RIDGID 18 Volt Cordless Brad Nailer

By Robert Robillard on Tool Reviews

RIDGID 18 Gauge 18 Volt Brushless Brad Nailer

RIDGID HyperDrive 2-1/8 Brushless Brad Nailer R09890B Review

I’ve been saying for awhile not that RIDGID should come out with a more robust version of the Ryobi cordless brad nailer.

Cordless tool technology is containing to advance to the point of “cutting the cord,” and now the “air hoses” too. Cordless air nailer technology eliminates the need for a compressor, air hoses or expensive gas cartridges. This means faster setup and easier maneuvering on the job site and less stuff to carry and store in your truck.

Have I got your attention yet?

RIDGID just released a cordless nailer that can install up to 2,600 linear feet of trim with 2,000 18 gauge brad nails per battery charge. How’s that for run-time?

RIDGID 18 Volt Cordless Brad NailerRIDGID R09890B Hyperdrive Brad Nailer

This tool is touting the “Ridgid HyperDrive technology,” which looks a lot to me like the Ryobi airstrike technology.  The major difference seems to be in the lightweight, magnesium construction, durable housing package, and a brushless motor for longer life, run-time performance and durability.

Lightweight Construction

The RIDGID Hyperdrive Brad Nailer weighs 5.8 pounds, and has a combination PVC housing with Magnesium in the front where the motor and driving mechanism is located.   It is clear that the engineers designed the R09890B for job site applications to be more robust than the earlier Ryobi Airstrike model.

Brushless Motor

We are seeing more and more premium, cordless tools come out with brushless motors and its a simple equation.  Brushless motors allow you to work faster, longer and get more power out of your tool.

One feature not noticeable is that the rear head of the R09890B easily removes to replace parts for maintenance. I’ve always appreciated when manufacturers allow us to maintain our tools easily.

RIDGID 18 Volt Cordless Brad Nailer

Transparent Magazine – Needs Improvement

The transparent magazine is a nice feature as it allows the user to monitor the nail supply.  During our testing, we found excessive movement in the magazine slide / tool housing when in the open, loading position.  This movement lends us to see potential future damage if dropped or bumped.   This is the only criticism I have with the tool and we feel RIDGID should look at beefing this area up.       

  • Fastener Type:    18GA Brad Nails
  • Fastener Range: 5/8 in. – 2-1/8 in.

Selectable Trigger

The R09890B has a selectable trigger switch allowing users to select contact actuation or single sequential actuation.  The tool arrives from the factory in the single sequential actuation setting.

Personally, I’m not a fan of bump firing as it tend to lead itself to non-precision nailing and is riskier than single sequential actuation.  I do know a few finish guys that like to bump fire their base trim along the bottom wall plate.

LED Light and Diagnostics

Just below the trigger is a grip light that operated an LED light independently of the trigger to illuminate the work surface.  The light will also turn on when the either tool trigger or the nose contact is depressed.

I love LED lights on tools, and found the LED to emit plenty of light to the nose of the tool, a feature that may prove helpful in corners, closets and niches.

Our testing showed the light stays on 10-seconds.   The LED  light has a rectangular pattern that illuminates the tool nose as well as left and right peripheral areas – nice touch.

The LED work-light also provides user feedback on the battery pack.  The LED light will flash is the battery needs charging and continue to flash for other diagnostic issues mentioned in the user manual.

RIDGID 18 Gauge 18 Volt Brushless Brad NailerTool Free Power Adjustment

This nailer has a power adjustment lever on the rear of the tool.   Its located in a protective groove and is identified with a plus and minus symbol.  [see photo above]

We liked this feature as the power this tool may need is largely dependent on the size of brad nail and work piece fastening to.  Moving the lever toward the plus symbol increases air power and to the left decreases it.   Harder materials and longer nails mean more power, during our testing, we found that the best approach is to set your air power on high and use the depth of drive adjustment to fine tune your result.

RIDGID 18 Gauge 18 Volt Brushless Brad Nailer

Depth of Drive Adjustment

The large orange dial at the working end of the tool controls depth of drive.  This dial worked well and was responsive with a quarter turn or less.  Having the ability to control depth of drive ensured proper fastening as well as protects the work surface from over-driving and damage.

Dry Fire Lock Out

The R09890B has a dry fire feature which prevents the nailer from firing when the magazine reached five nails of less.

RIDGID 18 Gauge 18 Volt Brushless Brad NailerTool Free Jamb Release

This is a bottom loading tool, after sliding the magazine cover open, brad nails are placed into the bottom of the magazine, and the mag cover is released with a release button.

When you experience a jam the top clamp on the nose of the tool opens to expose the drive pin channel and nail slot. Sometimes when you drive a fastener too deep into material or excess material or debris can cause the driver mechanism to be stuck in an open position.

I found this function to work well, it’s designed and works similar to other nailers with this same feature. The driver mechanism is easily returned to its normal resting position by turning the elevation screw clockwise, with the help of a flat head screwdriver.

RIDGID 18 Gauge 18 Volt Brushless Brad Nailer

Micro Textured Hex handle Grip

The tool has a decent amount of rubber over-mold and bumpers for resting it on surfaces. We especially like the micro bumps on the grip handle.  I found them comfortable but more importantly they help ensure a solid, secure grip.

Other Features

There is a detachable, right-side or left-side  belt clip, and 2 non-marring pads are included with a carry bag.   Battery and charger are separate but I’m sure when this tool takes off they will provide a kit.

RIDGID 18 Volt Cordless Brad Nailer

Using the RIDGID 18 Volt Cordless Brad Nailer

I tested the RIDGID 18 Volt Cordless Brad Nailer is durable, powerful, fast and convenient.  I used it with AC plywood, Pine, Poplar, Oak and Maple and trim parts.  It worked well and it was easy to determine where to place the fastener.  So far I have driven approximately a thousand brads and no jambs yet.

RIDGID is onto something here, I’m taking notice, and I’m sure others will be too.

Cost:

The RIDGID® HYPERDRIVE™ 18V Brushless 18 Gauge 2-1/8” Brad Nailer will sell for approximately $ 209.00 and will be available in stores here: Ridgid R09890B 18 gauge 18v HYPERDRIVE Cordless Brad Nailer

Package Includes: R09890B Brad Nailer, (500) 1-1/4 in. 18 Gauge Brad Nails, Belt clip, Tool Bag and Operator’s Manual.

Warranty

Ridgid has said that these nailers are backed by their Lifetime Service Agreement policy, which will provide for free seals, pistons, and driver blades, for life.

Video Review

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor / Writer / Video Talent

Robert Robillard is a general contractor, carpenter and operates a remodeling company located in Concord, MA. He is the editor of ConcordCarpenter.com and ToolBoxBuzz, and a has a weekly column in the Sunday Boston Globe. Rob is a recognized leader in tool and how-to information for building professionals, he hosts the Concord Carpenter Cable TV Show, offering advice on home repairs and maintenance. On his website, Rob uses his knowledge and experience to help and educate on best practices in the remodeling industry. His motto: “Well done is better than well said!”. Contact Rob at: info@aconcordcarpenter.com

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