FinishPRO 21LXP 21-Gauge Pinner - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

A great alternative when you want the holding power of a brad nailer, yet the smaller indent impression of a pinner.

FinishPRO 21LXP 21-Gauge Pinner

FinishPRO 21LXP 21-Gauge Pinner

When holding power is important I prefer to use an 18-gauge nailer. However, if the nail heads are likely to be visible I switch to a 23-gauge pinner where feasible – the smaller pins don't have a protruding head so they're nearly invisible. The down side is that those pins don't have much holding power, so I limit their use to narrow light weight mouldings, face trim on panels, dentil blocks, and irregular shapes that are awkward to clamp.

Lately though, I've been using a new pinner from Senco that uses a marginally larger pin (21-gauge) with a slight head – the FinishPro 21LXP. It offers better holding power than 23-gauge pins, yet the tiny head isn't that much more obtrusive than a 23-gauge headless pin.

L to R: 18-gauge nail, 21-gauge pin, 23-gauge pin

The gauge of nails and pins is a measure of their diameter. A 23-gauge pin is about 22% smaller than an 18-gauge nail, while a 21-gauge pin is roughly 15% smaller than an 18-gauge nail. The 21-gauge pin is nearly 10% larger than the 23-gauge pin - offering better shear strength, while the slight head provides better holding power.

Practical hard shell storage case

The 21LXP comes in a durable hard shell case that makes it easy to cart the tool to and from a job site, and safely store your investment when not in use. There is a 1/4 NPT swivel fitting already attached to the pinner, and you get a small container of oil plus a reversible belt hook. The case has enough space to store two boxes of pins.

(L) 23-gauge pinner; (R) 21-gauge pinner

Pinners are the lightest nail guns you can get. A 23-gauge pinner, like the Senco 23LXP, weighs in at 2 lbs 13 oz, and measures about 8" long. At 3 lbs 3 oz and 10" long, the 21LXP isn't that much heavier or larger. The 23LXP is well balanced and comfortable to use. Mind you, I use a pinner intermittently – picking it up, putting it down – and rarely holding it for longer than five or ten minutes at a stretch. Someone using the pinner constantly for hours a day might find the ergonomics somewhat different.

Generous 200 nail magazine capacity

You can shoot pins from 5/8" to 2" long with the 21LXP. I almost always use 1" and 1-3/8" pins, but it's nice to have the option for longer pins should the need arise. The magazine holds two clips of 100 pins, and I found it very quick to open and close the mag. 

Tiny nail status window

You need some way of knowing when to add more pins. With the 21LXP you can just keep shooting until the lockout feature kicks in – when there are only three or four nails left in the magazine, the driver will automatically stop firing. This prevents the dreaded 'dry firing' that can lead to premature damage to the firing pin.

There is a second way to know when to add pins. Almost all pinners and nailers have a 
status window on the side of the magazine – looking through the window you can see when the mag is nearly empty. However, the window on the 21LXP is much too narrow to be of any use. I've a mind to take a file and widen the hole.

Lockout override button

The 21LXP does have a feature I particularly like. If you only need to shoot a few more pins to finish the job, and the lockout feature has kicked in, you can press a lockout override button on the side of the pinner and fire those last few pins.

Spare tip and on-board wrench storage

All pinners come with a no-mar tip that helps to protect delicate surfaces from being scratched. Sooner or later though, the tip will wear out or you'll loose it. The 21LXP comes with two tips – you can store the spare tip right on the pinner. 

The tip has alignment guides integrated into its top and sides, which helps when aligning your shots. I haven't found much of a difference using the pinner with or without the no-mar tip when working on hardwood, but I do use it when working on pre-finished sheet goods.

The wrench that's used to open the cover plate is neatly stored on the back of the tool.

(L) Super narrow head; (R) Removable cover plate

The tip on the 21LXP is ultra narrow, making it line up your shots. Line of sight is also excellent, making it easy to place pins accurately.

In the time I've been using this pinner it hasn't jammed. If it does, removing a pin from the nose is quick and easy. You just back out two bolts, slip off the cover plate, and remove the errant pin.

Secondary safety trigger (black) and primary trigger (grey)

The 21LXP has a double-trigger safety system – you need to depress a secondary trigger clear of the firing trigger before you can depress the firing trigger. Each time you pull the firing trigger it shoots a pin. You need to be a bit careful though, as there doesn't have to be any contact with the work piece for the trigger to fire.

Top row: 21-gauge nails; Bottom row: 23-gauge nails

In the photo above you can see the difference between holes made by both 21-gauge and 23-gauge pinners. The choice of filling the holes is up to you. On light coloured wood I usually fill the holes. I find that on darker woods the holes show up much less, and the finish further helps to obscure them.

I really like this new 21-gauge pinner. The thicker, slight-headed pins give more holding power so I can use it where previously I might have reverted to the 18-gauge nailer. The pinner is solidly built, has pretty well all the features I want on a pneumatic gun, and the 5-year warranty mean worry-free pinning. If you've been thinking about adding a pinner to your tool inventory, then the Senco 21LXP is, in my view, an excellent choice.


  • Operating pressure range: 70-120 PSI
  • Air Inlet: 1/4" NPT
  • Weight: 3 lbs 3 oz
  • Dimensions: 8.9" H x 1.8" W x 10" L
  • Fastener capacity: 200 nails
  • Fastener range: 5/8" – 2"
  • Fastener gauge: 21
  • Last nail lockout
  • Lockout override button
  • Reversible belt hook
  • Rear exhaust with muffler
  • On board wrench storage
  • Warranty: 5-years

MADE IN:Taiwan
SOURCE:Dealer Search

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December 2014

Carl Duguay
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