Milwaukee Cordless 30 Degree Framing Nailer Review

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Milwaukee M18 FUEL 30° Framing Nailer Review

Milwaukee M18 FUEL 30° Framing Nailer 2745-21

Manufacturer: Milwaukee
Model number: 2745-21
Power source: 18 Volt
Weight: 9.6
Milwaukee is a company that has certainly enjoyed its share of firsts. But when it comes to the remodeling and carpentry trades, they’re playing catch up. One recent new example are their very first cordless framing nailers, the Milwaukee Cordless Framing Nailer M18 FUEL™ 21° Framing Nailer and M18 FUEL™ 30° Framing Nailer.

Milwaukee Cordless Framing Nailer

We received the 30° paper tape Milwaukee Cordless Framing Nailer and immediately took it to our job site to evaluate it. I haven’t been this excited since they came out with their cordless router.

Milwaukee M18 FUEL™ 30° Framing Nailer (2745-21)

  • Nail Sizes: 2” – 3-1/2”
  • Nail Diameter: 0.113” – 0.131”
  • Magazine Capacity: 51 nails
  • 700 nails per charge on a REDLITHIUM XC5.0 Battery
  • Sequential and Contact Actuation Modes
  • Dry-Fire Lockout, Belt Hook, Rafter Hook, & LED Work Light, No-Mar Tip Cover

First Impression -Milwaukee 30° Paper Tape Framing Nailer

First impressions are important. The first time I picked up the 9.4 lb. Milwaukee Cordless Framing Nailer, I thought it was heavy. The first time I fired a nail I thought WOW this is nailer is powerful, fast, and loud!

We used this nailer on framing lumber, plywood, and LVL material. It is able to easily sink nails in engineered lumber and can fire up to 3 nails per second. That’s fast for cordless. The only other nailer that is that fast is the Metabo HPT nailer.

Going 100% Cordless for Framing Vs Staying Pneumatic

I’m still not 100% cordless for framing, I run both systems.  There are arguments for both so let’s flush it out a bit here:

Pros For Pneumatic Nailers

  • Previous investment – you’ve probably owned a compressor, hoses, and nailers
  • Cost – cordless nailers are typical $100 more [bare tool] than pneumatics
  • Charging – pneumatics doesn’t need to be charged
  • Typically, less weight
  • Can be rebuilt

Cons of Pneumatic Nailers

  • Weight of compressor
  • Storage of a compressor, and hoses. Takes up more space
  • Length of the hose can be limiting and get snagged
  • Noisy compressor

Pros of Cordless Nailers

  • Not tethered by a hose – more range
  • Less noise – no compressor
  • Less storage space used
  • Works off battery platform of existing tools
  • Less cost – when you consider compressor, hose, and attachments

Cons of Cordless Nailers

  • Shorter lifespan
  • Can’t easily be rebuilt

The advantages of cordless nailers are clear regarding convenience, mobility, and safety. The lack of a compressor speeds up setup and tear down, not to mention one less heavy tool to lug around. The subtraction of the pneumatic hose also improves safety and accessibility for users.

Size and Weight

This Milwaukee Cordless Framing Nailer measures 13.3” w x 14.1” l and 4.7” wide. It was designed to fit between studs and joists.  At 9.6 lbs [bare tool]  the Milwaukee nailer is 1-lbs heavier than my Makita pneumatic nailer which has a magazine capacity for 2 nail strips.

Milwaukee Framer 30° Nailer Capacity

The nailer accommodates nail sizes from 2” to 3-1/2” [clipped or full head nails] and comes with a magazine that holds one strip of nails, or an overall equivalent of 43 nails. That’s two nails shy of the 45 nail schedule for nailing plywood panels.  

An optional Extended Capacity Magazine [48-08-2745] is available and will allow the nailer to accept two strips of nails, [93 nails] which I highly recommend if you’re doing any real framing. This accessory easily replaces the smaller magazine and is secured in place with 3- Allen screws.

Offering Extended Magazines weren’t originally part Milwaukee’s plan.. After initial field testing of prototypes early in the project, it was a clear ask from Framers & Remodelers that they were asking for a longer magazine. Milwaukee took that feedback seriously and made the longer magazines part of our project-based directly on user feedback early on

Loading Nails

The Milwaukee has a rear loading nail slot –the nails slide into the bottom of the magazine and then a press of the “pusher-release,” allows the slide mechanism to pass over the nails. There is a spring-loaded tab to release the slide mechanism from the nails.   Stripping nails and reloading different length nails, from framing to sheathing nails, was, easy and intuitive.

An anti-dry fire mechanism stops the tool with 4-5 nails remaining in the magazine.

