Ryobi 18V ONE+ 18GA Cordless 2" Brad Nailer

No compressor, no cord, no hose, no gas cartridge = no hassle nailing

Ryobi_P854_lead

Ryobi 18V ONE+ 18GA Cordless 2" Brad Nailer



This isn't the first cordless nailer on the market. I've reviewed two others, an 18 gauge framing nailer (Bostitch GF28WW) and an 18 gauge finish nailer (Senco Fusion F18). The Bostitch is powered by a battery and fuel cell. The fuel cell is good for about 1,200 shots. The Senco is likewise battery powered, but rather than a fuel cell, it uses a permanently sealed pressurized chamber that's filled with nitrogen. The nitrogen chamber delivers up to 200,000 shots, though it eventually will need to be replaced.

The Ryobi P854 is an 18 gauge brad nailer. What makes the Ryobi nailer different is that it's powered solely by an 18-volt battery. No fuel cell, no nitrogen chamber, and, of course, no hose or compressor to deal with. Ryobi's AirStrike technology is somewhat similar to Senco's Fusion drive system, except that it doesn't rely on an internally stored supply of nitrogen to pressurize the piston. Rather, it draws ambient air into the nailer, and then compresses the air, which in turn powers the driver head to sink the nail.

The P854 weighs in at 6 pounds 6 ounces, with the battery installed. This is just slightly heavier than the Senco Fusion, but a pound and a half lighter than the Bostitch. Cordless nailers are typically heavier than pneumatic nailers. The Bosch BSN200, my standby 18 gauge pneumatic nailer, weighs only 2.5 pounds. For intermittent nailing a heavier weight is a small price to pay for the convenience that any cordless tool offers. However, for anyone using a nailer on a continuous basis, particularly overhead, weight is likely to be a much more important consideration. That said, a cordless nailer can still be a useful ancillary tool in a contractors or renovators tool kit.

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Charger and compact One+ battery

The P854 comes with a diagnostic charger (#P118) and one compact 18V, 24Wh (1.3Ah) lithium-ion battery (#P102). Ryobi claims that with this battery you can sink about 700 nails on a full charge. That's not to shabby, particularly if you're only using the nailer intermittently in the shop. If you do use it on a job site it's probably not a bad idea to opt for a second battery.

There are several other One+ batteries you can purchase, including a compact 1.5Ah battery (P107) and a high capacity 4Ah battery (P108), which will give you a much longer run time, but add another half pound or so of weight to the tool. In fact, any of the One+ 18V batteries will work with the P854.

Batteries recharge in about 1 hour, and you won't damage the battery leaving it on the charger when the nailer is not in use.

The P102 that ships with this nailer doesn't have an on-board fuel gauge. I don't know why manufacturers don't include this feature on all batteries, as its so convenient. Fortunately, the P107 and P108 have fuel gauges.
 

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Easily depressed tail button (red arrow) releases magazine cover

The magazine holds 105 nails, which will just accommodate a standard stick of 100 brad nails. There is a large release button on the tail end of the mag that quickly opens the mag cover. Both the mag carrier and its cover are made of a heavy duty impact resistant plastic, which you'll find common to a lot of brad nailers. Modern plastics are very durable, they don't rust, they're light - which helps to reduce overall tool weight - and, they're less expensive than equivalent metal alloys - which keeps tool prices lower, or corporate profits higher, depending on how you look at it.

The nailer takes 18 gauge nails from 5/8" to 2", the usual range for brad nailers. Dual windows at the front of the mag cover enable you to see when you need to add another stick.

I'm glad to see the inclusion of a dry-fire lockout feature on this tool. This feature automatically prevents the driver head from firing the contact tip once there are no more nails in the mag. The result is less wear and tear on the driver head and the contact tip.


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Rubber bumper on the end of the mag serves as a foot

On the end of the magazine there is a rubber bumper that serves as a 'foot', so that when you stand the nailer upright on the battery it won't tip over, and the mag is less likely to damage whatever surface it's placed on.

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Metal nose with quick release latch

The P854 features an all metal nose with a quick release latch so that you can quickly and easily remove a jammed nail. You'll also notice that a removable rubber non-marring pad covers the contact tip. These pads eventually wear out and fall off, so Ryobi has thoughtfully stored a second one on the side of the magazine. Some people remove the pads when nailing rough material - I leave them on all the time.

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Depth of drive adjuster

As on all brad nailers there is a knob that enables you to adjust the depth at which the nail will be set. You many need to adjust the depth depending on the type of material you're nailing into. Whenever you begin working with different materials, for example, moving from softwood to hardwood, it's good practice to take a couple of test shots to see that the nails are seating to the right depth. An icon above the adjuster shows you which direction will increase or decrease the depth of the nail. 

