Who Even Wants a Cordless Pin Nailer Anyway?

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I just pulled a teaser post that was live for a brief time, as I wait for more details and official specs. In the meantime, do you even want a cordless pin nailer? Why?

Cordless pin nailers seem to be tricky for most brands to engineer, and I have always assumed it comes down to power and size.

Consider traditional hammers. Whether you’re driving in small or large nails, hammer sizes tend to scale up proportionally. The same doesn’t seem to be true for cordless pin nailers.

Take a look at the image above, of a Ryobi AirStrike pin nailer next to my Hitachi air-powered pin nailer. There’s a substantial size and weight difference here.

Hitachi Air Pin Nailer Side by Side with Makita Cordless Pin Nailer

Here’s my Hitachi air pin nailer compared to a Maktia 18V model. The Makita is so much larger and heavier, it kind of answers the whole “why doesn’t every brand have a cordless pin nailer?” question.

Hitachi Air Pin Nailer Compared to Makita Cordless Pin Nailer

Here’s another view to get a feel for the size differences.

Hitachi Cordless Pin Nailer

Some cordless pin nailers are smaller than others – shown here is the Hitachi/Metabo HPT model. When you look at it from different angles, its size becomes more apparent. Even a somewhat compact cordless pin nailer isn’t anywhere close to the size of air-powered version.

Milwaukee M12 23 Gauge Pin Nailer Hero

And, Milwaukee’s M12 cordless pin nailer has started to ship. With this model, the 12V-class form factor helps to keep things more compact.

The size and weight discrepancy isn’t only found in 23 gauge pin nailers, but most nailer sizes. But as you go up in nail size, air nailers get bigger and heavier, and the differences between cordless and pneumatic tools aren’t as pronounced as with smaller tool sizes.

Different brands utilize various nail-driving mechanisms, but the basic components are the same – you need a motor to convert electrical power into motion, and then a drive mechanism for actually firing the nails. There’s only so much magic that brands can do to minimize the size of everything.

Cordless nailers are great for mobility. I recently used a cordless nailer for driving a couple of hundred 1-1/4″ staples, and the ergonomics were terrible and fatiguing, but I didn’t have to wrestle with a hose in tight spaces.

The goal with cordless pin nailers is to drive 23 gauge pins as well as with air-powered nailers. Cramming such performance into a cordless package will always mean compromises with respect to size, weight, and balance.

It seems that part of the engineering challenge is that pin nailers might share very little with bigger nailers, and so any technological achievements used to design next-generation brad, finish, or framing nailers probably won’t be applicable with a pinner.

So, cordless nailers will never match up to air-powered pin nailers, at least not in the foreseeable future. Even the best new cordless pinner will be larger and heavier than a pneumatic version of comparable power. Still, I AM SO EXCITED to see what’s next.

I won’t be ditching my air pin nailer, just as I still use my other air nailers for tasks where I don’t need the mobility or a cordless tool. But I think this is the size of cordless nailer I’d use most.

For a lot of workshop tasks – mainly minor tacking of small wood pieces during glue-ups – a brad nailer is too big, and it’s a hassle to bring out a compressor and drag a hose around for just minor needs.

C’mon black & yellow – hurry up!

Do you, or would you use a cordless pin nailer? Where? Why?

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