As more toolmakers grow their lines of cordless devices, some contractors may decide to switch away from traditional pneumatic platforms. Such is the case with 18-gauge finishing nailers and staplers, which don’t require an air compressor to get to work.

Late last year, Towson, Md.-based Porter-Cable sent ENR its new cordless brad nailer, which came with a 20-volt battery, charger and starter package of nails. The 1.5-amp-hour, lithium-ion battery that came with the tester is said to drive up to 450 nails per charge, though a 4.0-amp-hour battery offers around 1,300 rounds per charge.

Using the $199 tool to install molding for a home flooring project made installation a snap. The tool is weighed and balanced like a traditional shooter—sporting a bit more plastic, perhaps. Not having to lug around an air compressor was a refreshing improvement. For small household jobs such as this one, this tool proved to be a good fit.

The device also includes LED lighting, which is handy when working in dark areas, and it also has a tool-free depth adjustment and jam release—though we experienced no jams during the project. The only knock we have is the tricky battery release that the company uses on its 20V MAX tools.

Could a nailer like this replace your air tools? It likely depends on how much you need to use those air compressors.