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When they’re a part of a large system of many nailers and compressors, pneumatic brad nailers are cheap to buy and operate. But if you don’t own any pneumatics at all and just want a nailer, they’re expensive as hell. The extra cost of a compressor, hose, and regular maintenance proves a killer for low-end DIYers. So a while back manufacturers started offering electrics — a bit more pricey off the shelf when comparing gun to gun, but much cheaper than a whole system.¬†Sadly, though, due to their low-budget “weekend warrior” target market, these early electrics were plagued with quality and reliability issues.

Then DeWalt came along to enter the market, which is interesting because they clearly don’t intend to sell this almost $300 tool to hobbyists. If they’d wanted to do that, they’d have released it under the Black & Decker banner, and it’d cost half as much. So why did they launch this tool? And what makes it different from others?

A couple of thoughts:

First, we suspect DeWalt envisions the DC608K in the hands of small-job installers. That’s not to say that the DC608K can’t handle larger jobs, but rather that installers planning to drag twenty guys to a jobsite for a week will probably opt for pneumatics for the advantages mentioned above. But what about the twenty guys who’re each headed to different locations to install smaller projects for a day? They’re the ones who’ll benefit from no compressor (less noise), no hoses (less civilian injuries), and no setup time (faster installs). For them, electric sounds like a win.

Assuming it’s up to the task. It looks to us like DeWalt’s trying to address some of the complaints we’ve heard about electrics (beyond low-end build quality). Specifically, the DeWalt offers sequential and bump operating modes, meaning that it can cycle and fire quickly. And it includes a 12-position deal to adjust firing force, meaning you can remember and re-set force for a given application when you need to switch to another — you don’t have to test fire and dial it back in every time. It also includes a pretty beefy firing mechanism and an easy-to-open nosepiece so you can clear jams quickly.

Of course, we’ve yet to try one of these out in the Toolmonger shop, so we can’t vouch for whether or not these features play as well as they read. But this gun looks like a promising option for pros for whom portability and quick set up mean additional cash in pocket — and for hobbyists who want a tool that’ll last. Street pricing starts around $280, and these are available at your local big box.

DC608K 18 Gauge 18V Cordless Nailer [DeWalt]
Street Pricing [Google]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]


10 Responses to DeWalt’s Cordless Brad Nailer: Goin’ Electric

  1. Bryan says:

    This is exactly what I just witnessed with the crew of two that just installed my new Corian countertops. They used this exact tool to tack on the shims and blocks that leveled and built up the appropriate thickness on top of the cabinets. Their only other power tools were matching 18V cordless, and a corded vacuum clamp. Made perfect sense for what they needed, especially since they already carried the charger and batteries in their truck.

  2. Blair says:

    I looked at, and seriously considered purchasing one of the 16 Ga guns a couple of years ago, but opted to just go with a small compressor, and separate gun. In the long run it was the ability to use different guns, for different tasks that swayed me, but I do like the idea of these, and especially the lack of dragging hose around. Maybe in the future.

  3. fred says:

    Probably no perfect solution here. We use pneumatics on some jobs, – but as we know the hose and compressor come with “baggage”. We use several Paslode gas fired guns – like them in tight spaces – but the stinky gas can be a problem – and you need to clean the cylinder etc.from time to time I’ve yet to try the new pricey Senco nitrogen hybrid – and maybe it will become popular (or will when it is off-patent). We didn’t like the first few rounds of electric cordless guns – and would have told DIY’ers that they would be better off with a hammer and nailset – but maybe this new entrant is worth a look. If not – maybe a look at a reconditioned Paslode ??

  4. Jerod says:

    I have had a Dewalt 16 gauge for 5 years. I use it for replacement windows and jobs where a compressor and hose take longer to get setup than the job. The new brad nailer will be nice, because there are alot of small trim that 16 gauge t-head nails are too much. The best thing is you don’t have to remember to grab fuel cells.

  5. Jo says:

    I’ve been reading Toolmonger for a while and have a question about nailguns. How come you guys in the US are so into pneumatic guns? Here in New Zealand I’ve never actually seen an air gun being used and have only seen one cheap kit in stores. Paslode gas guns dominate. Every builder I know has a framing gun and there a quite a few brad guns around as well. Air guns with their hoses and compressors seem as if they’d be so unwieldy by comparison. It kind of surprises me people haven’t changed over to gas guns.

    I’m finishing building my house, where finishing means quite a lot of framing. The builder lent me what must have been their oldest Paslode gun. It was a bit of a dog, misfiring a lot. However I gave it a really good clean and oil – don’t think it had ever been serviced – and it came right. I’ve used maybe 7-8000 nails and reckon I would be getting close to 1000 nails per gas canister. Can’t think of too many disadvantages of a gas gun, aside from the fact you need to have some spare gas on hand and you do need two batteries. Regular maintenance helps but only takes about 30 minutes every few weeks.

    Is it that air systems came along first and so they became the dominant system and people just go with it? Are there other reasons that they remain popular over gas guns? Cheaper?

  6. fred says:


    As I posted before – there is no perfect solution – Pneumatic, Gas, Battery/Electric or PATs – but some work better or dominate in some situations. I’m think pneumatic coil nailers for roofing, PATs for fastening to concrete and so on. In our shop – I’ve yet to see an electric equivalent to our Dotco Air grinders or our air sanders

  7. PutnamEco says:

    Jo says:
    How come you guys in the US are so into pneumatic guns?

    It’s all about speed. Can’t bump fire anything but an air nailer with any kind of speed. I can sink 4 or 5 nails in the time it takes for a cordless to cycle. It adds up over the course of a day, especially for doing things like framing, siding and roofing

  8. donutboy says:

    PutnamEco- I would say that you would be really happy with the 18ga cordless nailer from DeWALT and that you could NOT out bumpfire it with a pneumatic. There is no cycle to be had.

  9. mnoswad1 says:

    I bought a refurbished version of the 18ga brad nailer and loved it. It worked very well for the thiner edge of door casing. However I put way less than a large box of brads before it started jamming every nail. Unfortunately I only used it for very small projects, so the problem appeared only after the warranty ran out. The driver blade would get stuck and not retract.

    I took the top cover off and cleaned the mechanics and smoothed some slides with an emery board. So far it works again, but only if I leave the top cover plate off!

    In short…….I might not go with refurbed nailers again, however, no problems with the cordless 15ga nailer.

  10. brian says:

    what is the weight of the DC608K? thanks for this post!

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