The Best Cordless Framing Nailers of 2022

Choosing the best cordless framing nailer can be a heavy-duty decision—this guide will help you nail it down.

By Tom Scalisi | Updated Aug 1, 2022 6:06 AM

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The Best Cordless Framing Nailer Options

Photo: homedepot.com

Driving a nail with one hammer stroke is almost a skill of the past—and for good reason. The best cordless framing nailers make the job so easy and convenient that it’s almost a no-brainer to use anything else. These tools are lightweight, portable, and powerful enough even for dense framing lumber.

If you’re considering adding one of these convenient devices to your tool kit, keep reading. This guide will explore the information you need to know when shopping for a cordless framing nailer and offer an overview of some of the top picks on the market.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Metabo HPT Cordless Framing Nailer Kit
  2. RUNNER-UP: Metabo HPT Cordless Framing Nailer Kit, 18V
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: DeWalt 20-Volt MAX XR 21° Cordless Framing Nailer
  4. UPGRADE PICK: DeWalt 20-Volt MAX 21° Cordless Framing Nailer
  5. BEST GAS: Paslode Cordless XP Framing Nailer
  6. BEST 30-DEGREE: Milwaukee M18 FUEL 30° Cordless Framing Nailer Kit
  7. BEST 21-DEGREE: Milwaukee M18 FUEL 21° Cordless Framing Nailer Kit
  8. BEST SET: Milwaukee M18 FUEL 18-Volt 21° Cordless Combo Kit
The Best Cordless Framing Nailer Options

Photo: homedepot.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Cordless Framing Nailer

Cordless framing nailers are as capable as their pneumatic brethren but without all the noise and hoses to trip over. Still, there are a few factors shoppers need to weigh before choosing the right model for their needs. The following sections will nail down some of the most important considerations to keep in mind when selecting the best cordless framing nailer.

Size and Weight

One point to keep in mind is that framing nailers, whether cordless or pneumatic, are not light tools. Given that a heavy framing hammer might weigh just 23 ounces, a 10-pound framing nailer will feel hefty—and that’s before adding a stick of nails to the magazine. Ten pounds might not sound heavy, but it will certainly be noticeable after a long day of framing.

Also, it’s important to understand that framing nailers are not small. They’re much larger than a finish nailer, and poorly designed models can be a bit unwieldy. Finding a model that will fit comfortably between standard 16-inch studs can make a big difference. Luckily, a cordless framing nailer doesn’t have hoses and adapters to contend with, so it’s still going to be easier to maneuver than a pneumatic nailer.

Intended Use

Cordless framing nailers are explicitly for framing or fastening structural floor, wall, and roofing members in place. These tools are intended to drive large, heavy nails, making them more about power than finesse. Since framing nailers can often split wood and leave behind marks, keep in mind that they’re suitable for construction framing only.

Framing nailers are less ideal for roofing, as the nails they shoot will tear right through the shingles. They are also not the best bet for siding; the nails will fasten the siding too tightly to the home’s structure. These tools are also far too powerful for finish or brad nailing. For any of these applications, choose a nail gun explicitly designed for these particular jobs; however, be aware that some nail guns are easier to use than others.

Brushed vs. Brushless Motor

Electric cordless framing nailers utilize an electric motor to fire nails, and those motors are available in both brushed and brushless models. Getting into the specifics of how each motor works might require more engineering background than this guide is prepared to cover, but the pros and cons are straightforward.

  • Brushed motors are the common old-school electric models. They’re affordable and offer plenty of power to get the job done. These motors are also large and heavy and will drain a battery faster than brushless options.
  • Brushless motors are the newer generation of electric models. They’re even more powerful, more efficient, and more compact than brushed motors. But, as they’re newer, these models are often more expensive.

Power Source and Runtime

Cordless framing nailers feature two main types of power: gas and battery.

  • The original cordless framing nailers were all gas-powered, as battery technology didn’t have the power it does today. These nailers use a consumable cartridge of combustible gas and a spark to fire a nail into a piece of lumber. Gas models are very powerful, and the cartridges last a long time (up to 1,300 nails), but they can’t be easily recharged like a battery-powered model.
  • Battery-powered cordless framing nailers use electric motors to fire the nails, and though technology has certainly improved, they’re not as powerful as gas models. While battery models don’t last as long (300 to 700 nails), they have the added benefit of rechargeable batteries that save time and money in the long run. They’re also lower-maintenance devices.

