It wasn’t that long ago that the carpenter’s job consisted largely of whacking away at nail heads for hours on end with his or her favorite hammer. In recent years, however, technological advances have freed the carpenter from bondage to the hammer and in the process made them more productive and their efforts more profitable. The most important among these new technologies is the framing nailer; a must-have piece of kit for any serious carpenter. In this piece, we’re going to take a look at what we consider to be the five best framing nailers on the market today and what makes them so.
Top 5 Best Framing Nailer
Sometimes you get what you pay for. Sometimes you get a great deal. And sometimes you get what you get. Which one turns out to be the case typically depends on how much you’re able to learn about a product before you plunk down your hard-earned. And so, in the spirit of saving you time, money and aggravation here are our 5 choices for framing nailer, in no particular order.
NuMax SFR2190 21 Degree Framing Nailer
NuMax has been manufacturing framing nailers for years and in that time developed a solid reputation for quality design and workmanship. The SFR2190 is right in keeping with this; an exceptional value that will have you re-examining your relationship with your hammer. If a framing nailer was solely judged on whether or not it can spit out nails at an alarming rate, then any old nailer will do. But there’s much more that goes into a dependable framing nailer, and NuMax understands that. Important features of the SFR2190 include:
● Switch from single to sequential firing mode via a dual-mode trigger.
● No nonsense depth adjustment.
● Anti-dry fire mechanism reduces unnecessary wear and tear.
● Ideal for a range of processes from framing to fencing to decking and more.
● One year limited manufacturer’s warranty.
Build Quality and Operation
Build quality throughout the SFR2190 is superb as you’d expect from NuMax. We found the unit extremely well balanced and easy to handle. The operation is as simple as choosing the appropriate firing mode, connecting your compressor, loading, and shooting. Each step is straightforward and intuitive. And loading the nails properly didn’t take an engineering degree like if often seems to with some lesser framing nailers. The die-cast magnesium body is durable and refreshingly light, and the driver blade is built to last. Of course, everything is backed by a one year limited manufacturer’s warranty, but the odds you’ll ever need it with a NuMax nailer are slim. Still, it’s nice to know it’s there.
The NuMax SFR2190 is not the most expensive framing nailer on the market, but when you’re using it you might suspect that they undercharged you for it. All in all an excellent, high quality, dependable, well balanced, lightweight piece of equipment that is going to make your life easier while helping pad your margins.
Freeman P4FRFNCB Framing/Finishing Combo Kit
The Freeman P3FRFNCB (say that three times fast!) Framing/Finishing Combo Kit may not be a dream come true, but it’s pretty close. This is more than your standard stand-alone framing nailer as the kit includes just about everything you’ll need to finish just about any type of job regardless of the challenges you may face. You’ll get into tight corners, be able to access odd angles, dial up the precision for decorative trim and be able to work all day without experiencing fatigue due to the unit’s light weight and top-notch ergonomics. Primary features include:
● 34-degree finish angle for tight spots.
● Extraordinary driving power for even the toughest hardwood.
● A full array of accessories that enable you to take on a variety of tasks.
● Simple, intuitive swapping out of different tools.
● Safety goggles, wrenches, instructions and more included.
● Limited 7 year manufacturer warranty.
Build Quality and Operation
Nothing’s worse than being part way through a job when you suddenly encounter a small but key detail that requires more versatility than your standard framing nailer can deliver. That won’t happen when you use the The Freeman P3FRFNCB Framing Finishing Combo Kit. Odd angles, delicate finish work, tight corners and more are all in its repertoire, and you’re better off for it. The P3FRFNCB is nice and light and fires nails from 2” to 3 ½”. Keep in mind that the framing nailer magazine holds up to 55 nails at a time while the other tools can accommodate up to 100.
At the end of the day, the P3FRFNCB is the one combo framing nailer kit any busy carpenter should have in their truck. With Teflon coated O-rings you’ll experience fewer wear-related issues, and the built in quick release mechanism makes quick work of jams. If you want a highly durable, highly versatile, easy to use framing nailer, consider the P3FRFNCB Combo Kit from Freeman.
