The Milwaukee Nail Gun (2742-21CT)
Review by: Chad McDade
Cordless Nail Gun Review
A cordless nail gun is an important part of any tool kit. I recently received the Milwaukee 2742-21CT M18 Fuel 16 gauge angled finish nailer to try out from the folks at Milwaukee Tools. I am a long time user of the Paslode fuel cell nailers. Yet I have long desired a cordless nailing gun that does not include the hassle and expense of fuel cells. The Milwaukee nail gun fits that bill perfectly – the only power source needed is a charged battery. The 2742 16 gauge nailer will fire 16 gauge nails from 1-1/4″ to 2-1/2″ in length, and the magazine will hold 110 nails.
My first impressions of the cordless nail gun were positive. The tool fit my hand well and was reasonably well balanced. At 6.3 pounds, the nailer is heavy. It has a couple of pounds on my old Paslode nailer. I have spent several hours using the cordless nail gun and the weight wasn’t an issue to me, but others may find the weight excessive for extended use.
Other Cordless Nail Gun Features
The cordless nail gun also features an adjustable belt hook. I like the hook, but it is a little small. I was worried that it would not take much jostling to knock it off my tool belt. I made several trips up and down a ladder and the nailer stayed clipped to my belt without a problem. Another feature that I like is the LED light on the nailer. I have quickly become a fan of LED lights on my tools and was glad to see it included on the 2742.
The first thing I noticed when using this cordless nail gun was that visibility isn’t the greatest. The nose piece is large, and it is buried back behind the front of the nailer. This makes exact nail placement awkward. Yet I hope a future version of the 2742 will correct this. In my opinion it is the biggest downside to an otherwise well-built tool.
Final Thoughts on the Cordless Nail Gun
In testing the cordless nail gun I’ve put around 600 1-1/4″ and 500 2-1/2″ nails through it into a variety of surfaces – and not a single jam. The nailer has both sequential and contact actuation modes; the user can switch modes by pressing the power button above the battery. There‘s also an indicator light that stays continuous solid green for sequential mode and flashing green for contact actuation mode.
The nailer set nails at consistent depths except for a few 2-1/2″ nails that were shot through oak casing into oak jambs. But some of those did not sink completely. The cordless nail gun also has a dry fire lock-out mode that will stop the nailer from firing when the magazine is down to 5 nails. What impressed me the most about the nailer was the battery life; I was able to shoot just over 700 nails on a single charge of the M18 Red Lithium 2.0 battery.
Overall, I was very pleased with this cordless nail gun from Milwaukee Power Tools. There is some room for improvement: most notably the weight and nail placement visibility. But the Milwaukee 2742-21CT is a robust tool. It will be a great addition any carpenter’s tool box.