I ALWAYS think that cordless nailers are a bit like wrestlers – beefy, but they also pack a big punch, WRITES PETER BRETT.
Paslode nailers are legendary in the building industry, not only for packing the punch, but also for being a leading brand.
In fact, I have often heard builders refer to any nailer as a Paslode, because it has become a generic term – like people referring to hoovers, rather than vacuum cleaners.
The new-ish Paslode IM360Ci was designed to be different and address a few of the problems that plague gas nailers.
These include low temperature performance, battery and fuel life, and general ease of use involving loading nails to clearing stoppages.
Builders have often told me they have had to start a winter working day by having to cuddle a few batteries in their jacket pockets - so they are ready to load into a nailer.
Well, this problem has definitely been solved. During this tool’s development phase Paslode used it in working temperatures of -25C in Northern Europe/Scandinavia, without having to do any warming of batteries or fuel cells.
I tried my best to replicate this by placing the nailer in the freezer overnight at a temperature of –15C - only to succeed in getting a layer of frost over the battery terminals.
But with the frost removed, the tool worked to full capacity within a very short time. So, a large tick in that particular box.
Battery life? Well again, this is a problem that Paslode seem to have solved – and with knobs on!
In the spec it said the battery would power up to 13,000 shots on one charge. For any user that is a lot of nails.
I had a team of users on a building site who tested out the tool for four days without recharging the battery.
I felt there was a danger they would run out of power, simply because there was such a large amount of time between charges that they might forget to recharge - despite warning light indicators of gas and charge.
They made the weak excuse that the indicator light needed to be brighter and more obvious!
What users also liked a lot in the new design of nailer was the removable nail magazine cover. You simply unscrewed it via a black knob on the rear of the nail magazine.
Flip up the cover, and the inner workings of the nail magazine are revealed all the way to the nose (it goes without saying the nailer is effectively stopped by moving the battery to the off’ position in its slot).
From here, it is very easy to remove any nails that might be causing a blockage.
The safety gains are excellent here, because it means you don’t have to start fiddling into the nose with a spare nail to access anything stuck in there.
A Few Things…
Although Paslode have solved a lot of the usability issues with batteries and stoppages, my team of testers managed to find a few things that bugged them.
Firstly, the reversible rafter hook worked well in one position, but not on the opposite side because the gap on it became too small to hang it on a rafter.
One team member commented he would simply bend the hook into compliance – not an option on a test tool, I think.
The other gripe was an esoteric one from a well-seasoned Paslode user of 20 years standing.
He didn’t like the new position of the battery and gas cell, because it made it bulkier on the right of the tool and prevented it from going as close to the work as on the left-hand side.
Others said it made no real difference to the way in which they handled the tool, and it certainly had a positive effect on the tool's centre of gravity.
However, when it came to weight, the team was impressed that the power to weight ratio (so to speak) was excellent. The way the nailer drove all types of nails was emphatic and no nonsense – doing just what a nailer should do.
The weight of nailers is definitely an issue for some users – especially those that work overhead a lot, and it is this area that gas nailers still have a significant advantage over battery only nailers.
Another definite ‘Yes’ point was the five-pointed nose probe, that gave very positive grip into the timber surface at whatever angle the nailer was presented. This was considered a very good safety feature.
Setting the depth of the nails was another plus which was picked out by users. They all commented on how easy it was to do, and it stayed set. If you need to regularly change nail sizes then life is definitely easier.
When it comes to speed, the nailer could be fired as fast as the trigger could be pulled, and the nose placed where the next nail was needed - so no complaints there!
The seasoned Paslode user complained about the price of the roundheaded nails that had to be used in it, and that might be an issue which could prevent user uptake.
However, as I recently discovered, the IM360Ci can be used to fire Nailscrews – a good idea from Paslode, aimed mostly at cladding specialists.
The round-headed screws fire like nails for a good fixing, but can be removed by simply unscrewing them via the Torx head on the Nailscrew. Unfortunately, the idea of Nailscrews doesn’t fit well with clipped head nails, so it becomes a matter of choice of solutions for the end user.
There is no doubt the Paslode IM360Ci is a well-designed tool, that does what it should do without fuss and also solves a lot of issues like low temperature performance, and clearing stoppages easily.
It will not only be bought by ‘Paslodeers,’ but may also convert others to the gas-power faith as gas technology gives greater power and drivability.
However I haven’t been living in a box, so I am aware there is some new technology out there for nailers – like nailers which use standard battery power only and with no gas involved.
At this moment in time, I think it is too early to plump for one or the other as neither technology has all the answers.
But I do think there is no immediate danger of gas power being replaced – as this sophisticated nailer proves.