21° DeWalt Framing Nailer Review – DWF83PL
The DeWalt framing nailer finished in 8th place in our shootout, scoring 85.2 points out of a possible 100. It's really just a couple of missing features and lower power than the 3-1/2" models that bring it down.
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Recently, we put a variety of pneumatic and cordless framing nailers through the ringer to see which ones came out on top. We tested build quality, feature sets, firing capabilities, and more. You can read our full Framing Nailer Shootout right here. Today we’re taking a closer look at the DWF83PL DeWalt Framing Nailer.
Standard Pro Features
- Adjustable Rafter Hook
- Metal Magazine
- Industrial Grade Design
- Recoil Dampening Engine System
- Tool-Free Depth Adjustment
- Tool-Free Mode Change
- Dry Fire Lockout
- Adjustable Exhaust Port
Additional Feature Notes
The tool-free depth adjustment is my biggest complaint. It has trouble overcoming its detent and is very tough to move. Kenny finally gave up and grabbed a set of pliers to make it easier on his hands.
Aside from that, it’s just the missing dry fire lockout and adjustable exhaust that bring the feature set down some. The other features on-board work as well as we expect them to.
We look to a variety of things to determine a tool’s ergonomic rating: weight, balance, footprint, and grip. As far as weight goes, the DeWalt framing nailer does pretty well by weighing in at a reasonable 8.03 lbs.
DeWalt also balances this framing nailer very well. While it does tend to lean forward a little bit (all framing nailers do), this nailer has the sort of characteristics that make it an agreeable choice for anyone who will have to spend time nailing overhead.
When we talk about a nailer’s footprint, we’re considering both the head-to-exhaust measurement along with the head width. The DWF83PL measures 12-1/2″ with a head width of 4.625″. This is a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, the length allows it to easily fit between studs. On the other, the head width can get in the way against corners that border a wall.
I realize grip is subjective. We all have hands of different size and shape, and what I might find to have a comfortable grip, you might not. That said, DeWalt dials it well considering our whole team praises its handle and overmold design.
Overall, DeWalt earns 84.8 points for its ergonomics.
We tested all of our nailers by bump-firing ten nails through 5 sheets of glued-up plywood. All of the nailers in our test can handle framing in new pine, but for those occasions when you’ll need a nailer with a bit more “umph,” it’s nice to know which nailers can hit harder.
This DeWalt framing nailer struggles a bit in this department. We had to slow it down to single fire to get the nails to sink all the way consistently. It has the power to do the job in this test, but I wouldn’t try something like LVL. Its 71 points put it in a tie for 9th place.
Framing nailers will also eventually run into an application where some toenailing is in order, so we set some untreated pine boards at 90° angles to each other and went to work. The DeWalt framing nailer handles this task well, earning 90 points. The nose has a good design for biting into the wood, and the recoil isn’t so bad that it knocked anything out of place in our test.
Incidentally, while the recoil really isn’t bad with the DeWalt DWF83PL, we did notice that it has just a bit more kick than some of the models we tested. This really shouldn’t deter too many people from the DeWalt framing nailer as the recoil is still easily controllable and scores 85 points.
Visibility & Accuracy
This category might not be the highest priority for the majority of tradesman looking to get into a new nailer, but accuracy is nice to have when you need it. We drew a bunch of marks on a board and took our time trying to line our shots up to dead-center.
None of the models we tested gave us results we’d consider sub-Pro level, but some were still better than others. DeWalt’s framing nailer finished out a bit less accurate than most of the models we tested. While the design of the nose works well to grip the sides of a board, it doesn’t grant the best visibility but still scores 85 points.
The DeWalt framing nailer retails for $199, which is close to the average cost for a Pro-level pneumatic gun. It misses a couple of key features and doesn’t keep up with the top performers in driving strength, but it still has a pretty solid 84.5-point value rating considering what it does give you. With a 7-year warranty and a 1-year service agreement, you could do a whole lot worse.
The Bottom Line
The DeWalt framing nailer finished in 8th place in our shootout, scoring 85.2 points out of a possible 100. It’s really just a couple of missing features and lower power than the 3-1/2″ models that bring it down. We recommend that you use the DeWalt DWF83PL for standard soft wood framing and roofing applications. As long as you avoid trying to fasten harder materials, the performance won’t disappoint you.
DeWalt Framing Nailer Specs
- Model: DeWalt DWF83PL
- Power Source: Compressed air
- Nail Length Range: 2″ to 3-1/4″
- Nail Size: .113″ to .148 “
- Magazine Angle: 21°
- Magazine Capacity: 64
- Dry Fire Lockout: No
- Operating Pressure: 70 – 120 psi
- Selectable Trigger: Yes, flipper switch
- Exhaust: Not adjustable
- Weight: 8.03 lbs.
- Length: 21-1/2″
- Width: 4-7/8″
- Height: 12-1/2″
- Warranty: 7 years limited
- Price: $173.89
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