Pro Tool Reviews: Compact Framing Nailer Review

Paslode F325R Compact Framing Nailer Review
June 17, 2015
By Kenny Koehler

Paslode is well known for their gas/battery powered nailers and certainly has been a favorite of ours in the various repair and remodel work where dragging along a compressor isn’t a good option. Paslode is no stranger to straight up pneumatics though. The Paslode F325R Compact Framing Nailer has come out as the company’s pneumatic nailer built specifically for the remodeler. With a length of just 12.3 inches, it’s designed to be able to perform around existing frame work without having to shoot every nail at an angle. Even the magazine is a compact size with a max capacity of 44 fasteners. Paslode is also claiming that this is the lightest framing nailer ever built.

We’re in the process of building out our new storage facility. We installed some suspended shelving already and are going to be using the Paslode F325R to help us wrap up the build of our new workbenches. We’ll be using some basic 2-1/2″ nails for that job. We’re also going to give it a run at it’s maximum capacity of 3-1/4″ with a few odds and ends that have been waiting to be done. This will give us the opportunity to see just how well we’re able to get into some tight spaces and awkward angles.

First Impressions –
If you’re a veteran framing nailer user, you’ll smile as soon as you pick up the Paslode F325R Compact Framing Nailer. It’s very light weight. The balance and weight are friendly enough to easily switch it between right and left handed use with little loss of control to the non-dominant side. The weight is so light that I began a search for that indicator of sinking durability: plastic. There are a few plastic pieces in typical places. You’ll find it on the trigger, magazine slide handle, and magazine base. The housing, magazine, and business end are all solidly built metal components.

Once you move on from the weight, you’ll notice the magazine. It’s small, allowing for just 41 fasteners to fire plus a few in dry fire lockout. This is where you have to remember that it’s designed around the remodeler’s needs. A small magazine capacity is an annoyance and time consideration for most framers. However, when the goal is to work around the existing framing, versatility trumps capacity. The magazine slide is worth a quick mention. It’s the smoothest I’ve used.

One of the constant sources of complaint with Paslode nailers is their 30 degree magazine angle. It’s not that the angle is bad in and of itself. It’s that the 30 degree nails are more expensive than 15 or 21 degree options.

The spring tension is fairly light on the actuator. In line with the mechanism is a depth of drive thumb screw. A thumb and forefinger are all the tools you’ll need to dial in the correct depth.

While the Paslode F325R can be switched between bump and sequential fire, it’s not a tool free operation. You need to pop out the pin and o-ring to reverse the trigger. Having been spoiled by the simple flipping of a switch on DeWalt’s 20V Max Framing Nailer, I’d prefer not to see the more complex adjustment. Paslode’s Compact Framing Nailer is packaged in sequential fire mode.

You’ll find a substantial belt hook on the base. It’s reversible to carry on either the left or right sides.

Does the Paslode F325R Compact Framing Nailer, er, Nail it?
To get started, you’ll need to install a 3/8″ air inlet to connect your chosen hose and compressor. I have to tell you, it doesn’t matter how many times we set the Paslode F325R down and picked it back up, that light weight made us smile every time. We started with a strip of 2-1/2″ offset round heads and got ready to install some stabilizing features to the workbench.

First, we needed to install a reinforcing middle 2×4 to ensure that the weight of the tools and work doesn’t create a sag in our table surface. That was easy enough to accomplish. Thanks to spot on measurements by Clint DeBoer, our piece fit perfectly. A pair of nails in each side gave us our first look at performance and the close quarters versatility of the nailer.

Next, we reinforced the outer frame with 2×2’s that we created by ripping a 2×4 on our Bosch GTS1031 table saw that performs so well that it landed on our 2015 Father’s Day Gift Guide. Obviously, we needed to fasten the pieces down, but we also needed to nail at various angles to provide the benefit holding strength in multiple directions. The Paslode F325R is light and compact enough to easily nail from those angles without having to use a second hand for stability.

Parting Shots
Having used it on this project and various other random tasks, we can say with certainty that the compact addition to Paslode’s pneumatic framing nailer family can back up its claims. The compact design absolutely allowed us to get in to tight spaces and work around angles that would have been complicated at best for a full size nailer. You can’t help but notice the light weight every time you pick it up.

Hands down, remodelers are going to love the light weight and compact nature of the Paslode F325R. Original construction framers that don’t mind frequent reloads may be willing to trade in for the convenience as well. The potential hang up for many pros that aren’t currently in the Paslode line will be adjusting to the cost of 30 degree fasteners. At $269, the Compact Framing Nailer is in line with Paslode’s other pneumatic models and in the upper tier of nailers with the likes of Hitachi.

Paslode’s Compact Framing Nailer is definitely a pro level tool. It’s got the build quality and performance to easily stand up to residential construction and most all remodeling jobs. Right now you can find it in store at The Home Depot (information is available online), but they aren’t offering it for online purchase.

Link to article: http://www.protoolreviews.com/tools/air/framing-nailers/paslode-f325r-compact-framing-nailer/16649/