Ryobi P321 Cordless Brad Nailer Price
The Ryobi P321 cordless 18-gauge brad nailer should hit Home Depot shelves before the end of the year (2021). This tool will replace the P320 18-gauge brad nailer. Hopefully, you will also be able to purchase a kit version with a battery charger and 2.0 Ah battery as well.
The Bottom Line
I have been very happy using my old Ryobi brad nailer. The new improvements make an already excellent tool even better. Anyone looking for a brad nailer should definitely consider the new Ryobi P321 cordless 18V brad nailer. A great value and offers solid performance for the $129 price tag—something Ryobi has made their reputation on.
Ryobi P321 Cordless Brad Nailer Specifications
- 18V battery
- 105 brad nail magazine capacity
- Up to 1900 nails per charge
- 3 year limited warranty
- Price: $129