6 Best Cordless Framing Nailers in 2020

Last updated: September 12, 2020
Published 4:51 pm

Metabo NR1890DR HPT Cordless Framing Nailer Kit

Paslode Cordless XP Framing Nailer 905600

Dewalt DCN692B 20V Max Cordless

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Best Cordless Framing Nailers Review

Nail guns are a category of machine tools that are used to drive nails into building materials for the purposes of holding parts of structures in place. They have become quite popular across the years because of the ease they bring to construction work. Both professionals and amateurs looking to carry out building projects can benefit greatly from having these handy companions around for easy construction.

This article seeks to shed light on the more intricate details of what buyers and users should look out for and prioritize as they forge bravely into the world of framing and building tools in general.

First, a solid introduction to what framing nailers are is necessary. It is vital that readers have a good grasp of what constitutes any device that is marketed as a framing nailer. A nailer is essentially a type of tool that drives nails into wood and other types of materials for the purposes of holding parts in place.

It is powered by either compressed air passed through a cord, by a battery, or by flammable gases stored in a chamber that is part of the nailer’s body. The emergence of the nailer or nail guns, as they are often called has seen the hammer undergo less application as it is a more efficient and powerful option.

The focus of this article is on the second category of nailers, that is those that do not require a cord for their operations. Cordless nailers can be broadly categorized as either battery-driven or fuel-driven. A battery-driven nailer has its power stored inside a rechargeable, lithium-ion battery that has seen better optimization for a longer runtime in the years leading up to now.

They come, of course, in different battery sizes which are what we aim to show with the list we have curated below. While some categories have batteries that are good enough to be used in one go, others require having an extra battery on hand while working.

The other type of cordless framing nailer is the fuel-driven framing nailer. The fuel framing nailer uses the combustion or explosive force of burning gases in a chamber to drive the nail. They have the added benefit of extra power at the expense of having to regularly service mechanical parts such as fuel canisters and sparked plugs. They also often require a battery for start-up and extra power.

Another important factor that is germane in the operation and therefore, the buying of nailers is the trigger method during application. A trigger method simply means how the nails are launched into the structures during use.

The two most popular trigger methods are the contact trigger and the sequential trigger. A contact trigger’s mechanism is controlled such that as far as it is kept engaged, a nail will be released from the nailer every time the tip of the nail is depressed on a surface. A sequential trigger requires first placing the nailer tip on a surface, and then the trigger is engaged, and this has to be done each time.

Other factors that dictate what type of nailer to buy include wood type, the quantity of work to be done, depth of nail being used in the wok, the need for speed in the work to be done, and regularity of usage. Each of these factors is fully covered in the list that has been curated and explained below.

The Six Best Cordless Framing Nailers Are Reviewed Below

Due to the variety of cordless framing nailers present in the market, this list has been put together after extensive research to make the process of selecting and understanding the best nailers easier. The most essential factors that affect the selection have been considered, and this list has been made with these factors in mind.

1

Metabo NR1890DR HPT Cordless Framing Nailer Kit

The NR1890DR 18V Cordless Nailer extends most of the capacities that are associated with regular cordless framing nailers. This nailer cuts away the more cumbersome and heavier attachments that come with regular cordless variants like compressors, hoses, and gas cartridges. The absence of the need for these parts ensures that users do not have to cope with loudness from the compressors and dirt trapped within hoses.

The Metabo is, in fact, air pressure cordless framing nailer powered by a compact Lithium-Ion battery, so it comes with the power that is associated with pneumatic nailers. It uses compressed air that is sealed within chambers to push the nails into surfaces. This leads to faster delivery and almost no loading time lost during operation. Up to 2 nails can be delivered per second.

The Metabo has brushless motors. This provides the benefit of extending run time after each charge. It also makes the mechanical motors easier to maintain, leading to longer-lasting life. The Lithium-Ion battery that powers it has reduced dimensions that make for more portability. The reduced dimensions involve a ¾ reduction in height and 0.6 lbs reduction in weight relative to a normal 3.0 Ah battery.

Additionally, it has features such as drive adjustment that controls how much force is behind each nail drive. It also has an automatic 30 seconds controlled switch located on the control panel. It must be pressed down for 1 second for activation of the nailer. Other features include a comfortable grip that is soft enough to be continually handled, a safety system that makes sure nailers do not drive when fasteners are lowered, a lock trigger for placing the nailer in lock mode when not in use.

