DeWALT 16ga Angled Cordless Finish Nailer

An efficient, reliable alternative to an air-driven or gas-cell powered finish nailer.

DeWALT 16ga Angled Cordless Finish Nailer

DeWALT 16-Gauge Angled Cordless Finish Nailer



A finish nailer is a good choice for general purpose work - particularly for interior finish carpentry. It's used when you need greater holding power and shear strength than you can get from a brad nailer, and when you need to use nails longer than 2". In general, they come with a straight or angled magazine, and are capable of shooting 15 or 16-gauge fasteners (aka nails). An angled magazine makes it easier to use the nailer in confined spaces and in narrow corners. These nailers are commonly used for installing crown moulding, chair rail moulding, wainscoting, flooring, and for assembling cabinetry.

A cordless finish nailer has a lot of benefits over a pneumatic nailer – you're not chained to a compressor, hose, and electrical cord. Early models suffered from a variety of problems – they weren't as fast as air nailers, they misfired a lot, they frequently jammed, they required replaceable fuel cells. Fortunately, these problems have largely been been resolved, and the new fully battery powered models do away with fuel cells all together.

dewalt_DCN660D1_1
Comes in a protective plastic box

The DeWALT DCN660D1 comes as a kit, consisting of a durable hard shell case, diagnostic battery charger, one 20V MAX (18V nominal) 2.0 Ah battery, and two no-mar tips. An adjustable belt hook is integrated onto the base. You can, of course use it with any of the standard flat bottom mount batteries. If you already own a bevy of cordless DeWALT tools and have ample batteries, you may want to purchase the bare model, the DCN660B.

At just 6 pounds (with a battery installed) this nailer is about 2 pounds heavier than a typical 16-gauge pneumatic nailer. Most of the weight is in the head – where the brushless motor is located. Fortunately, it's quite well balanced, and doesn't feel overly hefty or cumbersome in use, an important consideration if you're using the nailer for any length of time or doing a lot of overhead work.

The brushless motor is a big plus. It helps reduce overall tool weight, gives better battery mileage, and should provide a longer tool life.

The DCN660 shoots 16-gauge 20-degree nails from 1-1/4" to 2-1/2" long. According to DeWALT you can expect to sink about 800 nails per charge, though the actual number will depend on the type of material you're nailing into. For production work you'll want to keep a second battery on hand. I'd recommend the larger 4.0 Ah battery, which will provide a significantly longer run time.

dewalt_DCN660D1_7
You can't see the battery fuel gauge

One minor inconvenience is that you can't see the fuel battery gauge when the battery is installed. You need to remove the battery to check its current fuel status. However, when the battery is just about out of power the left side LED light (see below) will flash four consecutive times.

dewalt_DCN660D1_8
Diagnostic and illuminating LED lights

The dual LED lights serve two functions. They come on whenever you depress the trigger, and are helpful in situations where ambient lighting is less than adequate. Additionally, they serve a diagnostic function. The left side LED light will flash four consecutive times when the battery needs to be replaced, while the right light flashes when a nail becomes jammed in the nosepiece.

dewalt_DCN660D1_3
Bumpers protect the casing

The casing material on most modern power tools is very durable, and modern plastics can put up with a heck of a lot abuse. Still, I like the side rubber bumpers that help minimize scuffing and abrasion on the casing, particularly as I usually lay the nailer down between use, rather than clip it on a belt.

dewalt_DCN660D1_4
No surprise when it comes to the controls

The trigger and lock-off switch are located where you'd expect them to be. The trigger is average in size, though I would have preferred a larger trigger as I usually were gloves on the job. The lock-off switch is handy to have as it prevents the gun from inadvertently firing when toting it around.

dewalt_DCN660D1_5
Stall release switch

On the top of the housing is a stall release switch. If the driver blade gets stuck you can try pulling on the switch to free it up – this should release tension on the driver blade so that it moves back into position. You’ll still likely have to open the nose to clear any jammed nails. 

dewalt_DCN660D1_16
Easy to clear a jammed nail

Over the three week period and the 1000+ nails I shot with the DCN660 it did jam on three occasions – usually as a result of hitting another nail or firing into a tough knot. To remove the offending nail you first pull back the pusher (to release pressure on the nail clip), flip a latch on the front of the nose to open the access door, and then remove the nail. If you can't flick out the nail, use needle nose pliers,

dewalt_DCN660D1_6
Dial in the nail head depth

To set the depth of the nail head you simply turn a dial. The dial rotates easily enough, though not so if you're wearing gloves, as it's set almost flush to the casing, There is a handy scale to give you an idea of how far to turn the dial, though you'll still need to take a couple of test shots to fine tune the depth.

dewalt_DCN660D1_20
(L) Smooth operating pusher; (R) Low-nail indicator

The magazine has a fairly common 110-clip capacity, and a low-nail indicator that makes it easy to see when it's time to reload. I found the side loading magazine easy to open and close with just the right amount of spring tension.

I was surprised to find that there isn't a low-nail (dry fire) lockout feature on this nailer that prevents you from firing the nailer when there are only a few nails left in the magazine, which puts undue wear on the nailer. It's easy to get into a comfort zone when nailing and loose track of how many nails you're shooting. 

dewalt_DCN660D1_12
Quick access selector switch

The selector switch that allows you to switch between sequential (aka single fire) or bump firing (aka contact actuation) modes is conveniently placed at the base of the handle, making it quick and easy to access. 

dewalt_DCN660D1_2
Good line-of-sight

I find that the DCN660 has a fairly good line-of-sight that makes it easy to place nails exactly where you want them to go – important when installing trim work. It also makes it easier to nail into inside corners. 

dewalt_DCN660D1_18
No cord, no hose, no compressor, no fuel cell

There is a lot to like about the DeWALT DCN660. It's a well-balanced tool that isn't overly tiring to use, has a good line-of-sight for precise nail placement, offers easy nail loading and quick depth drive adjustment, with the advantage of both single and bump mode firing. 

I found that nail shooting is virtually instant and recoil negligible. With the 2.0 Ah battery I was able to test shoot just over 900 1-1/2" nails into spruce studding. In sequential mode I could nail as fast as I could pull the trigger. Bump firing went very smoothly, and as mentioned earlier, I only experienced three nail jams. Not too shabby.

The wide range of nails that the DCN660 accepts should enable you to handle virtually any interior or exterior trim carpentry job at hand. Not having to deal with fuel cells, or drag a compressor and hose to and from a job site, and often from one floor or room to another, is a real time saver - not to mention a lot easier on your back.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Tool Size: 11.7" H x 3.7" W x 11.8" L 
  • Motor: Brushless
  • Voltage: 20V (18V nominal)
  • Nails per Charge: 800
  • Fastener Type: 16ga
  • Fastener Length :1-1/4" to 2-1/2"
  • Magazine Angle: 20°
  • Nailer Operating Mode: Sequential and Bump
  • Magazine Capacity: 110 nails
  • Jam Clearing: Tool-Free
  • Depth Setting: Tool-Free
  • Multi-functional Lights
  • Integrated Belt Hook Adjustable
  • Tool Weight :6.0 lbs (with battery)
  • Includes: DCB112 charger, DCB203 20V MAX* 2.0Ah battery, no mar pad
  • Warranty: 3 years

COMPANY:DeWALT
MODEL:DCN660D1
PRICE:$499.00
MADE IN:China
SOURCE:Retailer Search

Author: 
Carl Duguay
Discover more great woodworking reviews!
Subscribe Now and get instance online access to our library filled with exciting woodworking information.
Continue to stay connected to the latest tool reviews with our bi-monthly woodworking magazines!