Before Senco sent us the 18-gauge cordless brad nailer that I tested for the November 2011 issue, they sent us a 15-gauge cordless finish nailer, the FN65DA. The 15-gauge angled nailer is really too big for typical use by a furniture maker, but we wanted to test it out to see if it was worth taking a look at the 18-gauge tool. So I got to take it home to try it out on a neighbor’s fence project.
Like the 18-gauge, the FN65DA runs off a lithium-ion battery, and the shots are powered by a piston/driver assembly and compressed air, all contained in a factory-sealed chamber; there are no cartridges to switch out (Senco literature says the mechanism will last for 200,000 shots; replacing it is $180). Simply charge the battery (15 minutes for an 80-percent charge, 45 minutes for a full charge), load your angled nail strip (34°, 1-1/4″ to 2-1/2″ in length) and you’re ready to go.
While working outside, it was incredibly convenient to have no compressor to haul around, and no hoses in which to get tangled. We were nailing treated pine pickets to a row of fencing, and in an hour and a half of work, we didn’t once have to stop and wait for the battery to charge (a good thing – because my one complaint about both the 15-gauge and the 18-gauge is that they come with only one battery).
At 6.86 pounds when fully loaded with nails, the FN65DA got a little heavy after a while, but it was a far sight better than wielding a hammer almost not-stop for that length of time.
If you have a need for a 15-gauge nailer, I highly recommend this tool. At $399, it’s a bit pricier than its compressor-powered cousins – but it’s also a lot more convenient with no compressor to hook up and haul around. And my having this Senco to test was awfully convenient for my neighbor, too.