Compact and Lightweight, the Milwaukee M12 Pin Nailer is a Joy to Use
The smallest of the nailers we consistently use, many folks have wondered about a legitimately compact cordless pin nailer. We got our hands on the Milwaukee M12 23-Gauge Pin Nailer and there’s no question it’s smaller than most. We also wanted to know if it has the power and accuracy we demand.
- More compact and lighter weight than other cordless pin nailers
- Excellent visibility
- No firing delay
- Plenty of power
- Two-stage trigger prevents accidental firing
- Easy depth adjustment
- Dry fire lockout
Milwaukee M12 23-Gauge Pin Nailer Performance
Man, oh man, I’ve been looking forward to this Milwaukee cordless pin nailer! As soon as I took it out of the box, I put it to work testing it driving power and accuracy.
We use gridded 1/2-inch poplar over 2x PT to run some standardized tests and the nailer performed beautifully! The magazine holds up to 120 1/2-inch to 1 3/8-inch headless pin nails that load easily into the magazine. It feels very stable as you lock it down.
The first thing I was looking for was the telltale cordless nailer firing delay. It’s simply not there with this model. As soon as you pull the trigger, it fires without having to spin up a flywheel.
Satisfied, I then turned to dial in the power. With 3/4-inch pin nails loaded, I needed to find the right balance of driving depth. Starting at the shallowest setting, I worked my way down until I found a depth that sank the nails just below the surface. I found it about 1/3 of the way through the range, leaving plenty of room for longer nails and harder woods.
The depth adjustment itself is super-easy to use. The thumbwheel has roughly 35 points of adjustment. The wheel turns easily between each one and seats confidently. It’s not too hard on your thumb while still giving you defined depth positions.
As for the visibility and accuracy, it’s excellent. An LED light improves your visibility in low-light conditions. The nose is narrow enough to get an accurate position. Once we got used to the no-mar cover, we had no problem placing nails right on our grid intersections. The driver fires through the center of the nose, so you need to put the white arrow about 1/4-inch above your target. There’s a spare on the right side of the magazine if you lose or wear out the first.
Milwaukee M12 23-Gauge Pin Nailer Design Notes
So just how compact is this nailer? It’s 7.7 inches tall and 8.7 inches long. With the belt hook, it weighed 3.4 pounds on our scale and bumped up to 3.8 pounds with a 2.0Ah battery. To our knowledge, that’s the most compact currently available.
You can use any Milwaukee M12 battery to power the nailer, and we recommend using a 1.5Ah or 2.0Ah battery. The larger 4.0Ah and 6.0Ah work great, but you can get up to 750 shots out of a 1.5Ah, so we don’t see any reason to add the extra weight.
Like most cordless pin nailers, the nose doesn’t depress as a safety mechanism. Instead, Milwaukee uses a trigger safety that is very easy to push down with your finger to activate the tool. Doing this also turns on the LED light and battery level indicator.
The left side of the magazine has slots that let you easily see how many nails you have left. That’s not as helpful for left-handed folks, but we like it anyway. If you’re not keeping a close eye on your levels, there is a dry fire lockout built in.
We haven’t had any jams yet. However, you need a hex wrench to access the head if you have one. It stores on the right side of the magazine so you have it when you need it.
Milwaukee M12 23-Gauge Pin Nailer Price
You can grab the Milwaukee cordless pin nailer from your favorite retailer for $199 as a bare tool or $249 with a 1.5Ah battery and charger.
The Bottom Line
It’s hard to find a fault with this cordless pin nailer. It’s lighter and more compact than any other cordless model we’ve used and its performance has been flawless. Though you can still go lighter with air nailers, the Milwaukee M12 23-Gauge Pin Nailer is a no-brainer switch to make as a full-time pneumatic replacement for carpentry and woodworking projects.
Milwaukee M12 23-Gauge Pin Nailer Specs
- Model: Milwaukee 2540
- Power Source: M12 battery (1.5Ah included in kit)
- Magazine Capacity: 120 Pin Nails
- Pin Length: 1/2 in. to 1-3/8 in.
- Height: 7.7 in.
- Length: 8.7 in.
- Width: 2.6 in.
- Weight: 3.3 lbs.
- Warranty: 3 years
- Kit Price: $249