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Senco F-18 Finish Nailer Review

Senco F-18 Nailer
Senco F-18 Nailer

I’ve installed tens of thousands of finish nails in my career, many by hand, but most using finish nailers. The first finish nailer I used was a pneumatic Senco nail gun that I purchased back in the late 1980’s. I still wish I had that tool, as it would have been a great photo for this review to show it up against the stylish and radical F-18 nailer from Senco that I just finished testing.

The bottom line is they both performed flawlessly, albeit the new F-18 has only been used in a testing environment, not on a rough and tumble job site. But if it’s made anything like my old Senco gun, it’s going to perform like a champ in a new house job or a remodeling environment.

Out of the box, you get the F-18 tool, one 18-volt lithium-ion battery, the battery charger and the handsome soft-sided carrying case. The soft case has some very nice external pockets to carry boxes of nails or other supplies. It also sported a handy zippered pocket.

Here’s the magic of this nailer. In the past, you would need a compressor and hoses to operate a nail gun. Decades ago, Paslode freed us from this spaghetti, but you had to buy small canisters of propane to power their guns. Senco, and other manufacturers, are now using electricity and compressed air to drive nails. It’s caveman simple when you think about it.

The Senco website lists these top selling features that should get your attention:

  • Patented Reflex-Shot design
  • Robust aluminum drive cylinder
  • Rugged aluminum magazine
  • Eco-Friendly energy - 18v Li-ion battery
  • Selectable drive switch
  • Nose mounted LED light
  • Adjustable & reversible belt hook
  • Thumbwheel depth of drive Innovative
  • EZ-Clear feature
  • Includes case and charger 2-year limited warranty

Here’s what I liked about the tool:

  • Aggressive design that exudes power and strength
  • Comfortable grip
  • Lightweight
  • No compressor
  • No hoses
  • No gas cartridges
  • Dry-fire prevention sensor
  • Sequential or Contact Firing Mode
  • Power Meter on the Battery

Here’s what had me scratching my head wondering what the engineers and tool designers were thinking:

Why doesn’t the nose-mounted LED light shine exactly where the nose of the tool will be placed? Come on Senco, I can see how to put two more LEDs one on each of the sides of the sloping nose to get light right where I need it.

Why is it so noisy? And my hearing is shot after all these years.

Why are the detents on the mode switch so subtle? They need to be more aggressive.

Why, for goodness sake, doesn’t the tool come with a starter kit with an assortment of nails for instant productivity? Gift buyers won’t necessarily know to get nails when they buy the gun.

Why is the gearing on the depth-of-drive-adjustment so fine? It takes lots of turns to get the nail to go deeper into the wood.

The bottom line is that this is a great finish nailer. It’s going to do lots of work for you and without any downtime if it’s like my old gun. I’d be proud to show it off and use it at one of my job sites.

My rating for this tool is 4 hammers out of a possible 5.

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