Senco Fusion F-18 Review and Giveaway

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We’ve been talking about the Senco Fusion for eons now, mainly because we think it’s pretty revolutionary technology in the cordless nailer universe. First there were the Senco Fusion pre-release demos, then the Fusion release date rumors, then our hands-on review of the first Senco Fusion Nailer to hit the market, the F-15. If we mention much more about Fusion on HomeFixated, we run the risk of solving global energy needs. In case you didn’t read any of our earlier Senco Fusion coverage, the Fusion is cordless nailer technology that uses a closed loop compressed Nitrogen system. No flywheel to wait for, no fuel cartridge fumes or expense, and of course, no air compressor or hose to deal with. Best of all, Senco not only sent us an F-18 for this review, they’re also sponsoring this month’s (September, 2011) Free Stuff Giveaway with a Free Senco Fusion F-18 for one lucky Home Fixated winner!

Let’s dive right into the Fusion F-18! Back when we reviewed the F-15, we were not ecstatic about the case. In fact, ours sustained some damage which we attributed to internal plastic that wasn’t particularly heavy duty (and probably some over-“enthusiastic” UPS or FedEx guys during shipping). Senco opted to go with a soft sided case this time around, and I’m afraid we’re still not wowed by the case. It’s a little to0 big to describe as a man-purse, but a little to soft to describe as a serious heavy-duty case either. On the plus side, the case comes with a shoulder strap, a bunch of exterior pockets for nails, candy bars, that iPhone 5 you picked up at a bar in San Francisco, and more. The bag has a heavy zipper that got stuck a couple times when we first started using it (maybe it needed a break-in period). I just don’t see this bag giving serious impact protection for guys on the job. If you’re DIY’er or use the Fusion in a shop, the soft bag should work out fine. If you’re a contractor, I might suggest not flinging the F-18 and it’s case into your truck bed. Velcro straps and interior pockets help keep the charger, batteries and the F-18 in place, but we could still imagine them knocking around against each other despite the restraints.

The included manual has the usual array of about 10 pages of safety tips. When it comes to shooting metal projectiles, you never can be too safe. So make sure you wear eye protection and read up on all those tips, one of them might save you from an unpleasant trip to the ER with awkward explanations of how you wound up with a nail through your hand. For those of you that are so incredibly pro and knowledgeable as to not need a full manual, Senco also included a handy quick tips guide to get you started with the basics on the tool. Since you’re reading this, you probably won’t need the quick start guide either.

Fusion F-18 Depth of Drive
Is it just us, or could these icons be more clear
Once you’re locked and loaded with a fresh battery (they don’t come fully charged from the factory), you’ll want to make note of the three settings on the tool. They are easy to miss on the small power/mode switch. It’s either in the off mode which means the tool will not operate (duh), or there’s the contact actuation “bump mode”, and finally the sequential mode where you put the tool against the workpiece and pull the trigger each time. The tool operates very swiftly in bump mode. I’m old fashioned and slow to aim (and I want to avoid those awkward ER visits too), so I tend to stick with the sequential fire mode. As with the F-15 Fusion we reviewed there is a depth of drive adjustment for setting the proper nail depth. There’s quite a bit of drive adjustment which can come in handy if you’re working on a wide variety of woods. We still think the icons for depth of drive could be a little simpler and more clear.

F-18 Reload window
Knowing when to reload is an important survival skill
Thanks to a dry fire lock-out, you won’t be dinging up your wood with hammer-pin holes and no nails. The lock-out is said to engage when there are between zero and five nails left in the magazine. In my case I found the F-18 would lock-out as soon as the very last nail was fired. There’s also a time-out if the safety is depressed or the trigger is pulled for more than 3 seconds (don’t worry, you don’t have to sit in the “timeout corner” for this). The tool will reset by simply releasing the trigger and the safety. If you do happen to have a nail jam (we didn’t encounter any in our testing), you’ll want to make sure that you remove the battery and the fasteners from the tool for hopefully obvious reasons. An easy clear latch makes removing a jam, you guessed it: easy.

