Models We Tested
To see how the 18-gauge battery-powered brad nailers performed under adverse conditions, we drove hundreds of 2-in. brads into 2-1/4-in. solid oak. Then we tested in real-world conditions by nailing oak casing to an oak jamb. Here’s what we discovered:
RIDGID R09890K $298 This is a ruggedly built tool with the advantage of Ridgid’s lifetime warranty. We like the transparent magazine cover and the two styles of no-mar tips that Ridgid supplies so you can choose your favorite. MILWAUKEE 2741-21CT $399
From the sleek, compact body to the precision brad-depth adjuster, this tool has a highquality feel. Our only gripe is that the view of the tip is obscured by the jam-release lever. The nailer responds instantly and performed well in our testing. DEWALT DCN680D1 $299
This nailer appears to be nearly identical to the Bostitch. Both nailers drove 2-in. brads consistently into solid oak and worked perfectly in our testing. BOSTITCH BCN680D1 $299
This nailer has a flywheel-type drive system that revs up as soon as you press down on the tip, ensuring a quick response when you pull the trigger to drive the brad. The nailer has every feature you could want and performed flawlessly in our shop.
HITACHI NT1850DE $299
Weighing in at 7.65 lbs., this is the heaviest tool of the lot. The nailer performed well in our testing and would be a good choice if you have other Hitachi tools to share batteries with. Our only complaint is the depth adjustment, which is hard to turn and disconnects from the safety tip if you turn the adjuster too far. PCC790LA $190 We like the weight and balance of this nailer. And it drives brads consistently without problems. The only downside is the lack of a dry-fire lockout to prevent firing when there are no nails in the magazine. SENCO FUSION F-18 6E0001N $309 Senco uses a sealed cylinder in conjunction with a motor to drive the brads. This results in good power and almost instantaneous response. We like the balance and feel of this tool. MAKITA XNB01Z $378
We like how easy it is to see the tip, aiding in accurate brad placement. But the shape of this nailer gives it a back-heavy feel that we found uncomfortable. This is the only gun that requires a tool to take apart the nose to clear jams. PASLODE IM200Li $329
This brad nailer is in a class of its own. The gas-fuel technology is sort of old-school, but it’s tried and true. In our test, this tool was the lightest (4.7 lbs.) and felt the most comfortable. If you’re willing to shoulder the additional cost of fuel canisters and put up with the faint smell of exhaust, put this gun at the top of your list. RYOBI P320-P128 $188
This model performed well and has all the features of more expensive nailers. The unique adjustable air pressure could be handy for fine-tuning brad depth. It uses Ryobi’s One+ battery— great if you own other tools using the same battery platform.