Paslode CF325 Nailer Review, Going Hose-Less is Fun

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Bear with me, as I eventually get to the point of this article: a hands-on review of the Paslode CF325 Cordless Framing Nailer. Remember the first time you ditched your phone cord and used a cell phone? Neither do I, but I’m pretty sure it was awesome. Back in the day, I still remember Sonny Crockett and Rico Tubbs toting around their briefcase sized cell phones in Miami Vice. Technology has come a long way, especially when it comes to ditching cords (and hoses).

So then, why is it that we’re still shackled to our air compressors whenever we want to use a nail gun? One company is on a mission to take us from cheesy 70’s corded phones, right past the Miami Vice bag phones, and straight into the 21st century: Paslode. Several manufacturers make nailers that ditch the air hose, but few have the reputation for it that Paslode does.

Paslode took a bit of a risk sending me this cordless nailer to review: I am a self diagnosed air tool addict. As long as you don’t accidentally shoot a nail into a body part, they are lots of fun, and make for incredibly productive work. Sometimes using a hammer is so. . . retro. Despite my love for air tools, I kept an open mind in checking out the Paslode cordless nailer.

The Paslode uses a small fuel cartridge (not unlike what you might use to refill a butane lighter). There’s a little access port on the CF325 you simply open up, drop the fuel cell into and then snap closed again. It’s quick and easy. In addition to the fuel, the Paslode nailer uses a rechargeable battery to spark things up. The handy case comes with the nailer, a battery/charger, and even safety glasses (which I highly recommend when working with hazardous projectiles). When I first picked up the CF 325 it felt big, so I compared it to my Porter Cable framing nailer (air powered). The Paslode, although a bit beefier in spots, was actually more compact overall since it didn’t have the exceptionally long magazine the PC does.

After a quick charge of the battery I was ready to lock and load. Most of my testing of the Paslode was done framing up some dimensional vintage 2×4’s and 2×6’s in a garage ceiling. The job involved a lot of up and down ladder work, and a few awkward / tight nailing positions. Any skepticism I had about the Paslode CF325 quickly evaporated after the first few nail shots. Having the freedom to carry and move the gun without an awkward hose dragging around and getting in the way was epic!

The Paslode also performed very well. I had no jams, and the CF325 was incredibly consistent in terms of nail depth on each drive. The nail depth adjustment looked a little wonky compared to the dial adjustment I was used to, but I found the Paslode system pretty easy to work with. Be aware that there is a little bit of cycle time between each shot, which might slow down some of the ultra-high speed nailing pros out there. But it’s still fast. The tip on the CF325 is seriously aggressive, looking more like a weapon then a nail gun tip. You won’t need to worry about the tip slipping, even when doing some toe nailing. The CF325 also includes a built-in rafter/belt hook, which is a paid accessory on some other nailers. Nice.

The only two areas I can really find any fault with are with the fuel and the system for clearing nail jambs. In terms of the fuel, it’s the magic stuff that lets this thing work without a hose. You trade in your hose, but you do need to replace fuel cartridges periodically, and there’s a mild smell of fuel exhaust when the tool is in use. The Quicklode fuel cell drives about 1000 nails, and Paslode conveniently sells them in combo packs, so you never need to worry about running out of fuel with your Paslode nail supply. However, if you already have a huge stash of nails, or you like buying non-Paslode nails, the combo pack might be a minus. Currently the fuel cannot be purchased separately. Personally, I think the fuel tradeoff is well worth the convenience of being cordless.

I was also a bit disappointed to see clearing nail jambs does require tip disassembly via an allen wrench. I would have liked to have seen a tool-less option as some of my Porter Cable nailers have. Since I didn’t have any jambs, that particular design issue wasn’t a problem for me. Minor tradeoffs aside, I really liked the CF325 Framing Nailer, especially for someone like me who often does quick projects which are made much easier sans compressor and hose.

So if you are someone who wishes you could go back to the good ole days of dialing your rotary corded phone, the Paslode is probably not for you. But if you like being cordless, hose-less and wireless, the CF325 is a very handy tool for your arsenal. The Paslode CF325 Cordless Framing Nailer is about $430 online, with the Paslode Framing Nail and Fuel Combo Pack running a little over $40. We’re also giving away the same Paslode CF325 we used for testing in this review (don’t worry we babied it, so it’s like-new) in our February 2010 Free Stuff Giveaway!

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About Marc Lyman

Marc grew up under a brave single mom who "encouraged" home improvement on the family home. Early toddler gifts included a tool set, and even a cordless Bosch drill when cordless drills first came out. In grade school (give or take a few years), Marc's mom said, "We need to cut down some trees. . . . here's a chainsaw." A father figure also involved Marc in many home improvement projects, including a summer of home remodeling in Palo Alto, CA. Toss in some Obsessive Compulsive personality traits researching everything home improvement related. The end result: a genetically pre-disposed, socially sculpted home improvement machine! For his complete profile, please visit our About page. Really, it's worth it.

