Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to the new Dewalt 20V Max cordless brushless 18 gauge brad nailer. Yes, this is the brad nailer a lot of you have been waiting for!
Well, maybe it’s not the one you’ve been waiting for, but it’s the one that we’ve got.
It’s becoming clear to me that we’re not going to see a cordless brad nailer the size of a pneumatic nailer, or anything even close to being that small and lightweight.
Still, there’s one guarantee and 2 hopefuls when it comes to cordless nailers. You’re guaranteed to have cordless freedom – freedom from having to drag a clunky air hose around, and having to deal with a compressor. Cordless tools have their own involvements and compromises.
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And the 2 hopefuls – that the nailer will perform as fast and powerful as a pneumatic nailer.
Dewalt’s brushless finish nailer, which works with 16 gauge angled nails (check price via Amazon), is a decent performer. It’s hard to tell if the new brushless brad nailer was largely reworked, or if there are only minor optimizations to the motor and nail-driving mechanism.
Dewalt has taken their sweet time in coming out with a 20V Max cordless brad nailer. I’m inclined to believe that they took the time to ensure they got it *just right*. Cordless nailers used to be considered slow and clunky, but things have changed a lot since then. I’m optimistic about the new brad nailer, given what I’ve seen from Dewalt’s cordless finish nailer.
The brushless motor and its higher efficiency likely contribute to long runtime specs. There aren’t any claims so far, but the fact that the kid bundles the nailer with a compact 2.0Ah Li-ion battery says a lot.
There are 2 offset LED worklights at the base of the cordless nailer. They’re said to be multifunctional LED lights, as they serve as worklights and tool diagnostic indicator lights.
The jam-release mechanism is tool-free.
This is the stall reset lever, for resetting the driver blade after a stall, also tool-free.
The nose, or should I say the “micro nose,” is narrow, for improving line of sight and nail placement accuracy,
Depth adjustment is tool-free (are there any nailers where this isn’t tool-free). It might not be obvious at first, but the power adjustment wheel is behind the nail magazine, and the depth gauge above it.
In case you forget, there’s a graphic reminding you to NOT lubricate the nailer in any way. You regularly oil up your air nailers, right? Right…?! Raise your hand if you oil your nailer at the start of every session as you’re supposed to. With cordless nailers, you’ll need to get out of the habit.
Dewalt generally recommends that their cordless nailers be sent to a service center once a year for a thorough inspection and cleaning.
Of course there’s the option to use the nailer in sequential or bump-fire modes.
Other features include a trigger lock-out, a suspension hook that can be installed to either side of the nailer, and a low nail lockout to prevent dry-firing.
- 18 gauge
- 5/8″ to 2-1/8″ fastener size
The kit, DCN680D1, comes with a 2.0Ah battery pack.
Price: $299 for the kit
There are two other new nailers coming out – a narrow crown stapler (DCN681D1 for the kit), and an 18 gauge cordless flooring stapler (DCN682M1 for the 4.0Ah battery kit). The narrow crown stapler looks identical to the brad nailer, except for the fastener magazine, and the floor stapler is largely the same except for its adjustable base and extended trigger.
The basic geometries of the new nailers strongly resemble that of the 16 gauge angled nailer, and so I’m going to assume that they’ve only been optimized for the different fastener sizes. That’s not a bad thing – the DCN660 angled finish nailer has earned itself a good reputation. I’ve seen some negative user reviews, but far more positive ones.
Will these new Dewalt cordless nailers pose serious competition to air compressors and air nailers? I don’t think so.
There’s a big tradeoff to be made – size and weight. You gain the freedom to drive a nail wherever you need to with minimal fuss, but you have to deal with a larger and heavier tool.
I think that these nailers are more a threat for Paslode and their gas cartridge nailers. With these nailers, there are no consumables, although batteries eventually need to be replaced.
That reminds me – has anyone tried the Grex cordless brad nailer yet, model GC1850? It works using AA batteries and gas cartridges.
It will be interesting to see how well different types of users like these new Dewalt cordless nailers. There’s no air hose or bulky air compressor to contend with, but the size and weight might grow more tiresome with extended use.
Are you going to be buying one as soon as it comes out?
If you want cordless convenience but aren’t ready to give up your pneumatic nailers, consider Ridgid’s 1-gallon cordless air compressor, which runs for $199 for the tool-only.
Hopefully it won’t be long until Dewalt and other brands get on the cordless small air compressor bandwagon. With today’s higher capacity and higher powered Li-ion battery systems, “why not” is becoming harder to answer.