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.
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
Buy Now(via Acme Tool)
Buy Now(via Home Depot)
See Also(New Flooring Stapler)
See Also(Narrow Crown Stapler)
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.
I think that I agree with your assessment that these compete more directly with Paslode Impulse tools than with pneumatics. The Impulse guns – brad nailer included were marketed for use where an air hose would be a nuisance, or for punch-list short-run sort of jobs. I think that the competition now might be from Ryobi – where I’ve heard some good things about their Airstrike tools – and you can buy a combo kit (Brad Nailer, Narrow-Crown Stapler, Battery and charger) for $327 at Home Depot. Either way – cordless does have an advantage of getting rid of that smelly gas combustion and the need for time to time cleaning that come with the Paslode Impulse technology
Paslode impulse is a good system . We used them a lot doing foundations . I’d try a dewalt out . Be nice to have same battery for drill saw and nail gun . Also no gas tubes with the dewalt. If they can play catch up and build a better mousetrap I think dewalt or Bosch or Milwaukee or Makita . Could collectively push paslode under . Then again . Absolutely nothing to stop paslode from teaming up with a Bosch or a Makita. Using those batteries . Be an instant competitor to anyone in the nail gun game
If passlode used a Milwaukee m12 battery, I would buy one right now. I hate having different batteries so much that it has kept me from buying a passlode. I am still using my air nailers.
Finally… hopefully I can find it in Canada as a bare tool.
Now I just need to wait for a 15 ga nailer. I’ll probably have to go pneumatic.
You probably know this already, but hitachi, Milwaukee, ridgid, ryobi, and senco all have 15g cordless guns
I didn’t know that. Unfortunately I’m already too invested in DeWalt.
I am HEAVILY invested in DeWalt, but buying into Senco’s line of cordless guns was the best thing I did.
If you look up these guns on the big Orange web page, you’ll see that Default is releasing 4 new 20v guns!!! This Brad, a 15ga, a narrow crown stapler, and a flooring stapler I think.
Check them out! I’ll probably be picking up the Brad to go along with my 16 angled. The real question is why is there no 16ga straight nailer being offered yet???
I think Ridgid only has an 18ga and 16ga
DeWalt has a 15ga 20V Max nailer http://www.dewalt.com/en-us/products/power-tools/nailers-and-staplers/finish-and-brad-nailers/20v-max-xr-15-ga-angled-finish-nailer–tool-only/dcn650b
Wow thanks! How did I not hear about this?!
Apparently DeWalt has 7 cordless nailers in total now.
They release in September in Canada. Not sure when we will see the 15g, concrete nailer or straight 16 but the 15/16 will be soon after the 18s. The 18s are set for June in USA and I see them getting 15/16 straight before we get the 18s. Can’t wait.
I’m getting it when it is released. I’ve got the framer, the finisher and I’ve been impatiently waiting for the bradder. Great news!
Waited…. waited…. My brother has the Ryobi brad nailer, I used it and it’s awesome at 1/3 the price! To my surprize he bought me one and I couldn’t be happier! But in the 3 weeks since he bought me into Ryobi’s ecosystem, I’ve gotten a ton of lime green thingys…. OPE stuff, inflator, fan, light, caulkgun, vac…… Love my DeWalt stuff but there are so much more oddball and supplementary tools that the green stuff just makes sense to get.
I was very close several times to just picking up a couple Ryobi nailers, but really disliked the idea of different batteries and chargers. Ended up getting the 20v finish nailer last weekend to finish a garden bench for my wife, and am very happy with it. It’s big, but by no means heavy, and is well balanced. If you ignore the volume of it, it’s no more difficult to deal with than the premium drill imo.
Will definitely pick up the brad nailer eventually, and actually would’ve purchased that first if available…but needed the 16g for some trim work i’ll finally get around to in our kitchen and dining room.
Same here. My introduction was the hand vacuum and cheapo weed whacker (works fine for my needs). I’ve since bought the 18 ga nailer, quiet strike driver, and a few others. I have M12 tools as well but can’t beat the Ryobi price and selection. Fortunately I’m just a DIYer these days and won’t get laughed at on a job site for this color of tools 🙂
You would be surprised how many professionals use lime green tools. I personally wouldn’t be caught dead with one on a job (well maybe in a pinch) because I think a persons tools indicate how serious they are about their job, but some guys that are very serious just don’t give a crap what they use, as long as it works.
