Neiler: how to choose an electric or pneumatic nailer

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Nails or nail guns are used in a variety of industries, from construction to carpentry and furniture workshops. Despite the relatively low energy of the shot, pneumatic and electric nailers remain at the peak of popularity, and we will talk about them in this review..

Scope of use

The nailing tool is most widespread in the USA and Canada, where frame house building has been widely practiced for more than a century. But in the vastness of the CIS, nailers are still considered an overkill: after all, hand hammers are much more familiar and familiar. Nevertheless, under some circumstances, the nail gun is indispensable: first of all, for large volumes of work and requirements for the cleanliness of the surface, on which there should be no traces from the striker of a conventional hammer.

Neiler: how to choose an electric or pneumatic nailer

Pneumatic and electric tools have a wide power range, which in practice translates into the length of the fastener. The most powerful nailers are used mainly in the construction of timber frame houses, where it is important not only to be able to immediately drive a nail longer than 120 mm into the fastening unit, but also to ensure accuracy and guarantee that the parts will not move during the fixation process. Nails with lower performance are optimal for assembling rafter systems, installing battens, sheathing and roofing.

Neiler: how to choose an electric or pneumatic nailer

The least powerful nailers are highly accurate and are called hairpin or micro hairpin. They are mainly used in joinery for attaching all kinds of decors and moldings to furniture elements, as well as for temporarily fixing the parts to be glued. Concealed fastening can also be important in interior decoration: when installing skirting boards, platbands, lining and a wide range of wooden products of the most diverse kind.

Prices and purchase issues

The only factor that prevents nailers from being used everywhere is their high cost. On average, the price of nail guns is 2–2.5 times higher than in countries where such a tool is considered the main tool for making joints on nails. Of course, there are options to make an individual order or purchase a nailer directly from Chinese suppliers, but long delivery times and difficulties in communication make this method of purchase an exception. Therefore, we will briefly go over the main price categories of neilers presented in Russian stores, taking, for example, a pneumatic tool.

The budget series of nail guns is represented by purebred Chinese brands such as FUBAG, MATRIX, Realkey and others like them. The range of fasteners is usually limited to 90–100 mm; at a cost, even the most powerful tool in this category fits into the range of 10–12 thousand rubles. An inexpensive tool is best suited as the main workhorse for self-construction of a frame house from foundation to roof: a resource of 10-15 thousand shots will be quite enough.

Neiler: how to choose an electric or pneumatic nailerPneumatic nailer Matrix 57405 for nails from 10 to 32 mm

For semi-professional applications, nail guns from Bostitch are considered the most suitable. It is a subsidiary of the global brand Black&Decker, the tool has a completely solid performance and a long service life. The cost of such nailers is 20-25 thousand rubles with a fastener length of up to 90 mm and a little more than 30 thousand rubles for the most powerful models without unnecessary bells and whistles. In the same price category are Panrex instruments – analogs of Bostitch made in Taiwan. This category also contains some of the original DeWalt tools – the main manufacturer of woodworking equipment in the USA.

Neiler: how to choose an electric or pneumatic nailerNeiler Bostitch F21PL

The most expensive positions are occupied by highly specialized tools: from Hitachi, Bosh and Makita, to the most expensive SENCO and Paslode nailers and hairpins made in the USA. In this group, the cost of a nail gun practically does not depend on its power, the high price is dictated by the excellent ergonomics, reliability and reliability of the tool. The cost of a hammer with a fastener length of up to 50 mm can reach 60 thousand rubles: such a tool is intended exclusively for professional use, unlike representatives of the previous group, which are often purchased for a specific object with the expectation of a quick payback.

Neiler: how to choose an electric or pneumatic nailer

The practical difference between power tools and pneumatic tools

In operation, electric and pneumatic water launchers demonstrate approximately the same efficiency. However, there are two facets in which significant differences are observed, the first of which is economic. The cost of a cordless tool is on average 30-50% higher than a pneumatic one. Here, however, it is worth making a reservation: a pneumatic hammer also requires a compressor and a hose, and when several neilers with different working pressures are used simultaneously, a splitter with a reducer is also required. The other side of the price issue is the cost of a shot, which is almost half the price of a pneumatic tool..

Neiler: how to choose an electric or pneumatic nailer

The second facet is usability. Cordless tools are heavier: on the one hand, this provides a more secure grip when working with long fasteners and reduces recoil, on the other – it is extremely fatiguing for the hands. The lack of hoses, connection to the compressor and the presence of electricity at the facility is a separate plus, but autonomy is limited by a rather short operating time: only 300-400 shots on a full battery charge.

Features of the choice of cordless nailers

Electric hammers use compressed air energy in the same way as pneumatic tools. The only difference is that the cordless nail gun has a built-in blower. This principle of operation leads to a high similarity in the design of the main working mechanism, but at the same time there are significant differences in service and application..

