Hitachi A5 Series Framing Nailer

By Will Endicott on Tool Reviews

Hitachi NR83AA5 Paper-Collated Pneumatic Framing Nailer Review

Within the last decade or so, tool companies have stepped up their game to push the boundaries of cordless technology, safety features, and user experience with their tool lineups. While this has been fantastic for us tool user’s, sometimes a step back is necessary. The old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” still rings true. The newly releasedHitachi A5 Series Framing Nailer is essentially an updated version of the old stand-by NR-83 and I was fortunate enough to get my hands on the NR83AA5 paper-collated version.

I originally broke into the trades on a framing crew and EVERYONE used the NR-83, therefore, I did too. While my company has shifted from solely framing, I still occasionally frame for certain contractors and continue to use those nailers from many years before. They just work.

First Impressions of the Hitachi A5 Framing Nailer

First checking out the new A5, it had that familiar feeling similar to that of your favorite pair of work boots or jeans. The weight and balance were great and the trigger, extremely comfortable and sized just right.

Upon further inspection though, there are several new features on this A5 series. Hitachi updated the aesthetics with a more “futuristic” body style while trying to keep with the overall classic design that has been seen on job sites for years.

Hitachi also updated their trigger design that will be covered later in the article.


  • Driving System: Piston Reciprocating Action
  • Gauge Pressure: (70 – 120psi)
  • Driving Speed: 3 nails/sec.
  • Loading capacity: 86 – 94 nails
  • Air Inlet: NPT 3/8 Thread
  • Dimensions (L x H): 18-1/8″ x 14-3/16″
  • Weight 9.0 lbs. (without hook)
  • Standard Accessories Eye Protector, Hook


Cylinder Valve Drive System

The Hitachi A5 Series Framing Nailer has stayed the course with keeping familiar, tried-and-true features while updating several features for user performance. They have replaced all plastic parts with industrial-quality metal to ensure less down-time. The internal parts are the same as the original NR83 model which features their unique Cylinder Valve Drive System. This extremely simple system operates the valve with the cylinder allowing faster response times and fewer parts to maintain.

Selective Actuation Trigger

The most important update in the Hitachi A5 Series Framing Nailer is their new Selective Actuation feature. This all-metal switch allows the user to switch from sequential to contact (bump) mode quickly and without any tools. Although this comes locked in sequential mode, it can be changed easily once the locking pin is removed. This initial setup does require a pair of pliers to remove the locking pin.

Hardened Claw Tips

The claw tips on the nose of the Hitachi A5 Series Framing Nailer aid in toe-nailing and were very sharp from the factory. I did have a couple issues when attempting to toe-nail from the side, but I believe this will get better as the nailer gets more broken-in (I haven’t had any issues with the NR-83 models after a break-in period).

Rafter Hook

The Hitachi A5 Series Framing Nailer is also the first gun that Hitachi has manufactured that comes equipped with a rafter hook. Three allen screws attach the hook to the bottom of the nailer. Mounting the hook was easy and sturdy. I personally am a huge fan of rafter hooks and feel they should be included on all nailers, so I appreciate that Hitachi is finally making the plunge and including them on their new nailers.


While I appreciate the inclusion of the rafter hook on the Hitachi A5 Series Framing Nailer, it was easily the biggest let-down of this nailer. The hook itself, was large and made of a fairly thin piece of metal. With normal use, the hook would easily bend and I found myself constantly trying to bend it back to its’ original shape. The hook is a bit cumbersome but this is just a personal preference. I mostly hang my nailer on 2x material or my tool bags and the size of the hook was awkward for these operations. I am sure there are users out there that would prefer the larger hook.

Hitachi representatives report that they already have a “beefier” hook in the works and should be out soon.

The only other issue I had with this nailer was the lack of a depth adjustment. While they offer this feature on other versions in the A5 series, there isn’t an option for the paper-tape clipped-head version that I used.

Overall Impression

After using the Hitachi A5 Series Framing Nailer to frame several houses, it has become my go-to nailer. The improved Selective Actuation is a very nice addition that only adds to the legend of Hitachi framing nailers. While there were a couple of minor issues, I appreciate the effort to include features that nearly all framers and contractors would like to see on a nailer. I would absolutely recommend this workhorse of a nailer to anyone seeking the reliability and durability that has become synonymous with the Hitachi brand on job sites worldwide.

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About the author

Will Endicott

William Endicott is a licensed contractor in the State of Missouri and is the principal of a custom home building and renovation company. After attending the University of Kansas, he began working full time in the trades and soon after, started his own company. As a second generation carpenter, William grew up around job sites and discovered his love of tools. He now enjoys finding tools that help give his clients the best possible quality, while also helping to keep his company productive and profitable. In his spare time, he enjoys woodworking projects, fishing and spending time with his wife and three children.

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