Metabo HPT Cordless 21° 18V Framing Nailer Review

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Metabo HPT Cordless 21° Framing Nailer (NR1890DRS)

Metabo HPT 18V Cordless Framing Nailer

Manufacturer: Metabo HPT
Model number: NR1890DRS
Price: $359
Power source: 18V-36V
Motor size: Brushless
Weight: 10.8 lbs
Cordless framing nailers are not new to the industry but they are finally becoming very competitive with pneumatic nailers! Metabo HPT is no stranger to a wide range of pneumatic nailers (previously Hitachi) and their heritage in fastening systems certainly makes them a leader in this category. We’ve been using this Metabo HPT Cordless Framing Nailer on jobs for almost a year now and have a lot of framing experience with it now.

Metabo HPT makes this nailer in both the 21° plastic collated and 30° paper collated nails (NR1890DCS). While this review is focused on the 21° version we have both in use on jobs and it really comes down to nail availability for us.

Features & Specifications | NR1890DRS


  • Air spring drive system
  • Tool-less depth of drive adjustment
  • Automatically shutoff after 30 mins of inactivity
  • Dry fire lock out system
  • Side lock trigger switch
  • Pivoting rafter hook
  • Warranty: Lifetime Tool Warranty, 2-year battery warranty, and 1-year charger warranty


  • Battery: 18V Lithium-Ion
  • Nail Style: 21° Plastic Strip Collated
  • Nail Length: 2 – 3 1/2 in.
  • Fastener Head: Round
  • Magazine Capacity: approx. 37
  • Nails/Charge: 400 (w/ 3.0Ah Battery)
  • Modes: 1) Sequential mode 2) Bump fire mode
  • Weight: 10.8 lbs
  • Motor: Brushless
  • Driving Speed: Up to 2 Nails/Sec
  • Firing Modes: Sequential and Contact
  • Rafter Hook
  • Battery Warranty: 2 Year Lithium Ion
  • Tool Warranty: Lifetime Lithium Ion

Performance On The Job

The Metabo HPT 18V cordless framing nailer is leaps and bounds ahead of the early cordless framers that were around 8-10 years ago. These new brushless nailers have plenty of power to handle engineered lumber, they are fast, and overall the ergonomics are drastically improved.

Power and Speed

The two leaders in cordless framing nailers right now are Milwaukee and Metabo HPT without a doubt. We’ve got extensive experience with both nailers and they are extremely close in performance. I think it’s fair to say that they both have the advantage in some ways over the other. The Metabo HPT has a ton of power and while I have no way to quantify that I do believe it edges out the Milwaukee. The cycle speed of this nailer is also quite impressive especially on bump-mode where it really can simulate the performance of a pneumatic framing nailer.

The Metabo HPT NR1890DRS uses an air spring drive system, which essentially is a sealed piston that is compressed by the brushless motor and releases compressed air when each nail is fired. This system cycles very fast and provides great power. It’s a drastic improvement over early cordless nailers that used flywheel designs.

Weight and Ergonomics

The Metabo HPT cordless framing nailer weighs 10.1 lbs with a compact 3.0Ah battery pack. While the Metabo HPT 21 deg pneumatic framing nailer only weighs 7.5 lbs. Obviously that’s almost 25% more weight, however, you’re not dragging around an airhose which also adds weight and reduces mobility. The cordless framing nailer feels very well balanced and comfortable even when used overhead.


One of the minor frustrations with this nailer are the controls. The location at the base of the grip make them difficult to see, and a bit difficult to push. To turn the nailer on you have to push and hold the on button for a second. The nailer will automatically shut off after 30 mins of inactivity as well.

Another feature that I think Metabo HPT needs to address is the sequential vs contact (bump) modes. It’s great that you can switch between these modes with the press of a button (old nailers sometimes require changing the trigger, so this is a great feature), but there is a nuance that makes these much different than a pneumatic nailer. When you put this nailer into contact (bump) mode, you can’t do a sequential shot. Why is this important? Well there are times when you’re bump firing a framing nailer and you get to a position that you want to push in the tip and squeeze the trigger for more control. This could very easily be changed in the programming and would be a great upgrade in a future release. Also, this nailer always starts in sequential mode when you turn it on, it would be nice if it remembered which mode you were using previously.

Rafter Hook

Rafter hooks are important with framing nailers especially when working on roof framing. The rafter hook on these framers is a decent size, made of metal, all what you’d expect. However, the position of them, especially when mounted on the left side make it nearly useless. When mounted on the left side the magazine interferes almost completely from hanging from a rafter. On both sides, when it’s folded close, it is too close to the grip. This is a pretty important detail the Metabo HPT needs to address for future models.

Overall Impression

Both of the Metabo HPT cordless framing nailers (NR1890DRS and NR1890DCS) are excellent cordless framing nailers. These nailers are very powerful and fast. Other than the weight and some nuances with the controls it’s hard to see much difference compared to pneumatic nailers of similar features. These absolutely excel with punch list work, working on roof framing where hoses are problematic, and remote sites with no power.

Metabo HPT 18V Cordless Framing Nailer

About the author

Todd Fratzel

Todd Fratzel is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz, and the President of Front Steps Media, LLC, a web based media company focused on the Home Improvement and Construction Industry.He is also the Principal Engineer for United Construction Corp., located in Newport, NH. In his capacity at United he oversees the Residential and Commercial Building Division along with all Design-Build projects.He is also the editor of Home Construction & Improvement.

@tfratzelTodd Fratzel

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  1. Stephen Miller

    Hey Todd u have the NR3690DR the difference is your tool is the same as all three of mine and shoot 3 nails per second rather than 2 and the nr18 will get hot and stop for a bit on bump fire mode where as the nr3690dr consistently bump fires all day long u can tell by where the battery plugs into the gun the 18v don’t have that second peice on the back

  2. Stephen Miller

    I wanna know is it better than the Milwaukee witch also shoots 3 nails per second and have been looking over the Webb for some that have competed

    1. Todd Fratzel

      Stephen – They are so similar yet different. They both have a lot of power, they are both fast, they are both similar weights. The only differences are in the controls. There are subtle things about timing out, sequential shoot, etc. Honestly, if you have one of the battery platforms already stick with it.

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