Bosch 18 Gauge Brad Nailer - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

A well balanced tool that's not at all tiresome to use, has a good range of features, and lets me put the nail just where it was meant to go


Bosch 18 Gauge Brad Nailer

Bosch Tools has recently entered the pneumatic tool market with seven new nailers and five new compressors. One of the unique features of these nailers is Bosch's new 'Full Force Technology'. This innovative new design employs a patented air chamber that enables the nailer to utilize 100% of the air coming from the compressor to drive the fastener. The result, according to Bosch, is a nailer that is a full 20% smaller and 10% more powerful than comparable nailers on the market.
In the Bosch nailer line-up are two framing nailers, a roofing nailer, two finish nailers, a brad nailer and a narrow crown stapler. For cabinet construction and installation, light home renovation jobs, and installing most trim work, I use a brad nailer, which I consider to be an all-purpose nailer. Given how much I've enjoyed using Bosch power tools over the past years, I've been really looking forward to using the new Bosch 18 Gauge Brad Nailer, model BNS200-18.
The BNS200-18 comes with a durable hard shell plastic lockable storage case with safety glasses, and an extra no-mar tip. The case has ample space to store a container of pneumatic oil (this isn't an oil-free nailer) and an assortment of nails. What it doesn't come with is an NPT fitting or a starter set of nails (obviously not crucial, but would have been nice).
At just over 2" wide and about 9" long and high, and weighing in at 2.5 lbs the BNS200-18 is slim and sleek. The light weight is partly due to the use of cast aluminum alloy for the metal housing, and a high impact ABS plastic for the magazine. I really like this compact size, finding it well balanced, comfortable to use, easy to manoeuvre in confined spaces or tight spots, and less cumbersome to tote around than the larger nailer I had been using. Another nice feature of this slimmed down design is that it affords you an exceptional line-of-sight, making it easier to place your nails more precisely. While not overly important when laying flooring or framing a wall, it's something you'll appreciate when assembling cabinetry or installing trim work.

Nicely appointed case 
Easy to tell when it's time for a fill-up
The magazine has a standard 100 clip capacity, and a large, easy to view 'out-of-nail' window so you know when to reload. Of course, with its dry fire lockout feature you can just wait until the nailer doesn't fire any longer - the lock out feature prevents the pin from firing when there are no nails in the magazine. The firing pin is nice and small - 5/64" x 1/4". You get two no-mar tips, which I find indispensable for protecting fine wood surfaces. Those little buggers are easy to loose, so I really appreciate the convenient tab on the end of the magazine for storing the tip when not needed.

No-mar tip
Convenient on-board tip storage
Should a nail become jammed in the BNS200-18 you simply open the magazine and remove the jammed nail using pliers. You don't need to remove the nose cap. Very nice, and quick to boot. Unfortunately, over the two months that I've been using the Bosch it hasn't jammed for me to test this out.
On the front of the nose housing is the depth-of-drive adjustment. For most of my work I want the nail set slightly below the work surface. With the compressor set at 100 psi, and 2" nails in the magazine, I had to set the depth adjuster to its maximum setting. With smaller nails I could slightly decrease the depth setting, or simply lower the compressor psi setting. Either way it's quick and easy to do.

Depth-of-drive adjuster
Fully rotatable exhaust air deflector
I invariably use sequential fire nailing - each time I press the trigger one nail is released. However, it's nice to be able to use bump fire mode when laying down sheeting or doing some light framing. It's considerably quicker, and not as tiring on the hand. In bump fire mode a nail is driven each time you 'bump' or press the firing pin onto the work surface (while constantly depressing the trigger). Bosch makes it very quick to switch between the two modes by pressing a little yellow switch on the top side of the trigger. I found that both modes worked impeccably well on the BNS200-18.
All that compressed air has to go somewhere once it's driven the nail home, and preferably not in your face or on your work piece (oil in the exhaust air can detrimentally affect any finish you apply to your work piece). On the BNS200-18 the exhaust air deflector rotates a convenient 360°.

Sequential fire mode
Bump fire mode
The BNS200-18 takes straight nails from 5/8" to 2" long, and consumes 1.8 cfm of air at 100 psi. I found this quite high; other nailers I've used consume about .9 cfm. With the compressor set at 100 psi I was able to drive approximately forty 1 1/2" nails, and thirty 2" nails. To sink the 2" nails I had to ensure that the depth-of-drive adjuster was at the maximum setting. At 90 psi 2" nails weren't fully set. The noise level, at 93.5 dB, was somewhat louder than I expected. However, I took this reading in the unfinished concrete basement on a work site (3' from the nailer); readings in a work shop or in a finished room might be somewhat lower.
I've very pleased with the performance of the BNS200-18. I'm into my second box of brads (1000 per box) and not a burp. It's a well balanced tool that's not at all tiresome to use, has a good range of features, and lets me put the nail just where it was meant to go. 


  • 2 1/4" W x 9 3/4" H x 9" L
  • 18 gauge nail diameter
  • 5/8" - 2" nail length
  • 100 nail magazine capacity
  • 70 - 120 psi air requirement (consumes 1.8 cfm @ 100 psi)
  • 360° adjustable exhaust deflector
  • Depth-of-drive adjuster
  • Sequential and bump fire modes
  • Dry fire lockout
  • Full Force Technology
  • 2.5 lbs weight
  • 1 year warranty
  • Includes: safety glasses, extra no-mar tip, rigid carry case

Manufacturer:Bosch Tools
Available From:Search for your local retailer
Retail Price:$149.00
Model #:BNS200-18
Made In:China
Carl Duguay, November 2010
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