Download PDF version (363k) Log In or Register to view the full article as a PDF document.

15-Gauge Angled Finish Nailers - Continued

Bostitch N62FNK-2

Image

Street price: $199

Weight: 3.8 pounds

Firing modes: sequential, bump

Nail type: Bostitch/FN

Nail capacity: 130

Magazine type: load-and-lock

Made in: USA

The N62FN has an excellent power-to-weight ratio. It sets fasteners as consistently as any tool I tested and is significantly lighter than most guns. It takes FN rather than the more common DA-style fasteners and is one of only two nailers that doesn’t take oil. This tool is sleeker and less cluttered than others because there’s no latch on the front. Instead, jams are cleared by releasing a catch and popping the magazine back from the nose. The only thing I don’t like about this tool is that it’s configured for sequential trip. Some carpenters don’t consider this to be a shortcoming, but if you do, you can convert it to bump-fire by changing the trigger.

Contact: Stanley Fastening Systems, 800/228-0567, http://www.stanleyworks.com.

Campbell Hausfeld NB356599

Image

Street price: $160

Weight: 5.4 pounds

Firing modes: sequential, bump

Nail type: DA

Nail capacity: 100

Magazine type: lock-and-load

Made in: Taiwan

The only thing that’s special about this nailer is the price. It’s not a bad tool, but for a little more money you can buy a far superior gun. The NB356599 is relatively heavy and has a tough time setting fasteners in hard, thick wood. Interestingly, it shares parts with some of the other guns I tested. The magazine, which is the best part of the tool, is identical to the one on Max’s NF550. I know, because I swapped them out. And the cylinder cap assembly is interchangeable with the one on Duo-Fast’s DAFN6480.

Contact: Campbell Hausfeld, 888/247-6937, http://www.campbellhausfeld.com.

DeWalt D51275K

Image

Street price: $249

Weight: 3.85 pounds

Firing modes: sequential, bump

Nail type: DA

Nail capacity: 110

Magazine type: lock-and-load or load-and-lock

Made in: Taiwan

DeWalt hasn’t been in the nailer business for very long, so I was surprised by how much I liked its first 15-gauge nailer. The D51275 has power to spare and is less than an ounce heavier than the lightest tool in its class. Features like the built-in belt hook and bumper pads on the piston housing are a sign that the design team paid attention to the details. The depth-of-drive is indexed to a scale, and you get a good view of the work because the contact element is thinly clad. My only complaint is that the exhaust blast torques the gun sideways when the port is set 90 degrees to the handle. But the problem is easily fixed by aiming the port slightly to the front or back.

Contact: DeWalt Industrial Tools, 800/433-9258, http://www.dewalt.com.

Duo-Fast DAFN6480

Image

Street price: $250

Weight: 5.4 pounds

Firing mode: sequential

Nail type: DA

Nail capacity: 100

Magazine type: load-and-lock

Made in: Taiwan

This finish nailer has been around for six-plus years. It has stayed the same while nearly every other gun has improved. It closely resembles and shares a number of common parts with Campbell Hausfeld’s NB356599. The DAFN6480 is one of the heavier 15-gauge guns and had more trouble setting fasteners than any tool I tested. There’s no reason to buy this gun with so many better ones available in the same price range.

Contact: Duo-Fast, 888/386-3278, http://www.duo-fast.com.

Hitachi NT65MA

Image

Street price: $339

Weight: 4.2 pounds

Firing mode: bump

Nail type: DA

Nail capacity: 100

Magazine type: load-and-lock

Made in: Japan

This is a new version of an earlier Hitachi finish nailer. It was the lightest 15-gauge tool on the market but was recently undercut by other models. That said, the NT65MA is still one of the lightest nailers around. It has plenty of power and features, like an in-line magazine, a well-padded grip, and no-tools jam clearing. Unlike that of most guns, the depth-of-drive is indexed to a scale. The most unusual thing about this tool is the blow gun, which consists of a small nozzle and trigger button built into the piston housing. It may be a bit of a gimmick, but I love this feature because it means I can blast dust and debris out of the way without having to connect a separate blow gun.

Contact: Hitachi Power Tools, 800/830-7593, http://www.hitachi.com/powertools.

Makita AF632

Image

Street price: $249

Weight: 5.5 pounds

Firing mode: bump

Nail type: Bostitch/FN

Nail capacity: 125

Magazine type: load-and-lock

Made in: Taiwan

This is one of two guns that take FN-style nails. It replaces the earlier model AF631, a gun that compared favorably with the competing Bostitch model. Unfortunately, the AF632 does not — it’s heavier and more expensive. This nailer is moderately powerful and appears to be well made. It has an offset magazine, a padded rubber grip, and a large indexed depth-of-drive wheel.

Contact: Makita USA, 800/462-5482, http://www.makitatools.com.

Max NF550

Image

Street price: $275

Weight: 4.6 pounds

Firing mode: anti-double-fire, bump

Nail type: DA

Nail capacity: 100

Magazine type: lock-and-load

Made in: Japan

The NF550 is sleek, powerful, and well made. Someone sweated the details when they designed this gun. It has a user-activated trigger lock and a large indexed depth-of-drive control. There’s even a place to store the tip if you need to take it off. The NF550 will bump-fire, but it also has a unique anti-double-fire mode. In this mode, you depress the contact element before you squeeze the trigger. This prevents double shots because the gun won’t cycle till you release the trigger. I prefer in-line nailers, but if you want an offset magazine, this is the gun to get.

Contact: Max USA, 800/223-4293, http://www.maxusacorp.com.

Porter-Cable DA250A

Image

Street price: $199

Weight: 6.0 pounds

Firing modes: sequential, bump

Nail type: DA

Nail capacity: 100

Magazine type: load-and-lock

Made in: Taiwan

When the DA250A came out, it was significantly cheaper than other brand-name tools with similar features. But that was five-plus years ago, and the price gap is much narrower now. This tool has all the usual features — a rubber grip, indexed depth-of-drive, tool-less jam clearing, and an adjustable exhaust port. The contoured contact element and thin rubber tip make it easy to see where you’re nailing. This tool has excellent power but is the heaviest gun I tested.

Contact: Porter-Cable, 800/321-9443, http://www.porter-cable.com.

Senco SFN40

Image

Street price: $249

Weight: 4.7 pounds

Firing mode: bump

Nail type: DA

Nail capacity: 110

Magazine type: load-and-lock

Made in: USA

When the SFN40 came out, it was the only oil-less gun on the market and stood head and shoulders above the competition. Though it hasn’t changed in six years, it’s still one of the better finish nailers around, an extremely durable and powerful tool. The one thing I don’t like about it is the exhaust port, which is adjusted by removing and replacing snap-in pieces. Everyone else switched to rotating ports years ago. By the time you read this, Senco will have introduced three new 15-gauge angle nailers: two pneumatic and one powered by batteries alone. They weren’t available in time for me to review them.

Contact: Senco Products, 800/543-4596, http://www.senco.com.

David Franeis a finish carpenter and contributing editor for The Journal of Light Construction.