Manufacturers have come up with multiple ways to drive nails on the cordless platform. As with all new technologies, they each come with their own inherent pros and cons. Paslode led the charge in the 1980’s with their fuel cell technology and that has not changed much today. In this Paslode cordless brad nailer review, we will explore their current offering in the 18ga brad nail line.
Paslode Cordless Brad Nailer Review Overview
Cordless tools have taken the market by storm, with more and more tools being available with the freedom of not having a cord or air hose. Nail guns are no exception, but they have presented a unique challenge – having enough power to drive the nails. Different manufacturers have solved this problem in their own way. Paslode, who has been an innovator in nail guns since the early 20th century, has chosen to use a fuel cell system.
The fuel cell system consists of a small aerosol can of fuel (which I suspect to be propane), and a battery. The fuel is sprayed into a combustion chamber where it is mixed with air from a small fan and then ignited by a spark, provided by the battery (which also powers the fan). The ensuing explosion fires the piston down to drive the nail. This system works reliably and provides a powerful means for driving nails.
This internal combustion system has one particular detail that needs to be taken into account during use – carbon monoxide (CO). All combustion creates CO, some in higher amounts than others. Because the Paslode cordless brad nailer produces CO, it is extremely important to use the nail gun only in well-ventilated areas
Paslode Cordless Brad Nailer Review Features
The system comes in a large, sturdy blow molded plastic case with plastic latches.
All contents are laid out so they are easy to see, with space for some accessories, such as an extra battery, extra fuel and some nails.
A plethora of literature was included, for your viewing pleasure. Aside from an operator’s manual, a cleaning manual, parts list & diagram, service center list, and warranty information is included.
The 7.4V Lithium-Ion battery and charger are included in the kit. It takes about 1-1/2-hour to fully charge a battery. If you are in a rush you can charge the battery for 2 minutes and get up to an extra 200 shots.
The fuel is sold separately, but it does come with an allen wrench and spare non-marring clear foot cover.
While you might want to invest in different safety glasses, Paslode did include a pair.
Plastered all over the nailer itself, as well as throughout the case and included printed materials, are mention of the 2-year service promise. No questions, for 2 years, they’ll fix it if it breaks.
The comfortable rubber coated grip, along with ergonomically placed trigger makes driving nails not feel like work.
Nail depth is easily adjusted with the roller knob.
The battery has a “standby” feature where you can keep it secure in the nail gun, but the contacts are disconnected from the gun itself. Because there is no actual ON/OFF switch, the only way to turn the power off is to put the battery in the “standby” or “OFF” position.
You can see the status light for the battery on the side of the grip area. Keeping the battery all the way in the gun will drain the battery.
The nail magazine is accessed by pressing a large, easy access latch on the rear of the magazine. Nails are easily loaded and then the magazine is slid forward to close.
The belt clip easily rotates to either side of the handle. The gun will accept 5/8″-2″ 18ga. brad nails.
Should a nail jamb, it can be easily accessed and cleared without tools.
Paslode Cordless Brad Nailer Review Performance
The Paslode cordless brad nailer performed just as expected, excellent. The fuel cell system produces very little recoil, especially for being so powerful. Even though CO is emitted along with an odor from the propane, it was not an issue with proper ventilation.
The battery is supposed to drive 10,000-12,000 nails per charge, while each fuel cell is rated to drive 1000-1200 nails per charge. That comes up to about 10 fuel cells per battery charge.
Aside from increased weight, one of the big downfalls to most cordless nail guns, is the speed at which you can drive the nails. This Paslode cordless brad nailer is no exception. There is no contact actuation mode, only sequential.
I tried the gun with a variety of mediums, from soft-wood to hard-wood. Engineered products, and even a friend’s sandal for an impromptu repair. Aside from needing to set the adjustment for the different material densities, there was no difference in performance from one material to the other.
It was easy to see where the nail would go, and thus accurate aiming was a non-issue, and the foot piece is soft, non-marring, and grips well while holding at all angles.
Ergonomics are good as well, feeling comfortable in the hand and being well balanced. Even though it weighs more than a pneumatic, that is a price you pay for with all cordless nailers. This Paslode model is the lightest on the market in the cordless 18ga. category.
Even though the nail capacity isn’t near as much as its competitors (both cordless & pneumatic), having a small nail capacity (50) comes with advantages though; being small and able to fit in tight areas – a feature that really comes in handy with a brad nailer. This is especially true when nailing in and around corners and cabinets.
Loading nails is a breeze. The magazine opens quickly and easily with a latch.
The fuel cell installation and removal have a little bit of a learning curve, but the illustrated instructions made that curve a lot smaller than it could be. The battery installation is straight forward, but the “off” position can be accidentally mistaken for being fully seated at first. Again, a short learning curve, then it feels like second nature.
Paslode Cordless Brad Nailer Review Value
Being that cordless nail guns and pneumatic nail guns operate quite differently, as well as vary greatly in price, how valuable one model is to you is subjective and dependent on your own needs and price range.
The setup reviewed here retails for $339 at Home Depot. The sticker shock can be amplified by the fact that you can buy a small pancake air compressor, an air hose, and a pneumatic 18ga. brad nailer for around half that cost.
The value of convenience and decreasing the time a job takes you can be extremely treasured. This nail gun is a must have for a punch out carpenter or a trim carpenter, who can take great advantage of the lack of setup time, which is required with a compressor, hoses, and extension cords, and the increased available space in their work vehicle.
Conversely, a do-it-yourselfer working in their garage may not reap those benefits quite as much. On the other side, compressors are loud and air hoses can get tangled up easily and always seem to leak.
Paslode Cordless Brad Nailer Review Final Thought
Bottom line, this nail gun is an awesome tool and offers outstanding performance, coupled with a superior 2 year warranty. If the price fits within your budget, you should definitely get your hands on one.