Best Framing Nailer Shootout and Review: Pneumatic and Cordless Framing Tool Reviews

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Best Framing Nailer Final Results

Bostitch 20V MAX 30 Degree Paper Tape Cordless Framing Nailer Kit

Best Framing Nailer Shootout and Review: Pneumatic and Cordless

  • Model: Bostitch BCF30PTM1
  • Power Source: Bostitch 20V Max battery
  • Nail Length Range: 2″ to 3-1/2″
  • Nail Size: .113″ to .131″
  • Magazine Angle: 30°
  • Magazine Capacity:
  • Dry Fire Lockout: Yes, with 9 nails remaining
  • Operating Pressure: NA
  • Selectable Trigger: Yes, standard switch
  • Exhaust: Not adjustable
  • Weight: 9.43 lbs. with battery
  • Length: 14″
  • Width: 4″
  • Height: 13-3/8 “
  • Warranty: 3 years limited
  • Price: $329.99

14th place, 78.7  points

Pros

  • No hose or gas cartridge to worry about
  • Compact size gets into tight spaces
  • Easy depth adjustment
  • Excellent toenailer
  • Good recoil control
  • Tool-free mode change

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Expensive
  • Motor windup causes firing delay
  • Has trouble in tougher materials
  • Low magazine capacity

Final Verdict

As a near clone of the DeWalt 20V Max model, the Bostitch 20V Max framing nailer is a good fit for punch lists and remodeling work where you’ll only be working with new softwoods. The weight, firing delay, and lack of full pneumatic power prevent it from being a primary framing nailer.

DeWalt 20V MAX Cordless 30° Paper Collated Framing Nailer Kit

Best Framing Nailer Shootout and Review: Pneumatic and Cordless

  • Model: DeWalt DCN692M1
  • Power Source: DeWalt 20V Max battery
  • Nail Length Range: 2″ to 3-1/2″
  • Nail Size: .113″ to .131″
  • Magazine Angle: 30°
  • Magazine Capacity: 55
  • Dry Fire Lockout: Yes, with 9 nails remaining
  • Operating Pressure: NA
  • Selectable Trigger: Yes, standard switch
  • Exhaust: Not adjustable
  • Weight: 9.34 lbs. with battery
  • Length: 13-1/4″
  • Width: 4″
  • Height: 13-1/2″
  • Warranty: 3 years limited

13th place, 78.9  points

Pros

  • No hose or gas cartridge to worry about
  • Compact size gets into tight spaces
  • Easy depth adjustment
  • Excellent toenailer
  • Good recoil control
  • Tool-free mode change

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Expensive
  • Motor windup causes firing delay
  • Has trouble in tougher materials
  • Low magazine capacity

Final Verdict

The DeWalt 20V Max framing nailer has been out for a while now and it’s time to look at upgrading this barrier breaker. It’s a good fit for punch lists and remodeling work where you’ll be working with new SPF. The weight, firing delay, and lack of full pneumatic power hold it back from being a primary framing nailer.

Hitachi 18V Brushless Framing Nailer

Best Framing Nailer Shootout and Review: Pneumatic and Cordless

  • Model: Hitachi NR1890DR
  • Power Source: Hitachi 18V battery
  • Nail Length Range: 2″ – 3-1/2″
  • Nail Size: .113″ – .131″
  • Magazine Angle: 21°
  • Magazine Capacity: 37
  • Dry Fire Lockout: Yes, 5 nails remaining
  • Operating Pressure: NA
  • Selectable Trigger: Yes, electronic
  • Exhaust: Not adjustable
  • Weight: 10.14 lbs. with battery
  • Length: 13-3/8″
  • Width: 4-5/8″
  • Height: 14-1/8″
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • Price: $470.29

12th place, 80.9  points

Pros

  • As powerful as pneumatic models
  • No firing delay
  • Very good toenailer
  • Easy depth adjustment
  • Power button and lockout switch for safety
  • Nose design offers excellent visibility
  • Electronic mode change

