Owning an air compressor is a rite of passage that opens up an entire new world of tool – air powered pneumatic tools. We’ve got everything from finish to roofing nailers represented this year along with some of the best cordless nailers we’ve ever seen. Whether you’re a trim carpenter, framer, or roofer, here are the tools that will upgrade your man card this year!
2015 Pro Tool Innovation Awards: Pneumatic Tools & Nailers
Winner – Air Compressors: Portable Gas
What they said: The 5.5 HP Big Bore™ Gas Air Compressor (MAC5501G) has a powerful Honda GX160 4-stroke engine for increased performance and superior reliability, with a “V” Twin style pump that runs cooler and provides up to 12.5 CFM at 100 PSI for faster recovery. The cast iron pump with Big Bore cylinder and piston, as well as the heavy duty crankshaft, result in faster recovery time and higher CFMs for increased efficiency. And unlike other Gas Compressors, the gauges and couplers on the MAC5501G are built into the base of the motor and pump for additional protection and added durability. The MAC5501G is the latest addition to Makita’s expanding compressor line-up.
What we say: First of all, we love that Makita teamed up with Honda for the engine on this compressor. Bringing the reputation for quality that both companies enjoy fosters a lot of confidence in the purchase. The V-Twin design of the engine offers better cooling and should extend the life. A seemingly small feature, placing the gauges and couples on the base gets them out of the way and eliminates damage from being kicked or banged into other objects.
Winner – Nailers: Brad
What they said: The main body is constructed from magnesium to cut down on weight while being incredibly durable. At only 2.8 pounds, it is well-balanced and lightweight. The over-molded grip reduces fatigue while preventing slippage, and both lead to increased productivity. The FIP18BMg accepts 5/8″ to 2-1/2″ 18-gauge nails making it the ideal tool for internal and external trim, chair rails, baseboards, ornaments, case backs, cabinetry, furniture repair, small trim and craft assembly. Armed with a nose mounted light, exact placement is easy even in dark areas, and the reload indicator reduces the potential of dry firing. The FinishPro 18BMg has a 5-year warranty and comes with a carrying case.
What we say: There’s a lot more to Senco’s FIP18Mg 18-Gauge Finish Nailer than just what makes it the most innovative, but that’s what we’re here to focus on. Senco went with a Magnesium construction that greatly reduced the weight of this finish nailer. We also like that their magazine accepts nails up to 2-1/2″ where competitors stopped at 2-1/8″. The nose mounted light is another feature we like for those times that we’re nailing in a corner where there isn’t as much light as we expected.
Winner – Nailers: Straight Finish
What they said: Each of these nailers features Precision Point Technology, which provides easier nail placement through a smaller nose footprint. This is achieved via a smaller nose than DEWALT’s current offering of nailers, providing the user with a clear line of sight of the work surface. Precision Point Technology also reduces the chance of damaged work by eliminating the need to push against the material to actuate the tool. At less than 4 pounds each, these nailers are lightweight, well-balanced, and comfortable to hold during long use. Designed for oil-free operation, they eliminate the risk of oil stains, and are equipped with bumpers for protection of the work surface, a tool-free jam release, adjustable belt hook, rear exhaust, Dial-a-Depth control, and an integrated pencil sharpener.
What we say: DeWalt’s DWFP71917 is a member of their new pneumatic family. The Precision Point Technology is a really great feature for when precision is needed over speed. Even though most nailers feature a no-mar tip, DeWalt takes it a step further by eliminating the need to push against the material to actuate. We also like the consideration of putting a pencil sharpener in the belt hook.
Winner – Nailers: Angled Finish
What they said: Each of these nailers features Precision Point Technology, which provides easier nail placement through a smaller nose footprint. This is achieved via a smaller nose than DEWALT’s current offering of nailers, providing the user with a clear line of sight of the work surface. Precision Point Technology also reduces the chance of damaged work by eliminating the need to push against the material to actuate the tool. At less than 4 pounds each, these nailers are lightweight, well-balanced, and comfortable to hold during long use. Designed for oil-free operation, they eliminate the risk of oil stains, and are equipped with bumpers for protection of the work surface, a tool-free jam release, adjustable belt hook, rear exhaust, Dial-a-Depth control, integrated pencil sharpener, an air blower (15 GA only), and 16 inch on-center gauge (15 GA only).
What we say: DeWalt won the Angled Finish Nailers category for the same reason it took home an award for the Straight Finish Nailers. The Precision Point Technology makes a difference. Easier sighting helps create more precise nailing while not pressing the tip in for actuation further reduces damage potential. And yeah, we like the pencil sharpener.
Winner – Nailers: Framing
What they said: Paslode’s 21-Degree Framing System features a lightweight, 8.1 pound nailer and resin-collated nails. Paslode’s resin-collated nails are designed to eliminate common pain points on the jobsite and are created using a resilient collation material that ensures fewer strip breakages and wasted nails when compared to plastic nails on the market. Further contributing to the system’s efficiency, the Paslode 21-Degree Framing System is engineered with a tool-free adjustable depth of drive and a top-load magazine for easy reloads. The durable nailer features a dual-mode trigger that can be set for sequential or contact fire as well as a dry-fire lockout that prevents firing when empty and extends service life.
