RIDGID 18V Brushless Brad & Framing Nail Guns Review

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RIDGID 18V Brushless 18GA Brad and 21° Framing Nail Guns (Models: R09891B & R09894)

RIDGID 18V Brushless 18GA Brad and 21° Framing Nail Guns (Models: R09891B & R09894)

4/5
Manufacturer: Ridgid
Power source: 18v Battery
Motor size: Brushless
We recently got the chance to test out a couple of RIDGID 18V Nail Guns, the RIDGID 18V Brad Nail Gun with clean drive technology and the 21º Framing Nailer. Cordless nail guns have been on the market for some time now and everyone seems to be getting in on the game. As a professional, it can be very tempting to simply reach for a Red, Yellow or Turquoise tool. To get professional results most contractors default to those brands. So it makes us wonder if Orange keep up with the pack. I often hear RIDGID being described as mid-grade or Pro-entry tool. In this article, we will dive into the features and performance of these nail guns from a frame-to-finish perspective. 

Features and Specifications | RIDGID R09894

Features:

  • Tool-Free Power Adjustment &  Tool-Free Depth of Drive Adjustment
  • Steel Magazine
  • Selectable depth adjustment
  • Tool-Free Jam Release
  • Rafter hook

Specifications:

  • Angle: 21 degree (20-22 degrees)
  • Battery: 18V
  • Nail Gauge: 10Ga. Roundhead (0.113 – 0.131 inch diameter)
  • Magazine: 33 Nail (66 w/ extension)
  • Nail Length: 2 to 3-1/2 inch
  • Nails/Charge: 750 (4Ah battery)
  • Tool Weight:  9.12 lbs (bare tool)

Design & Key Features | RIDGID R09894

The RIDGID 18V R09894 21-degree framing nail gun is a fully-featured framing nailer we were pleased to test and review. It had many of the essential options we look for in a framing nailer we want to bring on the job site. It offers an adjustable depth setting and is built around a long-lasting 18V cordless & brushless platform. The R09894 also allows for a useful range of nail lengths from 2 – 3 -1/2 inches centered around a standard 10GA nail size. It’s easy to load and comes with an optional (yet essential feature) nail magazine extension. It also offers an integrated tool-free jam release for quick recovery from fasteners jamming mid-work. These features allowed us to use the R09894 with almost no issues to stud out a garage addition and complete a pressure-treated deck plank replacement job. We also found the ergonomics to be comfortable and reasonably balanced.

Adjustability and Performance | RIDGID R09894

RIDGID included a number of integrated adjustment options into the R09894 21-degree nail gun. The first and most important is the option to switch between single-nail or bump drive mode. In single-nail mode, you need to pull the trigger to drive each nail. In bump-drive mode, you can hold the trigger and just depress the safety nose alignment pad to drive a series of nails. We had no issues with the R09894 in either mode.

The R09894 also features a tool-free nail depth adjustment knob.  The knob is built into the tool driving nose just above the safety tip. It responded well to the adjustments we made when switching between job site tasks and was very intuitive to use. We also liked that RIDGID had the option to add a magazine extension. The fewer times we were forced to reload in the middle of a framing job, the more time saved. And time saved is money earned.

Room For Improvement

We had a couple of recommendations to make the R09894 even better. First, the nose tip tended to slip when toe-nailing. Designing the safety tip to include non-slip spurs or a better non-slip material would go a long way to solving this issue. We also weren’t huge fans of the belt clip. At over 9 lbs this tool felt too heavy to comfortably wear on our side. The last improvement we would suggest is to eliminate the plastic components on potential high-impact areas of the tool; namely the rafter hook and nose assembly. While these functioned well while we used the R09894, they make us question how well the R09894 will hold up to PRO-level job site use over time. Again, these were not issues at all during our test of the R09894 21-degree framing nail gun.

 

Overall Impression | RIDGID R09894

The RIDGID R09894 21-degree framing nail gun is a stud (pun intended). It delivers a great mix of power, performance, and user-friendly ergonomics.  At just over 9.1 lbs it is on the heavy side for a battery-operated framing nailer, but not significantly. This will be a more noticeable change for users switching from pneumatic framing nailers to a cordless variety than those switching cordless brands. But the hose-free maneuverability more than justifies the weight. RIDGID has an optional magazine extension which is a huge feature for PROs on the job site. The depth adjustment worked well and the R09894 had no issues continuously driving nails into both stud framing and pressure-treated decking. Overall the R09894 is a solid offering at the entry PRO-level from RIDGID.

