DeWalt DCN692M1 Framing Nailer Review – Cordless, Brushless, Gasless

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dewalt dcn692m1

In the framing nailer universe, there are a lot of iconic brands to choose from. Bostitch, Senco, Paslode, and Hitachi, among others, all offer a variety of great nailers. As our illustrious leader Marc recently predicted, though, they’ll likely be running and gunning (which, as Marc and our attorneys pointed out, is very dangerous and NOT recommended by HF!) to match the abilities and performance of the new DeWalt DCN692M1, an example of which recently arrived at HomeFixated Global HQ for our evaluation. DeWalt’s new offering combines brushless technology with an extended run battery, resulting in a full-size framing nailer that might result in a nice long vacation for your compressor.

The DeWalt DCN692M1 Framing Nailer By The Numbers

The DeWalt DCN692M1 comes in a roomy, rugged black case, along with a fast charger, 20V Max XR Premium 4.0 Ah Lithium Ion battery, and a no-mar tip, in case you want to keep your 2X4’s looking pretty. We have a video overview of the tool coming up in a moment, but first the official rundown from DeWalt:

• Brushless motor and engine design provides enough power to drive 3½” nails
• Sequential operating mode allows for precision placement, and bump operating mode provides the user with production speed
• Dual Speed optimizes motor speed for different nail lengths
• Easy access to the nosepiece for the removal of jammed nails
• Trigger Lock-Off allows trigger to be disabled when tool is not in use
• Top Cap is impact resistant and easy to remove for troubleshooting
• Accepts 30-34 degree paper tape nails, either Clipped Head or Offset Full Round Head
• The magazine capacity is 55 nails, and the tool can handle nails from 2”—3½” and .113—.131 gauge
• Indicator lights warn the user of a low-battery or stall, with a stall release lever that allows the user to reset the driver blade caused by a stall or jammed nail
• Drives up to 700 nails per charge on a fully-charged 20V MAX Li-Ion 4.0 Ah battery pack

Here is our fearless leader Marc’s look at the state of cordless nailgun technology, along with a video tour of the DeWalt DCN692M1:

DCN692M1 – Out Of The Box

My first impression on taking the DeWalt DCN692M1 framing nailer out of the case was that this is a beefy, substantial tool. This is pretty much a necessity for a tool that takes the pounding a framing nailer gets subjected to. It weighs in at about 9 pounds; that’s not light, but it’s not much heavier than my Bostitch N79WW pneumatic framing nailer. And I don’t have to schlep around a hose.

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Bostitch vs. DeWalt – close, except for the magazine…

The DeWalt DCN692M1 has great ergonomics. The overmold grip is comfortable to hold, and the tool is very nicely balanced. There is a built-in rafter hook (which could also be used as a belt hook – just bring a sturdy belt), which can be adjusted to either side, or tucked away at the base of the grip area. When it’s stowed away there, it blocks the speed control, but that’s not something that gets adjusted much anyway.

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The rafter hook swings out of the way

The magazine on the DeWalt DCN692M1 will hold 55 nails. This has an upside, in that the magazine is much shorter than on most framing nailers, making it easy to get between standard framing. The downside? You’ll be feeding it more frequently. Not a huge deal, as it can be reloaded in just a few seconds, but if you’re doing production work, it does slow you down. The loading process is a little different than many other nailers, too, where you just drop a new clip of nails in the back, then rack the follower around behind it. On the DeWalt DCN692M1, you pull back the follower, and it locks in place. You then feed a strip of nails in, and push the follower back into place. No biggie; I got used to it quickly.

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Lock back the follower, drop in the nails, and release

There are two ways to adjust how much oomph the DeWalt DCN692M1 nail gun produces. The first is the speed control, which is a switch near the front of the tool. Setting 1 is for nails from 2—3”, and setting 2 is for nails over 3”, and for more rigorous applications, aka harder wood. DeWalt cautions that using speed 2 for shorter nails can cause more wear on the tool.

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Set the speed switch for the length of your nails

The second adjustment is the depth-of-drive adjuster. This is a barrel knob about 3” up from the tip. The adjustment is simple: just rotate the adjuster toward the “shallow nail” or “deep nail” icon shown on the nose of the tool, to get the nail sunk flush, or to the depth you want.

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The depth of drive adjuster adjusts…YOU figure it out!

On the top of the DeWalt DCN692M1 is a stall release lever. If the nailer is being run at its maximum settings, and isn’t able to fully seat a nail, it may get jammed in the nosepiece. Flipping this lever should release the nail, and reset the driver blade. If it doesn’t, you’ll have to follow the jam clearing procedure (explained below), which only takes a minute.

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Indicators light up for battery issues or a stall
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The stall release lever
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Give it a push and get back to work.

One other feature that’s nice to have on a tool that’s potentially always “hot” is the trigger lock. This is just a side-to-side push button that locks the trigger (hence the name). It’s probably not a bad idea to get in the habit of locking the trigger any time the tool will be set down for a while or transported. An accidental discharge isn’t likely, but if some freak accident (or moron) discharges a 3½” nail into you, I’m guessing it won’t be the high point of your day.