Lastly, it has a transition system for switching between sequential mode and contact mode. This can help to dictate how fast operations can be done. Lastly, the tip of the claw is hardened to protect against wear and reduce slippage that may happen when the nails are placed in a hurry or at awkward angles.

Key Features:

  • Brushless Motor
  • 3.0Ah Lithium-Ion battery
  • Powerful Spring Drive
  • 400 drive nails per charge
  • Firing Mode selector
  • 21 degree holds for magazine

Specification:

  • Brand: Metabo
  • Model: NR1890DR HPT
Pros
  • Can be easily serviced
  • Hardened claw tip reduces wear and slippage
  • High powered battery for prolonged usage
  • A high number of nails can be driven per charge
  • Ergonomically designed handle for comfortable usage
  • Fire Lockout system for safe use
  • Removes need to deal with clogged air hoses and compressors
  • Sequential and Contact Mode Transition system
  • Power-saving sleep mode during inactivity
Cons
  • No tool-free clearing option for cases of jam
  • Slightly heavier than other cordless nailers of the same size

2

Paslode Cordless XP Framing Nailer 905600

The Paslode Cordless Framing Nailer was one of the first cordless framing nailers to be available in the market. Its drive is powered by the ignition of a gas from a cartridge. A low capacity lithium-ion battery kickstarts this ignition process. This supplied energy leads to an ignition that generates enough force to push nails into surfaces of different textures, mostly wooden.

The Paslode is a non-pneumatic nailer designed to give high drive regardless. It has a chamber in which gas fuels are fed to supply all the power needed for high performance. This offers the benefit of not having to deal with disadvantages that come with using an air compressor such as distance restrictions, immobile air hose fluid flow during low temperatures, and clogged pipes.

It comes with a 7V Li-ion battery that gives a higher time of usage, which has been estimated to be 50% higher than similar models in this class. This one-time charge can guarantee as high as 9,000 nails delivery per charge. It also comes with as high as a 15% increase in drive power compared to previous Paslode models.

Other key features include an ergonomically designed grip, a surprisingly lightweight design given the bulky size of the nailer’s chamber, and a high drive power that is comparable with most pneumatic models out there. It also has a good system for controlling recoil that happens each time a nail is ejected. Although it trades off a hose system for a limited supply of nails, it still has a reasonably sized magazine capacity.

Lastly, it has a few downsides, such as a lower precision rate, gas smell discharge during use, and the lack of a bump or contact mode of use. However, all these are made up for by the upsides that have been discussed above.

Key Features:

  • Low Powered Lithium Battery
  • Gas Powered Drive System
  • Up to 9000 nails per battery charge
  • Lightweight design
  • Ergonomic grip
  • High Powered Drive

Specification:

  • Brand: Paslode
  • Model: Cordless XP 905600
Pros
  • Absence of hose of compressor improves flexible usage
  • Toenail provides great grip
  • Recoil control makes for better safety
  • Provides pneumatic level firing power
  • Light design improves usability
Cons
  • The added cost of gas cartridges incurred
  • Exhaust smell is discharged during use
  • Absence of a contact (or bump firing) mode
  • Lack of hose means delivery of nails is limited

3

Dewalt DCN692B 20V Max Cordless

Framing nailer technology really peaked with the make of the Dewalt Framing Nailers. The DCN 692 is a later variant of the original and first manufactured 690. It comes packed with the needed power that a nailer must possess to be called a framing nailer. With a brushless motor design being fueled by a lithium-ion, it supplies performance that we could only dream of years ago.

Even at low-speed settings, the Dewalt 692 is able to easily drive nails into softer pieces of wood very easily. Harder wood surfaces may require setting to the high-speed mode. This is where the speed setting mode system versatility really shines forth. Another area of performance that really impressed was the runtime. Even on just a 20V battery, the Dewalt is able to fire as much as 500 nails. This is really impressive for a battery-driven device of this nature. It may be however beneficial to have an extra battery on hand just in case.

