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.