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The “Lock” portion of lock ‘n’ load

A Quieter, Gentler Bathroom Do-Over

In the past couple of weeks, I put the DeWalt DCN692M1 to the test on two bathroom remodels. Actually, “remodel” is not a great description of these projects; “total gut job and rebuild” is way more accurate. The first one didn’t start out that way; it was supposed to be just a long-overdue fixture and vanity replacement. As is often the case after getting underway, though, one thing leads to another, and the job, and the tab, ends up being bigger than expected. In this case, the culprit was hidden rot, along with some substandard framing, in the walls and subfloor.

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The old bath was in desperate need of a do-over

In addition to the rot, the floors and walls were nowhere near square, plumb or level. The technical term for this condition is “character,” and most older homes – and quite a few newer ones – have no shortage of it. The walls aren’t quite as critical, but it’s a good idea to get the bathroom floor as level as possible. This helps the toilet and shower drain properly, makes your flooring installation easier, and helps prevent you from tipping over when you walk on it.

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The floor was rotted, and the walls had some structural issues…

The floor took a lot of shimming and sistering of joist material to level it out. Some of the work was done while balancing on the joists, and some from down in the dank, dark basement. It was all a lot simpler using the DeWalt DCN692M1 than it would have been tripping over a hose, or breathing fumes in a fairly tight space. (The bathroom is in the middle of the house, with no windows and no exhaust fan – another instance of character we rectified).

We used the DeWalt DCN692M1 to nail 2X material to the joists, and to fir out the walls so we could reroute some water supply lines inside the walls. Previously, some of the lines had come up through an unheated section of the basement, and they froze pretty much every winter. This place has WAY more than its share of character! The nailer did a great job getting everything attached. I used it in bump mode on the walls, and once it spooled up (which takes about a second), I was able to get the 2X4 material up as fast as I could move the nailer.

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After stabilizing the walls, firring strips were added
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2X4’s helped level the floor and provide nailers for the new sublfoor
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Partway there…
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No more blue tarp or bouncy floor!

I had similar work to do with the floor in the other remodel. The section of the house with the bathroom is probably at least 150 years old. The floor joists are logs, about 10” in diameter, and some still have bark on them. They’re sturdy, but have sagged over the years, and unfortunately not all at the same rate. This makes trying to level them in two directions a bit of a challenge, but hey, anybody can do the easy stuff!

I ended up running 2X4’s perpendicular to the joists, laid on the flat side. To get everything level, I ended up having to cut notches out of my new wood in some areas, and in others, I used shims, in some places almost 2” thick. Talk about character! I used the DeWalt DCN692M1, shooting 3¼” nails, to make most of the attachments. I used the nailer in sequential mode to get everything fixed in the proper position, then in bump mode to, in technical terms, nail the crap out of it.

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Shimming up for a new, level-ish subfloor

Using sequential mode is a bit different than with a pneumatic nailer. With my Bostitch, as with most pneumatic nailers, you press the tip into the material you’re nailing, pull the trigger, and BOOM – instant nailing gratification! With the DeWalt DCN692M1, you press the tip into the material, and then wait about a second before pulling the trigger, while the nailer “spools up.” The sound it makes is a bit like a cordless, hand-held vacuum cleaner, but not too many of them can shoot a 3½” nail.

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In sequential mode, the DeWalt DCN692M1 spools up for each shot

In bump mode, you pull the trigger, the little motor spools up, and you can go bumping and nailing along to your heart’s content. I shot a bunch of extra nails into some 2X4’s to try out the high-speed nailing capabilities, and the DeWalt DCN692M1 had no trouble keeping up.

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in bump mode, spool it up once and go.

I had no jams, but there were a couple of spots where the nail heads didn’t get countersunk. This is likely because these joists are pretty tough old wood. If there HAD been a nail jam, it would have been relatively quick and easy to clear. I tried the jam-clearing procedure, which is basically to unload the magazine, lock the trigger, undo two hex bolts and swing the magazine away, clear the jam, swing the magazine back into place and tighten the two bolts, and reload the nails. The entire process took less than a minute. A great design touch is on-board storage of the Allen wrench, which locks firmly in place on the back side of the magazine. It’s out of the way until you need it, then it’s right there – no rummaging around in the case, where it may or may not have been put away after the LAST jam.

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The Allen wrench stows securely behind the magazine
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Undo the two bolts, and the front of the magazine drops down…
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Clear out the jam, close it up, tighten the bolts, load up, get back to work.

The walls on the second project were really a mess, and the bathroom was pretty small. I ended up tearing them all out and re-framing the room, with a larger footprint. I tried out the DeWalt DCN692M1 on the newly framed walls, and had no issues with nail penetration on the new, softer wood. The shorter nail magazine makes it easy to get between studs, and the aggressive nosepiece gives a good hold for toenailing.