Starring amongst its list of standout qualities is the inclusion of a firing mode system. As we discussed earlier, the two modes have advantages that the others may not possess. The addition of both a sequential mode and a bump mode here increases versatile usage. Other important features are the jam clearing and the drive depth adjustment. The jam clearing enables easy resetting and freeing of the nail delivery system in the case of a jam. The driving depth adjustment system is a wheel that guides how deep a drive is going to be.

Lesser popular features are the extra weight of this device. At over 9 pounds, the Dewalt 692 is not one of the lightest nailers you can find around. This can lead to more fatigue during use. There is also the issue of lower speed usage associated with a lower nail capacity of about 50 nails. This means stopping to reload every now and then.

Overall, this framing nailer will be enjoyed more thoroughly for less professional uses in which long operational periods are not a necessity in use. At a reasonable price, this nailer is definitely a good use of money.

Key Features:

  • Brushless motor design
  • Dual Mode Operation system
  • Dual Speed system setting
  • 20Volts Battery Capacity

Specification:

  • Brand: Dewalt
  • Model: DCN692
Pros
  • Lack of a cord connection makes for flexible usage
  • Sequential and Bump Mode available
  • High and Low-speed setting for better nail application
  • Drive depth adjustment for better optimization
  • Jam Clearing reset system makes for easier use
Cons
  • Battery capacity if 20V limits use time
  • The firing mode switch is stiff to turn
  • Speed of use is lower than pneumatic corded types
  • Nail delivered per charge is on the low side

4

Hitachi NR1890DR 18V Cordless Framing Nailer

The Hitachi NR1890DR has been regularly described as one of the truest replacements for a full pneumatic drive nailer system. The drudgery associated with setting up a compressor and connecting a hose to a nailer has seen many users turn to this powerful device. This device truly combines the portability of gas-powered framing nailers with the optimized performance that comes with pneumatic nailers.

The Hitachi NR1890DR is a new model cordless framing nailer capable of firing 2″ to 3½” of nails or clips of different nail heads. It is an electric-powered nailer that uses a battery to kick start a brushless motor driving a piston system for air compression and mechanical energy generation. Using a 3.0Ah battery, it mirrors the pneumatic level force of popular external air compressor nailer drive systems.

It has the standard features we have talked about in earlier products in this buying guide. First on this list is a depth of drive adjustment that can be set for different wood densities and surfaces. Another feature that is present here is the automatic power-off safety device that ensures that the device will be powered off after it has not been in use for 30 minutes. It also has a dry-fire lockout system that ensures the device does not fire when there is no longer a loaded nail in the system.

Other features that are super important are the trigger lock and increased run time on a battery. Although few missing features like the jam clearance system is an issue here, it has overall higher merit to demerit grading. Even though it has been reportedly discontinued for manufacturing, for now, it continues to be sold on most online stores.

Key Features:

  • Brushless Motor compressed air-drive
  • 3.0Ah Lithium-Ion battery
  • Automatic shut down mode
  • Over 350 nails drive per charge
  • Up to 2 nails driven per second

Specification:

  • Brand: Hitachi
  • Model: NR1890DR
Pros
  • Increased nail number per charge
  • Handle designed for easier and better grip
  • Inability mode ensures more safety
  • Dry-fire lockout system improves safe usage
Cons
  • No clearance reset in cases of jam
  • Has a weight greater than other nailers
  • Has been reportedly discontinued by manufacturers

5

Ryobi P320 Airstrike 18 Volt Cordless Nailer

When it comes to handy tools that every homeowner must-have, the Ryobi comes as close to a necessity as ever. The simple and adaptable design of this Brad Nailer (as it is also called) helps to evade the cumbersome setting up process of the more complex compressor powered nailer of this type. The absence of a cord simply gives it elegance. The Ryobi is a top of the line product in the amount of power it can give while doing other minor things that most cordless nailers miss out.

The Ryobi Cordless nailer comes out of the box with a pack of 500 nails that have a size of about 1 to 1¼ inches in size nails. It is powered by a massive 4Ah, 18V battery that is simply the top of its class. This ensures that at least 1700 nails can be discharged per charge. This high performance is simply one of the best we have on this shortlist.

In addition, the Ryobi cordless nailer has dual modes that have sequential and contact selectable methods that allow users the choice of delivery method. The contact delivery mode enables higher speed allowing up to 60 nails delivery per minute. Also, the device has a depth-of-drive adjustment that selects a desirable nail drive. A rare addition it has is LED lights to enhance visibility under low light conditions.