Almost all rechargeable nailers use Li-Ion batteries, only such batteries provide sufficient capacity and current output. Most models are equipped with one battery, so you should make sure in advance that there is an opportunity to purchase an additional one, moreover, compatible with the existing charger slot. It is desirable that the series of the nailer be quite widespread and after 3-4 years the batteries have not been discontinued.

The limited performance of the built-in supercharger does not allow for a rate of fire of more than 1.5-2 blows per second, while after 1-1.5 years of operation due to battery wear in serial mode it will be possible to drive only 1 nail per second, or even less. For many cordless nailers there is a problem in the choice of fasteners, it is often allowed to use only branded nails and studs.

What you need to know about pneumatics

Pneumatic nailers have a simpler device, therefore, they demonstrate high reliability. The main selection criteria are operating pressure and air consumption per shot, based on these parameters, you need to select the appropriate compressor performance and receiver volume.

Pneumatic strikers are divided into oil-free and requiring periodic lubrication – a few drops of special oil in the compressed air supply pipe. Tools with Teflon-coated internal piston surfaces do not generate microscopic splashes during operation and are therefore ideal for carpentry workshops.

The power of pneumatic nailers is not limited by weight and dimensions, therefore such a tool is able to easily work with fasteners longer than 100 mm, consistently providing a rate of fire of up to three beats per minute due to instant cocking and a large receiver volume. Pneumatic hammers allow for a freer choice of nails and studs of completely different types.

Sizes, calibers and type of fasteners

The type of fastener directly determines the purpose of the nailer. There are two classification systems: the length is determined in the metric system of measures, the thickness is determined by the gauge according to the AWG system, that is, the conditional section of the wire. The length of the fastener varies from 25 mm to 130 mm, thickness – from 23 (thinnest) to 11 (thickest) caliber. It is noteworthy that only 15 gauge nails have a circular cross-section, all other fasteners are rectangular studs. For each nailer, only a certain caliber of fasteners can be used, while the length can vary within small limits.

Neiler: how to choose an electric or pneumatic nailer

Nail guns are designed to work with one of three types of fasteners: tape-drum, straight and inclined cassette. It is better to choose a tool based on which fasteners are the most affordable and cheap, usually drum naylers and studs with a straight clip are more profitable in this regard. There is, however, an exception: a nail gun with a rather large drum is less suited to work in hard-to-reach places..

Based on the size of the nails and studs used, naylers are divided according to their purpose into:

  • finishing (caliber from 23 to 14, length up to 64 mm);
  • sheathing (15 and 14 gauge, depth up to 70 mm);
  • rack and frame (nails in an inclined, straight and drum cage 21 ° and 34 °, caliber up to 11, length up to 130 mm);
  • pallet (caliber up to 9, length up to 130 mm);
  • roofing (caliber up to 14, length from 19 to 45 mm).

Also note that different types of nails and studs can be used within a certain caliber and length range: smooth, brushed, screw, etc..

Design, service and additional functions

When buying a nailer, you need to pay attention to some design features. The most important indicator is how easy it is to disassemble the feed head. Quite often, the nail or stud is bent and must be removed from the tool manually. For this, some manufacturers (Bostitch, DeWalt) provide quick-release caps, while others use a screw fastening..

Neiler: how to choose an electric or pneumatic nailer

Some nailers require periodic cleaning. This mainly applies to nail guns with a straight and inclined clip: dust and lacquer grains holding the fasteners in the cassette make it difficult to feed the studs into the head. Internal mechanisms need cleaning if there is no filter and moisture sorbent in the compressed air supply system.

Neiler: how to choose an electric or pneumatic nailer

Neilers have a different insurance system against accidental descent. So, two-finger fuses can be used, or activation by pressing the spout. The most convenient is the SmartPoint system, which is present in the latest representatives of the Bostitch line. It is good if the nailer is equipped with an impact force regulator that allows you to choose the depth of the fastener sinking. Among the additional functions, we also mention the illumination of the working area for cordless nail blowers and the possibility of idle air release for blowing out with pneumatic hammers.

Ergonomics, weight and balance

Finally, we must not forget that nailers are a tool with increased requirements for usability. The weight of the hammer must be selected in accordance with the “heavyness” of the work: for assembling the frames, nail guns weighing from 5–6 kg are optimal, for delicate work – up to 1.5 kg.

Neiler: how to choose an electric or pneumatic nailer

Make sure the instrument is well balanced: when hanging on two fingers, the support should be in the area of ​​the trigger or slightly lower. The presence of rubber pads is optimal, the thickness of the handle should correspond to the size of the hand for the most reliable grip.

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