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Huge hook gets in the way
  • Intermittent feeding issues with plastic collated nails
  • Magazine slide is a little sluggish
  • Expensive
  • Low magazine capacity
  • Very front-heavy balance

Final Verdict

Hitachi makes an excellent run as the best option for a battery-only framing nailer. It solves the issue of firing delay and has enough power to keep up with pneumatics pretty easily. It’s 10-pound+ weight makes it tough to use all day. The massive rafter hook gets in the way and the electronic controls are very difficult to operate with gloves on. Combined with low magazine capacity, it’s going to be best for small jobs even though it has the muscle of a primary framing nailer.

Hitachi 3-1/4″ Round Head Framing Nailer

Best Framing Nailer Shootout and Review: Pneumatic and Cordless

  • Model: Hitachi NR83A5
  • Power Source: Compressed air
  • Nail Length Range: 2″ – 3-1/4″
  • Nail Size: .113″ – .131″
  • Magazine Angle: 21°
  • Magazine Capacity: 64 -70
  • Dry Fire Lockout: No
  • Operating Pressure: 70 – 120 psi
  • Selectable Trigger: Yes, tool-free
  • Exhaust: Not adjustable
  • Weight: 9.08 lbs.
  • Length: 21-3/16″
  • Width: 3-7/8″
  • Height: 13-3/8″
  • Warranty: 5 years

11th place, 81.1 points

Pros

  • Good depth adjustment
  • Tool-free mode change
  • Excellent visibility around nose

Cons

  • Rafter hook is fixed, but removable
  • No dry fire lockout
  • Magazine base can use some protection
  • Heavy
  • Most expensive pneumatic framing nailer tested

Final Verdict

With a heavy weight and average performance, our team feels underwhelmed with this $329 framing nailer. The build quality is definitely there, but you might want to consider spending a little more to move up to the NR90AC5 ($393.17).

Paslode Cordless XP Framing Nailer

Best Framing Nailer Shootout and Review: Pneumatic and Cordless

  • Model: Paslode CF325XP
  • Power Source: Battery
  • Nail Length Range: 2″ – 3-1/4″
  • Nail Size: .113 – .131″ in shank diameters
  • Magazine Angle: 30°
  • Magazine Capacity: 1 Strip
  • Dry Fire Lockout: Yes, with 5 nails remaining
  • Operating Pressure: NA
  • Selectable Trigger: No
  • Exhaust: Not Adjustable
  • Weight: 7.36 lbs. with battery and gas cartridge
  • Length: 12″
  • Width: 4″
  • Height: 14-1/2″
  • Warranty: 5 Years Limited Warranty
  • Price: $348.98

10th place, 83.2  points

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • No hose
  • Fires as powerfully as any pneumatic framing nailer
  • Excellent toenailer
  • Outstanding recoil control

Cons

  • Somewhat expensive
  • Requires a battery and gas cartridge
  • Some users dislike the gas exhaust smell
  • No bump fire mode
  • Low magazine capacity

Final Verdict

The Paslode Cordless XP framing nailer is the most capable cordless option available with its combination of performance and light weight. What holds it back is a low magazine capacity and lack of a bump fire option. If Paslode decided to upgrade those two areas, this would be a serious primary framing nailer option. As it stands, it’s the best cordless option available, but needs gas cartridges and is still going to be best for smaller jobs.

DeWalt 21° Plastic Round Head Framing Nailer

Best Framing Nailer Shootout and Review: Pneumatic and Cordless

 

  • 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: $199.00

9th place, 85.2  points

Pros

  • Less than $200
  • 7-year warranty
  • Lightweight
  • Good toenailer
  • Good visibility around nose
  • Metal back cap
  • Tool-free mode change

Cons

  • Depth adjustment wheel is difficult to turn
  • No dry fire lockout

Final Verdict

The DeWalt DWF83PL doesn’t have a ton of complaints to go along with it. The nose barb is a little small for toenailing, but it’s still effective. The biggest issue is that the detent on the depth wheel is very tough to overcome – to the point that I finally grabbed a pair of pliers to help. Otherwise, this model is very reminiscent of the older Hitachi NR90 (Check on Amazon), and that’s a compliment.

