Nailers are a growing class within the cordless tool sector. Starting on the finish side, they’re branching out into framing and flooring with some whispers about cordless roofing nailers coming. Some of the first 12V models are showing up as well. But what hasn’t been as big of a push is the cordless pin nailer. With a 23-gauge fastener, it doesn’t take a ton of power, yet it still seems somewhat neglected. Woodworkers have a few options now and today, we’re looking closer at the Makita Cordless Pin Nailer.
Makita has a couple of cordless pin nailers available. The Makita XPT02 is what we have in hand and runs on the 18V LXT platform that has a huge number of tools in its lineup. There’s also a 12V model available if the CXT line is more appealing to you.
- Dry Fire Lockout – Prevents the driver blade from firing when there’s no nail to protect the work surface and tool.
- Depth Adjustment – Tool-free thumb wheel on the right side is easy to reach and operate.
- Contact Actuation – The only firing mode you have is single contact actuation. Considering the use of a pin nailer, there’s really no need for a bump fire mode.
- LED Work Light – The left-side LED helps, but its positioning means the magazine blocks from getting light to the tip for the most accurate nailing.
- No-Mar Tips – Two no-mar tips comes with the Makita Cordless Pin Nailer: one pre-installed and the other stored at the magazine base.
- Belt Hook – A standard Makita belt hook comes with the tool and can be installed on either side. While not every woodworker will need it, those that do would sorely miss it if the hook weren’t there.
- Narrow Nose Design – The narrow nose and tip design make it easy to be accurate within a 1/4″ of your target without trying hard.
- Battery Indicator – For those slightly older Makita batteries that don’t have an indicator on them, you can check your charge level on the tool. Pressing the nailer tip against any material will light it up.
There’s really one thing missing from the list: tool-free jam clearance. Time will tell how often we really need to get in there. Chances are pretty good that it’s not going to be much of an issue.
Makita’s typically solid ergonomics are in play. The handle and trigger design are comfortable to use and the balance is spot on for nailing downward or from the side.
Weight is always an issue with cordless nailers compared to their pneumatic counterparts and the Makita Cordless Pin Nailer is no exception. As a bare tool, it weighs in at 3 pounds, 10 ounces on our scale. For a power tool, that’s pretty light. It’s among the lightest cordless nailers available – as it should be considering it only needs to drive 23-gauge nails. While you’ll definitely notice the weight difference moving over from pneumatics, the convenience of no hose or compressor is a trade-off I’m more than happy to make this time around.
I’m waiting for some impressions on the performance of this nailer from one of our Pro carpenters. However, I took some time to gather a few impressions of my own before I sent it out. The most frequent question we get about cordless nailers surrounds firing delay when you pull the trigger. There is a slight delay on the Makita XPT02. It’s not so slow that it comes across as sluggish and doesn’t prevent you from quickly firing a series of nails.
But again, consider the use of a pin nailer. You’re not trying to fire as fast as a framer, so the speed you can fire is much greater than you’ll need and that slight delay is less than we see in some of the other nailers out there. From where I sit, it’s just not that big of a deal. We’ll see if our carpenter agrees.
Other than that, there’s little to no recoil and I haven’t had any firing issues with this first limited series of tests. So far, it looks like another notch in the win column for Makita. One of the complaints many users had with the previous model is leaving nails proud in hardwoods – that’s one of the things I’m asking our carpenter to specifically address.
On the pneumatic side of things, you can expect to snag a pretty nice pin nailer in the 1-3/8″ class for less than $100. Makita comes in at $189, but you can only get it as a bare tool. For the major competition on the cordless side, Ryobi comes in cheaper while Hitachi will run you roughly $30 more. So for a Pro model, this settles in nicely, especially if you’re already on the Makita 18V platform.
Keep your eyes open for our update on full performance and ratings. Have you used the Makita Cordless Pin Nailer? Tell us what you think in the comments below!
Makita Cordless Pin Nailer Manufacturer’s Key Features
- Refined firing mechanism reduces recoil; reduces force required on the work surface when driving pins
- Drives 6 different lengths of 23 gauge pins (5/8″, 11/16″, 3/4″, 1″, 1-3/16″ and 1-3/8″); magazine capacity up to 120 pins
- Anti-dry fire mechanism engineered to prevent driving blanks and damage to work surface
- “Tool-less” depth adjustment for precise flush and countersink finish
- Cordless for increased convenience; eliminates the need for a compressor and air hose
- Contact trigger for improved accuracy and precision
- Trigger lock button for operator convenience
- Built-in L.E.D. light illuminates the work area
- Ergonomically designed handle with rubberized soft grip provides increased comfort
- Rubber bumpers protect the tool and surface from damage
- Reversible tool hook allows the tool to remain close
- Narrow nose design allows easy nailing access in confined areas
- 3-stage L.E.D. gauge indicates battery charge level
- Compact and ergonomic design at only 10-1/8″ long
- Weighs only 4.9 lbs. with battery (battery not included) for reduced operator fatigue
Makita Cordless Pin Nailer Specifications
- Model: Makita XPT02
- Power Source: Makita 18V LXT battery
- Nail Size: 23-gauge
- Nail Length: 5/8″ – 1-3/8″
- Capacity: 120 nails
- Weight: 3 lbs., 10 oz. (bare)
- Price: $189
- Warranty: 3 years