Milwaukee makes both 21 degree and 30 degree cordless framing nailers; 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 select.
Milwaukee has got following Nailers in their catalog.
|Tool Name||Nail Collation Angle||Model Number||Notes|
|M18 FUEL 16 Gauge Angled Finish Nailer||20°||2841-20||Newer Model|
|M18 FUEL 15 Gauge Finish Nailer||34°||2839-20||Newer Model|
|M18 FUEL™ 21 Degree Framing Nailer||20°- 22°||2744-20||Older Model|
|M18 FUEL™ 30 Degree Framing Nailer||30°- 34°||2745-20||Older Model|
|M18 FUEL™ 18 Gauge Brad Nailer||0°||2746-20||Older Model|
|M18 FUEL™ 16ga Straight Finish Nailer||0°||2741-20||Older Model|
|M18 FUEL™ 16ga Angled Finish Nailer||20°||2742-20||Older Model|
The significant difference between a Milwaukee 0 degree vs. 21 degree vs. 30 degree nailer is the angle of nail collation. It has nothing to do with the angle of attack.
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.
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.
Differences between 0° vs 21° vs 30°
Following are a few critical differences between Milwaukee 0 Degree vs. 21 degree vs. 30 degree Nailer guns:
- Milwaukee 30° Nailer gun is a little more compact than Milwaukee 21° Framing Nailer. The 0 Degree Milwaukee is a different model, so the compactness is not directly related.
- 30° nailer gun uses a nail collation with paper intact, making it easy to break apart. While the 21° and 0° nailer guns use a nail collation which is plastic or wire collated.
- No plastic flying shreds in 30° nailer.
- 30° nail collation is either half-capped or off-center capped. 21° and 0° nail collations are always full-capped. Check local building codes, but the half-capped or off-center caps are equally accepted in most cases.
- The exact number of nails in a 0° nail collation is smaller than in a 21° nail collation. Similarly, the exact number of nails in a 21° nail collation is smaller than in a 30° nail collation. This is because 30° nails are more tightly packed than 21° and 21° is tighter than 0°.
Which one to buy?
The buying decision is something you should consider after considering a few points.
- Both 21-degree and 30-degree nailers cost the same, but the 30-degree nailer is far more popular. The 0 Degree ones are a little cheaper and older models, which I will not recommend buying.
- Buy the Milwaukee 30-degree nailer if compactness and ease of use are concerns.
- Buy the Milwaukee 21-degree nailer if you are unsure about the local building codes.
- Buy the one that’s refilling nail collation is readily available at local stores.
- Buy the Milwaukee 30-degree nailer if flying plastic collation holders are an issue. (This is a major deciding point for most of the users). Both 21 and 0 Degree collation uses plastic.
- If you plan to work with others, consult them and buy the one they use. It will help, especially with the nail supply.
- A few nail manufacturers will sell 21-degree nails cheaper than 30-degree and 0-Degree nails. But you can also find the 30 degrees cheaper than the 21. So it’s pretty dynamic and can’t be used as a deciding point.
The popularity of Milwaukee 21 degree vs. 30 degree Nailer vs. 0 Degree
Another factor which can easily make you decide is the popularity of all of them. I will categorize each one based on reviews for all guns on different platforms.
These statistics are at the time of writing this blog post.
|Platform and Aspect||Milwaukee 21 Degree|
|Milwaukee 30 Degree|
|Milwaukee 0 Degree|
|Acme Tools||397 Reviews||1075 Reviews||609 Reviews||30 Degree|
|Milwaukee Official Site||417 Reviews||1155 Reviews||1260 Reviews||0 Degree|
|Northern Tools||364 Reviews||1069 Reviews||584 Reviews||30 Degree|
|Home Depot||2321 Review||2457 Review||1876 Reviews||30 Degree|
So, from the reviews and search volumes, we can see that the 30 degree is far more popular than the Milwaukee 21 Degree and 0 Degree nailer guns. So I will highly recommend getting the Milwaukee 30 degree nailer.
However, I will recommend buying the newer generation of 30 Degree framing nailer by Milwaukee which is 2839-20.
Other Differences Between Milwaukee 21 degree vs 30 degree Nailer
Following are the generic specifications you should keep in mind while getting a 21 degree Milwaukee framing nailer vs a 30 degree Milwaukee framing nailer.
|Feature||Milwaukee 21 Degree|
|Milwaukee 30 Degree|
|Nail Guage||16 Guage||15 Guage|
|Firing mode||Selective: Bump or Sequentia||Selective: Bump or Sequentia|
|Height||12″ (304 mm)||12.6″ (320 mm)|
|Width||5.9″ (150 mm))||5.9″ (150 mm)|
|Length||12.75″ (323 mm)||12.75″ (323 mm)|
|Weight||6.5 lbs (2.94 kg)||6.6 lbs (2.99 kg)|
|Loading capacity||Up to 110 nails||Up to 110 nails|
|Nail Type||21° Full Round Head||30°-34° Clipped Head|
|Collation Type||Plastic / Wire||Paper|
So from these specifications, the significant difference between both guns is the size and weight.
30 Degree Nailer gun is 100 grams lighter and 1 inches shorter height-wise.
The loading capacity of both guns is the same due to different guages.
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.
Get the Milwaukee 30 Degree nailer gun unless it’s hard to source the nails. The 30 comes in two models; 2839-20 and 2745-20. The 2839 model is newer one and uses finish nails. The 2745 is an older but not so old version which uses framing nails.