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Ridgid 18 Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Angled Finish Nailer, R250AF18

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  • Ridgid 18 Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Angled Finish Nailer, R250AF18

    So, I had the chance to pick up the Ridgid 18 Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Angled Finish Nailer, model number R250AF18, while at the Ridgid RoundUp. Actually, I'm on my 2nd one in less than a week (will be explained below). Overall, I'm tempted to give it a thumbs down. Here's my reasoning:

    Finish/Cosmetics - the new colour pattern on this tool (primarily grey and black with orange highlights, rather than the standard orange and grey) is actually a very nice pattern. It's very visually appealing, and looks like an amazing tool. On looks and design alone, you could almost overlook the other flaws, it's that purdy of a tool. However, once you delve deeper, there appears to be some issues. The dark charcoal-grey overmolding is all marked up. I went through multiple units at the store to get the least out of them all, but they were all the same. It looks like the tool was thrown around and beat up before it was packaged up. Lots of scuffs, marks, etc. The overall tool housing is plastic, rather than magnesium or something like that. I figure that this is to enable a bit of a weight savings since the motor/flywheel assembly in it adds a lot of weight, and they are trying to keep the weight down on this. Finish/Cosmetics Score: 7 out of 10 (the design itself I would give a 10 out of 10, but the completed manufacturing finish pulls this all apart).

    Nail Magazine - light plastic, not as robust as other Ridgid nailers. With some compression/warped molding issues, you need to give the interior of the slides within the nail magazine a little bit of a squirt of WD-40 to enable the nails to move and slide. But, this is something that wears in very easily. This magazine holds about 100 nails (two of the standard 50-nail clips). However, on the bottom front of the nail magazine, there is a horrible and ugly mark - it seems to be from where they cut off a molding tab on the orange magazine housing. True, it's better to not have a sharp edge that could catch and damage something. But this cut/filing/etc. is just way too obvious and ugly. This also ties in to the Finish/Cosmetics for me. Nail Magazine Score: 8 out of 10.

    Belt Clip - very nice. Strong, steady, and protrudes out far enough from the battery for easy usage. It easily can be moved from one side or another, depending on if you use your right or left hand for this. Belt Clip Score: 10 out of 10.

    Weight & Balance - pretty good, considering the immense weight that is contained with the motor and flywheel. The plain tool weighs about 5 1/2 pounds (sorry I can't give a more exact number right now - the batteries are dead in my digital scale). With a compact 18 volt lithium-ion battery on it, it's just over 6 pounds, about 6 1/2. Regarding the balance, it's amazing. This nailer, when there's a battery on it, and it's loaded with nails, just feels perfect in your hands. It's bulky enough to allow easy recoil aversion, while at the same time, it's not too bulky that it makes it hard to work with, even overhead. True, the overall tool would be beautiful to be up to a pound lighter. But it just feels good and natural how it is. Weight & Balance Score: 8.5 out of 10.

    LED Headlights - almost perfect. There's two of these, placed to either side, just below the main, silver metal front housing. There's one button that turns these on an off, which is plainly marked, and easily turned on and off. The only thing that doesn't give the LEDs a 10-out-of-10 from me, is that there is a slight shadow from the workpiece contact at the nose of the nailer. However, there isn't really any way to avoid this - the placing of the LEDs where they are make the best of any situation, and works quite good. Score: 9.5 out of 10.

    Battery Connection/Housing - works great. I like the angled connection - it works well with the balance and design of this product, and makes it easy to hold. Even though this unit comes with the compact 1.5 Ah battery, it will accept and work with the larger 3.0 Ah lithium-ion battery also. This doesn't affect the comfort of gripping the tool - it just works within the placement of where your hand and wrist/forearm are when holding it. Battery Connection/Housing Score - 10 out of 10.

    Included Stuff - so so. I would prefer to have a hard case for this item, rather than another bag. Also, it would be nice to have an additional rubber/silicone pad for use on the workpiece contact / safety mechanism - mine's already got a tear in it. The solo compact battery is fine for this unit, as many purchasers will likely have other Ridgid tools and other batteries. Included Stuff Score: 6.5 out of 10.

