Finish nailers should be simple, right? Use compressed air to propel a small nail into wood without messing up the surface. Do this repeatedly throughout the day and don’t interrupt the workflow with anything other than the occasional nail refill. Sadly, not all finish nailers can handle this. Oiling, jams, and misfires can stoke frustration when you need to be paying attention to professional results. The Ridgid R250AFE 15 Gauge Angled Finish Nailer looks to alleviate that frustration. While the focus of this review is on the 15 gauge model, I also had the opportunity to us the Ridgid R250SFE 16 Gauge Straight Finish Nailer.
Nailer technology has come a long way and Ridgid is helping you be more productive from the start with an oil-free platform. Forget oiling at the beginning of the day and splatter on your work surface. Like most modern nailers, a dry fire lockout is in place along with no-mar tip to prevent damage to the wood. I recently had to work with a nailer missing all of these features and I was reminded just how much I appreciate them!
That no-mar tip is at the business end of Ridgid’s ACCU-Drive design. This proprietary tip allows you to accurately place nails, even at an angle. Nails are loaded from the rear and go in easily with a conventional magazine. In the event that you do get a jam, access to the offending nail is tool-free. Exhaust leaves at the rear and is adjustable without tools to keep escaping air away from you. Ridgid’s outstanding Hex Grip covers the handle, offering excellent handling with bare or gloved hands.
Ridgid used Magnesium in the nailer’s construction, reducing the weight down to 3.8 pounds. They’ve also made switching between sequential and contact firing very easy with a simple switch on the left hand side. Depth of drive adjustments are made with a thumb wheel behind the nose. Wrapping up the features is the belt hook that can swing to a variety of positions.
Ridgid R250AFE 15 Gauge Angled Finish Nailer Specifications
- Power Source: Compressed air
- Nail Size: 15 gauge
- Nail Length: 1″ – 2-1/2″
- Collation: 34 degree glued
- Capacity: 106 nails
- Weight: 3.8 pounds
- Price: $169
- Warranty: Lifetime Service Agreement
I put the Ridgid 15 Gauge Angled Finish Nailer through a lot of different applications on several recent remodeling jobs. Indoor shoe molding, facia, soffet, and others were all on the menu. Starting the day by climbing a ladder, I immediately thanked Ridgid for the belt hook. It swivels around so I was never in a position where I couldn’t easily hook it and go. At the top of the ladder, I also took a moment to be grateful for the oil-free design that allowed me to hook up the compressor and get to work. 12 hour days are long enough without stopping for maintenance concerns along the way.
Recoil is something I prepare for at the gun range, not so much at work. I was surprised at the amount of recoil I felt using the nailer at 120 PSI. The depth of drive was dialed in perfectly though. While I wasn’t overdriving the nails at 120 PSI, I found the recoil was controlled by turning the compressor down to 80 PSI.
Despite the variety of materials I worked with, I didn’t experience a single jam or misfire. Even though the Ridgid R250AFE has an intuitive switch between firing modes, the nature of my work keeps me in single fire mode. With 10 and 12 hour days on end, both Ridgid nailers were prepared to work as hard as I asked them to.
I also got my hands on Ridgid’s 16 Gauge Straight Finish Nailer. As you’re well aware, an angled nailer can go anywhere a straight nailer can, but the opposite isn’t true. Since there wasn’t going to be much difference between using 15 and 16 gauge nails on my projects, I turned to the 15 gauge more often than not. I enjoyed the same outstanding performance from both models – the only real difference was the thumb wheel for depth of drive is just in front of the trigger. This is different from the traditional placement near the nose and it doesn’t really seem to help or hurt the adjustment process.
Ridgid obviously put a little extra love in the build of these nailers. Performance was flawless and the magnesium design reduced the weight to the point that at the end of the day, my forearms weren’t dead and my hands didn’t feel like I had arthritis. The Ridgid R250AFE 15 Guage Angled Finish Nailer is a full featured pro level tool that I would recommend to anyone stepping up to a higher class.