What we say: When Paslode made the move to jump into the 21-degree framing nailer branch, they didn’t just bring the nailer and say “Here we are, love us.” They created a system that improves the category. The Paslode 21-Degree Framing Nailer is solid and lives up to Paslode’s reputation. The resin-collated nails create an innovative system that provides less jamming and misfires as well as greatly reducing the collateral damage to our faces from plastic collation.
Winner – Nailers: Roofing
What they said: The Roofloc SCRAIL Metal Roof System from the BECK Fastener Group is a revolutionary new system for attaching metal to wood, featuring new SteelThread SCRAIL. Steelthread is a groundbreaking feature for metal roof fasteners, delivering holding power exceeding 400 lbs. They include a leak-proof washer and FasCoat coating, specifically formulated for improved corrosion resistance for exterior applications under all but extreme salinity and humidity conditions, and are available in an array of colors. Additionally, Roofloc SCRAIL fasteners offer unprecedented speed and versatility because they can be driven pneumatically, using the FASCO F58AC Roofloc L-75 tool, at a rate twice as fast as collated screws and eight times faster than bulk screws. Roofloc SCRAIL fasteners can also be easily removed using a rechargeable drill if necessary.
What we say: SCRAIL and FASCO teamed up to create yet another innovative system that was a no-brainer for our Roofing Nailer Award. For metal to wood roofing, SCRAIL’s SteelThread fasteners offer 400+ pounds of holding strength installed by pairing them with FASCO’s F58AC Roofloc L-75. Threaded holding power with pneumatic delivery – we love the time savings. Even mistakes are easily fixed with a drill.
Winner – Cordless Nailers: Brad, 18V
What they said: This tool is taking cordless nailers to new heights. HYPERDRIVE offers you all the power of a pneumatic nailer in a cordless tool. With no compressor, no hose, and no gas cartridge, this brushless 18-gauge finish nailer provides faster setup and easier maneuvering on the job site. The RIDGID HYPERDRIVE 18-Gauge 2-1/8 in. Brad Nailer drives 18-Gauge nails from 5/8 in. to 2-1/8 in. and can install up to 2,600 linear feet with 2,000 nails per charge. Includes: R09890B Brad Nailer, (500) 1-1/4 in. 18 Gauge Brad Nails, Belt clip, Tool Bag and Operator’s Manual. Battery and charger sold separately. All these features are backed by the industry’s best warranty, the RIDGID Lifetime Service Agreement. FREE Seals. Free Pistons. FREE Driver Blades. For LIFE.
What we say: We put the Ridgid HyperDrive Brad Nailer into the hands of a skeptic. His conclusion? It’s a game changer. Ridgid has taken what we’ve all hoped a cordless nailer could be and made it a reality with the power to replace pneumatics and the run time to get the job done without stopping to recharge. We’re hoping this line expands quickly.
Winner – Cordless Nailers: Finish , 18V
What they said: This tool is taking cordless nailers to new heights. HYPERDRIVE offers you all the power of a pneumatic nailer in a cordless tool. With no compressor, no hose, and no gas cartridge, this brushless 16-gauge finish nailer provides faster setup and easier maneuvering on the job site. The RIDGID HYPERDRIVE 16-Gauge 2-1/2 in. Straight Finish Nailer drives 16-gauge nails from 3/4 in. to 2-1/2 in. and can install up to 1,900 linear feet with 1,450 nails per charge. Includes: R09892B Straight Finish Nailer, (500) 2 in. 16-Gauge Straight Finish Nails, Belt clip, Tool Bag and Operator’s Manual . Battery and charger sold separately. All these features are backed by the industry’s best warranty, the RIDGID Lifetime Service Agreement. FREE Seals. Free Pistons. FREE Driver Blades. For LIFE.
What we say: There’s not much difference between Ridgid’s 16 gauge HyperDrive and its 18 gauge brother aside from the nail size. It’s just as impressive with excellent build quality, power, and run time. Look for Ridgid to build on the success of these to create a full line of finish nailers. Maybe we can even talk them into a framing nailer.
Winner – Cordless Nailers: Fuel Cell Finish, 7.4V
What they said: Paslode upgraded its 16 Ga Straight Cordless Li-ion Finish Nailing System to run on a 7.4-volt Li-ion battery platform, replacing the NiCd version. The nailer allows for unparalleled power and precision, so remodeling jobs are finished right the first time. Upgrading to the 7.4-volt Li-ion battery drastically improves productivity by driving up to 12,000 nails per charge, which enables the nailer to last days without needing a recharge. At just 4.6 pounds, the Cordless Finish Nailer is lighter than most competitive power nailers, offering comfort and control when doing overhead work on door and window casings.
What we say: Paslode is the unquestioned leader in fuel cell nailers and the upgrade to a lithium-ion battery is significant. Because the power draw is so small compared to pure battery powered nailers, there has been no rush to go to a lithium-ion platform. It’s here now, so Paslode lithium-ion packs will get significantly more run time and no battery memory associated with Ni-Cad packs.