BOSTITCH F21PL Round Head 1-1/2-Inch to 3-1/2-Inch Framing Nailer
The Bostitch F21PL is the ideal tool for hardened pros and DIYers alike. It’s beautifully engineered, possesses a lightweight magnesium body and an array of other features that allows you to tackle everything from the simplest trim job to the most demanding framing project. Bostitch is renowned for the thought and cares they put into their equipment, and the F21PL is a fine expression of that dedication to sweating the details. Features of the F21PL include:
● Quick change nosepieces make switching metal-connector to plastic-coated nails a breeze.
● Accommodates 1 ½” to 3 ½” round-head nails.
● Drive nails powerfully and effectively.
● Set nail depth by pushing a button.
● Ideal for bracing, framing, sheathing and other common tasks.
● 16” layout indicator.
● 7-year manufacturer’s limited warranty.
Build Quality and Operation
The Bostitch F21PL is a great framing nailer for those who typically handle straightforward projects. The 60 nail capacity of the magazine is adequate for most any task whether you’re using framing nails or connector nails. The unit also has a built-in 16” layout indicator that tells you the correct distance between studs. Fashioned from lightweight magnesium, you don’t need to be built like a linebacker to use the F21PL all day, and your standard compressor should be perfectly compatible with the unit. Throw in the seven years Bostitch limited warranty and attractive price point, and there’s an awful lot to like about this particular piece of construction equipment.
Because Bostitch is a Stanley company, you can be sure you’re getting a reliable, well-built framing nailer that will serve you for years. And with the best power/weight ratio in its class, this nailer is more than just a pretty face: it’s serious kit for the busy professional and will help your company take on a wider array of projects. If efficiency and effectiveness are things you look for in your power tools, this is one that won’t let you down.
Hitachi NR90AES Plastic Collated Framing Nailer
The Hitachi NR90AES sports a non-traditional profile that might turn some old timers off, unless of course, they care more about getting the job done quickly and effectively rather than winning style contests. This lightweight, compact framing nailer does an outstanding job for the price and will leave more than a few pros wondering why they dropped 3 or 4 times as much on other brands. The NR90AES is designed for driving 2” to 3 ½” plastic coated nails and does so with authority time after time. The unorthodox design is intended to help you disassemble the unit faster and from what we could tell it lives up to that promise. Other features of the NR90AES include:
● Perfect balance for easier use over both the short and long haul.
● Sequential to contact nailing with the flip of a switch.
● Nail loading is intuitive and fast.
● The anodized aluminum magazine makes maintenance simple and cost-effective.
● Easily adjust for a variety of materials.
● Effortless flush drive and clean countersink capability.
● Generous rubber grip for easy handling.
Build Quality and Operation
Everything about the NR90AES is designed to make your job easier. From the simple and fast reloading protocol to the comfortable handle and perfect balance of the unit. At 7.5 pounds this unit isn’t about to wear anyone out, and with the selective actuation switch, you’ll toggle between bump or sequential fire and back again in an instant. The depth of drive feature eliminates pain in the neck trips to the compressor, and the open nose jam clearing is efficiency incarnate.
The NR90AES is ready to go right out of the box and will provide you years of reliable service for the price of dinner for two at an upscale restaurant. So skip the Foie gras this week and invest your money in the NR90AES instead. You’ll be glad you did.
Freeman PFR2190 21-Degree Full-Head Framing Nailer
The Freeman PFR2190 Full-Head Framing Nailer exudes the company’s quality and thoughtfulness in everything from the ergonomics to the build quality. It’s quite a mechanical achievement when you consider the price and one that will serve you well whether you’re three stories up on a roof or building out a basement apartment. Like most of the better framing nailers today the PFR2190 has a lightweight magnesium body that makes operating the unit a breeze and a 21-degree angle of attack. It shoots 2” to 3 ½” plastic coated nails and comes with interchangeable triggers for contact or single nail firing. Other features of the PFR2190 include:
● Full 360-degree adjustable exhaust.
● The magazine made of anodized aluminum.
● Ideal for seasoned pros or dedicated DIYers.
● 60 to 115 psi operating pressure.
● 55 nail load capacity.
● Seven year limited manufacturer warranty.