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The aggressive nosepiece makes toenailing easy
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The short magazine fits nicely between studs
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The tip gets a nice bite in the wood

On the first job, I fired roughly 200 nails, using the nail gun intermittently. At the end of the day, I still had 3 out of 3 bars left on the battery. I recharged the battery anyhow, and on the second job I used about another 200 nails, including a bunch of extras I fired, after which I again had 3 bars. This is likely the benefit of combining the brushless technology with a high-capacity battery. The brushless technology allows you to get better run time out of the 4.0Ah Lithium-Ion battery, and at the same time provides you with a more powerful, more durable tool.

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Check the battery status indicator before climbing that ladder…

Is Less Enough For You?

So should you ditch your compressor or your gas cartridges? The DeWalt DCN692M1 sure seems like it’s ready for prime time. It’s well-designed, ruggedly constructed, and it functions well. The advantages over a pneumatic tool are obvious – it’s much easier to move around and get your work done when you’re not dragging a tangled hose along behind. This is a huge benefit when you’re clambering around on a roof, or balancing on a 2nd-story top plate, nailing off rafter tails. And having one less compressor going will likely make your jobsite downright tranquil and serene. Or perhaps not. The advantages over the gas-fired nailers are also obvious—reduced cost on expendables, and reduced gassy emissions (except maybe after the taco truck stops by during your lunch break).

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No hose, no gas, no complaints

The drawbacks? The 55-nail magazine capacity may be annoying to some users. If you’re nailing down subfloors on a big project, or working in a production shop, you’ll be doing a lot of reloading. Then there’s the battery – it lasts a good long while, but when it goes, you’re done for the next 30 minutes while it recharges. For remodeling contractors or medium-duty users, you’ll very likely get through the day on a single charge, or at least until lunchtime, when you can top it off. For framers or other power users, who will be using the DeWalt DCN692M1 all day, one battery may not be enough. It would be helpful to have two batteries with the kit; since there’s only one, getting extra batteries is good insurance against downtime. Home Depot has a two pack currently priced around $118.

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The battery is excellent, but power users might want a spare…

DeWalt makes their own brand of nails for the DCN692M1, but they’re not yet widely available. Nails from other brands, including Hitachi, B&C Eagle, Paslode and others are available; just make sure to get a 30-34 degree nail.

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The DeWalt DCN692M1 will take most 30-34 degree nails

Where to Buy

The DeWalt DCN692M1 is covered by a limited three year warranty. It also comes with a one year service contract, during which DeWalt will maintain the tool and replace worn parts caused by normal use for free, with the exception of the return springs, driver blades and bumpers. The battery comes with three years of free service. The DeWalt DCN692M1 is currently priced around $499 at Home Depot. The bare tool is also available as the for around $390.

Buy Now - via Home Depot

Buy Now - via Amazon (bare tool)

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About Phil

Phil’s path to the pinnacle of success as HomeFixated’s Senior Writer was long and twisted. At various stages of his life, he worked as a framing carpenter, attended motorcycle mechanics school, served as an Army MP, did a hot and itchy stint installing insulation in Phoenix, owned and operated a small contracting firm doing residential renovations, and worked as an employee of a major airline (Motto: We’re not happy ‘til YOU’RE not happy). He is currently semi-retired, but continues to take on little projects, such as the total renovation of an old farmhouse. Yes, he is a slow learner. Future projects include a teardown restoration of his 1965 BMW motorcycle, and designing and building a kick-ass playhouse for his grandsons. Phil loves spending time outdoors, hanging out with family and friends, cool tools, and a cold IPA when beer o'clock rolls around.

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6 thoughts on “DeWalt DCN692M1 Framing Nailer Review – Cordless, Brushless, Gasless”

  1. Could you link to the exact nails you used for this project?

    I bought one and am having trouble nailing 3″ 30 degree grip-rite (also tried paslode) into kiln dried fir 2x4s (on speed setting 1)…it works on speed setting 2, but the instructions say using shorter nails with speed setting 2 will wear out the nailer faster

    • Hey, Heytinabee (like the name!) – The DeWalt brand nails I used are pretty much impossible to find; I couldn’t locate any. The Paslode and Grip-Rite nails should work. I’d just bump it up to speed 2, if that gives you the amount of oomph needed to set the nail. My guess is that it’s only bad for the tool if you’re using too much pressure and over-driving nails too frequently. If anyone has a source for the DeWalt brand nails, feel free to share!

    • Fur what it’s worth, way back in time, when I first learned the term (in the sense of lumber being used as a spacer), I understood the spelling to be “fir.” Makes more sense to me than “fur,” since fir is a type of wood, and fur implies cute, cuddly animals, which might object to being nailed to walls. After extensive research, however (a quick Google search), it seems like the consensus is that “fur” is the preferred spelling. That is what I’ll use fur all future postings, and I hope you can furgive me. Thanks fur the spell check!

  2. watched the video on channel lock/ klain tools cable cutters and am glad to know that they will replace the worn out tools as long as the warranty has not been voided in any way


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