Specs are provided by each manufacturer and are not verified by Tools of the Trade.

WINNER

Gas

HiltiFASTENER LENGTH RANGE IMPACT ENERGY / DUTY CYCLE SHOTS/FUEL CAN OR PSI RANGEWEIGHT (GAS: W/FUEL & BATT) STREET PRICE
GX1201/2"–1-9/16"100 joules / 1,200/hour750 shots8.9 pounds$771
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StoryID
1365151
ToolNumber
1
ComponentId
tcm:78-1628926
Tester Comments
The Hilti GX120 is a real standout in the category. The class-leading pinner packs lots of power and advanced features that make the other tools seem a little out of date.
Performance: A nice grip and great balance in all positions. The long nose makes for long travel and takes a noticeable amount of force to depress.
Power: Best in class. Full 3/4" penetration into concrete through track at high and low altitude, 3/4" concrete penetration through 1-bys at low altitude and 9/16" at high altitude.
Battery: Ignition is provided by a lithium-ion battery inside the tool that should last average users three years and heavy users about two.
Fuel and Fasteners: Sold in packs of 750 pins with one fuel can – both unique to this pinner. The only gas tool with a gas gauge. Radio-frequency ID chip on fuel can is read by tool's electronics, which keep count of shots made with each can.
Extras: Three optional nosepieces available for using washers or specialty fasteners. A nose adapter lets the tool handle single-shot fasteners like conduit clips. A single-shot model also sold.
Contact
Hilti
www.us.hilti.com
800-879-8000
HitachiFASTENER LENGTH RANGE IMPACT ENERGY / DUTY CYCLE SHOTS/FUEL CAN OR PSI RANGEWEIGHT (GAS: W/FUEL & BATT) STREET PRICE
Hitachi5/8"–1-9/16"80 joules / 1,000/hour1,200 shots8.1 pounds$549
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StoryID
1365151
ToolNumber
2
ComponentId
tcm:78-1628926
Tester Comments
This lightweight, comfortable tool worked well enough but was not a favorite. We were underwhelmed by the design of some of its features.It's brand new and just starting distribution in the U.S. Hitachi has the fuel, but no available fasteners yet.
Performance: The lightest in the category with a very comfortable rubber grip. Its light weight and soft nose action make it especially easy to handle overhead.
Power: Sank 3/4" pins fully into concrete through track and 1-1/2" pins nearly flush through 1-bys at low altitude, but was the only tool that wouldn't fire at high altitude.
Battery: Comes with only one 7.2-volt nicad battery. When the battery's estimated 3,000 shots are up, you must wait on the one-hour charge. A pro tool needs two batteries so it can work when you do.
Fuel and Fasteners: Fits industry-standard fasteners, but not standard fuel cans, limiting supply flexibility. The fuel door was noticeably easier to close than most.
Features: Soft plastic nose cap provides traction on slick steel. Tiny plastic magazine-release knob too dainty and hard to turn with gloves on. Really needs a hanging hook.
Contact
Hitachi Power Tools
www.hitachipowertools.com
800-829-4752
THIRD
Powers FASTENER LENGTH RANGE IMPACT ENERGY / DUTY CYCLE SHOTS/FUEL CAN OR PSI RANGEWEIGHT (GAS: W/FUEL & BATT) STREET PRICE
C3 Trak-It5/8"–1-1/2"75 joules / 1,000/hour
1,200 shots8.3 pounds$550
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StoryID
1365151
ToolNumber
3
ComponentId
tcm:78-1628926
Tester Comments
The C3 earned a third-place position in our test. A quality tool with good balance and a lightweight design.
Performance: The second lightest tool in the category, but depressing the nose takes some force – so it is not the best to use overhead. Still, we'd take the lighter weight over softer action any day. The full, rounded handle is nice, but its grip could be improved with a soft surface.
Power: Full 3/4" penetration into concrete through track at both altitudes, sank 1-1/2" pins nearly flush through 1-bys at low altitude, but only 7/16" deep at high altitude.
Battery: Comes with two 6-volt niMH batteries claimed to last 3,000 shots per charge, but the brand says the charge life is up to 5,700 shots in its testing.
Fuel and Fasteners: Sold in packs of 1,000 pins with one fuel can; both are cross-compatible industry-standard designs. Special metering valve available for high-altitude use.
Features: We prefer the flip-open nose design of the Powers tools for clearing pin jams over those that require removing the magazine.
Extras: A short-magazine version is also sold.
