Tool of the Month (May 2016) – Ryobi AirStrike P320 Brad Nailer

Starting this month (May 2016), we will be featuring something new around here — Tool of the Month.  This will help highlight certain tools that we otherwise may overlook, but are either performing exceptionally well or are very impressive right out of the box.

This month’s winner is the Ryobi P320 AirStrike Brad Nailer.  It is a cordless nailer that requires no compressor, air lines, or even gas cartridges.  It runs 100% off of any 18v ONE+ battery — and continues to impress us (even though it has been almost a year since it was featured in an initial review).

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In a massive upset going head-to-head against the brand new Milwaukee M18 FUEL Brushless Brad Nailer — the Ryobi P320 AirStrike won as the clear winner in all testing!  (Check out that article here & Check out the video here)

Probably the most impressive thing about the AirStrike is that we have seen no loss in performance since our original testing in mid-2015 — it has increased (perhaps it has “broken in”).  In both video reviews, we completed full run-time testing using 4.0ah P108 high-capacity batteries, bump-firing 1″ brads into a standard 2×6.  In the first test from June 2015 it had 1,498 shots fired on one battery charge — but on round #2 (May 2016) against the M18 FUEL it actually came in higher at 1,635 shots on the same P108 battery!  Comparing that to the amount of work the M18 FUEL got done before overheating — the winner is clear.

Over the last year we have used this nailer more than any of the other AirStrike versions (finish or crown stapler) — easily shooting 10,000 – 15,000 nails.  Sinking nails has been no issue (as shown above), and we rarely have to charge the battery since it has extreme run-times.

There are two triggers — the large one (top) actuates the tool and the LED lights, the small one (bottom) is only for activating the LED lights.  ** Note – This is NOT a safety switch as reported in various video reviews — it is only a LED light switch **  The placement of those LEDs are on the left & right of the magazine at the top of the nailer.  They are also on a delay, which lets you use the tool as a flashlight in a low-light situation.  It also will help you easily align your shots to get it right the first time.

Although it does work with any of the 18v ONE+ batteries — typically we keep a P108 4.0ah installed.  Swapping out the high-capacity pack with a compact version does lower the weight slightly.  The power levels seem to be basically identical between the different battery packs, with possibly a slight edge with the high-capacity version.

At the base of the grip there is a sliding selector switch that allows you to quickly change between single-fire and bump-fire mode.  Single-fire mode is preferred by many, since you can align the shots much more accurately.  Bump-fire mode is a lot faster, but also not nearly as accurate in nail placement.  It is worth noting also that during both run-time tests (in bump-fire mode), the AirStrike did not jam, overheat, or have any issues.

Here are the specs on the Nailer :

Ryobi AirStrike (Model P320)

  • 18v (ONE+)
  • No gas cartridge needed
  • 5/8″ – 2″ nail size range
  • Single shot mode (precise firing)
  • Bump fire mode (rapid firing)
  • 6lbs 5oz
  • 11″ long
  • 10″ high
  • 3-1/2″ wide
  • 105 nail magazine capacity
  • $119 (bare tool)
  • 3yr warranty (tool)

We installed the belt clip for right-handed use, but simply removing the mounting screw and swapping the clip to the opposite side, it is set up for left-handed use.  One thing that we actually use the clip for (instead of hanging off of a belt), is for storage!  We assembled a rack on the wall behind the workbench with two thin aluminum flat bars running horizontally — which we then hang our AirStrike nailers on upside down and out of the way.  They dont pivot/rotate & stay perfectly aligned along the wall.

Depending on what type of wood you are working with, and also the length of the nails you have in the nailer — you may need to adjust the air pressure & depth gauge.  It is a good idea to “test out” your depth settings/pressure rating on some scrap pieces of wood or trim prior to actually using any nailer to install trim or build a project.  To adjust the pressure, on the rear of the housing is a large grey dial that rotates left/right.  To adjust the depth, at the top of the magazine is a large grey thumbwheel — allowing you to adjust the depth in/out.

Rarely will we experience a jam, but when/if that does happen, clearing it takes just a few seconds.  First you need to release the magazine slide & remove the nails.  Leaving the slide open, then flip the tab on the top of the magazine exposing the striker slide (and jammed nail).  Remove the nail, close and latch the tab, install nails, and slide the magazine shut — You have just cleared the jam & are ready to go!

A negative would be the size/weight of this nailer compared to pneumatic versions.  All cordless varieties (including Paslode nailers, Dewalt, Milwaukee, Senco, etc) are much heavier and bulkier than their pneumatic counterparts.  But, when you couple the convenience of cordless…..not having to deal with a heavy/loud compressor, air lines, or  a power source — it quickly makes sense why cordless is a smart way to go a lot of the time!

The AirStrike — like all of the other Ryobi 18v ONE+ Cordless Power Tools — is covered with a 3yr warranty!  If/when you ever have a problem with it, just contact Ryobi & they will fix or replace it for you.  Also, because it is part of the ONE+ lineup, the same batteries and chargers that work with this, will also work with a massive lineup of other power tools & outdoor power equipment.

Congrats to Ryobi on a job well done & for making a great tool that is one of the best performers on the market!

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