Ditch The Hose

Cordless, Gasless framing nailers are on the market today, but many of them lack power and runtime.  Hitachi claims their new version will have all the power needed to drive 3-1/2” nails into even the toughest of engineered lumber.  We can tell you from our use that it can drive those large nails without a problem!  Here is the scoop.

When you place a charge 3.0 compact battery in the Hitachi cordless framing nailer, the unit feels pretty balanced, but it is still 11 pounds and quite large.  It is a framing nailer and the size is fairly comparable to other models.  We felt that the magazine was slightly shorter than the 2 other pneumatic framing nailers we have in the shop.  Our round head 3″ ring shank nails came in strips of 28.  Hitachi says this unit can hold 37 nails in the magazine.  Loading the magazine is simple with a slide mechanism to go over the nails then catch them to apply pressure.

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Once you are ready to use the nailer, you must push the power button tucked away under the handle.  This is the place where you turn the machine on, check the battery and also select the actuation.  This area is a bit cramped for use with gloves and in some cases hard to see in bright light.  With the unit turned on, the nailer works just like a pneumatic framing nailer.  The claw tip must be depressed for the unit to fire and the recoil is very similar to a pneumatic framing nailer.

Hitachi NR1890DR Features

  • Unique Air Spring Drive System that uses compressed air to drive each nail resulting in zero ramp up time
  • Brushless motor
  • Powered by a Compact 3.0Ah Lithium Ion battery
  • Drives up to 400 nails per charge ( 3.0Ah battery )
  • Tool-less depth of drive adjustment
  • Power switch located on control panel must be depressed for 1 second to activate the nailer and automatically switches off after 30 minutes of inactivity
  • Selective actuation on the control panel
  • Battery charge indicator located on tool control panel
  • Ergonomically formed soft grip handle
  • Dry fire lock out system
  • Side lock trigger switch
  • Pivoting rafter hook
  • 21° magazine holds approximately 37 plastic strip collated fasteners from 2″ up to 3-1/2″ in length
  • Drives 3-1/2” nails into even the toughest of engineered lumber
  • Hardened claw tip
  • 10.8 lbs and well balanced for easy maneuverability
  • Covered by Hitachi’s Lifetime Lithium Ion tool warranty & 2-Year Lithium Ion battery warranty

Battery Usage

First, while building a few small deer stands, we found that the 28 nail strips were a bit frustrating as we felt we were running out of nails all the time.  The dry fire lock out was great and the feel of it allowed us to know we were out of nails over and over again.  As we counted the nails and watched the battery life the best we could, we finally started to hear the unit slow at around 270 nails.  The nailer would still fire and drive the nails deep, the compressor just sounded slower although it still kept up with our pace.  The first run, we ran out of power at 302 3″ nails.  We popped in another 3.0 Ah battery and it died at 311 nails.  The next run was 298 nails.  At that point, we were out of compact batteries and we loaded a 6.0 ah battery to finish.  That larger battery added a lot of weight to the unit and made it a bit more of a load on your wrist.

The Control Panel

The heart and soul of the Hitachi Framing Nailer are tucked away at the base of the nailer.  There are small buttons and LED lights that let you know how the unit is set to fire and the battery life.  These buttons are smaller and working with them in the cold with gloves is not ideal.  The LED lights are small but fairly visible.  In direct sunlight, they can be hard to decipher.  The battery fuel gauge is only two lights and we want more info from that gauge, but one can tell from the sound of the nailer when you are low on battery.

Sealed Unit

Hitachi uses a brushless motor and air pump to build a charge of air in order to fire a nail.  There is a shut off limit if the unit is below 23 degrees Fahrenheit or if the unit gets too hot.  Hitachi has inserted sensors in an effort to protect this framing nailer.   Similar to many air ride systems on cars, the compressed air used is a sealed system.  There is no chance of dust or dirt getting into the air chamber.  There is, however, exhaust ports that allow the air to rush out from underneath the piston as it fires.  Without those ports, there would be a vacuum effect and the gun would work against itself.


Hitachi built an awesome cordless framing nailer that has some of the best power we have seen to date.  There will be no complaints from this framing nailer not sinking nails.  The few items that could keep this unit from working in a large framing job would be battery life at about 300 large 3″ nails per charge and the total weight of around 11 pounds.  It is a bulky unit, even though there is no cord.

When you use round head nails in a plastic strip, the lack of the number of nails the unit can hold can be a bit of a pain, but keep a bunch of strips in your pouch and you will get really good at reloading very fast!  While this tool has the performance to keep us with pro framers, we are unsure if many will want to deal with the battery usage and weight.  Let us know what you think below.  On the other hand, for smaller jobs, this framing nailer is a beast!

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Kit Includes:

  • 18V Framing Nailer
  • (1) Compact 3.0Ah Lithium Ion Battery BSL1830C (339782)
  • Fast Charger (UC18YFSL)
  • Contractor Bag (372294)
  • Safety Glasses (875769)