    Nailer Operation - here is where it blatently fails. This machine spools up nicely, and fires well. [Side note: this is actually my 2nd one of these. The first one I returned/exchanged yesterday (yes, drove back over to Michigan to do so), because when it spooled up, there was a very noisy and feelable vibration from the motor/flywheel inside. If it was running/spooled up, and you changed the axis that you were holding it (not shaking it, but that type of motion), then things seemed to move around inside, and vibrate/grind/rattle. This was very unlike the demo one that ProBrand had at the RoundUp for us to play with. So, I exchanged it for this one that I've done testing with, and all is fine it appears now.] It cycles fairly fast and operates well, considering it's battery powered, and it's fairly quiet in doing so. However, those are it's saving graces. There are a few major issues:
    1. No "dry-fire lockout". Once you're out of nails, it still allows itself to operate, which fires the hammer/pin into your work surface, allowing it to imbed itself and become stuck/jammed. Frustrating.
    2. Depth of Drive adjustment. This goes from 1 to 6. Well, 1 to 3 are pointless. Also, this thing should have more adjustability within the depth of drive, like from 1-to-10 or 1-to-12. But the biggest thing, after firing three 50-nail "clips", is that the depth of drive is...absolutely not consistent!!! This is the most important thing with a nailer, especially a finish nailer. I found that the depth ends up varying by about 1/8" both above and below the workpiece surface - ie., about 1/4" total variation, which is unacceptable. In a span of a few nails, I got this type of variation. This is on settings of either 3, 4, or 5, or anywhere in between. I tried this on a variety of surfaces and materials, from nailing pieces of spare MDF and pine/spruce/fir trim into a 2x4, and also nailing into the wide (4") side of a solo 2x4, and using some finished pine 1x2's into a 2x4. All of them yielded the same results - inconsistent, inaccurate depth variations. The only thing that worked fine was when the dial was turned fully to 6 - but this only worked to consistently drive the nails 1/8" or so below the surface, constantly and consistently. But this is no good for finish and trim work - best to have the nail even with, or just ever so slightly below the surface. And this nailer cannot consistently achieve this. I was using a nail punch and hammer to recess/even up the nails on about 1/3 to 1/2 of the nails fired.
    So, for Nailer Operation Score: 3 out of 10.

    This nailer, while a great idea and a nice starting point, is just that. Unless you want to use this nailer to just simply drive a nail, and consistency isn't important to you, and you will always just want to drive the nails way below the surface, then this nailer needs much improvement.

    I will be returning this tool, unfortunately, and will be waiting for an 18 gauge brad nailer version of this (which hopefully also is a dual-function nailer, and will drive narrow-crown finish staples as well). Hopefully, with an 18 gauge brad version, these kinks will have been worked out. Dry-fire is almost a must, especially with trim work, and depth-of-drive inaccuracy/inconsistencies are killer.

  • #2
    Re: Ridgid 18 Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Angled Finish Nailer, R250AF18

    Unfortunate, because it looked like a winner.

    Although I seem to remember another forum member posting a month or two back that they found it flaky as well.

    I've never used the Paslode or DeWalt cordless nailers, but their price range seems to be at least 50 percent(or higher) more expensive than the Ridgid.

    Could it be that trying fit into a certain price range has killed the Ridgid cordless nailer?

    Looks like.
    I'm on "The List" and I love it!!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Ridgid 18 Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Angled Finish Nailer, R250AF18

      Thanks Tinmack. Even though I do have a definite "bro-mance" with my Ridgid tools, I try to keep my evaluations as unbiased and neutral as possible, even for as hard as that is. I too was really hoping that this would be a winner.

      Yes, I've used the DeWalt and Paslode cordless nailers. For the electric ones for both, I wasn't really impressed - I find them fairly bulky, awkward to work with, not greatly designed, etc. Also, for the Paslode fuel cell nailers, the main issue is that it's basically a little mini gun - the cleaning and parts replacement is a pain in the butt, and the fuel cells, man, can those things ever get expensive to replace in the long run.

