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Thread: Are battery powered brad and finish nailers now better than the pneumatic ones?

  1. #1

    Are battery powered brad and finish nailers now better than the pneumatic ones?

    A friend came over with his Milwaukee battery powered pin nailer. It was used in the shop where I have piped compressed air, so not problem having an air supply. Still, nice to be free of the air hose. As for using air tools in a home (brad, finish etc.), that seems where battery powered would really shine. No more noisy compressor to lug around and hear. No more moving it to different locations to the air hose will reach and having long hoses in the way.

    Unless I am missing something, seems like this has not been discussed in the last several years, and perhaps people now have more experience with the newer tools. The friend who loves his Milwaukee pin nailer did not have any particular feedback for me on something like this:

    https://www.acehardware.com/departme...E&gclsrc=aw.ds

    I currently use the 18v Milwaukee batteries on my hydraulic driver, and so having the same brand would be nice. However, I am not married to the brand. My current brad and finish nailers are very old Sencos.

    Anyone make the switch and have feedback to offer?

  2. #2
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    Im on the hunt for one but would really prefer one from a brand that is part of the CAS. Tired of buying new battery systems, I have Festool and CAS (Metabo Germany and Mafell) as well as Milwaukee. Prebena (part of cas) makes a cordless nailer but a cordless Brad nailer. I haul a lot of stuff to job sites, so a universal battery system is appealing.

    One downside to the battery powered nailer is that it is significantly heavier than the air powered one, so for doing overhead work it’s not great.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  3. #3
    I used my Ryobi 18V 18 gauge brad nailer to put up most of the trim in my house. I used a 15 gauge pneumatic on the stools for windows and a 23 gauge pin nailer for the returns on the casing. But the crown and base and casing were put up with the Ryobi. I use a DeWalt 18 gauge brad nailer some volunteering at church. I do not see a lot of difference between them. They both work fine. I have a 18 gauge pneumatic and it is lighter but it just a lot handier to to grab a nailer and pop in some nails as opposed to dragging out a compressor. I have a quiet little Senco and a battery operated Ryobi and a older bigger Bostitch but if the 18 gauge is OK for the task I use it. On the other hand, as a hobbiest I can't justify getting all cordless nailers. Pneumatic are just a whole lot less expensive and also work fine. I have 16, 15, 23, several staplers, a flooring nailer, and a framing nailer that are pneumatic. They all get used occasionally but the 18 gauge brad nailer gets used the most. The holes it makes in trim are easier to fill than the 16 or 15 gauge nailers and the pull out strength is a lot better than the 23 gauge. But they all have their place.

    I do not see a functional benefit in terms of driving the nails between a pneumatic and a cordless. The big factors are price versus how handy they are. Weight of the cordless is far higher but it's never been a big issue for me, even doing crown. It's heavier but not to heavy to hang off my belt until I am ready for it and it doesn't feel heavy driving the brads. Dealing with a compressor and it's hose are more annoying than the weight.

  4. #4
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    Battery operated is quickly becoming the norm in the construction world, for sure. For in-shop, I think there are trade-offs, including the weight as mentioned and being tied to "someone's" battery system. Your need "might" not be able to be satisfied with one brand, depending on what they are since the options are not necessarily complete yet. For in-shop use, I honestly feel pneumatic is more cost effective still, but that might change over time. It is indeed nice to be "tail-less" when doing things, however. For example, I hate my screw gun which is corded and used my Festool CXS with a "Dimpler" driver to do my shop drywall this week and it was awesome not being tied to a cord. OTOH, my Grex pinner is really lightweight and small...it gets into tight spaces. A battery operated version necessarily is much larger and that can come into play in the kind of work we do in our shops a lot more than on a construction site.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  5. #5
    No.

    Obligatory characters.

  6. #6
    I was mostly wondering if something in the battery powered world stands out as the best (eg. reliably driving the nails the desired depth). Back in the day, it was Senco. I was under the impression perhaps for the brad nailer battery powered, maybe the new Milwaukee.

  7. #7
    No.
    Hey Johnny - could you make that a little clearer?

  8. #8
    I have old senco, some over 40 years old that look Art Deco. They are great quality. I have newer stuff from auctions and half of them are broken because they did the change that so many did. I paid big bucks for the original Senco but so what when im still using it. You can make your nailer nicer to use by two things. get a very light air line or smaller and put a swivel fitting on.

    On some tools I run pneumatic air lines that are 1/4" outside diameter more or less. My air supply is decreased so for a dynabrade i up the pressure. In the case of a nailer its only bursts of air so dont think an issue. I still use a full size line on the framing nailer but light and flexible and the swivel fitting makes using it night and day. Half the grief form an air line is how they restrict your movement as it hangs off the tool, when the air line can pivot off it itsi nicer to use.
    Last edited by Warren Lake; 11-25-2022 at 2:57 AM.