Framing Angle and Nail Type

Cordless framing nailers operate at four different angles: 15, 21, 28, and 30 degrees, with each having benefits. The angle is the measurement between the plane of the nail and the angle of the magazine. Each of these distinct nailers also takes a specific nail type that must match the angle of the gun.

  • 15-degree framing nailers are upright, compact, and have drum-style cartridges that accept coiled nails. The nails also feature a fully round head, which gives them a better grip over a clipped head. Since these nailers are compact, they can fit in tight spots. However, they aren’t yet available in cordless models.
  • 21-degree framing nailers have a more slanted angle than 15-degree models, which gives them better access in tight corners. These models use nails with fully round heads that come in a straight plastic-collated stack also known as a stick.
  • 28-degree framing nailers use nails held together by a wire strip, and their heads are either offset or clipped to allow them to nest closely together in a stack.
  • 30-degree framing nailers offer the best access in awkward, tight corners. They use sticks of clipped or offset nails held together by paper strips.

Beyond nailhead shapes, framing nails also come in different lengths. Most framing nailers can handle a range between a 2-inch length (used for sheathing buildings with plywood) and a 3.25-inch length, with some nailers accepting up to a 3.5-inch length.

Additional Features

Cordless framing nailers often include extra features to make them more useful, convenient, and safe. For instance, some models might provide a belt hook that slides over a tool belt, so framers can climb a ladder with both hands or manipulate a workpiece without putting the nailer on the ground.

Also, most framing nailers have lock-outs that prevent a nail from firing without pressing the tip firmly against a piece of wood. They also allow users to choose between sequential (driving one nail) or bump fire, which will fire a nail each time the tip bumps against a surface as long as the trigger is held down.

Some manufacturers also offer cordless tool kits that include a framing nailer. For one purchase, a shopper might receive a framing nailer, a charger, a circular saw, a reciprocating saw, a set of batteries, and more.

Tips for Using a Cordless Framing Nailer

The best cordless framing nailer creates a tremendous amount of force to drive a framing nail through one piece of lumber and into the piece next to it. For this reason, it’s imperative to wear safety glasses, as chunks of splintered wood, errant nails, and other debris can be hard to predict.

Shoppers can purchase a bare framing nailer and save money if they’re already invested in a particular manufacturer’s battery system. These tools come without batteries, but if there are a few compatible batteries already on hand, buyers will be able to use them without the added expense or the space to store another charger.

Don’t think that purchasing a cordless framing nailer will put hammers completely out of commission. On occasion, a nailer won’t be able to drive a nail completely through the intended lumber. In those cases, a few well-placed licks with a hammer will drive the nail home, so keep one nearby.

  • Be sure to wear safety glasses when using a cordless framing nailer.
  • Shop for a bare tool to save money if already invested in a battery-powered lineup.
  • The hammer is not obsolete; keep one nearby to drive home any nails that the framing nailer didn’t sink completely.

Our Top Picks

Framing nailers are all about convenience and making the job as easy as possible, but choosing one can be confusing. To help simplify the shopping process, refer to the following list of some of the best cordless framing nailers on the market. Keep the abovementioned considerations in mind when comparing these models.

Best Overall

The Best Cordless Framing Nailer Option: Metabo HPT Cordless Framing Nailer Kit
Photo: amazon.com

Anyone looking for a well-rounded cordless nail gun should check out this model from Metabo HPT. This battery-powered framing nailer fires plastic-collated fully round nails between 2 and 3.5 inches, giving users the length they need for heavy-duty framing jobs. The 21-degree angle allows it to tuck into some tight spots, and the quick depth adjustment enables users to dial in exactly how far they want the nails to sink.

