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Wise Buys: No-Hose Brad Nailers

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Kobalt Compressed-air Regulator, J-6901-100

Kobalt Compressed-air Regulator, J-6901-100

Weight: 3.2 lbs. (including 9-oz. tank, excluding nailer)

Editor test-drive:
It's not exactly hoseless, but you don't need a compressor. I have to admit it: I was intrigued by Kobalt?s J-6901-100 compressed-air regulator because it looks cool, but at the same time I was skeptical of its abilities. Here's how it works: A tank filled with compressed carbon dioxide (CO2) provides the power for your pneumatic brad nailer (not included). You control the CO2 pressure with the regulator, which clips onto your belt.

It didn't take long to dial in the regulator, but it worked best at the maximum of 120 psi; lower levels just didn't sink longer nails. Using my own nailers, I drove 2", 18-gauge brads into red oak and hard maple, and it socked them in perfectly. I noticed that some nailers require more air per nail than others (based on watching the draw on the pressure gauge), so you might have to wait a second or two between nails. I also tried the Kobalt with my 15-gauge finish nailer, and it powered that driver with no problem. I drove a combined 268 brads and finish nails of assorted lengths on a 9-oz. tank. When you've expended your tank's supply, return it to Lowe's for an exchange. Replacements cost $16 for the standard 9-oz. tank, and $27 for the optional 20-oz. tank ($36 new).
-- Tested by Bob Hunter, Tools and Techniques Editor

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