Features and Specifications | RIDGID R09891B

Features:

  • Clean Drive Technology
  • Tool-Free Power Adjustment &  Tool-Free Depth of Drive Adjustment
  • Transparent Magazine
  • Selectable Mode Switch for single or bump fire modes
  • Dry-Fire Lockout
  • Tool-Free Jam Release

Specifications:

  • Battery: 18V
  • Nail Gauge: 18Ga. Brads
  • Nail Length: 5/8 to 2-1/8 inch
  • Nails per Charge: 5500 (6AH Battery)
  • Tool Weight: 5.36 lbs

Design & Key Features | RIDGID R09891B

The First thing I noticed was the RIDGID 18V Brad Nail Gun features a clear magazine. This makes it crystal clear how many nails are left and what length they are. Additionally, the nail lengths are neatly labeled. This is very helpful to me as a finished carpenter. Brad nail guns or “nailers,” as they are often called, play a complementary role with their big brother the finish nailer. They often sit for long periods between use on the job site and it can be easy to forget what nails are loaded. Brad nails are often used to join a miter or thin trim together and this requires thin short brads. It’s very easy for longer nails to hook out of the material. So having more than just a tiny window allows me to avoid this mistake with just a glance.

The dryfire lockout is also a nice feature, this allows the user to avoid needlessly punching holes into trim. The nail gun will fire all but the last 5 nails before the dryfire lockout is engaged. This gun has both single and bump fire modes available. But before the trigger is even fired, there is a safety located under the trigger which activates the light. This is a great feature and allows you to line up your shot in a dark room with your finger off the trigger. I also like that the light is located on top of the gun rather than near the battery and allows the user to aim the light better. The gun is very quiet, not just compared to compressor-run nail guns but also to other cordless guns on the market.

Adjustability and Performance | RIDGID R09891B

There are two ways to adjust power and or depth on the RIDGID 18V Brad Nail Gun. The user can simply adjust the depth with the tool-free knob, or additionally, the user can fine-tune the depth with a dial located conveniently on the back of the gun. I like having this level of adjustability, in today’s world we are driving fasteners into so much more than wood. As a result, this gives more constancy to varied materials. This shows up big time in performance. This gun shoots constantly, after just a few calibrating shots. In single-fire mode, the holes left are very small without any tear-out, not so much on bump fire. As a test, I was able to fire 2″ brad nails into MDF baseboard onto a scrap of LVL with no problems. This was a stress test and drastically outdoes real-world conditions

Room For Improvement

So far so good, but no tool is perfect, so what would I improve? Firstly the ramp-up time is slow, this is not good for bump fire, which I prefer. Maybe I would just need more time to get used to this, but I would stick to single fire mode for this gun. Secondly, although having the light on top is better, a large shadow is created that still leaves the tip in the dark. How about several lights all around the tip like a cordless drill? Seems like the industry has already figured this one out, I don’t know why this feature is not making onto cordless nail guns. Lastly, the nail gun won’t stand up on its battery, it falls over or is at the very least unstable. I like having the ability to stand my cordless nails guns up on a crowded surface.

Overall Impression | RIDGID R09891B

My overall impression of the RIDGID 18V Brad Nail Gun is that it’s a good, not great, nail gun. Although I found the front-heavy nature of this gun to be awkward and cumbersome, and the lackluster performance on bump fire, the overall performance is good. Maybe if you hang this on your belt it won’t matter so much. The nails are driven cleanly and the gun is quiet. I’m very excited about the clear window, it makes our lives just a little bit easier. I love the multiple adjustments, it just gives us more control in a world where the Industry seems to be coming out with new products weekly. There is no reason as to why a professional could not get great results with this tool and would make a great addition to the professional or DIYer. Good job orange!

Final Thoughts | RIDGID 18V Nail Guns

RIDGID has stepped up its game with these RIDGID 18V Nail Guns.  While there are still a few improvements to be made, they functioned well overall. They put some thought into both the ergonomic and performance features. For any PRO contractor who already owns RIDGID 18V battery-powered tools, these should be a no question additional to your kit. For anyone looking to make the leap from pneumatic to a cordless nail driving platform, we suggest you strongly consider these RIDGID 18V nail guns.

These nail guns will be available soon at Home Depot so use the link below to check availability.

About the author

Mike Wall

Carpenter / Remodeler / DesignerMichael Wall is a self-employed carpenter, remodeler, and designer from Andover, MA. In addition to a career in the trades Michael previously worked as a designer at various engineers firms in the Boston metro area designing tools and prototypes for the medical and solar industries, utilizing CADD. This computer and design knowledge has translated well and Michael is well versed in architectural design software. Computer skills aside he still loves, and spends most of his time in the field, getting his hands dirty on the latest tools. In 2009 he caught the remodeling bug and has since worked for both renovation contractors and builders of new homes. Michael is an Eagle Scout and avid outdoorsman, skier and hiker.

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1 Comment

  1. KajunFramer

    Nice review. However, I believe that you were spot on when you indicated that Ridgid isn’t quite a professional brand. Over the last few years, I’ve tried Ridgid drills, a belt sander, an air compressor,and a table saw. The motors on all of them burned up. (And I don’t abuse my tools; I have turquoise tools 20 years old, and even have a Hitachi miter saw that is 18 years old and still going strong.)

    So Ridgid may have ni e features, and is marketed well, but I can’t view it as a professional brand.

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