I run a framing crew in the Pacific Northwest, and in this part of the country we use full round-head (FRH) plastic-collated stick nails. These nails are collated at an angle of 21 to 22 degrees, and the guns that take them have longer magazines than the guns that drive paper- or wire-collated fasteners. I’ve been using this type of tool since high school, and the thing I like most about the newer models is how much lighter they are than the guns I learned on. Many of these guns have also been shortened top-to-bottom to fit more easily between tightly spaced framing members.

For this article, my crew and I tested the seven plastic-collation stick nailers that weigh less than 8 pounds (with an air fitting but no nails). We wanted to test the very lightest models, and that seemed like a reasonable cutoff. The paper-collated versions of all of these tools are listed in the spec chart on pages 18 and 19. Those models have different magazines than the guns we tested but are otherwise the same.

Our method of testing was simple: Take the tools to the job site and use them in the normal course of our framing work. Later on, we drove full clips of nails into lumber at varying speeds and counted the number of heads that were not set flush.

Read the full review at the Tools of the Trade.