Paslode CF-325 Cordless Framing Gun - Review
A while back, we reviewed Duo-Fast's new cordless framer. It's a great tool and since it was our first experience with a cordless framer in many, many moons, it greatly revitalized our opinion of the tools. Instead of us thinking of them as malfunction-prone stinky guns, we now think of them as very handy, stinky guns (that gas reek from a cordless nailer can be brutal first thing on a Saturday morning). So, with our new outlook on the tool, we were interested in testing out Paslode's latest entry into the cordless framer arena, the CF-325 Framing Gun.
As it turns out, the Paslode is very similar to the Duo-Fast. And when we say, 'similar,' we mean it, Paslode and Duo-Fast have the same parent company and there has got to be some serious communication going on between the two, because so many details, down to the warning markings on the tools, are identical. But still, with all the similarities between the two, there are some differences worth noting.
First, the similarities. The basic body configuration is the same except that the Paslode's magazine is at 30 degrees and the Duo-Fast's is at 20. This gives the Paslode a slight advantage when working in cramped spaces. The vicious toe-nailing claw is the same and allows you to drive a nail at some very shallow angles. The depth-of-drive adjustment is pretty similar between the two, (we thought that the Paslode's was a hair easier to use). And, aside from the color, the comfortable handles are identical. The fact that the two tools are so alike in these respects really isn't a problem at all because these are all the areas where the Duo-Fast excelled.
The major difference between the two guns, besides the color, is the style of fuel tank that is used. The Duo-Fast cells have a little nozzle piece that sits exposed, and, if you're not careful, it can be broken off the cell (this actually happened to us once). The Paslode corrects any issues here and gives us a fuel tank with no delicate parts. Installation into the gun is painless, just flip back this little hose, drop the cell in and let the hose fall back into place. It's a nice easy system and like we said, simple and with no little parts.
As for power, this gun delivers. Again, we found ourselves working on the woodshed, thinking how great it was that we could be all the way out there and shooting nails without a compressor or hoses. Using the gun also got us thinking about the few drawbacks inherent in the whole cordless framer idea. The first is the smell. Each shot discharges some gas and although it really doesn't smell that bad, it can wear on you after a while. Secondly, cordless guns are really loud, but since no one was expecting a framing gun to be quiet, it's also no biggie. Thirdly, the gun can take some time to recharge between shots, so rapid fire production work isn't likely to be happening. But like we said with the Duo-Fast, cordless guns aren't about production, they're about convenience and maneuverability.
As far as ammo goes, Paslode is selling Fuel + Nail combo boxes that have 1 fuel cell and 1000 nails. A fuel cell can discharge about 1200 nails, so this way you'll never be caught without fuel.
The CF-325 costs about $400, which isn't bad once you start doing the whole cost/save analysis of all the time you've spent fussing around with your compressor and trying to wrap up your air hoses at the end of the day. At the moment, the gun is available at a number of retailers (.pdf list here), and will even be in the Almighty Grainger Catalog come January.
Like we said, this tool is very similar to the Duo-Fast and the places where it differs, it only seems to be better. All in all, another great entry into the nail gun world from Paslode.
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Posted by Doug Mahoney at November 26, 2008 5:20 AM