Contact
Powers Fasteners
www.powers.com
914-235-6300
Powers FASTENER LENGTH RANGE IMPACT ENERGY / DUTY CYCLE SHOTS/FUEL CAN OR PSI RANGEWEIGHT (GAS: W/FUEL & BATT) STREET PRICE
C4EX Trak-It3/4"–2-9/16"150 joules / 1,000/hour800 shots9.6 pounds$750
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StoryID
1365151
ToolNumber
4
ComponentId
tcm:78-1628926
Tester Comments
Though too large to be the best choice for just shooting short pins into track, this pinner is the only gas tool option for attaching 2-bys or thick underlayment or insulation. A strong, versatile remodeler's or builder's tool with capabilities beyond the other gas pinners in the test.
Performance: Not the most comfortable due to its height and weight, but the extra mass of this tool makes the nose very easy to depress.
Power: In its own class. This larger tool had the highest power at both low and high altitude. Sank pins 3/4" into concrete through track and 1-bys, 5/8" through 2-bys.
Battery: Comes with two 6-volt niMH batteries claimed to last 3,000 shots per charge, but the brand says the charge life is up to 5,700 shots in its testing.
Fuel and Fasteners: Sold in packs of 800 pins with one fuel can – both unique to this pinner. A larger can and fewer pins is evidence of the bigger gulp of fuel this tool needs. Special metering valve available for high-altitude use. Pin sizes shorter than labeled; 2-9/16" pin actually 2-3/8", 2" pin actually 11-3/16".
Extras: Lower-powered and single-shot models also sold.
Contact
Powers Fasteners
www.powers.com
914-235-6300
RamsetFASTENER LENGTH RANGE IMPACT ENERGY / DUTY CYCLE SHOTS/FUEL CAN OR PSI RANGEWEIGHT (GAS: W/FUEL & BATT) STREET PRICE
T3 Mag1/2"–1"100 joules / 1,500/hour1,000 shots9.7 pounds$600
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StoryID
1365151
ToolNumber
5
ComponentId
tcm:78-1628926
Tester Comments
This specialty tool is designed for shooting short pins into drywall track, so it lacks the versatility of the other gas pinners. Even for just laying track, the heavy tool was not a favorite pick.
Performance: Shoots short pins only, yet weighs more than any other gas pinner. The tool is relatively comfortable, though, with a soft handle top, superb balance right at the trigger, and a soft action with very short nose travel. A fuel injection system instead of a typical metering valve chooses the right dose of fuel for the ambient temperature.
Power: Full 3/4" penetration into concrete through track at low altitude, but only 1/2" deep at high altitude.
Battery: Comes with two 6-volt nicad stick batteries claimed to last 3,000 shots.
A clip holds the battery in a secure storage position even when it is disconnected.
Fuel and Fasteners: Sold in packs of 1,000 pins with one fuel can – both unique to this pinner. As a track specialty tool, the T3 shoots thicker pins than most.
Extras: Optional magnetic nosepiece for pinning with washers is available. A single-shot model also sold.
Contact
Ramset
www.ramset.com
800-726-7386
RamsetFASTENER LENGTH RANGE IMPACT ENERGY / DUTY CYCLE SHOTS/FUEL CAN OR PSI RANGEWEIGHT (GAS: W/FUEL & BATT) STREET PRICE
TF1100
TrakFast
1/2"–19/16" 84 joules / 1,200/hour1,000 shots9.3 pounds $550
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StoryID
1365151
ToolNumber
6
ComponentId
tcm:78-1628926
Tester Comments
We tip our hat to the venerable TrakFast, progeny of the tool that pioneered the gas-powered concrete pinner nearly two decades ago. This old-school tool is certainly respectable, but it didn't make our top three. A revamped version will be introduced late this year.
Performance: The skinny handle feels a bit harsh at first, but it has an elastic insert to cushion against recoil. Easy nose action.
Power: Sank 3/4" pins fully into concrete through track and 1-1/2" pins nearly flush through 1-bys at low altitude, but sank the pins only 1/2" and 7/16" respectively into concrete at high altitude.
Battery: Comes with only one 6-volt nicad stick battery claimed to last 3,000 shots per charge. A pro tool really needs two batteries so it can work when you do, instead of charging for up to three hours. Operating the battery door latch is not intuitive and led to a lot of fumbling.
Fuel and Fasteners: Sold in packs of 1,000 pins with one fuel can; both are cross-compatible industry-standard designs.
