Milwaukee 16 Gauge Angled Finish Nailer 2742-21CT Review

I’ve been reviewing Milwaukee tools for about six or more years. I’ve used them for decades as a master plumber and builder.

If you’re not familiar with Milwaukee’s pedigree because you’re just discovering power tools, they focused on power tools for plumbers and electricians for decades.

Along the way, they’ve figured out how to make perhaps the best electric motors, the best cordless batteries and the best micro computers inside the tools to protect your investment.

The Milwaukee upper management decided, my guess is four years ago in 2012, they were going to expand past their comfort zone and start to make power tools for the other trades. Carpentry was a natural extension.

This new 16 gauge angled finish nailer of theirs is a debutant. While it’s a gorgeous piece of eye candy, it’s not the belle of the ball. That’s just one man’s opinion of course.

Screen shot 2016-05-27 at 9.00.12 AM

Decades of Experience

I’m one of the very few members of the media here in 2016 that has decades and decades of experience working with nail guns on real jobs in the homes of real paying customers.

Many of my peers, I hate to say this, are hobby bloggers with other day jobs. Quite a few of them have never in their lives had to make a living using power tools on real jobs. When you read their reviews, you have to wonder how they have the experience to evaluate a tool.

If you stumble across other tool reviews at other websites, be sure you go find their About Us page. Go there and read about the person who’s writing the review to see what qualifies them to give you great advice about tools. But I digress.

The Gold Standard

In just about every category of anything, there’s the gold standard product. Of course it’s often subjective, but there are quite a few objective comparison points you can put side by side.

In the world of carpentry, there are quite a few carpenters that will tell you that Paslode has enjoyed being king of the hill for quite a few years. Their nail guns provide excellent visibility, renowned reliability, and excellent value.

Paslode’s 16-gauge angled finish nailer has been one of my go-to tools for years. It’s a lean, mean fighting machine that weighs only 4.5 pounds.

Their downside is the power source. You need to purchase propane gas cylinders to provide the energy to drive the nails.

Milwaukee decided to forgo that and just use electrons to drive nails. That’s good.

But the new Milwaukee 16-gauge angled nailer weighs an astounding 60 percent more than the Paslode nailer. That’s bad – very bad.

The Target

When driving finish nails, you need to see where the nail is going to go. That’s not an issue with the Paslode nailer. It’s somewhat problematic with this new Milwaukee 16-gauge nailer. The visibility is better than their new 18-gauge brad nailer, but it’s not perfect (in my opinion).

Summary

I love Milwaukee as a company. It’s my job to tell you the truth about things. It’s my obligation to temper initial excitement about new tools with years of using similar tools and what you need to have to get excellent results.

When it comes to nail guns, the two most important things are weight and visibility. If you’re going to use a tool all day, you need one that minimizes fatigue. Fatigue leads to mistakes and injuries. Fatigue can cause you to drive a nail wrong in a $100 piece of trim ruining it. Fatigue can cause a tool to drive a nail in flesh and bone.

Visibility is the most important quality of a nail gun. You need to be able to see exactly where the nail will go without the need of a LED light, without having to angle your head, without craning your neck, etc.

Milwaukee, in my opinion, needs to correct these flaws with their 16-gauge angled finish nailer. 

Remember, if you read glowing reviews about this tool on other websites, be sure you go to their About Us page and see how many decades the reviewer spent being a carpenter using nail guns. You need to vet tool reviewers just like you vet any person who’s advice you’re thinking of following before investing time and money.

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