Wise Buys: Nailer/Compressor Combination Kits
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Wood Magazine

Wise Buys: Nailer/Compressor Combination Kits

Why buy? Unless you're using a spray gun, pneumatic sander, or framing nailer, a small, portable air compressor handles your nailer needs just fine. And because you might need more than one type of nailer, these combo kits offer real value. Each tested kit comes with a 2- to 6-gallon compressor, hose, an 18-gauge brad nailer, and another nailer or stapler for much less than you'd pay if buying each item piecemeal. Because most kits come with a stiff PVC hose that is difficult to work with, we suggest replacing it with a good 1/4" or 3/8" rubber hose that'll cost about $30.

Bostitch CPACK300

Bostitch CPACK300


INCLUDES: 6-gallon compressor; 16-gauge 1-2-1/2" finish nailer; 18-gauge 5/8-2" brad nailer; 18-gauge 1/2-1-1/2" narrow-crown stapler; 1/4"x40' hose; canvas bag; and fasteners.

Editor test-drive:
I could drive 25 2-1/2" finish nails, 40 2" brads, or 35 1-1/2" staples before the oil-free compressor engaged. Even though this model was comparatively quiet at 82 dB, it's still a good idea to wear hearing protection. The nailers all have effective depth adjustments and moveable exhaust ports, but few other frills. Only the finish nailer has a quick-release to clear jams--although I could never jam it--and all will dry-fire when out of fasteners, shortening the nailer's life and leaving pockmarks on the workpiece. Despite weighing 38 lbs, the compressor is easy to carry.

--Tested by Bob Hunter, Tools & Techniques Editor

To learn more:
800-556-6696; bostitch.com


 

Porter-Cable CF6330

Porter-Cable CF6330

INCLUDES: 6-gallon compressor; 16-gauge 1-2-1/2" finish nailer; 18-gauge 5/8-1-3/8" brad nailer; 18-gauge 1/2-1-1/4" narrow-crown stapler; 1/4"x40' hose; canvas bag; and fasteners.

Editor test-drive:
The nailers in this kit surprised me because they're more robust than my older nailers. The lightweight magnesium bodies held up well under fire. The finish nailer and stapler sport quick-releases for clearing jams, and on the bradder and stapler, a red flag appears in a small window to indicate low fasteners. Although none will bump-fire, you can get an optional trigger to do so with the finish nailer. The 28-lb, oil-free compressor proved easy to carry, but tended to scoot when refilling, and its test-high 91 dB equals the noise of a router.

--Tested by Craig Ruegsegger, Multimedia Editor

To learn more:
888-848-5175; deltaportercable.com


 

DeWalt D55141FNBN

DeWalt D55141FNBN

INCLUDES: 2-gallon compressor; 16-gauge 11/4-2-1/2" finish nailer; 18-gauge 5/8-1-1/4" brad nailer; and 1/4"x25' hose.

Editor test-drive:
This small, oil-free compressor nevertheless weighs 31 lbs thanks to a stout tank and motor. It's also louder than I expected at 85 dB. Still, its compact size and easy-to-grab handle makes it easy to lug into the house, basement, or jobsite with no trouble. I could fire only 15 1-1/4" brads or nine 2-1/2" finish nails before the pump kicked on, but it had no trouble keeping up with every job I did. With two quick-connect ports, you could hook up both nailers (with another hose), but the small tank would not support two people steadily using those nailers simultaneously. Both nailers feature easy-to-adjust depth controls and quick, toolless jam clearing.

--Tested by Bill Krier, Editor-in-Chief

To learn more:
800-433-9258; dewalt.com


 

Makita MAC700K3

Makita MAC700K3

INCLUDES: 2.6-gallon compressor; 18-gauge 5/8-2" brad nailer; 18-gauge 5/8-1-1/2" narrow-crown stapler; and 1/4"x25' hose.

Editor test-drive:
There are enough ear-piercing machines and tools in my shop, so I was thrilled with the smooth, quiet performance of Makita's oil-lubed, hot-dog-style compressor. Thanks to a small muffler, this model topped out at 72 dB, more than three times quieter than the next-best unit in the test. Although it's hefty--a test-high 53 lbs--it's the beefy components that make it so: heavy-gauge steel, copper tubing, and tubular steel handle. Both nailers have effective non-marring rubber noses, but neither will bump-fire in rapid succession. Only the brad nailer has a quick-release for clearing jammed fasteners.

--Tested by Kevin Boyle, Senior Design Editor

To learn more:
800-462-5482; makitatools.com


 

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