Senco FramePro 325FRHXP

Best Framing Nailer Shootout and Review: Pneumatic and Cordless

  • Model: Senco 4H0101N
  • Power Source: Compressed air
  • Nail Length Range:  2″ – 3-1/4″
  • Nail Size: 0.113″ – 0.131″
  • Magazine Angle: 20°
  • Magazine Capacity: 64
  • Dry Fire Lockout: No
  • Operating Pressure: 70 – 120 psi
  • Selectable Trigger: Yes
  • Exhaust: Not adjustable
  • Weight: 8.05 lbs.
  • Length: 20-1/4″
  • Width: 4-1/2″
  • Height: 12-1/4″”
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • Price: $297.88

8th place, 85.3  points

Pros

  • Easy depth adjustment
  • Tool-free mode change
  • Good toenailer
  • Excellent visibility around nose
  • Less than $200
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • No dry fire lockout
  • Most recoil in our testing

Final Verdict

Senco hits hard with the FramePro 325FRHXP and while the recoil may have an effect on some users, this is still an excellent choice. With a sub-$200 price point and reasonably light weight, the only real negatives are the lack of a dry fire lockout and more recoil than we felt in the other models.

Paslode PowerMaster Plus F-350S

Best Framing Nailer Shootout and Review: Pneumatic and Cordless

  • Model: Paslode F-350S
  • Power Source: Compressed air
  • Nail Length Range: 2″-3.5″ in length
  • Nail Size: .113″ to .131″ shank diameters
  • Magazine Angle: 30°
  • Magazine Capacity: 2 strips (up to 84)
  • Dry Fire Lockout: No
  • Operating Pressure: 90 – 120 (5.5 – 8.3)
  • Selectable Trigger: Yes, must change trigger
  • Exhaust: Adjustable
  • Weight: 8.41 lbs.
  • Length: 19-3/8″
  • Width: 4-7/8″
  • Height: 13-3/8″
  • Warranty: 5 years limited on housing and cap parts

7th place, 86.8  points

Pros

  • Excellent driving strength
  • Outstanding toenailer
  • Good visibility around nose
  • Outstanding recoil control

Cons

  • Hex wrench required for depth adjustment
  • Trigger change required for mode change
  • No dry fire lockout

Final Verdict

Unfortunately for Paslode, the two areas that are an issue are pretty big obstacles for our testing team. Using a hex wrench to adjust the depth and having to swap triggers to change modes caused our testing to get a rating of PG-13 for language. Aside from those points and no dry fire lockout, the rest of the nailer is solid. Despite a somewhat higher price, the F-350S still gets a decent value rating. While this nailer will get the job done, you might also take a look at the Paslode PowerMaster Pro.

Makita 3‑1/2″ Framing Nailer, 21° Full Round Head

  • Model: Makita AN923
  • Power Source: Compressed air
  • Nail Length Range: 2″ – 3-1/2″
  • Nail Size: .113″ – .162″
  • Magazine Angle: 21°
  • Magazine Capacity: 74
  • Dry Fire Lockout: Yes
  • Operating Pressure: 65 – 120 psi
  • Selectable Trigger: Yes, flipper switch
  • Exhaust: Adjustable
  • Weight: 9.26 lbs.
  • Length: 22″
  • Width: 4-1/4″
  • Height: 13-11/16″
  • Warranty: 3 years limited
  • Price: $279.00

6th place,  87.5 points

Pros

  • Accepts nails up to 0.162″
  • Easy depth adjustment
  • Easy tool-free mode change
  • Outstanding toenailer
  • Outstanding visibility around nose
  • Good recoil control