I never see green tools on job-sites. Granted, the tradesman I work with are all experienced and knowledgeable guys that are good at what they do and appreciate their work.
When I ran the my business, the business bought most of the tools. I took input from the crews, often tried something out with a onesy-twosy purchase then if we liked it we’d proceed from there. We initially bought Makita 18V LiIon because at the time they had the best lineup. We bought a lot of M12 as well for a different part of the business. Since retiring – I know that the company has been phasing in a batch of M18 stuff – but the guy who’s buying the tools now is no more married to one brand (other than via some business logic – like not wanting to start stocking brand x or y batteries when we had over 100 Makita batteries.) If I thought that a Ryobi Airstrike made good business sense and we tested them out to make sure – then I would have bought them.
Like with Titanium hammers – I had no issue if anyone wanted to buy and support their own tools – but otherwise they used what we provided. We didn’t buy HF tools – or much f what might be construed as DIY items but If I was told that the tool color was not good – I would have probably listened but laughed.
I understand that image is an important part of conducting business but I also believe that the proof of the pudding so to speak is in the quality of the finished work you turn out plus the repeat business and referrals you get from satisfied customers. No number of Festool or Mafell tools – brought to the jobsite can substitute for how competently and professionally your crews perform or make up for poorly trained workers. Of course bringing crappy tools that don’t perform or catastrophically fail to the jobsite is never a good idea – and good tools do make work easier.
Given the low price of batteries in kits and various deals, I’ve ended up with three battery platforms. It’s really nice to not worry about getting an inferior or more expensive tool just because of the battery. My main tools are Makita (Drill, Impact, Circular Saw, Reciprocating Saw), but I’ve supplemented with the Airstrike (only need one battery for that) and a DeWalt brushless weed whacker that came with a 5ah and 3ah battery for only a few bucks more than the bare tool.
I really like the direction Ryobi has taken. They’ve developed so much interesting new stuff, since they focus on the DIY/Homeowner market without just releasing cheap/disposable crap (I’m looking at you Worx).
I see what you’re saying, but the convenience for me personally with only one battery platform has been worth occasionally waiting, or even not getting the best value out of a bare tool (vs. full kits for some other brands).
It seems like every other weekend i’m doing some work at a parent or friends place, and it often involves me taking a handful of tools with me. only ever worrying about one charger, and a bag of batteries that just needs to be thrown in with the selected tools, has been great. I get that it’s not the best option for everyone, and probably isn’t the cheapest approach, either. But ever since my first drill combo a few years ago, i’ve never been able to pull the trigger on other cordless options.
Not going to lie, though, nailers are the closest I’ve come. but with all these new ones on the horizon, and what appears to be a little more aggressive pricing for the eventual bare tools…I’ll wait and see.
I was in the same boat, only wanting 1 battery platform, but Ryobi makes inexpensive niche and supplemental tools for a fraction of DeWalt’s price, so having my brother buy me into Ryobi opened a can of worms I’m happy to play with.
I will get one as soon as the bare kit comes out.
I’ve had the 18V NiCAD version for years, it is now my only non 20V Max tool so I’ve been waiting for this to come out to finally get back onto a single battery platform. I’ll only bother with the bare tool though, I have enough batteries and chargers!
I’m surprised so many are waiting for this tool, I understand being invested in one platform is efficient and smart, but these DeWalt nailers are so slow, big and heavy. I invested in three Senco Fusion nailers and I couldn’t be happier with my decision! The Fusion nailers are so fast, much smaller, and are just a pleasure to use. Definitely worth looking into even if you already have 40 yellow batteries. . . . .
I have considered the Senco nailers, certainly they have the size advantage, however I was concerned about some pretty negative comments when one was reviewed on this site a few years back https://toolguyd.com/senco-fusion-cordless-finish-nailer-review/#comments. Have these issues with reliability and battery performance been addressed or are the current models the same that were available then?
I considered that line for a while, but had no experience with any cordless nailers, nor knew anyone that used them either.
