A few months back, we took a look at Ryobi’s 18-gauge cordless nailer, the Ryobi P320. We gave it a big thumbs up. It’s a useful, well-made tool, selling for a reasonable price (Currently $129 at Home Depot). We gave it a workout, and the P320 did a great job on all the trim I threw at it. The ability to do trim work without dragging a hose around (and listening to my 600-db compressor) was a treat. The only drawback? An 18-gauge nail is great for lighter trim, but for hanging ¾” door and window trim and baseboards, especially hardwood trim, a somewhat beefier nail provides a more secure attachment. With the recent arrival of the new Ryobi P325 Airstrike 16 gauge nailer at HomeFixated’s global headquarters, that niche has been filled.
The Ryobi P325 looks a lot like its little brother; the color and basic layout are the same. Shooting a beefier nail, though, calls for a beefier launch system, and a closer look reveals that the P325 has definitely been bulking up. It’s about an inch taller and two inches longer than the P320, and the upper chamber is quite a bit bigger, with vents in the rear. With all that, the P325 weighs only about one pound more, 6 lbs. 3.4 oz. vs. the P320 at 5 lbs. 4 oz. without a battery. Adding a Li-Ion 4Ah battery adds about 25 ounces to the weight of either tool, but makes them much more useful.
Some other minor differences include a single LED light rather than the twin beams on the P320 (it still did a good job of illuminating the work surface); an open-sided magazine, that makes it simple to see how much ammo is left; a sliding lever to adjust air pressure, rather than a rotary dial; and a much beefier lever to open the nosepiece for jam clearance.
The Ryobi P325 also uses a different method to load nails. On the P320, you depressed a button on the top of the follower, slid the follower back, dropped nails in, and closed the follower. On the P325, you pull the follower back until it locks in place, feed a strip of nails in through the slot in the back, and release the follower.
Here are the specs and features from Ryobi, followed by a quick video overview of the Airstrike nailer lineup:
Ryobi P325, part of the Ryobi One+ System
Uses 16 gauge, zero degree (straight) nails from ¾” to 2-½” long
Open-sided magazine makes it easy to check remaining nails
Tool-free jam clearing
Tool-free depth of drive adjustment
Reversible belt clip
Easily switch between single sequential and bump mode firing
Non-marring nose pads
The Ryobi P325 – Calling In A 16 Gauge Airstrike
In trying out the smaller-gauge Ryobi P320, I tested it primarily on several household tasks featuring lighter trim. I attached door stop trim to a bedroom door frame, put some casing on around a doorway, put in a 3/8” thick piece of flooring trim, and so forth. This is the type of stuff this gun was intended for, and it does a fantastic job. I also tried it out on a job where I’m re-doing all the floors, baseboards and window trim out of ¾” oak, just to see if it had the firepower to nail the tough stuff. Amazingly, it did; it put 2” nails through oak flooring and into the subfloor, and through ¾” oak trim into the framing, and was able to countersink almost all of the nails I shot.
Impressive though this was, an 18-gauge nail isn’t really designed to handle that kind of work. The nails are relatively thin, and with a maximum length of 2” aren’t long enough to get a good grip. Put all your heavy trim up with 18-gauge nails, and chances are you’ll be re-doing some of it in a year or so, after it starts dangling from the wall. Up until now, my Bostitch 15-gauge has been my go-to trim nailer. Since I still have plenty of hardwood trim to install, what better place to see how the Ryobi P325 stacks up?!
All the trim is ¾” thick oak, applied over ½” drywall and nailed into standard 2X4 framing. I loaded the Ryobi P325 up with 2-½” nails, and tested the depth of drive on some scrap wood. I ended up setting the depth of drive and air pressure both to the max, which is what I expected to have to do; sinking the max-sized nail through hardwood, then into old framing, takes some oomph. I set the mode to single sequential; on trim work, I worry more about accurate placement than speed.
The Ryobi P325 handled all the window and baseboard trim in the room, countersinking all but two of the nails a fraction below the surface of the trim. The failure to sink happens occasionally with almost any nailer, even the pneumatic Bostitch, usually caused by hitting a knot, a nail, or just a particularly mean and nasty chunk of wood. I was able to countersink them with a nail set, and all was well. After installing all the trim in the approximately 9X12’ room, the battery still had 3 out of 4 bars of juice left!
On this same project, I’m installing lots of hardwood flooring, too. Yes, I am a glutton for punishment; thanks for noticing. Anyhow, as you get close to the wall, the flooring nailer won’t fit, so I use a finish nailer to toenail through the tongue into the subfloor, and then to face nail the final row. The Ryobi P325 did a nice job of this, too, and the ability to get into the tighter space without fumbling with an air hose was a huge plus.
The Ryobi P325 is a great tool. It, like the P320, is well thought out, solidly constructed, and does a great job at what it was designed to do. It’s versatile – the ability to choose among fasteners from ¾” up to 2-½” should cover pretty much any trim situation you’ll run into. The nails are inexpensive and readily available, and no smelly and expensive gas cartridges are required. The tool didn’t jam on me at all, but if it does, it is quick and easy to get it cleared.
And hey, got all your indoor projects wrapped up? If so, you’re my hero – now get over here and help ME! After that, you can head to the great outdoors, to use the Ryobi P325 for all those outdoor projects on your honey-do list. Re-nailing all the Chinese garden trellises that self-destruct after one season, for instance… A line of galvanized nails is available from Home Depot, to help keep your outdoor trim firmly in place. A pack of 2,500 galvanized 2-½” nails is about $18, and shorter lengths are available. I bought an assortment pack of 900 nails in three sizes for eight bucks, which will come in handy for something; I’m already looking for something else to use it on!
Bottom line: If you’re a contractor, and want a tool that’s fast and easy to get into action on the job, or for punch lists, the Ryobi P325 should be able to handle crown mold, brick mold, baseboards – pretty much any trim job you come across. If you’re a DIYer that tackles lots of smaller jobs, or even bigger jobs like remodels, this tool could easily be the only finish nailer you’ll ever need. The Ryobi P325 does require a battery and charger, which are sold separately. If you have any other Ryobi One+ tools, you’ve got that obstacle met; if not, you can get a Lithium-Ion charger/battery combo for abut $60. The Ryobi P325 is available at Home Depot, currently priced at $199. Hey, Ryobi R&D people: Nice job! Now how about an Airstrike pinner and framing nailer??