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The Hitachi NR1890DBCL Cordless First Fix Framing Nailer is a new addition to Hitachi's cordless range. Featuring a brushless motor, dual function trigger for change between bump fire and single fire, tool-less depth of fire change, an integrated belt hook, a dry-fire lockout mechanism to protect the tool plus a shock absorption system to extend user comfort. This product comes with 2 x BSL1850 5.0Ah batteries and fast charger.
I do not use the word 'awesome' as a rule but this new Hitachi gasless cordless nailer deserves that accolade and more. It has achieved what many others have failed to do, which is to make a cordless framing nailer that performs as well as any gas nailer out there. It is no mean feat and I know that it has taken several years to bring this tool to fruition. While others have tried to get a flywheel to spin fast enough to drive a 90mm nail, Hitachi decided to use the principle of pneumatics, but without using a compressor and hose. The cylinder is contained within the housing of the tool and it is compressed very rapidly by a brushless 18 volt motor and geared drive. The amazing thing is that the cylinder is recharged as the nail is fired, so you don't even hear it being charged. You can, however, hear it driving the nail in because the power is very considerable. I would suggest that ear defenders are essential. There is a puff of air from the lower ports but that is from the pin and not the compressed air cylinder, which is completely sealed for life.
There is almost no recoil on this tool so, unlike those fly wheel nailers, you don't need to hold your hand on the end to get the nail to bury in. So you can bump nail and also hold rafters with one hand while firing in the nails with the other. There is a very easy depth adjustment wheel on the side and using 90mm nails into C24 100 x 50mm softwood I found I needed to wind out the depth adjustment to around half and the heads were still well in.
The magazine takes 30° clipped head nails but the length of the nail clip is slightly shorter than the 90mm nails I had to hand. Hitachi sells nails 34 per strip which means you have to reload frequently. On the plus side it is compact. The nailer will be sold with 5Ah batteries, which will fire up to 700 nails.
There is a dry fire lockout to prevent the pin firing onto nothing. It also has a safety feature that stops the tool being accidentally fired if it is picked up. You need to press the trigger and if it doesn't work release the trigger and activate it again. You can bump fire at around two nails per second but, if that is your game, you may find the short magazine a bit frustrating.
The test tool we were sent takes 30° clipped head - in the States, they make another 20° angled version for an overlaid full head. I have noticed, however, that those full head nails don't have a surface area any larger than the clipped head.
I saw this tool a year ago when it was in its prototype stage and was sworn to secrecy. I made a comment about the nose not being long enough for tosh nailing and getting into crevices and I'm very pleased to see that this longer nose has been incorporated. I would love to claim credit but I am sure they had the same feedback from many others.
Another great feature is the substantial folding rafter hook. You can hang it over 4x2 with complete confidence and swing it back out of the way when you don't need it. I have to say that this tool is on the heavy side so being able to hang it up when not in use is welcome. I would imagine that using it above your head for a long period is tiring. If you want to reduce the weight you can use a 3.0Ah battery but I am happy to use the 6.0Ah battery.
What don't I like? There is always something, and this time it is the fact that you need to use the Allen key to clear a jam rather than uncllpping the front. That said, I have yet to jam it. Perhaps that is to do with using paper-collated nails rather than plastic. It is very early in the year to be deciding on our annual award for innovation but this tool has to be a very strong contender. It will be copied, for sure, but Hitachi has stolen a march on the competition and, for the first time, I can honestly say that there is now a cordless nailer which is as good as a gas nailer, but without the servicing costs and downtime. It also comes in a very nice stacking box. I love a good box.