Ryobi One+ 18V Cordless Air Strike Brad Nailer Review
When we set out to buy a house, we wanted to buy something that was or looked old. We didn’t have a huge budget, though, and saw house after house that attempted to look old. None of them felt right. And then we found our house: an 1860 home in historic Concord.
The only problem? The previous owners had hidden the historic character of the house — old plaster walls, brick chimney, etc. — behind bright, modern colors. Soon after we moved in, we decided to quickly reveal and recreate the historic character of the house with some details true to the period. Our first move? Tongue and groove bead-board with nosing and scotia in the dining area.
To do the job right, I needed a brad nailer — a tool I didn’t have. Most contractors use a brad nailer powered by an air compressor. For someone of my skill level, this was not what I wanted: it’s a lot of heavy (and loud!) equipment. For the pleasure of something loud and heavy, you also have to pay a pretty penny: many models are close to $200.
As with many of our home DIY projects, this was the central dilemma: we wanted something nice, and we wanted to do it right, but we don’t have a huge budget. We wanted something to our skill level, and to our budget.
Ryobi Cordless 18 Gauge Brad nailer P320
Enter the Ryobi Cordless 18 Gauge Brad nailer P320. It was perfect for the job. The Ryobi brad nailer offers a few compelling advantages. Let me take each in turn.
It’s wireless. Powered by the Ryobi One Plus battery system, there are no wires, no cables, no electrical outlet required. It’s totally portable, and lasted me more than 3 hours of regular use.
It’s powerful yet quiet. This brad nailer packs a punch. I admit: I was skeptical. But surely you need compressed air to generate enough power, I thought. Not at all. In testing this, I drove nails solidly into two ¾” pieces of bead board stacked on top of each other — with power to spare. When I started using it, I had to dial it back so as to not nail it too deeply. That’s pretty good.
It’s quiet. Hear that? No, nothing? You won’t. This tool sounds like a staple gun. Gone is the incessant, loud noise of a compressor. The silence was great.
It’s comfortable in the hand. The weight and balance of this tool is good. It wasn’t unbalanced, and thus hard to use. It was comfortable in the hand, and easy to use even when held and used at various angles and in tight spaces.
It’s the right price. At around $129, you can’t beat the price?
My only concern? The first one I got didn’t work. It was a complete dud. I tried using it, and an experienced contractor friend tried, and we simply couldn’t get it to function. The next one worked right out of the box, however. So, I got a lemon. The second one worked great.
The installation — aided with the help of a friend — went smoothly. I blind nailed the bead board easily, with only two tricky custom pieces that needed to be cut to accommodate abutting window trim. The quarter round and scotia also went on smoothly. I set the nailer to it’s rapid-fire, contact actuation mode and quickly plowed through all of the quarter round and scotia.
The end result looks great — at least, we think so. We still need to caulk, prime and paint it, but think it’s already restored the historic character of the house.
- Selectable drive shift with single sequential or contact actuation
- Contact actuated mode for production speed up to 60 nails per minute
- Depth-of-drive adjustment
- Convenient adjustment dial regulates air pressure for optimum results
- Dry-fire lockout feature extends tool life
- Tool-less jam release for easy access to clear nails
- Low nail indicator to quickly and easily see when it is time to re-load
- 2 non-marring pads to keep work surface free of tool marks
Where to buy?
The Ryobi 18v 18 gauge brad nailer retails for around $129. You can buy one here.
About the Author:
Ben Carmichael is a communications and marketing professional, currently working at Concord Academy. He is also the proud owner of an historic home in Concord, Massachusetts.
Growing up in Maine, he worked summers painting and shingling, with some roofing and basic carpentry. Just enough, in other words, to be dangerous.