Milwaukee recently introduced its M18 battery powered 30-degree framing nailer, which is similar in basic design to the Metabo HPT (formerly Hitachi) hoseless framing nailer that I reviewed in 2018. I have reviewed a number of other hoseless guns from Paslode, Bostitch, and DeWalt in the past, so I have a pretty good feel for this type of tool, and was eager to try Milwaukee's new offering.
First off, this gun is fast. Milwaukee says it shoots three nails - either clipped or full round - per second. I was unable to test that because I’m too slow with a stopwatch, but there is no lag when pulling the trigger. The gun toenails very well and is a dream to use when toenailing into LSL rim board. The dial-type depth of adjustment works well, but I wouldn’t use the gun for shear nailing, where it's critical not to over-drive nails. The gun is so powerful that it was hard to get a consistent depth.
I like that the gun has two hooks: one - a belt hook - on the left side of the gun, and a larger hook on the right side of the gun that fits over framing material. This is fine for the guys on the crew who shoot right-handed, but even though I'm right-handed too, I shoot with my left hand (though I’m trying to break that habit).
Now let’s get down to it. Despite all the great features and performance, I can’t recommend this gun, because it is too heavy for me. It is heavier than our old Hitachi NV83A2 framing nailer with a full coil of framing nails. It is also jarring to my wrist shooting nails, to the point where my joints are sore the next day, which has never happened to me in 25 years on the job site. I’m 42 years old now and can't afford to use a tool that has this effect on my body.
To make sure I wasn't overestimating the tool's heft, I pulled out my portable digital scale and found that it weighs just under 12 pounds (11 lb. 13.8 oz.) with the battery. In comparison, my old Hitachi nailer weighs 11lb. 6 oz. with a full load of nails, while the Makita stick nailer I reviewed last year weighs 9 lb. 14 oz.
To be fair, this is a great gun that does its job very well. It has plenty of power and doesn't have any cycling time or extra fuel cartridge like some other battery-powered nailers; adding the longer magazine (for $80) makes going hoseless more reality than a dream. So, if you think the weight won’t be an issue, then I think you’ll be satisfied with the gun. Just check in with me in five years and let me know how your arm is feeling. You can find the gun online for $350. milwaukeetool.com.
Photo and video by Tim Uhler.