You Can Really Nail Trim Work and More with This Cordless Pin Nailer

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Easily the best battery-operated pin nailer I've ever used, this Family Handyman Approved tool will meet all your needs.

Every week it seems, some manufacturer releases a battery operated tool it never made before. Many factors contribute to this, including the ability of some companies to pack an astounding amount of power into compact and lightweight batteries. And I, for one, am all for it.

Since I got my first 23-gauge nailer more than a decade ago, I’ve been a fan. These nails, ultra-thin and headless, hold small trim pieces or edging in place while their glue dries. They’re inconspicuous and easily hidden without filler, even on unpainted surfaces.

A few months back I read a press release from Craftsman Tools about their new Cordless 23-Gauge Pin Nailer. Excited about freeing myself from my air compressor and hose. I ordered up this battery powered nailer and gave it a shot.

What is the Craftsman Cordless 23-Gauge Pin Nailer?

The Craftsman Cordless 23-Gauge Pin Nailer drives 23-gauge pin nails between 5/8-in. to 1-3/8-in. long into various wood products and materials. It features a powerful 20-volt brushless motor and tool-free jam release to minimize downtime.

This nailer also comes with bright LED lights and a non-marring tip to ensure safe and accurate nail placement, regardless of the conditions.

Weighing almost five pounds, the nailer feels comfortable in my hand. It comes with a few hundred one-inch nails, a battery, charger and optional belt hook.

How We Tested It

hand using a Craftsman Cordless 23 Gauge Nailer on the baseboards in a houseFamily handyman

There were three critical questions I hoped to answer about this product. How did it react in a normal everyday situation? How many nails would it shoot on a single charge? And finally, did it have any jamming issues? Other battery powered nailers I’ve used in the past jammed frequently.

A typical day at work

To answer my first question, I needed to reapply some prefinished PVC base shoe over the cork flooring in our large basement bathroom. I had to do this because the heated bathroom floor expands and contracts the small profile PVC base shoe at a different rate than the medium density fiberboard (MDF) baseboard it’s attached to. This causes gaps to form between the two moldings over time.

As I reapplied the base shoe with the one-inch pins, the Craftsman Cordless 23-Gauge Pin Nailer delivered. It’s more cumbersome than the air powered pneumatic 23-gauge nailers I’ve used before, which is to be expected with a strong brushless motor onboard.

During this process, I noticed the LED work lights were located near its base. Because of this, it cast undesirable shadows as I placed each nail. Still, a poorly-placed built-in work light was better than none at all.

After repairing the base shoe, I headed straight to the garage to test the Craftsman Cordless 23-Gauge Pin Nailer’s two amp-hour battery capacity.

The act of shooting nails

This test went down as a momentous waste of nails. I painstakingly stood there shooting away for well over an hour before the Craftsman Cordless 23-Gauge Pin Nailer’s battery finally died.

Although it didn’t negatively affect its performance, popping nails at a steady cadence did make the Pin Nailer noticeably warm to the touch.

It’s hard to decide which is worse — staring at the horde of one-inch nails poking through the scrap chunk of half-inch MDF, or spending nearly twenty minutes counting the 1,167 nails the Craftsman Cordless 23-Gauge Pin Nailer shot in a single charge.

During the latter I noticed the pin nailer’s low-nail lockout function, which trips when there are 10 nails left in the cartridge. This prevents the user from firing the nailer unloaded and creating excess pin holes on the workpiece — a welcome feature.

The jam

After multiple hours of testing and counting more than 1,000 nails, I’ve yet to deal with a nail jam. That’s never happened with any 23-gauge nailer I used before, whether pneumatic or cordless. That’s an impressive feat in itself.

Pros

  • No need for a compressor and hose;
  • Non-marring tip;
  • Can shoot more than 1,100 nails per charge;
  • Low-nail lockout function;
  • Doesn’t get jammed.

Cons

  • More bulky than air powered pneumatic nailers;
  • Poor LED light placement;
  • Gets hot with repetitive use.

FAQ

Q: Should the nail path be lubricated like with other nail guns?
A: Yes. Whenever you clean the nail path, lubricate it with a small amount of tool oil.

Q: Is the Craftsman Cordless 23-Gauge Pin Nailer compatible with any brand of 23-Gauge nails?
A: Maybe. Craftsman recommends Bostich brand pin nails, but in my test I used multiple brands.

Final Verdict

The Craftsman Cordless 23-Gauge Pin Nailer impressed the heck out of me. Its combination of compressor-free portability, stout 1,100+ nail battery capacity and jam-free operation has me sold. Yeah, it has flaws, but all are easily overshadowed by its positives. Another impressive product from the Craftsman line.

Where to Buy

Craftsman Cordless 23 Gauge Nailervia merchant

The Craftsman Cordless 23-Gauge Pin Nailer is available at Lowe’s (tool only) and Ace Hardware (battery and charger included).

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Ethan O'Donnell
Ethan is Family Handyman’s go-to editor for finding and testing the latest and greatest products, tools, and gear in the DIY space. Ethan has experience building custom woodwork, sets, props, and exhibits. Over the course of his career, he has completed projects for several Fortune 500 companies as well as for the United States Park Service. During his spare time, he likes to ride anything on two wheels, read, draw, or spend time with friends discussing recent Formula 1 events.