While all coil nailers are similar, Makita has put a couple of features on this one that makes it stand out. The first thing that caught my eye was the see-through magazine. That allows you the ability to constantly be aware of the number of nails left before reloading. While others have a window, this is a whole lot better. It also has a stepped depth adjustment knob, featuring nine incremental steps of 1/16-inch each. The gun has a three position trigger control switch, with bump fire, sequential fire and a lock mode to keep it from firing. The unit weighs 5 pounds; not the lightest on our list, but almost. An inline air filter minimizes damage to the tool and extends its service life.
The Porter-Cable nailer also has a switchable trigger, although it doesn’t have the lock mode that the Makita does. It is a bit lighter than the Makita, coming in at 4.78 pounds. That makes it the lightest nailer on our list. Designed as a roofing nailer, it has a tool-free shingle guide for accurate shingle placement. It also has skid resistant pads on the side so that it won’t slide off the roof. The depth of drive is designed to be quick set to save time and avoid damage to shingles.
The DeWalt nailer is designed for high volume, being able to keep up with you, no matter how fast you are nailing. The depth adjustment is tool-free for quick and easy setting. The side loading magazine has a window to allow you to see how many nails are still loaded. It has a piston catch, to ensure that each shot has the same amount of force. Depth adjustment is accomplished with an easy to use lever. A trigger lock-off allows the tool to be put into a “safe” mode when not in use.
Hitachi’s coil nailer is a little heavier than the others at 5.5 pounds. It has a pneumatic power feed and return, allowing the nailer to be used in the harshest operating conditions. The depth of drive adjustment is tool-free, like our other contenders. It also has a carbide tipped push lever to reduce wear and help ensure longer tool life. Like the others, there are rubber pads on the side of the tool to help prevent it from sliding off the roof.
This is the only nailer on this list with a dry-fire lockout; a feature that I think every nailer should have. With it, you avoid damaging the tool by trying to fire a shot when there are no nails in the magazine. The magazine housing gives it a 4.8 pound weight, just a shade more than the Porter-Cable. But the really great thing about this nailer is that it’s backed by a 7-year limited warranty. Like the others, it has a tool-free depth of drive adjustment, wear guards, and pads on the side to prevent slipping.