Framing can be tough work, but like any other job, having the right tools helps. But how to go about settling on that “right” tool? With so many varieties on the market, we can struggle to figure out which model suits our needs best. That’s why we grabbed both pneumatic and cordless models from a variety of industry-leading manufacturers and put them up against each other in a head to head Framing Nailer Shootout. After looking at build quality, feature sets, firing accuracy and capability, and value, we sorted out the pros and cons of each. Today, we’re looking closer at the Estwing framing nailer.
We know Estwing from their well-built line of hammers, but the brand doesn’t quite have the same sort of recognition in the world of framing nailers. This is fair enough, as the brand really only started putting their name on framing nailers and compressors within the last couple years.
Still, Estwing understands the business of pounding nails, so the move into the pneumatic market doesn’t feel out of place. After testing out the Estwing EFR2190, we like what we’re seeing.
- Rafter Hook
- All-Metal Magazine
- Dry Fire Lockout
The EFR2190 allows painless switching between single fire and bump fire modes. You might think this feature would come standard on all framing nailers at this point, but it’s not necessarily the case. Some models still require you to change triggers, but the Estwing framing nailer has a switch above the trigger that only requires a little “press in and twist” action.
The thumb wheel adjustment works really easily and smoothly. You might be wondering why this relatively minor point bears mentioning? After wrestling with an uncooperative depth adjustment on a different model, we quit taking this feature for granted. With a score of 95 for depth adjustment in our shootout, there’s not much to complain about.
- Adjustable Exhaust Port
- Metal Back Cap
We consider anything under 8 lbs to fit into the “really lightweight” category for framing nailers, and Estwing pulls it off here. The EFR2190 weighs in at 7.79 lbs, which is the 5th lightest model we tested. It feels really well-balanced as well, which ought to help with those overhead nailing applications.
Getting into the tighter spaces shouldn’t be too much of an issue for the Estwing framing nailer either. From nose to exhaust port, it measures 14-1/4″, which is marginally smaller than most of the nailers we looked at. It also has a bit narrower head width at 4-1/8″.
The handle design and grip both feel pretty comfortable. Estwing includes some rubber overmolding over the handle here, and the overall ergonomics fare well. It finishes in 4th place for ergonomics, earning a score of 87.
The Estwing framing nailer can fire nails between 2″ and 3-1/2″, which indicates that we ought to expect for this model to perform with a decent amount of power. While the EFR2190 performed flawlessly in single fire mode, we did notice the littlest bit of inconsistency in our bump fire testing. At a full depth setting, we fired off 10 nails at 1/2-second intervals through 5 sheets of stacked and glued plywood. The nailer needs is full driving depth in this tougher mix and sunk 9 out of 10. Estwing comes in 8th place with a score of 79 for driving strength.
Most every nailer we tested has really solid recoil control, and we feel comfortable saying that Estwing’s model keeps up with the pack. However, we did notice a bit more kick than most. While it falls to 10th place in recoil control, Estwing still earns a respectable score of 85.
We really like the nose design on the Estwing framing nailer. With six points of contact and side barbs that stick out slightly, the nose does really well at providing some bite for those awkward, angled shots. It’s in a logjam with 6 other models for 3rd place with a score of 95 for its toenailing function.
Visibility might not be the biggest deal for most applications requiring a framing nailer, but it’s nice to have anyway. Estwing designed a nose that does allow for excellent visibility, and for those times when accuracy really matters, the EFR2190 delivers. In a tie with Makita and Milwaukee, Estwing earns a perfect score for visibility.
Price and Value
At the time of the shootout, we found the Estwing framing nailer retailing for under $140. Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, it looks like the price has jumped up to $177.39. While still the cheapest option available, this price hike does affect how we rank this model in terms of value. Don’t get us wrong: considering how well it performed in our shootout, Estwing’s EFR2190 still presents a really good value with its 5-year warranty and its relatively low price point. Even with the price increase, the overall value rating is a solid 99 points.
The Bottom Line
The Estwing framing nailer finished our shootout in an overall 3rd place, earning 92.1 points out of a possible 100. When you consider that Estwing hasn’t had the time to build the same sort of reputation in the framing nailer market as most of our other brands, you can color us surprised that it did so well against a lot of big names.
Of course, given that all this is the case, we’re not entirely sure what to expect over the life of the tool. Will it still hang with the more expensive models after five years? With an all-magnesium housing and quality metal parts, we suspect it will. But, realistically, only time will tell with this sort of thing. In the here and now, it looks like Estwing has pretty much knocked this one out of the park.
Estwing Framing Nailer Features
- Durable construction with lightweight magnesium body, 1-piece drive blade, and rubber O-rings
- Select fire trigger allows you to quickly switch from bump fire to sequential fire
- Tool-free depth adjust makes it easy to adjust driving depth for each project
- Air filter/anti-dust cap keeps the interior components clean and functioning smoothly
- Anti-dry fire prevents firing with low fasteners, and will resume firing once more are added
- A protective no-mar tip can be removed to expose teeth that give a secure, no-slip grip when firing
- The rear-load magazine makes loading nails quick and easy
- Comes with a padded bag with front and interior pockets for all of your gear
- Part of Estwing’s professional line of pneumatic tools – covered by a 5 Year Professional Tool Warranty and a 90 Day Wearable Parts Warranty
Estwing Framing Nailer Specs
- Model: Estwing EFR2190
- Power Source: Compressed air
- Nail Length Range: 2″ to 3-1/2″
- Nail Size: .113″ to 0.131″
- Magazine Angle: 21°
- Magazine Capacity: 55
- Dry Fire Lockout: Yes, 4 nails remaining
- Operating Pressure: 70-115 psi
- Selectable Trigger: Yes, flipper switch
- Exhaust: Not adjustable
- Weight: 7.79 lbs
- Length: 21″
- Width: 4-1/8″
- Height: 14-1/4″
- Warranty: 5 years
- Price: $179.00