Cons

  • Heaviest pneumatic nailer tested

Final Verdict

Makita checks off nearly all the boxes with solid performance all around and a feature set that’s only lacking an adjustable exhaust. The major knock against the well-built AN923 is its weight. At 9.26 pounds, it’s the heaviest pneumatic framing nailer we tested. It’s also on the deeper side from tip to nose, which might be a slight irritation in tight spaces. The fact that this nailer has been around for over a decade and still ranks in the top 5 says something about its quality. Check out the Makita AN924 nailer as well, which shaves some weight ($199.00)

Bostitch Plastic Collated Framing Nailer

Best Framing Nailer Shootout and Review: Pneumatic and Cordless

  • Model: Bostitch F21PL2
  • Power Source: Compressed air
  • Nail Length Range: 2″ – 3 1/2″
  • Nail Size: .113″ to .131″
  • Magazine Angle: 21°
  • Magazine Capacity: 60
  • Dry Fire Lockout: No
  • Operating Pressure: 80 -120 psi
  • Selectable Trigger: No, trigger switch required
  • Exhaust: Adjustable
  • Weight: 8.8 lbs.
  • Length: 20-1/4″
  • Width: 4-3/8″
  • Height: 14-1/4″Warranty: 7 years limited
  • Price: $209.99

5th place, 87.8  points

Pros

  • Excellent toenailer
  • Good visibility around nose
  • Good recoil control
  • Less than $200
  • 7-year warranty

Cons

  • No dry fire lockout
  • 1/4″ air inlet is smaller than others and not included
  • Trigger switch required for mode change
  • Depth adjustment requires you to push or pull the nose while holding a button
  • Large head can get in the way

Final Verdict

Bostitch typically puts together a good nailer and the F21PL2 is no exception. With a sub-$200 price tag and 7-year warranty, it has excellent performance in our tests. There are a couple of points of concern, though. The biggest is requiring a trigger change for bump firing. The depth adjustment is more complex than a simple wheel, but you have to pull or push the nose, putting your hand at risk of an accidental firing. Granted, the risk is small, but it’s there. Bostitch also goes with the 1/4″ air inlet that’s more popular on finish nailers. They don’t include one in the kit, so be aware that you’ll need to pick one up. Despite all that, Bostitch’s performance overcomes those cons to give it a respectable 4th place finish.

Ridgid 21° 3-1/2″ Round-Head Framing Nailer

Best Framing Nailer Shootout and Review: Pneumatic and Cordless

  • Model: Ridgid R350RHF
  • Power Source: Compressed air
  • Nail Length Range: 2″-3.5″
  • Nail Size: .113″-.148″
  • Magazine Angle: 21°
  • Magazine Capacity: 60-70
  • Dry Fire Lockout: Yes, with 5 nails remaining
  • Operating Pressure: 70 – 120 PSI
  • Selectable Trigger: Yes, flipper switch
  • Exhaust: Not adjustable
  • Weight: 7.39 lbs.
  • Length: 21-1/8″
  • Width: 4-1/2″
  • Height: 13-3/4″
  • Warranty: Lifetime Service Agreement

4th place, 89.7  points

Pros

  • Easy depth adjustment
  • Lightweight
  • Excellent toenailer
  • Excellent visibility around nose
  • Accepts nails up to 0.148″
  • Less than $200
  • Tool-free mode change

Cons

  • No major weaknesses

Final Verdict

Ridgid’s R350RHF is one of the best framing nailers for all-around performance, features, and price. While it doesn’t top every category, there aren’t any major weaknesses our team found during testing. Among the highlights are its light weight, ability to use nails a little thicker than most of the group, and incredibly fast rate of fire (8 nails per second). If there’s a negative here, it’s that the head is on the large side and may get in the way if you’re working in small spaces or tight corners.

Estwing Pneumatic 21° Full Head Framing Nailer with Padded Bag

Best Framing Nailer Shootout and Review: Pneumatic and Cordless

  • 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: $171.88

3rd place, 92.1  points

Pros

  • Least expensive model tested
  • Easy depth adjustment
  • Excellent toenailer
  • Outstanding visibility around nose
  • Lightweight
  • Tool-free mode change

Cons

  • No major drawbacks

Final Verdict

This is our first rodeo with an Estwing nailer and we didn’t really know what to expect. However, this lightweight, $140 framing nailer puts on a good show with little disappointment in the performance department. The only thing we’re left with is to wonder how well it’s going to hold up over time compared to nailers that are $60 – $110 more expensive.