Just couldn’t get past the reviews: So many complaining of both the 15 and 16 gauge nailers struggling with 1 1/2″ nails, let alone 2 1/2″…and lots of complaints about battery life (not just with efficiency of the gun, but nightmare’ish ‘memory’ and charging problems like it was a decade and a half ago), and random changes to the battery design resulting in the ‘same’ additional battery not fitting either the gun or the charger…stuff like that pushed me towards waiting. I’ve stuck with Dewalt’s 20v line just as much for the battery stability and reliability as the tools themselves, and when considering adding in another platform, I get really uncomfortable when similar issues with batteries keep popping up in the feedback.
I’ll give you that the gun design is great…and I by no means think every complaint pertained to every user…but there were enough question marks for me to never click that order now button.
I’ve had the Fusions for some time now and I haven’t had any battery problems or otherwise. The power is great, I usually shoot 2 1/2″ nails with the 15 and 16 gauge guns and I don’t have any problems. Just for kicks I’ve tried sinking a 2 1/2″ nail into solid oak and it struggles with that, but how often do you shoot into solid oak or maple with 2 1/2″ nails? Me never, I’ll be using a trim screw in that situation.
The batteries are great, very light and they will take an initial charge to like 80% in 15 minutes or something crazy like that, so even if you have one battery you can throw it on the charger, take a coffee brake or take measurements and the battery will be good to go for the rest of the day.
Senco did update the Fusions about 2 or three years ago, very minor changes, mainly to the power switch and electronics. I have the new style guns.
I wanted the DeWalt soooo bad, and thought I would try them when they came out with the 20V gun, but when I picked it up and realized it was the same huge design of the old 18V with the slow flywheel I was immensely disappointed. I can’t sing the praises of the Fusions enough.
The DeWalt 20v nailers or the old XRP nailers aren’t slow. You can shoot them just as fast as needed with a trim gun.
Now heavy and bulky, well, that they are compared to pneumatic. The new 20v is a slight improvement over the old XRP gun. I own both and the Paslode finish nailers. Always comparing them.
The DeWalt nailers are slow when compared to the Senco. The Senco fires right now, the DeWalt has to get its flywheel spinning.
Yeah that’s not true.
The flywheel charges after each shot. If you pick up the gun it’s ready to fire immediately.
That’s why bump fire is an option. There is no delay in the first shot.
Have you even used the DeWalt gun?? It is not “charged” and ready to use immediately. If you pick up the tool, place the tip where you want to fire and pull the trigger it takes a second for the flywheel to spool up and then fire a shot.
I’m holding one right now.
I set it to bump fire.
It fires when I bump.
End of discussion.
I’m using the old style. You can hold the trigger before you need to fire. This turns on the motor and means 0 delay.
To tell everyone the guns have a 1 sec delay is not true.
The old guns have 0 delay. We have a new style 16ga but I haven’t used it yet as my old one still works. I can’t imagine they delay it.
In over 20 years I have never used bump fire or seen anyone on a job ever use use bump fire for trimming. Ever. And if you are using bump fire for trim work you should swiftly be moved to the framing crew.
If you read my comments above, I said, place the tip on your work material and pull the trigger, not bump fire. Try bump firing an ornate built up molding that wants to slide around because it has glue on the back side of it while holding it in place above your head while standing on a ladder, let me know how that goes.
The fact remains, it is not ready to fire when you pick it up as you mentioned, whether it is in bump mode or not, the flywheel has to spool up before it will fire.
Of course no one actually uses bump fire on trim.
I just used bump fire as an example that the delay is almost 0.
Go home. Turn your gun to bump fire and try it.
^I’m not sure how the Senco’s operate, but in ‘bump’ mode or w/e they call it with the Dewalt finish gun, pull the trigger and it’s ready in half a second…then non-stop just bumping it where you want to fire with the trigger held. The internals never slow down in that mode (or at least the slow down is less than what it takes to lift the gun’s nose off the surface and push it down again); the only spool up time is for the initial nail. With that setting, the motor runs until you let off the trigger, and there is virtually zero delay between firing.
I’ve only tried this with 1 1/2″ nails in ash and red oak, but even around the 3/4 of the deepest setting it offers, it was too deep…yet still sinking them as fast as I could maneuver the gun.
