Milwaukee M18 Fuel Framing Nailer – Hands-on

February 25, 2020

milwaukee-framing-hammer-toenailing-770x510.jpg

These nailers can fire nails as fast as you can pull the trigger. Really.

Much excitement erupted when media turned the corner to find two models of Milwaukee M18 FUEL framing nailers sitting atop sections of LVL. This is Milwaukee’s first cordless framing nailer. They put out both a 21-degree and 30-degree model that works identically save for the nails used. We only wish it would have been here in time for our best framing nailer shootout.

10-Second Summary:

Milwaukee did a lot right with its new battery-powered framing nailers. Not only do these tool fire nails about as fast as you can pull the trigger, but they also have an optional extended-capacity magazine that holds two sticks of nails. We tried hard to bog them down and failed. That’s a great start for this exciting new cordless nail gun.

 

First Impressions and Testing

We got our hands on these battery-powered nailers and went to town driving 3-inch nails into laminated engineered lumber. They can fire up to 3 nails per second—which feels close to what we ask of our pneumatic framing nailers.

milwaukee framing hammer nailing

As fast as we could pull the trigger, it shot nails into our workpiece. There’s no delay in these nailers. It’s very much like using a pneumatic tool.

milwaukee framing hammers

In terms of battery life, you get around 500 nails out of a single 5Ah RedLithium pack.

Cordless Freedom

Because the tools function entirely using the Milwaukee M18 FUEL battery platform, you don’t need to use gas cartridges. This means all-day usability because you can swap out one pack as another one charges. You never have to run to the store for a fuel cartridge.

We also like the compactness of the new Milwaukee M18 FUEL framing nailers. They easily fit between studs for close-quarters nailing. While the extended magazine adds some bulk and length, it’s no worse than a compact pneumatic nailer.

In our first use, we found the tool well-balanced. The weight also felt reasonable, though additional testing will tell the larger story.

Extended Capacity Magazines

Milwaukee Tool also added an optional extended capacity magazine to address the need for more nails. No one else does this to our knowledge, and it represents a real advantage for these nailers.

The cost for this optional component is $69, but given the ergonomics and the speed with which this tool works, I’d opt for it right out of the gate. On the 21-degree framing nailer, the magazine holds up to 45 nails from 2 to 3.5-inches (0.113–0.148 in.)

milwaukee framing hammer

With the extended magazine, the Milwaukee 2744-21 21-degree M18 cordless nailer can hold two strips—83 nails. This lets you drive more nails before having to reload than any other cordless nailer on the market.

milwaukee 2744-21 framing hammer magazine

For the Milwaukee 2745-21 30-degree nailer, the default capacity goes up a little bit due to the steeper angle of the fasteners. It supports nail diameters up to 0.131 inches. Both models drive 3-1/2 inch long nails.

In terms of battery life, expect to sink anywhere from 500-700 nails on a single 5Ah battery. We still need to test to see what length nails and into what kind of material, but that’s a good number. It gives this framing tool a lot of promise.

Other Features

The tools feature an integrated LED light positioned on the bottom, which illuminates where you’re hitting.

milwaukee battery powered framing hammer

We still need to experience the jam-clearing scenario. This nailer doesn’t have a tool-free system for this that we could tell, but that’s not surprising or uncommon.

The Allen wrench does store conveniently along the right side of the nailer.

milwaukee 2745-21 framing hammer

Rubber bumpers protect the tool when you set (toss) it down. We like that it includes both a belt hook and a rafter hook. 

Milwaukee 2744-21 21° Framing Nailer Specifications

  • Model: 2744-21 (kit), 2744-20 (tool-only)
  • Nail sizes: 2 in. – 3-1/2 in.
  • Nail diameter: 0.113 in. – 0.148 in.
  • Magazine capacity: 45 nails
  • 700 nails per charge on a RedLithium XC5.0 battery
  • Sequential and contact actuation modes
  • Dry-fire lockout, belt hook, rafter hook, & LED work light
  • Kit includes: M18 FUEL 21° framing nailer, M18 RedLithium XC5.0 battery pack, charger, and carrying case
  • Price: $349 (tool-only), $449 (kit)

M18 FUEL 21° Framing Nailer Extended Magazine

  • Model: 48-08-2744
  • Magazine capacity: 83 nails
  • Nail sizes: 2 in. – 3-1/2 in.
  • Nail diameter: 0.113 in. – 0.148 in.
  • Price: $69

Milwaukee 2745-21 30° Framing Nailer

  • Model: 2745-21 (kit), 2745-20 (tool-only)
  • Nail sizes: 2 in. – 3-1/2 in.
  • Nail diameter: 0.113 in. – 0.131 in.
  • Magazine capacity: TBD
  • 700 nails per charge on a RedLithium XC5.0 better sequential and Contact Actuation Modes
  • Dry-fire lockout, belt hook, rafter hook, & LED work light
  • Kit includes: M18 FUEL 30° framing nailer, M18 RedLithium XC5.0 battery pack, charger, and carrying case
  • Price: $349 (tool-only), $449 (kit)

M18 FUEL 30° Framing Nailer Extended Magazine

  • Model: 48-08-2745
  • Magazine capacity: 105 nails
  • Nail sizes: 2 in. – 3-1/2 in.
  • Nail diameter: 0.113 in. – 0.131 in.
  • Price: $69

Milwaukee set the suggested price for the new nailers at $349 for the bare tool and $449 as a kit with a 5Ah battery and charger. Initially, the new framing nailers were due in October of this year, but it looks like that may push until Q1 of 2020. In any case, these new framing nailers should figuratively fly off the shelves when they finally come out.

 

—This article first appeared on ProToolReviews and was written by , who founded Pro Tool Reviews in 2008. Shortly after that, he began partnering with us, and that made us happy.

 


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