This kit includes one 18-volt (V) 3 amp hour (Ah) lithium-ion battery, which combines with the brushless motor to fire up to 400 nails on one charge (though serious framers will likely require some additional batteries). Choosing between sequential or bump firing requires just the flick of a switch, and adjusting nail depth is easy with toolless settings. It also comes with a charger and a carrying bag for convenience, weighing just over 10 pounds in total. This Metabo HPT also features a built-in rafter hook from which users can hang the nailer when heading up and down a ladder.

Product Specs

  • Power source: 18V lithium-ion battery
  • Angle: 21 degrees
  • Additional features: Built-in rafter hook, toolless depth adjustment

Pros

  • 21-degree angle fits in tight spaces
  • Switching from sequential to bump firing is easy
  • Entire kit weighs around 10 pounds
  • Built-in rafter hook

Cons

  • Battery might be slightly small, requiring additional purchases.

Get the Metabo HPT cordless framing nailer kit on Amazon or at Lowe’s.

Runner-Up

The Best Cordless Framing Nailer Option: Metabo HPT Cordless Framing Nailer Kit, 18V
Photo: amazon.com

When it comes to tucking a cordless framing nailer into a tight corner, nothing beats a 30-degree nailer like this model from Metabo HPT. This cordless nail gun features a 3Ah 18V lithium-ion battery and a brushless motor, combining for up to 400 nails per charge.

The nailer drives 30-degree clipped or offset nails between 2 and 3.5 inches, meaning it doesn’t sacrifice nail length for versatility. It also offers a bump-firing switch and toolless depth adjustment that users can tweak for sinking those nails to just the desired depth. The kit includes the nailer, a rafter hook, an 18V battery, a charger, and a heavy-duty contractor bag for easy carrying—all of which add up to just over 10 pounds. Keep in mind that adding a battery or two might be necessary for production framing settings.

Product Specs

  • Power source: 18V lithium-ion battery
  • Angle: 30 degrees
  • Additional features: Rafter hook, toolless depth adjustment

Pros

  • Full kit in 1 purchase
  • Switching between sequential and bump firing is straightforward
  • Toolless depth adjustment

Cons

  • Battery might be slightly small for production framing

Get the Metabo HPT cordless framing nailer kit, 18V on Amazon or at Lowe’s.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Cordless Framing Nailer Option: DEWALT 20-Volt MAX XR 21° Cordless Framing Nailer
Photo: homedepot.com

Not everyone has the budget for a high-end cordless framing nailer kit. For those already invested in the DeWalt 20V lineup, this 20V Max XR Cordless Framing Nailer might be just the ticket. This bare-tool purchase comes without a charger or battery, saving users who already own 20V Max batteries quite a chunk of change.

This brushless cordless framing nailer drives 21-degree plastic-collated nails between 2 and 3.25 inches in length, allowing it to tuck into some tight spaces. This model also offers tool-free depth adjustments and an adjustable rafter hook to hang it safely when necessary. And, with the firing-mode switch, users can easily toggle between sequential and bump firing.

Product Specs

  • Power source: 20V lithium-ion battery (not included)
  • Angle: 21 degrees
  • Additional features: Toolless depth adjustment, rafter hook

Pros

  • Sequential and bump firing
  • Uses DeWalt 20V batteries
  • 21-degree angle reaches in tight spots

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with a battery

Get the DeWalt 20-Volt Max XR 21° cordless framing nailer at The Home Depot or on Amazon.

Upgrade Pick

The Best Cordless Framing Nailer Option: DEWALT 20-Volt MAX 21-Degree Cordless Framing Nailer
Photo: homedepot.com

Would-be framers looking for a high-end kit to take to the jobsite should consider DeWalt’s 20-Volt Max Cordless Framing Nailer. This battery-powered framing nailer features a brushless motor with two speeds, allowing users to choose the best speed for a range of fasteners and materials.

The nailer fires 21-degree plastic-collated nails between 2 and 3.25 inches in length. The kit includes a charger and a heavy-duty contractor bag as well as a 5Ah battery for long-lasting capability. It also comes with depth adjustment, an adjustable rafter hook, and a switch for sequential and bump-fire modes. If there is a downside, it’s that this kit is expensive compared to other nailers.