Hitachi NR90AE(S1) 3-1/2″ Framing Nailer

Hitachi NR90AE(S1) 3-1/2" Framing Nailer Review

  • Model: Hitachi NR90AES1 (Metabo HPT NR90AES1)
  • Power Source: Compressed air
  • Nail Length Range: 2″ to 3-1/2″
  • 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: 7.28 lbs.
  • Length: 2-3/4″
  • Width: 4-15/16″
  • Height: 12-11/16″
  • Warranty: 5 years

2nd place, 95.3 points

Pros

  • Lightest nailer tested
  • Easy depth adjustment
  • Outstanding driving power
  • Outstanding nose visibility
  • Very good toenailer
  • Very good recoil control
  • Accepts nails up to 0.148″
  • Tool-free mode change

Cons

  • No dry fire lockout
  • No hang hook

Final Verdict

If you need a nailer that’s all about great ergonomics and driving power without a ton of bells and whistles or the price tag that comes with them, you’re not likely to find a better bet than the Hitachi NR90AE(S1).

Milwaukee 3-1/2″ Full Round Head Framing Nailer

Best Framing Nailer Shootout and Review: Pneumatic and Cordless

  • Model: Milwaukee 7200-20
  • Power Source: Compressed air
  • Nail Length Range: 2″ to 3-1/2″
  • Nail Size: .113” to .148”
  • Magazine Angle: 20° to 22°
  • Magazine Capacity: 72
  • Dry Fire Lockout: Yes, with 5 nails remaining
  • Operating Pressure: 70-120 PSI
  • Selectable Trigger: Yes, flipper switch
  • Exhaust: Adjustable
  • Weight: 7.66 lbs.
  • Length: 21″
  • Width: 4-3/4″”
  • Height: 14″”
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • Price: $234.99

1st place, 96.4 points

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Easy depth adjustment
  • Outstanding driving power
  • Excellent toenailer
  • Very good recoil control
  • Accepts nails up to 0.148″
  • Tool-free mode change

Cons

  • Nail strips at the large end of the range can hang up in the magazine from time to time

Final Verdict

Milwaukee hasn’t done a ton of marketing around the 7200-20 framing nailer, making us wonder what we were getting into when it showed up. But from the first nails we fired, it’s been an eye-opening ride. The weight comes in under 8 pounds, the balance is good, and it will keep up with any other nailer in our shootout in driving strength and toenailing. It also happens to have the most complete feature set to go along with it. The one thing we came across in testing is that the larger nails sometimes hang up in the magazine and need some extra encouragement to seat properly. While we’d like to see them slide all the way down on their own, this minor hiccup doesn’t prevent the Milwaukee 3-1/2′ Full Round Framing Nailer from earning the title of PTR’s Best Framing Nailer.

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Boy Wonder
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Boy Wonder

Okay reality check on toenailing… Milwaukee 7200-20 NO (cant drive fastener completely) – Hitachi NR90AE(S1) NO (cant toe at all, the head is crap and gets no gription) – Ridgid R350RHF NO (cant drive fastener completely) – Bostitch F21PL2 YES (unfortunately the depth adjustment is crap and can only be used at full depth, [it will reset itself there at random], great for toenailing though

Rob Eggers
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Rob Eggers

Now throw out all nailers that won’t take 3 1/2″ .131.

Fox & Associates
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Fox & Associates

Why did you not include the Max framing nailer in the comparison test? Surely a worthwhile competitor?

Matt
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Matt

FYI, compare the old 2005 era Ridgid R350RH(a) to the Milwaukee and you’ll notice they are nearly identical

Danny A Shaw
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Danny A Shaw

I wonder why didn’t Milwaukee Cordless model make the list?