FatMax Heavy Duty Hammer Tacker

Better than a compression stapler for heavy duty tacking

HammerTacker_lead

FatMax Heavy Duty Hammer Tacker



If you need to attach house wrap, vapour barrier, tar paper, carpet underlayment or other types of thin material to a substrate, then a hammer tacker is the way to go. Before I was introduced to a tacker I used a compression stapler, and after an hour or so my hand felt like it was going to drop off my wrist - 'repetitive squeezing syndrome' I think. Not so with a tacker, which uses a hammering motion to make the process of driving staples quick, easy and almost painless.
 
At just over 2 pounds, the FatMax Heavy Duty Hammer Tacker (PHT250) is a tad heavier than a framing hammer, and just about the same length (13-5/8"). The head and magazine are made of chrome plated steel and the handle is covered with a rubberized slip resistant grip. At the end of the handle is a plastic latch that opens and closes the magazine. Like a hammer, all the weight is pretty well in the head. If you're using it on a work site it will fit neatly into a hammer loop on your tool belt.


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Compression stapler: okay for the odd bit of stapling
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Tacker stapler: best for continuous, heavy duty stapling
On the business end is a 'D' shaped buffer plate that protects sheet material from damage. I like the large size of the buffer plate (7/8" x 1-3/4"); it minimizes the chance of cutting into material. On the opposite end of the plate is a cross-hatched striking face. Well, not strictly referred to as such by Stanley, but occasionally, staples won't sink all the way in, and the tendency is, of course, to flip the tacker over and give the staple a smart smack on the head (reminds me of my Dad). Be wary, though, of errant staples rickashaying towards your face. All the more reason to wear eye protection on the job.

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Large buffer plate
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Striking face
The magazine is easy and quick to load, and the tacker features an anti-jam mechanism. In all the time I've used the PHT250 it never jammed. You can use 5/16", 3/8" or 1/2" (Stanley TRA 700 series or Arrow T-50 series) staples. I use 3/8" staples most of the time. There isn't a low-staple indicator to let you know when it's time to reload. To load the tacker you turn it upside down, and then push the magazine latch to release the spring-loaded pusher. The magazine holds two full strips. There are a couple of nice things about this design. First, the pusher doesn't come completely out of the end (so you don't have to worry about dropping it when you're up a ladder or scaffolding), and second, because the magazine is facing upwards, staples won't fall out while you're reloading. Very nice.

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Easy release latch
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Easy reload
I found that the PHT250 worked very well laying up house wrap and laying down tar paper on my new shop. It has good rebound spring - a nice bounce back when you whack it against a surface, so you expend less energy on the
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return stroke. Once you get a rhythm going you can lay down a lot of staples in short order. The only real downside to this tool is the the straight handle. You get the best staple penetration when the buffer plate is hit flush onto the material (with the handle parallel to the material). With a straight handle you occasionally bash your knuckles against the material; an offset handle would have been a better design.
 
I think that any tradesperson or avid DIYer will be quite satisfied with the FatMax Heavy Duty Hammer Tacker (PHT250).
 
On the downside it doesn't have a low staple indicator, nor an offset handle. However, it does offer a solid construction with minimal moving parts, easy load mag, jam free design, large buffer plate, good balance, nice rebound spring, and a limited lifetime warranty.

KEY FEATURES:


  • 13-5/8" long
  • Uses 5/16", 3/8" or 1/2" staples
  • 500,000 cycle lifespan
  • Anti-jam mechanism
  • Slip resistant grip
  • Bottom loading
  • Holds two strips
  • Weight: about 2 pounds
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Manufacturer:Stanley
Available From:Tool and equipment suppliers nationwide
Retail Price:$39.99
Model #:PHT250
Made In:n/a
 
Carl Duguay, December 2010
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