Product Specs

  • Power source: 20V lithium-ion battery
  • Angle: 21 degrees
  • Additional features: Rafter hook, toolless depth adjustment

Pros

  • Comes with a large 5Ah battery
  • Adjustable speeds
  • Toolless depth adjustment
  • Heavy-duty contractor bag for storing kit

Cons

  • It’s expensive

Get the DeWalt cordless framing nailer at The Home Depot.

Best Gas

The Best Cordless Framing Nailer Option: Paslode Cordless XP Framing Nailer
Photo: amazon.com

For pros and DIYers looking for a cordless, lightweight framing nailer, check out the Paslode Cordless XP Framing Nailer. This model uses a compact rechargeable 7V lithium-ion battery and a replaceable compressed-gas fuel cell to fire nails between 2 inches and 3.25 inches.

This 30-degree nailer uses the brand’s 30-degree paper-tape nails and has enough power to drive them flush into extremely dense construction lumber. It can fire two to three nails per second, allowing production framing applications to go quickly. It has a toolless depth adjustment as well as a utility hook and a nail lockout that prevents firing when the nailer runs out of fasteners. The downside is that the fuel cells are not inexpensive and they’re not rechargeable.

Product Specs

  • Power source: Gas and 7V lithium-ion battery
  • Angle: 30 degrees
  • Additional features: Toolless depth adjustment, utility hook

Pros

  • Fires up to 9,000 nails per charge
  • Powerful enough for dense framing material
  • Compact and lightweight design

Cons

  • Fuel cells aren’t rechargeable

Get the Paslode cordless framing nailer on Amazon or at The Home Depot.

Best 30-Degree

The Best Cordless Framing Nailer Option: Milwaukee M18 FUEL 30° Cordless Framing Nailer Kit
Photo: homedepot.com

Nailing into a jobsite’s worth of awkward corners and tight spaces on one charge is possible with a 30-degree nailer like this model from Milwaukee. The M18 Fuel 18V brushless cordless framing nailer uses a 5Ah lithium-ion battery to fire up to 700 nails on one charge. And, with a speed of three nails per second, those 700 nails can be used up in a hurry.

This cordless nail gun kit includes the nailer, the battery, a charger, and a rugged contractor bag for carrying it all to the job site. The nailer has tool-free depth adjustments, both belt and rafter hooks, and the choice to switch between sequential or bump firing. Compatible nails are 2 to 3.5 inches long and paper-collated with either an offset round or a clipped head. Keep in mind that though it is a bit large, it’s a pro-grade tool.

Product Specs

  • Power source: 18V lithium-ion battery
  • Angle: 30 degrees
  • Additional features: Tool-free depth adjustments, belt and rafter hooks

Pros

  • Fires up to 3 nails per second with sequential firing
  • Fires 700 nails on 1 charge
  • Comes with belt and rafter hooks
  • Tool-free depth adjustments

Cons

  • It’s a bit large

Get the Milwaukee M18 Fuel 30° cordless framing nailer kit at The Home Depot or on Amazon.

Best 21-Degree

The Best Cordless Framing Nailer Option: Milwaukee M18 FUEL 21° Cordless Framing Nailer Kit
Photo: homedepot.com

Framers who prefer a 21-degree cordless framing nailer should check out this model from Milwaukee. The M18 nailer features a brushless motor and a 5Ah lithium-ion battery that can drive up to 700 nails on a charge. And it’s not short on speed as it fires up to three nails per second for maximum productivity from a cordless framing nailer.

To achieve that efficiency and productivity, users can switch this framing nailer from sequential firing to bump firing, allowing them to hold the trigger and fire off nails as they bump the tip across the lumber. This nailer also features a rafter and belt hook. This Milwaukee kit includes the nailer, the battery, a charger, and a contractor bag.

Product Specs

  • Power source: 18V lithium-ion battery
  • Angle: 21 degrees
  • Additional features: Belt and rafter hooks, toolless depth adjustment

Pros

  • Fires up to 3 nails per second
  • Toolless depth adjustment
  • Sequential and bump-firing modes
  • Fires up to 700 nails on a single charge

Cons

  • A bit larger than other nailers

Get the Milwaukee M18 Fuel 21° cordless framing nailer kit at The Home Depot.