  9. #9
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    I have a seldom used belted tank air supply system. It is a standard one pound? CO2 paint ball gun tank, regulator and short hose with a belt clip.
    Bill D

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joel Gelman View Post
    I was mostly wondering if something in the battery powered world stands out as the best (eg. reliably driving the nails the desired depth). Back in the day, it was Senco. I was under the impression perhaps for the brad nailer battery powered, maybe the new Milwaukee.
    Yes, the newer generation Milwaukee are as good as or better than air. They are the ONLY battery or gas powered nailer I will say that about. Milwaukee's guns are the only ones out there right now with firing rates as good as air guns, zero ramp up time, consistent power regardless of rate of fire, and bump fire option. We see 500-700 plus rounds on a 5aH battery from the framers, 16g is probably 800-900, and 18g is not something I've ever figured out, but 1000+. Because they use a widely available battery tech, the Milwaukee guns are also future proofed to some extent. I'd call our companies use requirements rather extreme. I don't know off hand how many guns are on the rack, dozens though, from huge framers to pinners, most all of the available common brands and techs are represented or have been there at one time, mostly air guns but increasing numbers of red battery power guns. The Milwaukee battery guns are always first to go to the field. I've had several of the framers repaired, Milwaukee's service is good. One had an issue with the firing nitrogen spring IIRK, the other was because of a dropped gun. No charge for either, quick turn around. Actually they sent a new gun for the one that had the firing issue.

    Not having a compressor in the field is great for obvious reasons. It's a little less of a difference in the shop, but still saves time and hassle for most things. I do still use air guns predominantly in the shop, mainly because I still have a fleet of them and there isn't much reason to change them out while they are working. Will replace them with battery guns as they pass on, if I outlive them.

  11. #11
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    In my shop I had a noisy pancake so I stepped away from the pneumatic Grex guns I have and bought a Gas Grex. Then I didnt have to deal with noisy compressor I had to deal with taking the gas cylinder and AAA batteries out because both drained when they sat, I also had to deal with the extra weight. Neither were a huge deal. I ended up getting a California Air tools compressor and the thing is so quiet and doesnt leak so now im using the pneumatics again. The thing I dont like the Battery nailers is the size compared to 18/23 gauge pneumatics. Hoses are not a drag if your set up right with them.

    I actually had this conversation yesterday talking about cordless tools in general. They are nice, but I dont mind cords and im certainly not going out of my way to replace the ones I have at this point. When my palm router dies, maybe. Same with jig saw etc.

  12. #12
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    A lot of my tools have a vacuum attached, so the cord is fine. I have a cordless router but frankly hate the weight of it and it runs an 18v battery down rapidly.

    Cordless Drills and drivers I really like, I can’t see going back to corded ones. I have a Metabo LTX that is impressive as heck, I use it for wood owl augers and large forstners without issue. Doesn’t slow down at all. The Festool drills and drivers are really nice too, I’ve been very happy with them.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  13. #13
    I've never used the Milwaukee brad nailer, only Ryobi and DeWalt. Neither have issues sinking 2 inch brads into softwood including MDF trim which is a bit harder. I don't remember using them in hardwood. I have a Milwaukee cordless framing nailer and I am impressed with it's adjustment for depth. If they have something similar on the finish nailers it is a plus. But I don't see it as a big plus unless you often try to nail really soft or really hard things with it. I haven't wanted to adjust depth putting up trim with my Ryobi. I also would be hesitant to use in really hard materials because the brads bend pretty easily. That is a problem sometimes (like nailing into a knot or with wild grain) but I doubt that it varies between nailers. I keep diagonal cutting pliers handy and a nail set to drive errant brads below the surface where they can be puttied over. Using a 16 or 15 gauge would help with this but it would also mean a lot of big voids to fill with filler. I prefer to just deal with the occasional wandering brad. I use the bigger finish nailers when I need 2.5 inch length or for something like the starter rows putting in hardwood flooring where it takes a stout nail to deal with the flooring's tendency to refuse to be straight.
    Last edited by Jim Dwight; 11-25-2022 at 10:10 AM.

  14. #14
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    I bought a battery powered DeWalt to put up trim in the house. It made it nice with no hose or compressor in the house, but I still prefer to use air powered in the shop. My air power ones are lighter, smaller, cheaper, and more powerful.

  15. #15
    "My air power ones are lighter, smaller, cheaper, and more powerful."

    Appreciate all of the input. Certainly people have preferences --- dealing with an attached hose and the noice of a compressor vs the weight of a battery and the need to charge, and there are issues of money if you already own pneumatic.

    My concern was that I would not want to buy a Milwaukee and have it not be as powerful. Perhaps the Milwaukee is a better gun than the DeWalt that you did not find as powerful as your shop pneumatic guns?

    For me it is simple. I want to pull the trigger and have the nail drive every time, not most of the time. I want no double fire. I want the nail to go into the wood, including hardwoods to the depth I desire. I want reliability. If the new Milwaukee does that as well or better than the old Secco's, then for me, that works. I am about to work on trim and if and only if the new Milwaukee works as well or better than the old Senco, I am in.

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