Like its F-15 counterpart, the F-18 has a small LED light that’s recessed into the nose-piece area. Very useful for those of you that like to do their nailing in the dark, ninja style. Or, the LED is also handy for nailing in a dark corner or inside a cabinet. There’s also a reload window so that you can see when you’re about to run out of ammo. The F-18 can accept 18 gauge 5/8″ to 2-1/8″ nails. There’s also a removable and adjustable belt hook that’s swappable to either side. I was happy to see that the F-18 stands up nicely on its battery, something the Fusion F-15 didn’t do quite as naturally. For some projects, just standing the tool up is easier than a belt hook.

F-18 nose safety
The business end
The Senco F-18’s safety is a black metal piece extending from where the actual nail comes out. Since you can see where the nail comes out, it’s fairly easy to see where you’re aiming. The safety can be a little confusing at first glance though, so just make sure that you realize the nails come out not where the safety touches the wood, but a little bit back from that point. It doesn’t take much pressure on the safety to engage the tool, which is helpful if you’re driving nails at a slight angle. However, you really have to be almost straight on with pressure on the tool and not have much of an angle in order for the nails to sink flush or below flush. The Senco Fusion F-18 seems to have plenty of power. I drove 2 inch nails and 1 inch brads through some scrap White Oak with no problems.

You can check out all the nitty-gritty details, view competing product comparisons and even watch a sweet video on the Fusion mechanism by visiting the Senco Fusion site. If you’re ready to go hose-less, you can pick up the F-18 for $389 from our sponsor Tyler Tool:
SENCO 6E0001N FN55AX, Cordless Fusion 18-Gauge Brad Nailer

SENCO 6E0001N FN55AX, Cordless Fusion 18-Gauge Brad Nailer

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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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17 thoughts on “Senco Fusion F-18 Review and Giveaway”

  1. I had to pull off the shoe moulding in my kitchen before refinishing my kitchen cabinets. I’ll need to re-install it, and haven’t been able to find any nails that seem narrow or long enough for the reinstallation. I’m afraid that if I try to hammer in the nails I have found, it might split the shoe moulding. Do I have to use a nail gun instead, and if so, would this particular product be appropriate, or would it likely be overkill? It’s not real likely I’m going to need a nail gun for much of anything else in future… Thanks! Maggie

    • That’s a lot of money to spend on one shoe molding job. If you really feel like you need to use a nailer instead of hand nailing I would try renting a compressor and an 18g nailer.

      If you do decide to hand nail and want to avoid splitting you can pre-drill a bit. But don’t over do it. You should also pre-drill and then use trim screws. The heads are larger so you’d need to fill the holes for sure but you can get them in longer lengths.

      But the fastest option would definitely be the 18g nailer.

  2. I’ve been waiting for an 18ga cordless nailer for a while, let’s hope it can hold it’s own over time. It seems like the perfect tool for punch list items and the like!

  3. Looks like a great gun. I’ve had problems with the Paslode butane powered guns at 6000 feet elevation. I hope that won’t be a problem with this technology. Has anyone tested these guns at higher elevations?

  4. Great review, Marc. Thanks! It’s nice to see someone reviewing tools with a keen eye for even the smallest detail like the depth gauge icons. Overall, this gun looks sweet and I’d love to own one.

  5. I’m sick of lugging my 70lb compressor around every time I need to nail something. With one of these, it would be much more convenient and I would look like a badass every time I pull it out.

    • Senco should totally talk to some first-person-shooter video game makers about getting the Fusion in as a weapon option. Then again, Senco probably doesn’t really want to endorse the concept of Nailer = Projectile Firing Weapon. They do still look cool though!

    • Movies and video games? I’m adding one to my zombie kit. It will slot in nicely next to the chainsaw that fits over my hand.


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