Air Tools: Three Best Pneumatic Framing Nailers

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A good pneumatic framing nailer is a must-have tool for many in the crafting and construction business. With the ability to securely fasten with speed, power, and durable precision, these pneumatic power-houses are a brilliant part of any tool collection. For an introduction to the industry's most impressive, most efficient nailers, look no further than these three reviews of the ultimate pneumatic framing nailers.

Hitachi's NR83A2 framing nailer is one of the most high-quality, high-performance pneumatic framers on the market today. Weighing only 7.9 lbs the tool is clearly lightweight and the tool is extremely well balanced for the most comfortable operation and maneuverability. The framer has a tool-less depth adjustment allowing craftsmen to choose their depth of drive, and with an open nose design, extracting a jammed nail is hardly a hassle. The framer also features selective actuation, a favorite feature of most users, which allow craftsmen to simply transition from single actuation to contact actuation for the greatest versatility through a variety of applications. The tool is strong, fast, and versatile, and because it's also so lightweight and well-balanced, continuous work and awkward applications are far less strenuous. Ultimately, the NR83A2 is a seriously tough framer built for durability on the jobsite and for reliability through the most heavy-duty applications. Lastly, pricing from about $290 - $320, Hitachi's framer is a bit spendy, but is worth every penny. (Note: This tool is also available as a sequential trigger gun (NR83A2S) for just about $300.)

On another hand, Porter-Cable's FR350A 3-1/2" roundhead framing nailer is one of the more heavy-duty pneumatic framing tools on the market today. With the power to drive nails up to 3-1/2" x 131" into engineered lumber, the tool has intense power. The framer's compact body design contributes to its well-balance and overall smooth style while an internal piston catch mechanism ensures each shot is consistently powerful. A selectable trigger transitions modes between restrictive or contact actuation mode, and with a tool-free adjustable depth-of-drive, craftsmen have complete control over the tool's performance. The tool is simple to reload, and a nail lockout mechanism alerts you when its time to reload your tool. Keeping your materials protected during work, the framer also has a (tool-free, adjustable) exhaust and a (removable) non-marring nose tip, and also having on-tool storage, the FR350AR is endlessly convenient. Ranging in price from about $200 - $230, the framer is a brilliant tool at a certainly reasonable price.

The FR350A is also available reconditioned (FR350AR) for just about $160. As a reconditioned tool, this nailer presents a truly superior value to craftsmen and builders. For those unfamiliar with recons, they are an extremely great value that bring craftsmen the highest-performance tools at a tiny fraction of regular cost. Reconditioned tools, for some minor cosmetic or technical defect, have been returned to the manufacturer. There, they undergo a series of stringent tests and retests and restoration processes before being re-released with an "R" trailing the model number. This little "R" (and potentially hundreds of dollars) is truly the only difference between a brand new tool and a recon. The value with reconditioned tools is a no-brainer; when they are available, buy them.

Like Hitachi and Porter-Cable, Senco is known for building some of the best pneumatic tools and nailers in the industry. With well-seasoned experience and superior craftsmanship, Senco is an steadfast contender in the world of pneumatics. Pricing from about $270 - $290, their SN902XP framing nailer is a brilliant and saucy little tool with 904 in/lbs of power in a compact, 7.3 lb package. This round head framer is also built with a innovated design that requires up to fifteen-percent less air than other comparable models, and still having the power to drive 2 - 3-1/4" (round head plastic collated) framing nails with fast efficiency, the nailer perfectly unites precision power and lightweight convenience. The nailer also drives 2"-3-1/2" smooth shank nails and 2"-3" ring shank nails. The tool's compact design also contributes to its ability to work in tight spaces in between studs and joists, and its overall balance and ease of operation. Additionally, the gun is easy to transition from rapid fire to sequential fire and is simple to load and unload for optimal convenience on the job. The SN902XP is ideal for a huge number of applications from framing, fencing and subfloors, to trusses and decking. It additionally has a patented TrueDrive magazine to prevent jamming and an adjustable depth of drive for unfailing precision with every shot. Like the above Porter-Cable nailer, Senco's SN902XP is also available reconditioned (if you can find it) for about $170.

In the end and whatever your needs may be, one of these nailers is certain to be an ideal framer. With big power, acute precision, and the accountability of a time-honored manufacturer, these pneumatic framing nailers are the best of the best.

Author Box
Mallory Kramer has 2 articles online

Specializing in tool parts & web communications, Mallory joined M&M Tool 4 years ago adding to their over 150 years combined experience. For over 70 years M&M Tool has provided the best service to the tool industry with replacement parts, sales, & service to woodworking products, machinery & power tools like Hitachi's NR83A2 framing nailer and Porter-Cable's FR350A framing nailer.

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Air Tools: Three Best Pneumatic Framing Nailers

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This article was published on 2010/03/26