It’s not as easy to distinguish among framing nailers as it is among other tools like drills or saws. For some reason, the differences just don’t seem to jump out as quickly. It could be that innovation in this category is closer to being fully developed than in other categories and – as you may have read other PTR reviewers say of framing nailers – improvements really tinker around the margins instead of being revolutionary. But that’s not to say those marginal improvements won’t make us prefer one nailer over another. Besides, it’s fun to field test these tools and see if there’s really something special about them even if we only expect small changes. That’s the hope for the Paslode PowerMaster Pro 30-Degree Framing Nailer, and I’m about to see if there’s a reason to reach for it before its competitors.
The Paslode is a paper tape strip nailer that drives 2 – 3.25-inch long, 0.113 – 0.131-inch shank diameter 30-degree offset full head or clipped head nails. For some Pros, a 30-degree nailer is a turn off thanks to the additional cost of the nails. Operating at 80 to 120 PSI with a 1/4-inch fitting, it holds up to 88 nails, features a sequential fire trigger with an optional bump fire trigger, a thumbwheel depth-of-drive adjustment, adjustable exhaust, rafter hook, and a pretty mean-looking nose designed to aid toenailing.
The whole package weighs in at a respectable 7.9 pounds. At first, I thought it was slightly heavier than my regular framers (full disclosure: I’m loyal to another brand of nailer), but unfamiliarity with a tool’s balance can fool your perception. After weighing all of them, I found them to be identical. Once I loaded the magazine with nails, the Paslode felt comfortable and well-balanced. I fired up the compressor and hooked up the nailer to get down to business.
The Paslode PowerMaster Pro 30-Degree Framing Nailer has an exceptionally comfortable overmold grip material. It feels great in the hand as it curves up and around the underside of the nailer’s body to cushion the area between the thumb and index finger. It might seem like a little thing, but the overmold is flush with the rest of the handle so there’s no ridge between it and the metal. With other nailers, the raised overmold often rips and it doesn’t take my crew very long to remove the remaining material to avoid the feeling of an uneven grip. Those nailers still work, of course, but sweaty hands-on exposed metal make it less secure and less comfortable in the hand.
The nailer’s standard 2-step loading mechanism is quick and smooth. Insert the paper collated nail strip at the base, pull the magazine spring back, and you’re ready to drive. But it’s not just the mechanism design that makes loading easy – it’s the unusually steep angle of the air fitting that keeps the hose out of the way of the loading area without obstructing regular use. That small detail relieves the need to hold the hose out of the way and while you load the magazine.
Most Pros prefer a mode selector over a full trigger switch. Some nailers require you to change the trigger’s position, but you actually need to change the trigger entirely with the Paslode F-350P. Both single and bump fire triggers come with the nailer and I’ll bet that most will switch to the bump fire sooner rather than later.
You’ll notice the nose is much wider and more aggressive, allowing it to bite into the wood and grab securely, which is especially helpful for toenailing. The nailer’s overall accuracy is really phenomenal. Because the nose is so wide, you’ll have to drive a few nails to get a sense for the target, but once you do, you can be dead-on every time. I use the raised ridge of the nose’s aggressive toenailing barb as a guide – I’m not sure this is the design intent, but it works well!
I didn’t have a single jam during the whole review – that’s more than I can say about my “favorite” nailer. Moreover, the depth adjustment is beautifully simple, smooth, and accurate. Once I dialed it in, the Paslode F-350P drove the nails at a remarkably consistent depth. In fact, this gun is much more consistent and feels like it drives with more force than my other nailers with the same volume of air. It hits the nail perfectly and you can be confident the nail is going in. It’s a very smooth operation. To really put it to the test, I fully loaded the magazine with 2-1/2 inch nails and fired them as quickly as I could until I ran out of nails – not one misfire and all the nails were at a consistent depth.
I typically use a 21-degree nailer, but the extra 9 degrees the Paslode PowerMaster Pro – and other Paslode framing nailer models – affords you is particularly helpful it tight spaces. The magazine doesn’t hit the floor or the wall, allowing you a wider range and a better toenail or a different angle. Even though the body of the gun is similar to others, the steeper magazine angle makes it more versatile overall. The rafter hook is a really nice touch and it folds down and out of the way when you’re not using it.
The Bottom Line
A couple of months ago, I would’ve just purchased my regular brand nailer if I needed a new one. But now that I’ve used the Paslode PowerMaster Pro, it’s become my first choice. When a tool is so good that it can change a skeptical or brand-loyal mind, you have to take note. My only wish is for a case to keep it in – it’s a handsome tool and I want to keep it that way!
With flawless performance over the first few weeks of use and a feature set that help on the job site, the overall design is a nice upgrade over my other framing nailers. Although some will be dissuaded from the Paslode due to the 30-degree nails, switching triggers, and a bit of a premium price, it’s in an elite class of performance. Now the rest of my crew is using my old nailer while I use the Paslode. In the end, this consistent, comfortable, and versatile nailer is worth the premium you pay and the 30-degree nails you use – all day long.
Paslode PowerMaster Pro 30-Degree Framing Nailer Features
- Inline magazine provides optimal balance and control
- Thumbwheel depth-of-drive for fast tool-free adjustments
- Simplistic, sleek engine design allows for easy on-site maintenance and increased uptime
- Rafter hook, moves out of the way when not in need
- Aggressive nose barbs for precise toenailing
- 1/4 inch Air Fitting
- Bump fire trigger
- Sample Paslode RounDrive Framing Nails
- Safety glasses
- Owner’s manual
Paslode PowerMaster Pro 30-Degree Framing Nailer Specifications
- Model Number: Paslode F-350P
- Weight: 7.9 pounds
- Height: 13.5 inches
- Length: 20.5 inches
- Width: 5.5 inches
- Nail Type: 30-degree Offset Full Head or Clipped Head
- Capacity: 2 strips (up to 88 nails)
- Range: 2 -3.25 inch, 0.113 to 0.131 inch shank diameters
- Operating Pressure: 80 to 120 PSI
- Warranty: Exclusive 1 year full warranty on all parts, 5 years limited on housing and cap parts
- Price: $250 (501000)