Milwaukee Cordless Framing Nailer Review

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Quality
Features
Performance
Design
Value

Over the last couple of years, I have been doing a lot of work on my house.  I have moved walls, added an addition, and have done everything to the house except replace the old wood floors.  Over this time I can’t tell you how many framing nailers I worked with.  I use pneumatic nailers for larger framing jobs and cordless nailers for smaller jobs.  When I heard Milwaukee was releasing a cordless framing nailer, I knew it was something I wanted to try out.  So let’s take a look at the Milwaukee Cordless Framing Nailer Review.

Milwaukee Cordless Framing Nailer Review Overview

I am a huge fan of Milwaukee tools.  I love their innovation, quality, and reliability.  However, I wasn’t the biggest fan of their first generation of cordless nailers such as the finish nailers.  I think most people would agree, they had some issues to deal with and a lot of consumers were not happy.  Milwaukee fixed all the issues and released version two that everyone seems to love.  So when it came to a cordless framing nailer, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Over the years, we have been able to try all brands of cordless framing nailers.  For me, I was sold on the Paslode.  While it was expensive and inconvenient to buy gas, it was the only cordless framing nailer that was fast and reliable.  Then came the Hitachi Framing Nailer.  No gas and the nailer was fast and reliable.  While I love the nailer, I wasn’t always a fan of where they placed the on/off button and bump and sequential fire button, which lays under the handle and can be a pain to access.  But it was my go-to nailer for most of my jobs since it was reliable.

For me, Milwaukee took everything I love about the Hitachi and made some great upgrades such as an easier access panel on the back of the tool, larger magazine capacity and it still has everything I love about the Hitachi, quick fires, fast speeds, reliability and no extra cost for gas.

Features

You can buy the Milwaukee as a bare tool or as a kit.  This is 2745-21 which is the kit.  You get the Nailer, 1-battery, a charger, and the bag.  I have the extended mag in the picture but that is sold separately.

There is no ramp-up time to fire a nail which is a huge benefit. The nailer will fire 3 nails per second. The tool also features a dry fire lockout which is key.  Can’t tell you how many times I have used a nail gun and never realized I was firing blanks.

The nailer weighs in at 9.4 lbs.

The nailer is powered by a Milwaukee M18 battery.  You can use a larger battery such as the 9Ah or 12Ah but the best balance is with the 5Ag which is powerful and plenty of runtime.

One thing I noticed was the head seems to be smaller than the Dewalt and the Hitachi cordless nailer.

The nailer will work with 30°-34° nails.  When I used the nailer, I ran 30° nails through the nailer.

The nailer will handle 2″-3-1/2″ nails with a shank diameter of .113″ – .131″.

The nailer comes with a standard magazine which holds 43 nails.

If you want more than 43 nails per mag, you can upgrade to a larger mag with more capacity.  You will be able to go from 43 nails to 93 nails per mag and it will cost you about $75 for the upgrade.

I love this feature of how a user can decide which mag they want to use.  I love being able to have the option for a larger or smaller capacity based on the job.

The nailer has the traditional rubber over-mold grip which is extremely comfortable.

I like how everything is accessed on the back of the tool.  Hold the power button to turn it on/off.  There is also a “mode” button to go from bump to sequential fire.

There is a built-in rafter hook that folds away when not in use.

The Hex wrench is included and has a storage place on the nailer.  This is to access the front if you have jams.

On the side of the tool, there are no-mar rubber pads so if you are on a slope, the nailer won’t slide around.

Adjusting the depth is easy.  On the front of the nailer, just turn the knob left or right to adjust the depth.

The tool comes with a no-mar nose piece which is removable if the user doesn’t need it.

Performance

While there is a lot to look for in a cordless nailer such as cost to own, maintenance schedule, toughness, and ease of use, I have two things I really want.  For me, I have to have speed and reliability.  If I can have that, I am sold and a believer in a cordless framing nailer.

First, is the speed.  I have nothing to complain about with speed.  The nailer is fast and extremely easy to work with.  So point number 1, the nailer meets. Plus I love the no ramp up time.  When I hit the trigger, it fires.

Here is just one of the small projects we used the nailer on.  I had to build a half wall to separate the kitchen from the stairs.  I also used it on framing a wall in the basement and another between the kitchen and dining room.  Time and time again, the nailer shot nails, even at fast speeds.  I only had one issue and that was just once.  When it fired the last nail of the bunch, it didn’t fully sink it and bent the nail.  Now I could have hit something and that was the reason, but I didn’t see anything tough it would have hit to cause a bent nail.  Again, this happens with all framing nailers so, to me, this is extremely reliable.

So when I take into consideration that the nailer is fast and reliable, plus I add on that it’s easy to use and the cost of ownership is small since I don’t need gas, this is an absolutely great framing nailer.

Value

You can pick this nailer up at The Home Depot for about $350, which is a bare tool.  Yes, it’s a hefty price tag but when you compare it to the Dewalt, which is only a little cheaper, I fell you are getting a better nailer so for me, the Milwaukee is a good value.

The nailer is tough, extremely reliable, and fast.  So all said and done, it’s worth the money.

Rating Explained

  • Quality – This is just one of those tools you can feel it’s tough.  Everything is solid and built for the job site.  Our 4.5 stars is only because we haven’t tested it over the long haul of a year or more.
  • Features – The tool comes with a no-mar tip but what is the best feature is the ability to upgrade to a larger magazine for those who want to hold more nails.  To me, this is huge.  There were times I was nailing all day and would have loved a larger capacity but then I had projects where it was more of a punch list, such as building this wall in the above pictures. How can you argue with not giving it a 5-star rating on this alone?
  • Performance – Besides the Hiatchi, this nailer was one of the best performing cordless nailers we have tested.  The nailer is fast and reliable and deserves a 4.5
  • Design – This is an easy decision.  First, the head isn’t huge so it’s not top-heavy like other cordless nailers.  This nailer has a decent balance for a cordless nailer. Second, the on/off and bump feature is easy to access.  I love having the nailer on and it will stay on for a while without turning off like other cordless nailers we have tested.
  • Value – While the value is decent, especially when compared to other cordless nailers, a $350 price tag is still a heavy investment.

Final Thought

Overall, Milwaukee hit a home run with the Milwaukee M18 Framing Nailer.  The nailer is fast, tough, and easy to work with.  Best of all, it’s reliable and I didn’t find myself having to grab for my hammer to hit home any protruding nails.  If you are looking for a framing nailer, this is the one to get.  This is now my go-to framing nailer, I love it and Milwaukee nailed this one, sorry I couldn’t help myself with the pun.

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