Internal Nitrogen Air Spring Mechanism

We tested the stapler’s speed and recorded approximately 3-nails per second, which is pretty much the same result as our pneumatic stapler.

We were impressed that this tool has zero-ramp up time and fires instantly when the trigger is pulled which is due to its internal mechanism is a nitrogen air spring mechanism. There is an inner cylinder, where the piston and driver blade (or striker) rides, and an outer cylinder.

The area between the two cylinders is filled with Nitrogen to a specified PSI.

Milwaukee chose to use Nitrogen over the air for two reasons.

  1. First, nitrogen is not impacted significantly by swings in temperature as the air. This means tank pressure varies far less due to temperature, resulting in more consistent stapling performance regardless of the working environment (hot or cold).
  2. Second, nitrogen is less likely to result in condensation and subsequent corrosion of the inside of the tank.

Firing Modes

This nailer has a fire rate that delivers a fire rate similar to pneumatic. It has two buttons. On / Off and a mode button that controls single-sequential and contact-bump fire selections. One nice feature of this nailer is the auto-off feature. The nailer once turned on will stay on for 60-minutes. This eliminates you having to turn it on every time you set it down for a few minutes.

Tool Nose  and Hook

As far as framing nailers go I’m a big fan of an aggressive nose tip spur-design. Why? Well, when your firing huge pieces of metal you want to ensure that your nailer’s nose securely grips wood, at any angle, for controlled nail placement. No one wants to mistakenly fire a nail across a job site. Been there done that – not fun! The Milwaukee nailers tip is not as aggressive as I’d like but I did not have any issues using it.

The Milwaukee has a ½” x 2.5” belt hook on the left side of the tool and a 2-1/4” x 3.5” deep rafter hook on the right side of the tool.

Depth of Drive

The depth of drive dial is located on top of the nose of the tool and is a solid, knurled metal knob that is secured on a threaded rod with a c-clip. This is one of the best depth of drive adjustments I’ve seen. It’s accessible from both sides of the tool and is easily operated with or without gloves.

How’d it worked?

The Milwaukee framing nailer is fast. It has a strange sound when firing. When firing the nailer it’s fast and powerful, you can feel the power in this tool. It was able to keep up on bump fire mode easily.


On an XC5.0 Ah battery, this nailer will fire approximately 700 nails. That’s about 16 sheets of subfloor or sheathing.


I’m impressed with this nailer but if I could improve anything it would be to reduce the weight and lessen the tools activation noise.


The Milwaukee M18 FUEL™ 30° Framing Nailer sells as a kit for $ 450.00

The kit includes (1) M18 XC5.0 Battery Pack, Charger, and Contractor Bag. It sells as a bare tool (2745-20) for $ 350.00

Milwaukee Cordless Framing Nailer

Overall Thoughts

Milwaukee may have entered the carpenter and remodeling trades later than others but their commitment to improving productivity by providing performance-driven and trade-focused solutions is apparent.  Plus –  they’re doing it on one battery system.

This Milwaukee M18 Fuel framing nailer is way better than my cordless Dewalt nailer. I’m replacing with the Milwaukee version moving forward.

Cordless framers are the real deal now! When paired with an extra battery this framer can keep workers in the game all day. The benefits of not dragging around a cord are numerous and the freedom certainly increases productivity and safety.

Milwaukee M18 FUEL Cordless Framing Nailer Video Review

About the author

Rob Robillard

Robert Robillard is a remodeler, general contractor, and principal of a carpentry and renovation business located in Concord, Massachusetts, and serves as the Editor of Tool Box Buzz and founding editor of A Concord Carpenter . Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review - Tool and Product Review - Video Channel, , where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the remodeling industry. The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob Robillard

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  1. Leonard Orser

    Junk. Overheats in Canada. Where do they use these? In the artic?
    Honestly, 2 days in with a new gun and nothing but problems, yesterday the batteries overheated and today ..a real nice cool work day and the gun overheats . Junk. Overheats in Canada. Where do they use these? In the artic?

    1. Todd Fratzel

      What are you doing with them? If you’re shooting sheathing then that is a known limitation. If you’re doing framing then I’d be very surprised if you’re overheating them. We’ve framed several houses with them, the only time we’ve had thermal overload is shooting sub-floor or wall sheathing in prolonged fast use.

  2. Patrick

    What do you think of the new Paslode framing gun do you think of the new pass load XP framing gun came out recently is it still worth getting a paslode

    1. Todd Fratzel

      Patrick – It really comes down to the idea of using gas. For many of us, gas in cold climates is a real pain in the neck. I prefer battery/cordless framers now.

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