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Air pressure regulator dial

With a pneumatic nailer you regulate air pressure by means of a regulator on the compressor. Like a pneumatic nailer, the P854 also uses compressed air to force the contact pin against the brad nail. You can adjust the air pressure by turning a dial that's located atop the head of the nailer. Turning it clockwise increases air pressure, turning it the opposite way lowers the pressure.

Ryobi doesn't specify what the pressure levels are. If you find that the nails are not seating correctly, even with the depth of drive adjuster set to maximum, then you'll need to adjust the air pressure until you get the right result. The regulator dial turns just slightly over one full turn, so it doesn't take long to select the right pressure. Once it's set, you'll only need to adjust it if you begin working with a different material.

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Mode selector for sequential mode or bump mode

Most brad nailers include the choice of selecting between two actuation modes. The standard mode is sequential actuation - each time you push the contact tip against a surface and then press the trigger, one nail is released (you can also do this in reverse order). This is the mode to use when you want to place nails accurately. When your primary concern is sinking as many nails as you can, as quickly as possible, you can switch to bump or contact actuation mode - continuously hold down the trigger, and each time you push or 'bump' the contact tip against the surface a nail is released. I use sequential mode virtually all the time. Besides, in bump mode you're more likely to inadvertently set a nail where it isn't supposed to go.

On the P854 you switch between these modes by simply moving a selector switch located at the base of the handle.

Ryobi claims that you can sink 60 nails per minute - which is about as fast as I can pull the trigger or bump the contact tip. While important for production workers assembling casework or carpenters installing moulding and trimwork on a job site, it's likely less important for DIYers, hobbyist woodworkers, or furniture makers.

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Trigger and LED activation grip switch

I find the handle on the P854 to be somewhat on the bulky side. It measures 1-1/4" by 1-7/8". For intermittent use this isn't a big deal, but having to grasp this handle for long periods of time throughout the day might be somewhat taxing, particularly for anyone with smaller hands. Still, the nailer is reasonably well balanced, and the trigger is large enough to be easily depressed even if you're wearing gloves. Just below the trigger is the LED activation grip switch - basically, whenever you grasp the handle you'll end up depressing this switch, and the LED lights will come on.

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Bright lights illuminate your work

The lights are quite bright, and do a good job of illuminating the area around the contact tip. I find them most useful when working in less than ideal lighting situations. They make it easier to see the work surface and place the contact tip exactly where you want it to go. LED lights don't consume much in the way of power, so they have little impact on battery life.

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Easy to place nails where you want them to go

The P854 comes with five strips of 1-1/4" brads. I sunk all 500 nails in a variety of material - softwood, hardwood, and ply, on the same battery charge. Once I initially set the depth I wanted - a tad below the surface - every nail was seated perfectly, regardless of the stock I was shooting into - I didn't have to adjust the air pressure when moving from softwood to hardwood.

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Very good line-of-sight

The nailer affords a very good line-of-sight in most nailing situations, making it easy to place nails precisely. This is especially important then you're working with narrower trim. 

I wasn't able to measure the decibel level, but the P854 is fairly loud. You'll want to wear hearing protectors if you're sinking more than a few nails.


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What really sets this nailer apart from others, is convenience, especially so when using it for short periods of time. You don't need to start the compressor, find the oil, connect the nailer to the hose, plug in the hose... you get the picture.

Over the short period of time I used the nailer it performed admirably - no misfiring, and every nail sank to the correct depth. It has a very good line-of-sight, enabling me to place nails right on target. Throwing caution to the wind, I was able to sink nails as fast as I could pull the trigger or bump the contact pin.

If you don't have a compressor and a brad nailer, and won't be doing production work, then the P854 is by far a much more convenient, and more economical option than going the pneumatic route. Contractors, carpenters and renovators will likely want to stay with a lighter option for production work. However, the P854 does offer them a convenient, practical alternative for small jobs. Not having to cart around your compressor, hose and the like, when all you need to do is install a few strips of moulding makes the P854 a real time saver. A return on investment should be realized in fairly short order.

While this is the first Ryobi tool featuring AirStrike technology, you can expect to see a stapler and a 16 gauge finish nailer in the near future. I'm hoping they're plans also call for a 23 gauge pin nailer.

KEY FEATURES:

  • AirStrike technology (in-tool air compression)
  • 18V lithium-ion power source
  • 18 gauge nails from 5/8" to 2"
  • 105 nail magazine capacity
  • 60 nails per minute
  • Up to 700 nails per charge
  • Sequential or contact actuation
  • Adjustment dial regulates air pressure
  • Dry-fire lockout
  • Tool-less jam release
  • Low nail indicator
  • LED work lights
  • 60 minute battery recharge time
  • 6 lb 6 oz weight (battery installed)
  • 3 yr warranty
  • Includes: 18V lithium-ion battery, charger, belt hook, 2 non-marring tips, 500 1-1/4" nails

COMPANY:Ryobi
MODEL:P854 (referred to as model P320 in the US)
PRICE:$199
MADE IN:China
SOURCE:Home Depot
Carl Duguay, August 2013

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