A few years ago, I tested some of the new pneumatic cap staplers and cap nailers that had come on the market. Then Paslode introduced the CS150 cap stapler earlier this year, and I decided to try it out, too. Over the past few months, my crew and I have been using this tool to install housewrap and felt paper. (It can also be used to install thin foam board, but we haven't used it for that purpose.)
Caps and fasteners. Fasteners are sold in buckets of 1,680 caps and staples. The caps come 210 to a roll and the staples 90 to a strip. We've found that three buckets of caps and staples were enough to install housewrap and felt paper on a typical 2,400-square-foot ranch house.
Paslode CS150 Specs
Weight (by mfr.): 4.5 pounds
Staple type: 18-gauge, 3/8-inch crown
Staple length: 3/4 inch to 1 1/2 inches
Holds: 210 caps and 90 staples
Street price: $269
Street price for 1,680 caps and staples: $39
The Paslode cap stapler weighs a comfortable 4.5 pounds (empty) and has a compact inline design that makes it well-balanced and easy to use. With most cap guns, loading the caps seems to require three hands. Not so with this one. It's easy to load — even when you're on the roof. You simply lift the black lever on the canister, drop in a spool of caps, fold the lever down, and then advance the caps through the bottom of the gun by pushing them forward with your finger. Staples go in just as effortlessly; they drop into the top of the magazine.
Like other cap guns, the CS150 is sensitive to pressure fluctuations in the air line. To avoid underdriven staples, we set the compressor high and then dial it back to the necessary pressure with an inline pressure valve installed between the hose and gun. This makes it less likely that the pressure will fall to the point where fasteners are not fully driven. Overall, the Paslode seems less prone to underdriving fasteners than the other cap staplers we've used.
The pneumatic piston that advances the caps can be activated and deactivated by the push of a button, which means users can switch back and forth between stapling with and without caps. One of the carpenters on our crew didn't know about this feature and had trouble getting the caps to feed because he had accidentally pushed the button partway in. After figuring out what had happened, he pushed the button back, and the gun advanced and stapled caps without any more problems.
The Paslode's trigger is equipped with a selector for bump or sequential fire. The tool functions well either way, though I can't imagine why you'd want to fasten caps in anything but the bump mode. There is a latch-style release on the front of the gun for clearing jammed fasteners, but I never had to use it.
One of my favorite features is the belt hook, because there are many times when I need both hands to position the paper but have nowhere to put the gun. The hook can be installed on either side of the grip, though when it's on the right (for left-handed users) the air coupler can get in the way.
I have one complaint about this gun: I wish it had a dry-fire lockout. If you lose track of the number of fasteners in the magazine, you can advance caps through the gun without actually stapling them.
The CS150 is a very nice tool. It's a cinch to load and more compact than many competing models. If I were buying a cap stapler, I would strongly consider this one — as long as a local supplier stocked the necessary caps and staples.
Jeremy Hess is a lead carpenter with Heisey Construction in Elizabethtown, Pa.