Professional Tool Reviews for Pros

Hitachi NR90AE Round Head 3-1/2-Inch Framing Nailer

The Hitachi NR90AE 3-1/2” Round Head Framing Nailer weights in at only 7.5 pounds and has an ideal power-to-weight ratio for driving nails into the hardest materials. This model is just as hard working as the well known NR83 that proceeded but with a really cool new look and some great improvements.

Hitachi NR90AE framing nailer

Our framing nailer came from the factory in a Hitachi decorated cardboard box. in comparing models in our pneumatic full head framing nailer round-up, this model (or its closely-related replacement model, the Hitachi NR90AE(S) did very well. This pneumatic framing nailer also doesn’t come with a hard case. Included in the box were an instruction manual and some safety goggles. Hitachi also left it up to us to supply the 3/8” quick connect air coupling.

Hitachi NR90AE Features

Part of what makes this nailer stand out right away was the ground up new design that implements many convenient features. One of the first things is the paint job, with black body and silver and green flame like graphics around the entire gun that follow the new design scheme of all the recent Hitachi tools. The good looks are more then just skin deep tough. First off there is the trigger, which has an easy flip lever above the trigger that will allow you to easily switch from bump or sequential firing. There is a tool-free depth-of-fire adjustment knob that allows you to fine tune how deep you send your nails without having to change the air pressure.  This nail gun is set up with a 21 degree angled nail magazine and will handle up to 64 nails in one load. The magazine is made of aluminum for long term rigidity and durability. It will fire plastic strip collated full round head nails that range from 2 to 3-1/2 inches long. Loading the nails has become much easier and faster with the NR90AE too. Just insert the nails into the end of the magazine and pull the spring loaded plunger back and you are ready to go! One of the things that also stood out to us was the fantastic balance of the nail gun, weighing in at 7-1/2 pounds, this gun somehow felt lighter because of the ergonomics and large comfortable grip.

Hitachi NR90AE Hands-on Review

Out in the field this gun preformed flawlessly! To date, we have sent over 7500 3-1/2” common framing nails through it, 5000 2-1/2” ring-shank and about 2500 2-1/2” 8d’s with hardly a single jam or any other problem with its operation. This nail gun will eat any kind of nail we tried in it, from Senco, Bostich and Hitachi brands of nails to some no-name generic nails, all functioned perfectly. The few jams we had were usually due to the breaks in the collated fasteners themselves. The jams were always easy to remove and did not involve any tools to get the gun working again. As with any air tool, we always had better performance when a few drops of oil were added at the beginning of the day. Even with extensive roof system framing, the gun is very comfortable to use in overhead positions for extended periods of time. It was also a rare occurrence when we had to go back though and set nails with a hammer, the gun always drove the fasteners to the right depth.

Out of all the improvements and features that Hitachi included with this model, we wish they figured out a way to include some kind of rafter hook or hanging device on the gun. There were many situations where we needed to set the gun down for a moment to situate a piece of wood, and you had to either balance the gun somewhere or try to find a safe place to put it so it wouldn’t fall.


Hitachi did well with the NR90AE 3-1/2” round head framing nailer! With a cool new look, a very impressive power to weight ratio, and the ability to accept a wide range of fasteners, this is definitely a win. While the MSRP is high, the street price has become pretty reasonable compared to other framing guns on the market which should help make this a top seller.

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