Build Quality and Operation
The Freeman PFR2190 is subjected to the company’s rigorous quality control standards, so it’s a pretty safe bet you’ll never have to invoke that 7-year warranty. The unit’s Teflon O-rings virtually eliminate oiling, reduce shock related issues and extend the unit’s lifespan. This nailer is lighter, easier to use and more reliable than other units costing twice as much and it’s one of the most comfortable we reviewed bar none. Changing depth settings is no more complicated than turning the adjusting screw, and the directional exhaust makes every job just a bit more enjoyable.
The Freeman PFR2190 is one of those amazing power tools we take for granted these days that would have bowled people over just 20 years ago. Build quality is excellent, design and comfort are top notches and the anti-dry fire mechanism certainly comes in handy when you’re working fast and lose track of where you are. You can spend several times what this unit will cost you on other framing nailers. The only question is, why would you?
Types of Framing Nailers
Within the various categories of power tools you’ll always find degrees of functionality in play. Framing nailers are no exception. Below then are brief descriptions of the most popular types of nailers.
21 Degree Guns
Time and experience have taught that 21 degrees are the optimal angle of attack for a majority of different tasks. Therefore, most standard framing nailers are 21-degree nailers. This type of nailer typically accommodates 2” to 3 ½” nails. 21-degree nailers are ubiquitous; admirably serving the day to day needs of both pros and DIYers alike.
30 and 34 Degree Guns
These nailers are designed specifically to reduce strain and fatigue on the user. Besides the more forgiving angle of attack this type of nailer is characterized by its reduced weight and by the fact that it enables the user to get nails into harder to reach places. It uses full head nails held together using a paper strip instead of the more common plastic.
28 Degree Guns
Like 30 and 34s the 28-degree nailer allows you to access hard to reach spots. But unlike the 30 and 34-degree nail guns, the full head nails here are held together using wire, causing the nails in the magazine to be a bit more spaced out.
At the end of the day, you’ll want the framing nailer that best suits the type of jobs you do. If you’re called upon to do a lot of detailed trim, you’ll probably want to go with a 28, 30 or 34-degree nailer. If you’re more of an all-purpose, standard framing type of guy the 21-degree nailer should be fine.
Important Features of Framing Nailer
Whether you are buying a framing nailer or a new pickup, it is important that you base your decision on a combination of functionality and cost. Why spend a fortune on a truck that’s more show horse than work horse if you’re the type of guy that specializes in getting his hands dirty? We’re talking manual labor here, not aesthetics. As such, the best framing nailer for you is the one that has all the features necessary for the performance of your job and doesn’t send you to the poor house. Those features include:
Most framing nailers get their juice from compressed air, and depending on the nailer may require different psi to function. That’s great because air compressors can run all day without having to plug them in to charge; a handy feature for those who wish to jump right into their work and not be interrupted by annoying low battery levels.
Another important feature you want to look for in any framing nailer is the nail capacity. A good nailer can hold anywhere between 40 and 60 nails in a single magazine, and many nailers cease firing when they get down to the last few nails, avoiding any dry fires which could potentially cause damage to the nailer. If you opt for a nailer with a less than optimal nail capacity, you can expect to be making many trips off your ladder to refill. It is much better to purchase a nailer that has the power and nail capacity to keep you working without unnecessary interruptions.
Weight is an important consideration when purchasing a new framing nailer especially if you envision using the nailer a lot during the performance of your job. The heavier nailers will wear on the hands and wrists after a few hours and this will cut into productivity and ultimately, profitability. As such you should find a nailer that lends itself to extended use and that almost always means a lighter weight nailer.
Which Framing Nailer is Best for You?
Since people and their circumstances differ, there is no single correct answer to this question. The bottom line as we alluded to above is that the best framing nailer for you is the one that empowers you to a higher degree of efficiency and effectiveness and does so without pulling the plug on your bank account. We hope you found this information useful and check back regularly for more product reviews and info.
Which Framing Nailer is Best for You?
Since people and their circumstances differ there is no single correct answer to this question. The bottom line as we alluded to above is that the best framing nailer for you is the one that empowers you to a higher degree of efficiency and effectiveness and does so without pulling the plug on your bank account. We hope you found this information useful and check back regularly for more product reviews and info.