The Best Cordless Nail Guns

Sometimes it’s faster, easier, and a lot neater to shoot a nail rather than hammer it.

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Ryobi

WHAT WE PUT THEM THROUGH: Over a week, we nailed red oak up to 1 1/2 inches thick, softwood, MDF, and both hardwood and softwood plywood.

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Best Overall: DeWalt DCN680B 20V 18 Gauge Brad Nailer
Philip Friedman
DeWalt amazon.com
$249.00

Ranking: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ (Best Overall)

Weight: 6.0 lb 

Battery: 2 Ah

Likes: 18-gauge nails are finicky. As their length increases, only the best guns can reliably sink these skinny nails in hardwoods. The DeWalt fired nail after nail into 1 1/2 inches of red oak without a problem. Its ergonomics and handling are outstanding.

Dislikes: None.

Best Value: Ryobi P320 18V 18 Gauge Brad Nailer
Philip Friedman
Ryobi amazon.com
$134.00

Ranking: ★ ★ ★ ★

Weight: 6.2 lb

Battery:1.5 Ah

Likes: Everything said in favor of the Craftsman’s small size and light weight applies to the Ryobi, with color and minor product features appearing to be the only difference between the two.

Dislikes: The spring-loaded hatch for clearing jammed nails is uncomfortably stiff, an attribute shared with the Craftsman.

Best for Contractors: Hitachi NT1850DE 18V Cordless Brad Nailer
Philip Friedman
Hitachi amazon.com
$279.00
$199.00 (29% off)

Ranking: ★ ★ ★ ★ 1/2

Weight: 7.4 lb 

Battery: 3 Ah

Likes: A professional-duty nailer that makes use of a permanently sealed air cylinder to provide rapid-fire capability. Hitachi estimates that it’s capable of three nails a second. We couldn’t verify that, but we can say that its sequential and bump fire are as fast as you’ll need.

Dislikes: The wheel for setting nail depth is difficult to turn.

Speed Demon: Senco FN55AX 18V 18 Gauge Brad Nailer
Philip Friedman
SENCO amazon.com
$431.19

Ranking: ★ ★ ★ ★ 1/2

Weight: 6.2 lb 

Battery: 1.5 Ah

Likes: The test’s fastest gun is also sleek and lightweight. An innovative design means the bottom half of the gun’s nose is part of the magazine door, which allows for simple clearing of jammed nails.

Dislikes: Considerable recoil. And it was a tad less capable than the DeWalt in the 1 1/2-inch-oak test.

Best for Small Spaces: Craftsman C3 19.2v 18 Gauge Brad Nailer
Philip Friedman
Craftsman amazon.com
$157.87

Ranking: ★ ★ ★ 1/2

Weight: 6.0 lb

Battery: 1.25 Ah

Likes: We are pleased with the Craftsman’s small size and light weight, important assets in a tight spot and overhead. The Craftsman is easy to position, even upside down. Whatever its orientation, it has enough power for typical nailing tasks up to 3/4-inch oak fastened to softwood.  

Dislikes: The spring-loaded hatch for clearing jammed nails is uncomfortably stiff, an attribute shared with the Ryobi.

Porter-Cable PCC790B 20V 18GA Brad Nailer
Philip Friedman
Porter-Cable amazon.com
$149.99

Ranking: ★ ★ ★ 

Weight: 6.0 lb

Battery: 1.5 Ah

Likes: Held its own on up to 1 1/4-inch nails fired into 3/4-inch oak to fasten it to softwood, setting each nail with a crisp indented recess that would accept nail filler perfectly. And its light weight and easy handling are appreciated during a long trim session.

Dislikes: The slowest nailer we tested.

Ridgid 18-Volt 18-Gauge Brad Nailer
Philip Friedman
Ridgid homedepot.com
$199.00

Ranking: ★ ★ ★ ★

Weight: 7.0 lb 

Battery: 2 Ah

Likes: For such a big tool, the Ridgid handles easily thanks to high-grip surfaces on the handle and good ergonomics. It is a reasonably powerful and fast nailer, and the sight line on its orange nose makes it easy to place a nail exactly where you want it.

Dislikes: In the 1 1/2-inch-oak test, it drove most nails flush but did not set them so they would accept nail filler.

Makita XNB01Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless 2
Philip Friedman
Makita amazon.com
$229.00

Ranking: ★ ★ ★ ★

Weight: 6.2 lb

Battery:1.5 Ah

Likes: Everything said in favor of the Craftsman’s small size and light weight applies to the Ryobi, with color and minor product features appearing to be the only difference between the two.

Dislikes: The spring-loaded hatch for clearing jammed nails is uncomfortably stiff, an attribute shared with the Craftsman.

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