Since reviewing the Hitachi’s 8-gallon gas-powered wheelbarrow air compressor, I felt a heavy desire to hook it up to and review the new Hitachi 2-1/2-Inch Coil Siding Nailer immediately afterward. Testing all these great tools is a tough job, but someone has to do it! This nailer is among a fleet of new tools Hitachi recently introduced, many of which have been favorably reviewed, so I had high expectations. I also had a house to build, so it was imperative to have a reliable nailer.
This 70-120 PSI gun is compact and light at 4.8 pounds (empty) and I could tell right away that it would be a welcome change from the bigger, heavier framing nailer that I often use for siding. Its side-loading magazine accepts up to three hundred 1-1/2 to 2-1/2-inch collated nails from 0.9 to 0.099-inch diameter and features a plastic shield to protected the user from the spent collation wire that sometimes flies off during the drive.
Other features that stood out immediately were sequential (single action) or contact (bump fire) switch, the tool-free depth of drive adjustment which has become standard, an adjustable exhaust deflector, and a comfortable rubber grip overmold. It was all quite promising except for the 3/8-inch air inlet: it wasn’t a swivel connection, which would have been a nice touch.
All Coiled Up
Coil Siding Nailer Vs Coil Roofing Nailer
You may wonder if there’s really any difference between a coil roofing nailer and a coil siding nailer since they appear so similar. It’s easy to find internet discussion forums discussing their potential interchangeability. A roofing nailer accepts nails for fastening some types of siding and house wraps where a short, smooth shank and a bigger head is appropriate, but the opposite isn’t true – the Hitachi 2-1/2-Inch Coil Siding Nailer won’t run roofing nails. Then again, a roofing nailer certainly can’t accommodate nails as long as the Hitachi NV65AH2. The bottom line is that a siding nailer’s coil affords you the high nail capacity of a roofing nailer with the ability to accommodate longer nails.
The Hitachi NV65AH2 magazine is transparent plastic – a nice touch because you can easily get a sense for how many nails remain on the coil. When the magazine is open, the coil holder “leans” out slightly to accept the coil of nails – it’s all very easy and it works well. The problem is that the whole assembly feels flimsy. It didn’t break but neither did it inspire confidence. I must say that I’ve had other Hitachi guns with a similar part and they didn’t fail, either. Still, it seems almost too delicate for the job site. Time will tell.
The Hitachi 2-1/2-Inch Coil Siding Nailer performed admirably as the house we were building came together. I didn’t have misfires. Its weight and size made it much more maneuverable than its framing counterpart would have been. It’s easy to choose this nailer over a framer for all but the longest nails. If the task at hand calls for the 1-1/2 to 2-1/2-inch nails, I heartily recommend reaching for the Hitachi NV65AH2 over a framer.
But it’s not only the size and weight that make this gun attractive. A simple switch makes is easy to change the actuation from sequential (single fire) to contact (bump fire) nailing. The rubber overmold grip is comfortable, the exhaust deflector keeps the bursts of air out of your face, and the depth of drive adjustment is easy to use. Pros often find themselves adjusting the pressure on the compressor to adjust depth on older guns, but there’s no need when you can do it on the tool itself.
Bump fire actuation requires an extra measure of caution – as long as the trigger is pulled, a nail will shoot when the nose is depressed. Be sure to know what actuation mode you’ve selected.
Room for Improvement
As I mentioned in my first impressions, the 3/8-inch air inlet doesn’t swivel. Including a ball swivel connector is something I’d like to see become standard. From a retail standpoint, it’s an extra $5 over a fixed connector. On the other hand, some nail guns still ship with no connector.
Another omission – there’s no hook for tool belt or ladder. It does assuage my disappointment slightly that the gun includes safety glasses a no-mar nose cap, but honestly, I’d rather have the swivel inlet and hook! You can see from the pictures that the tool body isn’t protected by no-mar pads, which is especially curious given that there’s no belt hook. You have to lay it down rather than hanging it from a ladder or belt, but then there’s nothing to cushion it.
The Bottom Line
The Hitachi 2-1/2-Inch Coil Siding Nailer proved itself to be an excellent tool based on its size, weight, and reliable performance. It includes many features that improve safety and ease of use such as the plastic shield, the actuation switch, the exhaust deflector, and the depth of drive adjustment.
It fills a need in the nailer space because coil roofing nailers can’t accommodate nails as long as the Hitachi NV65AH2 can, but it’s also smaller and lighter than the framing nailers that many Pros use for siding. Its coil magazine means that it has nail capacity that far outstrips a framing nailer and that results in more time working and less time spent reloading.
I’d like to see a swivel connector and belt hook along with no-mar overmold on the tool body added to future models. At $349, the Hitachi is already a great gun that I heartily recommend. However, the addition of those features would help bring a more fully-featured product to match the premium price and outstanding performance.
Hitachi 2-1/2-Inch Coil Siding Nailer Features
- Selective actuation switch allows for either sequential or contact nailing
- Side-load, tilt-bottom magazine
- Tool-less depth of drive adjustment
- Drives wire and plastic sheet collated nails
- Adjustable air deflector
- No-mar nose cap attachment
- Plastic shield that deflects wire collation
- Rubber grip overmold
Hitachi 2-1/2-Inch Coil Siding Nailer Specifications
- Model: Hitachi NV65AH2
- Price: $349
- Dimensions: 11-27/64-inch long x 5-3/64-inch wide x 11-3/16-inch high
- Weight: 4.8 pounds
- Collation: Coil, Wire/Plastic Sheet
- Magazine angle: 16-Degrees (wire), 15-Degrees (plastic)
- Fastener capacity length: 1-1/2- to 2-1/2-inch
- Fastener diameter range: 0.9 to 0.099
- Magazine capacity: 200-300
- Magazine loading: Side
- Air inlet: 3/8-inch
- Operating pressure 70-120 PSI
- Actuation: Contact or Sequential
- Depth of drive: Tool-free
- Warranty: 5 years