Best Set

The Best Cordless Framing Nailer Option: Milwaukee M18 FUEL 18-Volt 21° Cordless Combo Kit
Photo: homedepot.com

Shoppers don’t have to settle for just a framing nailer gun with their purchase. This kit from Milwaukee features a complement of tools for tackling almost any job. In addition to the 21-degree cordless framing nailer, the kit includes an impact driver, a hammer drill, a circular saw, a reciprocating saw, a flashlight, a charger, and two 5Ah batteries.

Each of the tools in this kit features Milwaukee’s brushless motor system, giving them more power and long-lasting durability than brushed competitors. They also all fit into the included contractor bag, allowing users to bring the whole set to the jobsite in one hand. While it provides plenty of value, this kit is expensive.

Product Specs

  • Power source: 18V lithium-Ion
  • Angle: 21 degrees
  • Additional features: Kit comes with drills, drivers, saws, and the framing nailer

Pros

  • Comes with 2 5Ah batteries and several power tools
  • Brushless motor system
  • All fit inside the included contractor bag

Cons

  • Expensive

Get the Milwaukee M18 Fuel 18-Volt 21° cordless combo kit at The Home Depot.

Our Verdict

DIYers looking for a high-quality cordless framing nailer will appreciate the Metabo HPT cordless framing nailer kit for its compact and lightweight design. For those looking for a bit more power, the Paslode cordless framing nailer can fire 3.5-inch nails into engineered construction lumber up to 9,000 times on a charge.

How We Chose the Best Cordless Framing Nailers

Putting together a list of the best cordless nailers was a blast for us. We put all of our years of DIY and construction experience to the test, picking out the features we thought were most important so we knew what shoppers would be looking for.

Once we had our list of the most important features, we performed extensive product research to round up nailers for the test. We then compared their prices, power, accessories, and overall value to ensure that we were suggesting only the best models on the market. We threw the products that didn’t make the cut to the side and then gave awards to the ones that made it based on their strengths and the categories shoppers would be most likely to look for.

Shopping for a Used or Refurbished Framing Nailer

Framing nailers can speed up a project tremendously. However, by the time that homeowner or DIYer decides to purchase a pneumatic framing nailer and a compressor large enough to run it, they’ve probably spent more than they would on a cordless nailer. For that reason, even if they only need the nailer for one job, they’ll often opt for a cordless framing nailer and then sell it after the job is done. That means the second-hand market sees its fair share of nailers.

Checking sites like Amazon Renewed, eBay Refurbished, and Walmart’s Certified Refurbished Electronics is a smart choice when shopping for cordless framing nail guns. These models are used and restored, allowing users to save quite a bit of money over purchasing a new nailer.

For those purchasing their cordless nailer directly from a private seller, be sure that the cordless framing nailer works properly. Also, they should expect to have to purchase a new battery relatively soon, so it’s best to negotiate the price to cover the cost.

FAQs

Even with this extensive background on the best cordless framing nailers, you might have some additional questions. The following section aims to help. It’s a collection of some of the most frequently asked questions about cordless framing nailers, so be sure to check for your question below.

Q. For what purposes could I use a cordless framing nailer?

A cordless framing nailer is used for framing walls, floors, decks, ceilings, and roofs, as well as covering those surfaces with sheathing. They have too much power for many other applications.

Q. What is the most common framing nailer? 

The most common framing nailers are the 21-degree models, with the Paslode cordless framing nailer being one of the most popular cordless models.

Q. What is the difference between a 21- and 28-degree framing nailer?

When it comes to framing nailers, the difference between any two degree types is the angle of the tip where the nail comes out and the magazine. A 21-degree framing nailer uses plastic-collated nails with fully round heads, while a 28-degree framing nailer (which isn’t available as a cordless model) uses wire-collated nails with clipped or offset heads.

Q. Can I use 21-degree nails in a 30-degree nailer?

No, and doing so is likely to cause damage. It’s important to use the correct fastener for a framing nailer to work properly.

Q. Can I use a framing nailer for siding?

You can, but it’s not a good idea. Even with the nail depth adjustment backed all the way off, it’s likely that a framing nailer will nail siding too tightly to the surface underneath or shoot the nail through the siding material altogether.