Extras: Optional magnetic nosepiece for pinning with washers is available.
Contact
Ramset
www.ramset.com
800-726-7386
SECOND
SimpsonFASTENER LENGTH RANGE IMPACT ENERGY / DUTY CYCLE SHOTS/FUEL CAN OR PSI RANGEWEIGHT (GAS: W/FUEL & BATT) STREET PRICE
Simpson1/2"–1-1/2" 79 joules / 500/hour1,200 shots8.7 pounds $500
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StoryID
1365151
ToolNumber
7
ComponentId
tcm:78-1628926
Tester Comments
Our second-place pinner performed well, has a nice comfortable grip, and is on the lighter side.
Performance: The wide handle with a grippy rubber surface gives the user a real feeling of control and makes this pinner the favorite for overhead work. The easy nose action added to the overall comfort.
Power: Sank 3/4" pins fully into concrete through track and 1-1/2" pins nearly flush through 1-bys at low altitude, but sank pins only 1/2" into concrete at high altitude.
Battery: Comes with two 6-volt nicad batteries claimed to last 3,300 shots per charge.
Fuel and Fasteners: Sold in packs of 1,000 pins with one fuel can; both are cross-compatible industry-standard designs.
Features: We prefer this tool's gate-type nose access for clearing jams over designs that require removing the magazine. The inverted V-shaped hanging hook is a favorite; it's sturdy and securely holds the tool to your belt or the railing of a mobile lift platform.
Extras: Nearly identical tools are the Pneu-Tools GT150TT and TyRex TY150GSC.
Contact
Simpson Strong-Tie
www.simpsonanchors.com
800-999-5099
Pneumatic
ET&FFASTENER LENGTH RANGE IMPACT ENERGY / DUTY CYCLE SHOTS/FUEL CAN OR PSI RANGEWEIGHT (GAS: W/FUEL & BATT) STREET PRICE
Aerico 901/2"–1" and 1-1/4"–2-1/4" unknown110–180 psi12.5 pounds $895
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StoryID
1365151
ToolNumber
8
ComponentId
tcm:78-1628926
Tester Comments
This inline pinner is an oddity in the category and is typically used in manufacturing rather than construction, but it's a strong performer best-suited for shooting longer pins, in our opinion.
Performance: Its tall shape keeps you more upright when shooting into floors, but the inline grip transmits recoil directly into your hand. The tool's bulk and stiff nose spring make it harder to handle off the ground. It shot powerfully in all applications, even at 110 psi, and has headroom up to180 if needed.
Fasteners: Fits 25 proprietary plastic-collated long pins. To fit the shorter tape-collated pins, the tool requires another magazine, nosepiece, and contact tip at an additional expense of $415. So to put together a tool with the full fastener range, the total cost would be $1,310. Such specialization seems better suited to a factory floor than a job site, but if you need a powerful air pinner for driving a narrow range of longer pins, this tool can handle it more affordably than other options.
Extras: A job-site tool needs a case, but no case is available. Can also fit a single-shot nose for driving 2-1/2" to 4" pins.
Contact
ET&F Fastening Systems
www.etf-fastening.com
800-248-2376
HiltiFASTENER LENGTH RANGE IMPACT ENERGY / DUTY CYCLE SHOTS/FUEL CAN OR PSI RANGEWEIGHT (GAS: W/FUEL & BATT) STREET PRICE
R4DW-X5/8"–2-1/2" 290 joules95–175 psi12.5 pounds $1,400
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StoryID
1365151
ToolNumber
9
ComponentId
tcm:78-1628926
Tester Comments
"Heavy-duty industrial" was our first and lasting impression of this pinner. It looks like a nailer on steroids and shoots like one too. Plenty of power and a wide pin range make this the complete package in a standard-pressure air tool, but at a price.
Performance: The Hilti shot long pins well at 120 psi and has headroom up to 175 psi. The top handle makes it easier to hold the tool in position and depress the stiff nose spring, but wall and overhead use take some muscle. With this tool, using two hands is not optional, as it is with every other pinner in the test.
Fasteners: Fits 30 proprietary strip-collated pins only.
Features: The only pinner in the test that requires tools to remove its magazine for jam-clearing.
Extras: The steel kit box comes with spare seals, tools, grease, and tool oil – nice to have for field or shop maintenance.
