We already did a pretty thorough review of the Paslode 900600 Cordless 16-gauge Angled Finish Nailer last year. That was an excellent tool (still is) and it transformed, in my mind, the potential for what a finish nailer could be. Apparently, however, that was the dry run – regardless of how great a run it was. This year, Paslode released an update/replacement that has more than a few tweaks to the 900600. They’ve been listening to their users and we have to say, these tweaks – present in the new Paslode IM250A LI cordless 16-gauge angled finish nailer – really refine this tool into something special.
Paslode IM250A LI Cordless 16-gauge Angled Finish Nailer Features
We’re just going to start at the top and work our way down. Paslode modified or fiddled with just about every aspect of the tool, but let’s start with the grip. On the top of the handle is the same rubberized grip. The angle of the handle, however, is less steep, allowing your fingers to wrap more tightly around the handle and grasp the tool in a more ergonomic position. And using the tool with gloves is a whole lot easier thanks to a new, larger thumb wheel for setting the depth of drive. It turns a lot more easily than the old one and we found it to be extremely simple to “set and forget”.
Sight lines are improved as well, because Paslode more or less “flipped” the work contact probe so that it bends towards the inside of the tool. This means that when you attach the no-mar tip you can still look right down the tip of the tool and see the exact nail position.
Possibly the biggest advancement is the use of a 7.6V Lithium-ion battery pack that is fully half the size of the former NiCad pack. That is also where a lot of the weight savings came from (the new too weights just 4.5 lbs – a full 5% reduction in weight over the 900600. Since it’s Lithium-ion technology is also comes with some run-time advantages. Being a 7.6V product, the Paslode IM250A LI cordless 16-gauge angled finish nailer has about 50% more run-time than the former 6V NiCad product. What’s that translate into in terms of nails? About 6000 per charge vs. 4000. Even if you battery is completely dead, you can get up to an 80% charge after just 20 minutes on the charger. And, if you’re really desperate, you can get 200 shots in just 2 minutes. Since it’s Li-ion, there’s no memory effect either. The new battery also comes with a new feature as well. To completely avoid any “vampire drain” on the cells, Paslode included a secondary lock position that fully disconnects the battery, but continues to hold It securely in place and ready for use. Lest you forget the battery is engaged and active, a blinking green LED will flash incessantly at you from the right side of the handle.
The belt hook is now suitable for use on ladder rungs, having been increased from 2″ to 2-1/2″ in depth. It’s also completely reversible and no tools are needed to swap it from left-hang to right-hang.
Testing and Use
The actual use of the Paslode IM250A LI cordless 16-gauge angled finish nailer is really no different from its predecessor, save for the easier depth adjustment and, in our opinion, some better ergonomics. Loading the nails is from the back and the trim fuel loads quickly and easily, with the final seal being provided by the closing of the rear canister door. Paslode’s Trim Fuel packs continue to provide both universal valves, so you can use them with newer or legacy Paslode cordless nailing products. We actually prefer the newer “quicklode” format as it’s super-easy to operate and there are no misconnections possible.
We installed a new doorstop for an outdoor hot water heater shed and also some trim molding around a bathroom door. The tool ramps up fairly quickly, though it will be an unusual process for those not used to a cordless nailer. The battery engages the drive mechanism and the gas provides the power for the shot. As such, when you first pull the trigger you hear the drive mechanism start up with a whine. Once running, it’s simply a matter of pressing the work contact probe against the workpiece and then pulling the trigger – which produces a loud “pop!” as the nail is driven into the wood. It’s noisy, but beats a compressor any day. Here’s the thing users need to be aware of. In order to conserve battery power, the mechanism is only active for about 2 seconds when you pull the trigger. That means that if you don’t line up your tip and pull the trigger within two seconds of your first engagement (or the last nail fired) you need to start over (pull the trigger to re-activate the mechanism and re-set the work contact probe. Once you get working, this is a very natural process and not one that create any headaches for us – but if you don’t understand it, you can quickly think that the tool is misfiring or refusing to drive nails consistently. That’s simply not the case. We wouldn’t mind if Paslode gave an option to let the run-time extend a couple more seconds, but overall it wasn’t a big deal and during normal use we rarely had to reset the tool.
We fired a lot of sticks of nails through the Paslode IM250A LI cordless 16-gauge angled finish nailer, and it never once jammed on us or got held up. It has a distinct odor associated with it when you fire a bunch of nails in a row, but nothing that was overwhelming or offensive. In practical use, you could fire nails as quickly as you could reset the work contact probe into your workpiece – which is to say this tool is pretty quick. There is no bump-fire mechanism, but this is a finish nailer, not a framing nailer, so that wasn’t a surprise, nor a feature we really felt was necessary or even terribly advantageous.
The former NiCad model, the Paslode 900600, was an excellent tool, but the IM250A LI takes a good product and makes it great. We found the Paslode IM250A LI finish nailer to be very useful for trim jobs that benefited from not having to lug around a compressor, but the tool is so easy to use that it’s really become a favorite of ours on lots of smaller jobs. And, in particular, we found it extremely handy in areas where there wasn’t a ton of space. But really, this tool is simply easy to grab when you need it and, with the exception of jobs where you want to fire lots of nails in a small amount of time, it’s suitable – and desirable – for a wide range of uses.