Tool Talk: nailers, Hackzalls and compressors

Roofer's Choice Model CR175C nailerRecently Paslode, the company that has been a pioneer in cordless nailers, introduced the industry’s first fuel powered cordless roofing nailer system – The Roofer’s Choice, Model CR175C (right). This new roofing nailer is sure to revolutionize a wide range of roof related jobs, including common shingle nailing, roofing dormers and small additions, installing skylights and other tasks.

The Roofer’s Choice is loaded with features including a cycle rate of 2 – 3 nails per second, a Quickload fuel cartridge which will drive approximately 950 fasteners, a single door magazine for easy loading, adjustable depth of drive which reduces and often eliminates shingle blow-through, on-board Allen wrench for adjustments, and debris shield. Another handy feature is a green blinking battery indicator light on the right side of the handle – when it blinks red, it is time to charge the 6-volt battery. With a full charge, the battery can drive 2,200 nails. Coil roofing nail sizes for The Roofer’s Choice range from 7/8 inch to 1 3/4 inches in length.

The Roofer’s Choice is also well balanced and reasonably lightweight at 7.4 pounds. It has an adjustable shingle guide, skid guards on the head of the unit and on the nail magazine to reduce wear, and a belt hook which can be user-located on either side at the rear of the cushioned handle.

The Paslode Cordless Roofing Nailer uses Roofer’s Choice Fuel + Nail packs, which maximizes the tool’s performance and means you never run out of fuel before you run out of nails. Each pack comes with one Quickload fuel cell and six coils of 120 nails (720 nails per box). These nails feature the PowerBoost Black Tip Coating for superior ease of drive and a unique vertical groove design for better holding power than standard roofing nails. Each Fuel + Nail Combo Pack contains enough nails to install two squares of roof shingles (200-square feet).

The Paslode Cordless Roofing Nailer System, Model CR175C, comes with a convenient backpack and one Roofer’s Choice Fuel + Nail Pack, as well as a safety tether, rechargeable battery, charger and safety glasses. It also features a one year full coverage warranty and five year limited warranty. Manufacturers suggested retail price is $529. For more information, go to or call 1-800-222-6990.

Milwaukee Electric Tool HackzallEarlier this year the Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation introduced the M18 volt Hackzall reciprocating saw – model 2625-21 (left). Basically, the Hackzall is a cordless, one handed Sawzall, a unique tool first offered in 1951 by Milwaukee. Its powerful motor delivers 0-3000 strokes per minute with a 3/4-inch stroke length that will cut through a wide variety of materials including wood, PVC and metal. Designed for superior control and versatility, this one handed tool is extremely handy for making clean, accurate cuts while working overhead or in confined spaces. An LED light, just below the blade, makes cutting in low light areas possible. The motor can be locked off or on, a worthwhile safety feature. The Hackzall weighs 4.1 pounds and has an overall length of just 13 inches. The Quik-Loc blade clamp offers fast, tool-free blade changes for standard reciprocating saw blades.

The Hackzall can use either the M18 XC high capacity Lithium-Ion battery or the M18 compact Lithium-Ion battery. Each of these batteries has a ‘fuel gauge’ indicator that lets you know the charge state of the battery. These batteries are unique in that they actually protect themselves from damage. The battery pack’s intelligent circuit monitors current draw and temperature. In extremely high torque, binding, stalling, and short circuit situations, the battery pack will turn OFF the tool if the current draw becomes too high. In these situations, the tool will ‘BUZZ’ for about two seconds before it turns off. To prevent the tool from turning off, immediately reduce pressure on the tool and release the trigger to reset. If this happens repeatedly, the battery pack will shut down and will need to be placed in the ‘smart’ charger to reset.

The Hackzall comes with one Lithium-Ion battery, charger, Sawzall blade and Contractor Bag. It has a 5 year limited warranty and a suggested retail price of $109 for the tool without battery, $179 for tool kit and compact battery and $199 for tool kit and high capacity battery. For more information visit or call 1-800-729-3878.

Campbell Hausfeld air compressorWe recently had the opportunity to test one of the new air compressor kits from Campbell Hausfeld. There are four of these unique kits designed for homeowners but they also have value for the professional. The really useful feature of these kits is that the two-gallon air compressor is lightweight – about 13 pounds – and can easily be carried with one hand. It can produce 125 psi and a simple dial allows you to adjust working pressure. To be sure this is not an air compressor that a framing crew would use, but for light pick-up work and punch lists, this is a great air compressor to have on the job.

The Home Improvement kit we tested – Model FP260097 (shown here) – came with a bunch of handy tools including a 2 in 1 finish nailer/stapler (with 2-inch finish nails and staples), molding bar, angle finder, speed square, level, putty knife, utility knife, blow gun, Allen wrenches, lubrication oil, coupler, 25 feet of coiled air hose, caulk gun and a carry bag for all of the hand tools. We added a tire inflation chuck for filling tires for a few bucks more. The manufacturers suggested retail price for this kit is $140.

The two gallon oil-less air compressor is simple to operate with an on/off switch and two gauges – tank pressure and line pressure. The twenty-five foot air hose is more than adequate for most projects and because it is coiled, is easy to transport and use. The compact design of this air compressor has a small foot print but provides sufficient air power for tasks within its capabilities.

The 2-in-1 finish nailer/stapler is a light to medium duty unit that is more than capable of accomplishing a variety of nailing tasks including installing moldings and assembling wooden projects. An added bonus is the stapler feature that is useful for stapling down carpet pad and other stapling tasks. This nail gun can use fasteners from 3/8 inch to 2 inches long and 1/4 inch wide staples from 1/2 inch to 1 1/2 inches long. Some useful features of this nail gun include a tool-less adjustable depth of drive, cushioned handle, adjustable air exhaust vent and it is lightweight. The gun is also easy to load and has a viewing window on the left side to indicate when nails are running out.

Another handy tool included in this kit is the air powered caulking gun that runs on 10 psi and is simple to use. It is actually a pleasure to use a power caulking gun in that the work goes quicker than with a conventional caulking gun which must be hand activated during use. It is also handy for applying other tubed materials such as adhesive and sealants.

For more information on the kit we tested (Home Improvement Kit FP260097) as well as the three other kits, visit or call 1-888-247-6937. RB

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