      I really love the idea of the battery operated nailer from Ridgid, to pair in with my other cordless stuff, and with the battery interoperability. However, it's just not worth it if it's not a functionally proficient tool. On the price point, I don't think that it's necessarily that which has "killed the Ridgid cordless nailer". They've saved some costs by only including one battery, by having a simpler/inexpensive magazine compared to their other nailers, etc. Also, the material costs of this are saved due to using plastic/composite/resin for the tool body itself, rather than aluminum or magnesium housings - that's a huge cost saver there, and to many, not overly detrimental to the tool itself. But, if the design of the tool leads it to not operate within industry standards/expectations, then there's no point. It looks like something didn't work out right between the design/testing/evaluation/tweaking/quality control stages of producing this nailer.

      Fingers crossed that they come out with this same idea, but in an 18 gauge brad nailer, but that they get these issues worked out.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Ridgid 18 Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Angled Finish Nailer, R250AF18

        So with the exception of not nailing very well, it's a pretty good tool?

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Ridgid 18 Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Angled Finish Nailer, R250AF18

          Well, it looks purdy!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Ridgid 18 Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Angled Finish Nailer, R250AF18

            What I want to know is what you paid for it?

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Ridgid 18 Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Angled Finish Nailer, R250AF18

              The tool, with a single compact 1.5 Ah lithium ion battery, Rapid Max charger, and smaller contractor's bag, was $299 USD. But, I got it for a bit less than that, since Home Depot had on the Power Tool Savings Event until yesterday. So, I just needed to break into the $300 range (so I picked up a pack of nails for it), and I got $75 off.

              But, unfortunately, it doesn't pan out to be a great deal afterall, since I've already made an additional trip across the border to exchange a defective one, and now I'm going to be making another trip at some point in order to return this.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Ridgid 18 Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Angled Finish Nailer, R250AF18

                I'll stick with the air power lol

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Ridgid 18 Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Angled Finish Nailer, R250AF18

                  Yeah, unfortunately that's what I'll be doing right now. The cost wasn't really an issue for me - I have other chargers and batteries and didn't need what came with this tool, so I was planning on selling those parts off on eBay (gain of $75 to $90), and then selling off the tool bag ($5-$12). Then, I was plannning on selling off my pneumatic nailer for around $100 or so. So, with all that, and me initially getting the $75 off price with the HD sale, it was an easy decision - I could practically change over to cordless for free. For the majority of what I do, and especially what I use a nailer for (small reno trimwork, some custom little stuff, etc.), cordless is a HUGE advantage. I love the idea of not lugging around a little compressor, and/or dragging around an air hose.

                  But, the tool has to work correctly. And this one just didn't do the preciseness that I need. I may bring a couple scraps of trim with me when I go to return this, and may instead exchange it and do a trial run again with one of my fully charged batteries. Who knows - it could just be this unit. However, I don't think that's the case. We'll see - I'm undecided if I should give it a 3rd chance in a "parking lot test".
                  Last edited by canucksartech; 09-17-2009, 08:31 PM. Reason: Post # 1200 - yay!!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Ridgid 18 Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Angled Finish Nailer, R250AF18

                    When I buy a Rigid tool I dont do it at a pawn shop.
                    I go through a ligament dealer and get my life time warranty.
                    =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
                    Be safe out there folks
                    Bob B
                    =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Ridgid 18 Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Angled Finish Nailer, R250AF18

                      Uhhhh, okay.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Ridgid 18 Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Angled Finish Nailer, R250AF18

                        Originally posted by bob bridgewater View Post
                        When I buy a Rigid tool I dont do it at a pawn shop.
                        I go through a ligament dealer and get my life time warranty.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Ridgid 18 Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Angled Finish Nailer, R250AF18

                          Originally posted by plumberscrack View Post
                          Same thing I was thinking but didnt want to say anything lol

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Ridgid 18 Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Angled Finish Nailer, R250AF18

                            I buy my ridgid tools from leprechauns so that they work off magic instead of batteries.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Ridgid 18 Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Angled Finish Nailer, R250AF18

                              Now, now. Lets not be too mean guys.

                              I think that was he was meaning, was that he doesn't buy used/non-retail tools (alluding to what I mentioned I planned on doing in selling off the spare items on eBay), and that he only buys through "legitimate" retailers so he gets the LLSA. Which is fine, but Bob, believe it or not, there is a HUGE market for selling used/separate tool items on eBay and other places. I wasn't asking you to buy them yourself, and there's 9 out of every 10 other people who would.

                              I think that's what he was meaning by his post.

                              Comment

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