Skil PWRCore 20 18-Gauge Brad Nailer Review

Skil 18-Gauge Brad Nailer

Ditch The Hoses And Compressors With The All New Skil 18-Gauge Brad Nailer

Over the last few years, we’ve seen a number of excellent tools join the Skil PWRCore 20 lineup, but today we have something completely brand new from the company. The Skil 18-gauge brad nailer fills an important gap in the ranks, but I want to know how this first-generation tool compares to the competition.


Pros

  • Ergonomic grip
  • Impressive driving power
  • Easy jam clearing
  • Excellent visibility
  • Dry-fire lockout

Cons

  • Slight firing delay

Skil 18-Gauge Brad Nailer Performance

Skil 18-Gauge brad nailer
  • Magazine Capacity: 105 nails
  • Runtime: 1000 nails per charge (with 2.0Ah battery)
  • Nail Gauge: 18 ga.
  • Nail Size: 5/8 – 2 1/8 in.
  • Drive Type: Pneumatic Spring
  • Operation Mode: Single, Sequential (bump)
  • Max Firing Rate: 2-3 nails per second

The Skil 18-gauge brad nailer delivers excellent driving power due thanks to its pneumatic spring drive system. This allows you to fire up to three nails per second, even in hardwoods like Oak and Poplar.

fire select switch

This nailer has two firing modes—single fire and sequential fire, or “bump” fire. Switching between modes is easy thanks to the simple slide switch located at the base of the handle.

Skil 18-gauge brad nailer

The Skil 18-gauge brad nailer holds up to 105 nails ranging in size from 5/8 inches up to 2-1/8 inches. Skil tells us you can expect up to 1,000 nails per charge with a 2.0Ah battery. A small viewing window lets you keep an eye on your available capacity, and a dry-fire lockout prevents unintended damage to your material.

During the entire course of my testing, I didn’t experience any jams or misfires. They’re probably going to come eventually, like all nailers, but it’s not going to be due to a chronic design issue. If you have a jam, clearing it is easy thanks to a simple latching mechanism on the front of the tool that flips down and out, similar to the latch on many tool boxes. Just be sure to remove the battery and nails first, just in case.

tool-free jam clearing

My one complaint about this nailer is that there’s a slight firing delay when you pull the trigger. It’s not a big deal when you’re firing single nails, but I really noticed it on bump fire mode. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to slow down a little to make sure each nail fires properly.

Skil 18-Gauge Brad Nailer Design Notes

Skil brad nailer profile
  • Model: Skil NA1800B-10
  • Power Source: Skil 20V battery
  • Weight: 5.9 lbs. (bare), 6.9 lbs. (with 2.0Ah battery)
  • Head Length: 11.3 in.
  • Tool Height: 10.6 in.

This cordless brad nailer weighs in at 5.9 pounds as a bare tool and 6.9 pounds with the kitted 2.0Ah battery. It measures 11.3 inches from tip to tail and stands 10.6 inches tall.

The grip features a smooth rubber overmold and grooves that help channel away sweat and debris. I really love the actual grip shape—it contours nicely to my palm and feels very secure in a variety of positions.

Adjusting the drive depth is pretty easy. Skil utilizes a tool-free thumb-wheel that allows you to make quick adjustments on the fly.

depth adjustment

As far as visibility goes, I have to give Skil a big thumbs up. The nose of the tool is fairly narrow, and they utilize top and side mounted LED lights to reduce shadows. Now, it’s not 100% shadow-free, but I think adding the second LED was a great design choice.

The last design element I wanted to highlight isn’t even on the tool, rather, it’s the battery and charger. As I mentioned before, this kit comes with a PWRCore 20 2.0Ah battery, but Skil did something pretty clever with this one. Skil opted for a 45W charging brick and a USB-C cord over a larger single port charger. We’ve seen this technology put to use with certain 4V tools, but this is the first time I’ve seen it on a 20V system.

battery charger

An added bonus to this USB charging system is you can charge your devices straight from the battery while you’re on the go. I was able to take my Samsung S21 Ultra from 45% battery up to 100% in about 35 minutes, pretty fast if you ask me!


Skil 18-Gauge Brad Nailer Price

This cordless brad nailer retails for $199 as a kit and comes with a 20V 2.0Ah battery, compact charging brick, USB-C power cord, and a few brad nails to get you started. Skil backs this nailer with a standard 3-year warranty, but if you register your nailer within 30-days of purchase, they’ll extend it to 5 years.

The Bottom Line

For a first-generation tool, we think Skil is on the right track. The Skil PWRCore 20 18-gauge brad nailer displayed confident firing power here in our shop when we tested with both hard and soft woods. Its design is very user-friendly, even for a beginner, and the ergonomic grip makes it easy to handle and maneuver. We think this is a great option for our serious DIYers, and even value-minded Pros, if you want to leave the hoses and compressors behind.

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