The Ryobi cordless nailer is a versatile tool that is able to do many things at once. It also enables tool-less jam release and dry-fire lockout, guaranteeing more safety of usage. The standard rubber handle also gives a very comfortable grip making sure users can hold the device for long periods of time.

Overall, the Ryobi offers almost all the advantages of most nailers around without their demerits. Minor inclusions like a low nail warning are also additions that make this device simply stand out. It also has knobs for adjustment of the amount of air pressure being supplied behind each nail. The only downside we have seen so far is the battery has to be purchased separately. This is simply one of the best devices you can find at this level.

Key Features:

  • 4Ah 18V battery
  • Cordless design
  • Up to 1700 nails per charge
  • Low nail indicator warning
  • LED design

Specification:

  • Brand: Ryobi
  • Model: P320 Airstrike
Pros
  • Can supply as high as 1700 nails per charge
  • Has safety features like jam release and dry-fire lockout
  • Has LED for increasing visibility
  • Low nail warning to inform users to reload
  • Multiple modes ensure versatility
Cons
  • The battery is sold separately
  • It can feel a little weighty when held for long

6

Milwaukee 2458-20 M12 12-Volt Palm Nailer

The Milwaukee 2458-20 M12 is an ultra-compact framing nailer that is quite distinctive because of its small size compared to other framing nailers. Compared to other more sophisticated pieces of machinery on this list, this device seems closer to manual hammers. For this reason and its attendant lack of compressor hoses and pipes, it is handy enough to fit into tight spots to do versatile work. Its compact size offers a level of flexibility that others simply do not possess.

The Milwaukee has a rubber-on-glass body that is reinforced to guide against shocks that may come from recoil. It also has a 12V battery pack that requires a battery for power. It also has a safety shroud that is similar to those of conventional cord connected pneumatic devices.

Chief amongst its features is a drive system that can deliver up to 2.2 ft-lbs of mechanical force using the contact or bump delivery method. Although it was one of the earliest versions of nail drivers, its compact and tough design continually shines forth. It also has a built-in LED light for increased visibility.

It must be stated that this is an older model nail driver. However, it has been featured here because of its popularity amongst homeowners who wanted a small, flexible tool that could achieve the work of a simple handheld hammer without all the mechanical exertion. While this may not possess all the qualities of more recent modes, its compact size and durability stand out.

Key Features:

  • Possesses a hand strap
  • Uses contact delivery method
  • Thick glass-reinforced covering
  • Compact size

Specification:

  • Brand: Milwaukee
  • Model: 2458-20 M12
Pros
  • Easy to use design
  • Durable outer covering
  • Compact size for flexible usage
  • It has LED light for usage in low light conditions
Cons
  • It is an older model
  • It does not have a dry-fire lock
  • It does not have jam clearance release
  • It does not have a drive depth adjustment

Buying Guide Questions

This guide contains frequently asked questions that homeowners and professionals alike ask pertaining to cordless framing nailers. Some of them deal with the best framing nailers, their manufacturers, sources of power, and so on. The answers are the result of adequate research derived from documented specifications and on-site testing experience.

Are cordless nail guns any good?

Nail guns are more modern, efficient, and reliable alternatives to hammers. They greatly improve productivity and speed. As far as driving nails into substrates as wood surfaces go, it does not get any better than nail guns. The most popular nail guns have traditionally been pneumatic nail guns, but it has the downsides of setting up a compressor and hoses.

Cordless nail guns pack all the efficiency of pneumatic nail guns and place them in nimble, versatile devices that can be used without having to worry about the connectivity between hoses and compressors. Cordless nail guns are definitely a good choice.

Who makes the best cordless framing nailer?

There are a few companies out there who make cordless framing nailers. The question of the best framing nailer in itself is subject to the usage needs of the buyer. The best qualities, in general, include durability, hardened tip, a high number of nail delivery per charge, and the availability of dual modes of delivery.

As far as these qualities go, the Metabo and Hitachi companies are notable for their incredible design. Recent Ryobi designs have also given these a good run for their money.

What is the best battery powered nail gun?

The best battery powered nail gun is a choice that will depend on what the user needs at the moment. It may also depend on budget needs, however, in terms of a wide range of usage and versatility.