Contact
Hilti
www.us.hilti.com
800-879-8000
MaxFASTENER LENGTH RANGE IMPACT ENERGY / DUTY CYCLE SHOTS/FUEL CAN OR PSI RANGEWEIGHT (GAS: W/FUEL & BATT) STREET PRICE
HN25C3/4"–1" 82 joules140–320 psi4.7 pounds $899
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StoryID
1365151
ToolNumber
10
ComponentId
tcm:78-1628926
Tester Comments
Just like its big brother (the HN120, at right), this high-pressure pinner is a winner. The sub-5-pound tool handles like a dream and is our choice among all pneumatics for a dedicated drywall track pinner. That is, if you buy into a whole high-pressure tool system.
Performance: Great power from such a small tool, and it shoots so fast, 3/4" pins have virtually no recoil. Shooting track was very easy with it, but on a vast commercial site, dragging a hose around is not convenient – especially a hose tethered to one special compressor.
Fasteners: Fits proprietary 100-pin coils only.
Features: Comfortable grip surfaces on handle. The swiveling air fitting is a nice touch, and the thin hose adds barely any weight to the tool in use. The off switch is nice to have, and this is the only air pinner with a depth-of-drive dial. It's sorely missing a hanging hook and dry-fire lock-out function, though. The tool has no foot, so you can't lean on the tool the way you do with other tools when shooting into the floor. As a coil pinner, the tool has the preferred gate-type nose access for clearing jams.
Extras: Requires a high-pressure compressor and hose set; Max's version costs $1,400.
Contact
Max USA Corp.
www.maxusacorp.com
800-223-4293
Max FASTENER LENGTH RANGE IMPACT ENERGY / DUTY CYCLE SHOTS/FUEL CAN OR PSI RANGEWEIGHT (GAS: W/FUEL & BATT) STREET PRICE
HN1201"–2-1/2" 250 joules210–320 psi7.4 pounds $999
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StoryID
1365151
ToolNumber
11
ComponentId
tcm:78-1628926
Tester Comments
If you have to drag a hose around, the Max tools are our top choice; we really like the handling and performance of high-pressure pneumatics. If you are buying into a high-pressure system, this tool is the way to go for shooting longer pins.
Performance: Has abundant power at pressure around 270 psi and headroom up to 320. Dialing in just enough pressure will keep the recoil of this lightweight tool down when driving longer pins.
Fasteners: Fits proprietary 50-pin coils only. We wish it could handle pins down to 3/4" for shooting drywall track to make it well-rounded enough for all common pin uses on the job.
Features: The tool's handle has nice padding, and we appreciate the safety of the off switch. The swiveling air fitting is a nice touch. Comes with four nosepieces to fit into thin channel and to use with pin washers. It has no foot, so you can't lean on the tool the way you do with other tools when shooting into the floor. Sorely needs a hanging hook and dry-fire lock-out function. As a coil pinner, the tool has the preferred gate-type nose access for clearing jams.
Extras: Requires a high-pressure compressor and hose set; Max's costs $1,400.
Contact
Max USA Corp.
www.maxusacorp.com
800-223-4293
TyRexFASTENER LENGTH RANGE IMPACT ENERGY / DUTY CYCLE SHOTS/FUEL CAN OR PSI RANGEWEIGHT (GAS: W/FUEL & BATT) STREET PRICE
TY150ASC1/2"–1-1/2" 89 joules80–120 psi7.3 pounds $449
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StoryID
1365151
ToolNumber
12
ComponentId
tcm:78-1628926
Tester Comments
This pinner feels and handles just like a lightweight framing nailer. In fact, it is basically brandmate Senco's 902 framer with a shorter magazine. Its maneuverability, adequate power, and affordable price make it our choice for shooting drywall track, 1-by furring, and plywood subflooring with a standard-pressure nailer.
Performance: The tool shot competently at 120 psi, but it has no headroom above that if the going gets tougher.
Fasteners: Fits 40 industry-standard pins common to the most popular gas tools. The magazine has an odd spacer to keep short pins from tumbling and jamming in the nose; the clip holding it won't survive the job site long. Luckily it's only needed for rare 1/2" pin uses.
Features: Based on a framing nailer, the tool is the only one with a bump-fire setting. This may speed up fastening plywood to a slab, but on steel, the tool should be used only in sequential-fire mode. A glancing shot could mean a dangerous ricochet. Nice rubber grip, but needs a hanging hook. Has preferred gate-type nose access for clearing jams.
Extras: The lack of a case is a big deal. For a tool to last on site, it really needs a case.
Contact
TyRex Commercial Tools
www.tyrextools.com
800-396-3318