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MSRP: $189 (bare tool)
Most woodworkers want their tools to be as unobtrusive as possible during use. Ideally, your saw blades never leave burn marks, screw heads never strip, and you never notice your chisels getting dull mid-project. So last week, when I was fixing the umpteenth dent my cheap pneumatic nailer had left on some trim, I had finally had enough. I was going to get a brad nailer that didn’t do more harm than good.
Enter the new Ryobi 18V ONE+™ HP Airstrike Brad Nailer. I have a compressor and hose reel than can reach my entire shop plus a decent portion of my house, but looking at my upcoming slate of house projects motivated me to go with the most portable route possible. I quickly put it to use on a board and batten accent wall, and I’m pleased to report that the nailer was exceptionally unobtrusive. Nails were driven to the exact depth with the tool-free adjustment dial, the battery lasted the entire project, and not a single excess dent marred the surface. The ONE+™ HP Airstrike Brad Nailer uses 18ga nails from 5/8″ to 2-1/8″ long, and can hold 105 nails in the magazine. Ryobi claims up to 2,250 nails driven on a single charge of a (not included) 4ah battery, and I see no reason to doubt that number. The nailer can be set to drive 1 nail for each trigger pull, or continuous nailing as the trigger is held down.
The biggest drawback of battery-powered air tools is that they weigh more than their pneumatic cousins, and this is no exception. The Ryobi weighs twice as much as my old nailer, though once you factor in the weight of dragging the hose around that gap narrows. There’s also inexplicably no way to set the nailer upright; it has to be laid on its side or it will just tip over. Overall though, using the tool is a very unobtrusive experience, which is exactly what I was looking for.
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