The Metabo NR1890DR, Hitachi NR1890DR, and Ryobi P320 Airstrike are top contenders in terms of their ability to deliver a lot of nails per charge. They also have a lot of stand out features that have been widely discussed in our Best Cordless Framing Nailer review.

Is Milwaukee coming out with a cordless framing nailer?

The Milwaukee company has a few variants of cordless framing nailer with the most popular being the Milwaukee 2458-20 M12 12-Volt Palm Nailer that has been around for a while now.

What is the best cordless finish nailer?

Cordless nailers come in different sizes and packing different power levels. The small distinction between a normal cordless nailer and the more specific needs of finishing equipment is quite subtle.

Using excessive amounts of drive power on thin nails that may frequently feature in finishing may pose problems hence one requirement is that a good finish nailer should have a drive depth adjustment in order to dictate how much force should be added for varying wood densities and nail sizes.

Which is better Paslode or Dewalt?

The biggest difference between the Paslode cordless framing nailers and the Dewalt cordless framing nailers is their power source and consequently, how much power they produce. While the Paslode is powered by gas cartridges that have to be continually refilled, the Dewalt uses batteries that can be charged.

The apparent cost advantage lies with the Dewalt, but the catch is that the Paslode is able to deliver higher amounts of power for a deeper drive. It is also able to last longer per gas cartridge compared to the Dewalt that needs regular charging of batteries. In summary, Paslode has a larger driving power and longer run time advantage but costs more to maintain and use.

Does Ryobi make a cordless framing nailer?

Yes, the Ryobi has a few variants of cordless framing nailers that have taken the market by storm. Chief amongst these is the Ryobi P320 Strike that packs a lot of power and a high number of nails per charge. Ryobi, known for its excellence, did not fail to deliver in this budging and growing area of cordless framing nailer design.

What is the best all-purpose cordless nail gun?

Nail guns are popular for the easy and more viable replacements they have become for handheld hammers. The choice for a truly multipurpose nail gun, however, is a matter that will have to depend on the ability of the nail gun to serve multiple uses such as being able to be adjusted for depth driving during use on different substrate kinds, for example, different wood types, thickness, and densities.

Another multipurpose application is that the cordless nail gun must be suited for both long term use and short-term use. There is also the matter of controlling how much speed the cordless nail gun is being applied.

The cordless framing nail guns that fit the most into this category are the Metabo NR1890DR, Hitachi NR1890DR and Ryobi P320 Airstrike. While these have a limited runtime hence a lower amount of nail delivery per charge compared to gas-powered alternatives, they have the advantage of being versatile in their delivery systems. The Ryobi P320, in particular, holds its own when it comes to delivering nails per charge and being able to switch between speed modes and firing modes.

What’s better 21 or 30-degree framing nailer?

The major difference between these two framing nailers is the access to tighter angles they offer. Another slight difference is how the nails are fastened together. The 21-degree framing nailer uses plastic strips that may scatter dangerously during nail firing while the 30-degree uses paper strips.

The question of which is better will be better addressed by what specific need you are facing. The 30 degree gives access to the tightest angles. They also scatter less during use and so may be more generally preferable. However, other application needs such as drive power and firing method must be checked as well

Is it better to use screws or nails

The choice between using screws or nails is one that is dependent on other factors such as what type of material they will be used on and the shapes and sizes of the pieces of wood to be joined (if the material is wood). The devices being used must also be considered.

There are many things to consider, but the summary is that nails work best when the device you have on hand is a hammer or a pneumatic, electric, and gas-fueled nailer while devices such as general screws and Phillips-head screw work for screws. In terms of work to be done, nails should be used more with tougher carpentry jobs that require larger fasteners such as roofing, plywood adjoining, and setting hardwood on floors.

Conclusion

From the use of general mechanical hammers to the arrival of popular fastening tools such as the Philips-head screw, the technology for cordless framing nailers suddenly sprouted to give us both power and compactness.

Cordless framing nailers have taken everything good about pneumatic compressor nailers and added flexibility to it. Searching for the best cordless framing nailer will no doubt be a daunting task hence this article has attempted to tackle the merits and demerits of these devices, therefore, giving you everything you need to confidently take the market by storm.