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Dewalt 21 degree vs 30 degree Framing Nailer [Buy THIS]

Dewalt makes both 21 degree and 30 degree cordless framing nailers, and as the name implies, both are a little different from each other.

When buying one of these, you can get a little confused about which one to buy, and I will make it easy for you to make the selection.

The significant difference between a Dewalt 21 degree vs. 30 degree nailer is the angle of nail collation. It has nothing to do with the angle of attack.

Dewalt 21 degree vs 30 degree Nailer

Following are a few critical differences between Dewalt 21 degree vs. 30 degree Nailer guns:

  1. Dewalt 30° Nailer gun is a little more compact than Dewalt 21° Framing Nailer
  2. 30° nailer gun uses a nail collation with paper intact, making it easy to break apart. While the 21° nailer gun uses a nail collation which is plastic or wire collated.
  3. No plastic flying shreds in 30° nailer.
  4. 30° nail collation is either half capped or off-centre capped. 21° nail collation is always full-capped. Check local building codes, but the half-capped or off-center caps are equally accepted in most cases.
  5. The exact number of nails in a 21° nail collation is smaller than in a 30° nail collation. This is because 30° nails are tightly packed.

Which one to buy?

The buying decision is something you should consider after considering a few points.

  1. Both 21 degree and 30 degree nailers cost the same, but the 30 degree nailer is far more popular.
  2. Buy the Dewalt 30 degree nailer if compactness and ease of use are concerns.
  3. Buy the Dewalt 21 degree nailer if you are unsure about the local building codes.
  4. Buy the one whichever’s refilling nail collation is readily available at local stores.
  5. Buy the Dewalt 30 degree nailer if flying plastic collation holders are an issue. (This is a major deciding point for most of the users)
  6. If you plan to work with others, consult them and buy the one they use. It will help, especially with the nail supply.
  7. A few nail manufacturers will sell 21 degree nails cheaper than 30 degree nails. But you can also find the 30 degree cheaper than the 21. So it’s pretty dynamic and can’t be used as a deciding point.

The popularity of Dewalt 21 degree vs 30 degree Nailer

Another factor which can easily make you decide is the popularity of both of them. I will categorize both of them based on reviews for both guns on different platforms.

These statistics are at the time of writing this blog post.

Platform and AspectDewalt 21 Degree
Model: DCN21PLB
Dewalt 30 Degree
Model: DCN692B
Amazon155 Reviews (4.6/5)1125 Reviews (4.5/5)30 Degree
Acme Tools27 Reviews (4.4/5)56 Reviews (4.4/5)30 Degree
Dewalt Official Site19 Reviews (4/5)44 Reviews (4/5)30 Degree
CPO12 Reviews29 Reviews30 Degree
Home Depot576 Review (Kit)814 Review (Kit)30 Degree
Search Volume210 People Per Month590 People Per Month30 Degree

So, from the reviews and search volumes, we can see that the 30 degree is far more popular than the Dewalt 21 Degree nailer gun. So I will highly recommend getting the Dewalt 30 degree nailer.

Why is the nail collation angle different?

So now, let’s discuss the prime reason for a different angle of nail guns. There are many more differences between nail guns, but we will limit our discussion to the collation angle.

Due to the nail cap, arranging nails in a straight line requires putting them at a distance. The empty space between these nails requires a larger magazine to accommodate the same number of nails in a fully loaded nailer.

Nail Collation Angle 21 Degree vs 30 Degree

Manufacturers started arranging these nails a little close to reduce the magazine size while keeping every successive nail a little higher due to the nail cap.

Since most nails’ cap thickness is directly proportional to the thickness of the nail, arranging them so results in a collation angle of around 20-22 degrees. However, arranging the nails at such an angle still leaves a small gap between them, hence a larger magazine is required.

To pack the nails tightly, there is a need to either shift the nail caps from the center or cut them in half. Doing so results in a collation angle of ~30 degrees.

Bonding medium

Another major difference often becomes the deciding factor in getting a 30 Degree nailer gun over 20 or less.

All 30-degree nail collation is bonded using paper, while 20 or less is collated using wire or plastic. The plastic one is quite nasty, and it will fly all over the place while nailing. They will also fly at your face making it very irritating.

30 Degree Collation Angle Nails
21 Degree Collation Angle

Other Differences Between Dewalt 21 degree vs 30 degree Nailer

Following are the generic specifications you should keep in mind while getting a 21 degree Dewalt framing nailer vs a 30 degree Dewalt framing nailer.

FeatureDewalt 21 Degree
Model: DCN21PLB
Dewalt 30 Degree
Model: DCN692B
Firing modeSelective: Bump or SequentiaSelective: Bump or Sequentia
Height16.5″ (419 mm)13.5″ (346 mm)
Width4″ (104 mm)4″ (104 mm)
Length13.25″ (335 mm)13.25″ (335 mm)
Weight8.5 lbs (3.85 kg)7.80 lbs. (3.538 kg)
Loading capacityUp to 49 nailsUp to 55 nails
Magazine angle21°33°
Nail Type21° Full Round Head30°-34° Clipped Head
Collation TypePlastic / WirePaper
21 vs 30 Degree Dewalt Nailer Gun

So from these specifications, the significant difference between both guns is the size and weight.

30 Degree Nailer gun is 300 grams lighter and 2 inches shorter height-wise.

The loading capacity of 30 Degree nailer is higher than the 21 Degree nailer.


Get the Dewalt 30 Degree nailer gun unless it’s hard to source the nails.

  1. Dewalt 30 Degree Framing Nailer Gun (Tool Only)
  2. Dewalt 30 Degree Framing Nailer Gun (KIT with Charger, Battery, and Bag)

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