The manual recommends not using that mode for 2″ or longer nails in hardwoods, and using the alternative fire mode while adjusting the depth accordingly. But, as said above, it’s far from ‘slow’. For typical trim/molding work, it simply isn’t possible to outrun the gun’s internals imo.
sorry, missed the replies under what you said and can’t edit.
But your argument is still off…With the bump mode, you can still first push the gun into the material and use the trigger to fire, the option is there for exactly what you said. You set whatever trim piece precisely and hold it in place with the nose of the gun, fire the first nail with the trigger…adjust or set at the other side, do it again with the trigger…then go nuts holding the trigger for the rest of the section.
if anyone would be demoted because of two half second delays with trim installation per entire piece, there would be lawsuits…It’s apparent now how happy you are with your senco equipment, but now it seems you’re being overly aggressive on what other contractor grade tool options ‘didn’t think of’…and it’s incorrect.
“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.”
I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but the Senco Fusion guns are pretty close.
Chance, any experience with Mikwaukee’s guns? They look to have the same design setup as Senco’s, both of which I find to be better balanced than other cordless nailers with everything in the head. I’m deeply invested in the M18 line but haven’t pulled the trigger on their nailers. Hopefully these DeWalts will drive the prices down.
I was deeply disappointed in the Milwaukee M18 18 gauge nailer. I haven’t tried the others. The 18 gauge in particular really needs the nose reworked because anything but a straight 90 degree nailing either doesn’t depress the safe guard or doesn’t fully get driven in. Hopefully they address those issues and the rest soon in a refresh.
Put the dewalt nose on the Milwaukee Brad and we would have a real winner!
The Milwaukee Brad is vastly underpowered!!!
I have been wanting to try the Milwaukee guns but have not yet. I already have several cordless nailers and it just hasn’t been a big priority. Most guys seem to like them, but being so happy with the Fusions I haven’t had a reason to try to find anything else.
The Hitachi guns are the best in the market now. They have a similar power and driving system to the Milwaukee, without the actuation issue of driving at an angle. Plus they come with a 3Ah battery instead of a 2Ah so you get more shots per charge.
Have you used the Hitachi nailers? They are HUGE and HEAVY!! And they must be made from ubountanium because they are crazy expensive too.
We have had 3 – 18 ga and 3-16 ga cordless DeWalts at work for about 10 years. A few batteries replaced and a couple broken strikers.
They have been fantastic. A little bulky to look at and underpowered for some hardwoods. Plenty fast for installing trim. They feel smaller and very balanced in your hand.
No compressor, no hoses, no purchasing gas (which is into the $1000’s over the life of our guns).
These things can’t be beat and I can’t wait to purchase and test the new one.
Being a septuagenarian. I’m no longer the target audience for these tools – but I wish someone would be able to make a more compact cordless pinner. I tried the Makita XTP01Z and was sorely disappointed. I like my other Makita 18V LXT tools and thought to stick to the battery platform. It turned out to be a waste of money. The tool was nice and compact – but couldn’t sink the pins in hardwood trim – and its drive pin seems to be much bigger than 23ga. – leaving a noticeable hole.
Back on the topic of 18ga tools, this one looks a bit chunkier than the Paslode Impulse IM200-F18 – which is still pretty ubiquitous in the workplace. It is much pricier and looks bigger than the mostly well reviewed Ryobi P320 which sells for $99 (bare tool) . It looks wider than the Senco and the Milwaukee and even the Hitachi.
The Senco seems to get some good (but mixed) reviews. The Milwaukee gets reviews that would suggest caution. My experience with buying a Makita pinner – just to stay on the same battery platform – would suggest to me that if I were a Dewalt aficionado I’d wait on buying this one until I saw enough reviews to make an informed judgment.
So I’m curious why the 16 gauge has the loop nose but the 15 gauge gets the nice accurate micro nose. I’d probably rather have the 16 gauge for smaller crown molding, but I don’t really like the nose.
I’m having a little problem with my 18 gauge brad nailer. On a lot of the nails the hammer slips beside the nail before its all in. Does anybody else have that problem.
I wonder why the SBD tool brand cordless nailers are so massive. I can understand the size on a framing nailer, or roofing nailer. I think I prefer my brad nailer as compact as possible.