Bostitch’s “Smart Point” nailers have finally become available this year, after being announced a couple of years ago in late 2012. Stuart has covered them a few times here on ToolGuyd and we were given the chance to test them out a few months ago. I received Bostich’s Smart Point 18 gauge brad nailer and 15 gauge DA angled finish nailer to test out for review.
Bostitch Smart Point nailers are essentially premium air nailers with a precision tip. This “Smart Point” tip offers two main benefits: 1) it substantially increases nail placement accuracy, and 2) it reduces or avoids work surface blemishes due to very light contact requirements.
These nailers also offer other features that should appeal to professionals and advanced hobbyists alike.
Features common to all current Smart Point Nailers include:
- Oil-free operation
- Selectable sequential or contact (bump fire) operation
- Tool-free jam release mechanism
- Dial-A-Depth control for countersinking nails
- Adjustable belt hook & integrated pencil sharpener
- Rear exhaust
In addition to these features, the DA and FN 15 gauge angled finish nailers also include an integrated air blower, to help keep the action zone clear of chips and dust, as well as a flip-out 16″ on-center gauge for easy stud-to-stud measuring and layout during trim installation.
Sizes and Styles
- 18 gauge brad nailer BTFP12233, MSRP $119
- 16 gauge finish nailer BTFP71917, MSRP $180
- 15 gauge FN angled finish nailer BTFP72156, MSRP $190
- 15 gauge DA angled finish nailer BTFP72155, MSRP $190
For this review, I tested the 18 gauge brad nailer and 15 gauge DA angled finish nailer.
Nailers 101: DA vs. FN angled finish nailer styles
My first impressions when handling both nailers were quite positive. They have very comfortable grips and are relatively lightweight while still feeling robust and durable.
The tool-free jam-clearing mechanism is very easy to manipulate, and the depth dial on each nailer is easy to adjust. These features are usually nonexistent (tool-free jam-clearing) or rough (depth adjustment) on lower-end nailers, but pretty standard on these higher-end professional tools.
The nailers come with hard plastic cases which have decent integrated molded nail storage.
I found both nailers to be very easy to use, and greatly appreciated the predictable accuracy that the Smart Point provides.
Smart Point Benefits
While it can be argued that traditionally-styled nailer tips can be very precise with practice, I found the Smart Point to be much faster to use with high accuracy right away.
This might be a lesser benefit for experienced professionals, but I have found this to be highly appreciated for DIY applications, where time between uses can vary. My nailers will sometimes sit unused on the shelf for weeks, and so it’s nice to be able to pick up a nailer and achieve high accuracy and precision without having to first “relearn” the tool.
Professional and DIYer users will both enjoy the ability for the precision tip to reach narrow places, such as within trim profiles or inside of corners, and how it can effectively place nails at increased angles. The reduced work surface blemishes were icing on the cake, though both nailers obviously still leave brad/nail holes that need to be filled afterward for the best-looking results.
I used both nailers on a few shelving projects and some smaller tasks, and have yet to experience any jams after driving a couple of hundred nails. I tested out the tool-free jam-release to see how it works, but so far I have not actually had to use it. There also weren’t any air leaks with these nailers, and their oil-free designs give me peace of mind from a maintenance perspective.
Both nailers had plenty of power and I was able to use the low end of their recommended PSI ranges to drive nails without issue. They also drove to consistent depths from nail to nail.
The sequential and contact (bump fire) actuation settings are easy to switch between, and there is also a locking mechanism to prevent accidental changes. I appreciate this safety feature, especially when sharing tools with inexperienced friends who might not be aware of the added safety concerns and practices that should be minded if or when bump-fire mode is selected.
The belt hooks on both tools adjust quickly, and the built-in pencil sharpener means that I don’t have to search for a sharpener or resort to hacking at pencil tips with a utility or pocket knife for sharpening.
The integrated features make these nailers feel very well thought out, and the Smart Point is of course a wonderful benefit. I found the integrated blower on the angled finish nailer to be a handy feature, and the quick stud measuring guide allows me to work faster and eliminate guesswork while installing trim.
A quick survey of other comparable nailers revealed that these nailers share many of same features of most mid-level and higher-end models, but the Smart Point tips help to make these Bostitch nailers stand out with greater distinction. You get Bostitch quality, reliability, and greater performance, and then something extra with the Smart Point features.
These nailers are excellent options for professionals as well as DIY, homeowner, and hobbyist users. They’re great as first nailers, and as upgrades from the basic models included in many of the kits and compressor combo packs that many DIYers buy.
Thank you to Bostitch for providing the review sample unconditionally.