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15 thoughts on “Paslode CF325 Nailer Review, Going Hose-Less is Fun”

    • Hi Ron. We no longer have the CF325 since it was given away as one of our monthly giveaways, but I don’t think it had a rubber tip (although someone may correct me here). As a framing nailer, I think Paslode was more concerned with good tip contact than non-marring. The CF325 nailer has pretty aggressive spikes on its nose (something we really liked), so if you’re don’t want to ding your 2×4’s, this may not be the ideal nailer for you.

  1. I represent Paslode and here is our response to the questions and comments posted here: The battery technology has not changed on the new Paslode cordless framing nailer that Marc reviewed. The battery will provide approximately 4,000 shots before needing to be recharged. The fuel cell for the new Paslode cordless framing nailer is a new design that puts Paslode a step ahead of all other fuel cell powered tools on the market today. The new QuickLode™ Fuel System employs a completely re-designed “no-step” canister that eliminates the pre-use snapping, twisting and aligning required by previous models. Users simply drop the fuel into the tool, close the fuel compartment door and begin nailing. And to Greg’s comment, yes the new design also means no leaking fuel from the cell. Also to David’s second comment: Another notable enhancement is a newly designed nosepiece that is far more aggressive than its predecessor. The new nosepiece allows sure-footed toe-nailing at any angle. The tool has also been re-engineered to deliver dramatically faster firing than its predecessor or competitive tools.

    • Hi Paul! Thanks for chiming in with the responses and information from Paslode. I’m sure the info will be useful to HomeFixated readers looking into the Paslode framing nailer. Much appreciated!

  2. I have only the air hose supplied variety of nailers, which I like very well, however I really like the concept of no hose and no compressor. Are there any out there like this Paslode that are able to be refilled with a separate canister rather than the drop-in, use, than throw away cartridge style? It just seems like such a waste and I would think that a large refueling canister that could possibly give the user many refills would be much more cost and resource efficient. I realize that the Paslode folks want a fairly captive audience so that they aren’t just selling tools but also the expendables, so maybe I’ve answered my own question, or perhaps there is another logical reason that hasn’t crossed my mind. Any thoughts on this?

    • Hi Al. Good to hear from you and thanks for your comment. I hear ya when it comes to not wanting to deal with the waste factor. The Senco Fusion product line was recently released which promises to provide power without ever having to refuel the Nitrogen tank, but I haven’t tried them personally. Also, last I heard there is no framing nailer available in the Fusion line. I’d be wary of a bigger fuel cartridge on the Paslode since I think it would make the tool too bulky. It seems like there’s always a trade-off in going cordless. With the Paslode framer, you get the benefit of no noisy compressor and no hoses to drag around, but you do have to contend with fuel cartridges. I was a skeptic before trying the Paslode, but I really think it’s a great tool (despite the need to refill fuel periodically).

  3. I’ve got an older model Paslode cordless framing nailer and I love the convenience.
    Not sure if that’s been resolved in the newer models, but one thing I never liked is the fuel capsule leaks over time – I always have to plan on tossing the canister even if I only fire off a few nails.
    It’s also loud as #$&@(%, but I guess that’s to be expected of holding a tiny explosion in your hand. 🙂

    • Hi Greg. Thanks for the comment. We haven’t had the newer Paslode here long term, but we have not noticed any fuel cell leakage. I know Paslode made some improvements to the latch area of the cell, but they might chime in here to shed a little more light on your question. I typically use hearing protection with framing nailers, but even so, the Paslode didn’t seem noticeably louder than my Porter Cable Framing nailer.

  4. I have used the older model of this at work for the past year, and love the freedom of no hoses. I’ve gone most of a day if not the whole day of use on the battery, before having to recharge. I’m curious if there is any improvements on battery life. I saw a review of this new one, and looks like it has a lot of improvements. Looks like Paslode improved the nose, so it can shoot a nail at almost any angle you hold it, as well as improved speed of shooting nails in.

  5. My thoughtful comment is this…I love the paslode hoseless tools and read somewhere that they are coming out with some new fangled battery technology that barely needs recharging. If so do you know when? Also, how does the paslode compare to some of the other fuel celled options out there?

    • David, thanks for your comment. I’ve asked Paslode to check out the questions here and address any they have more input on. Hopefully they’ll chime in with their responses.

  6. I agree almost 100% with this review. Being a young remodeler, i had only been using air tools for a couple years, then got one of these and it is worth it. So much easier having a couple of these in your truck rather than a huge compressor and hoses. The fuel combo pack was a bit hectic at first when I still had a lot of framing nails, but after only a couple weeks, i was able to use up the remainder since the fuel cells will shoot more than provided in the pack (on average about 5 more strips).
    Also, from what i can tell, the gun fires as fast as you can pull the trigger (just no bump fire, which doesnt bother me). All in all, this tool is crazy fun to use and definitely convenient.

  7. I have watched these same type of fuel cell driven nailers used on home improvement shows for a couple years now and always wondered how well they really worked. It sounds like it would be worth the investment if you did enough framing to justify the cost; a little cost prohibitive if you would only use it occationally.


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