Cordless vs Pneumatic: Milwaukee Nail Gun Showdown

Last updated: May 16, 2024

Welcome to the ultimate showdown between Milwaukee’s cordless and pneumatic nail guns! In the world of construction and woodworking, the choice between cordless and pneumatic nail guns can significantly impact efficiency, mobility, and overall performance. Milwaukee, renowned for its innovative power tools, offers both options, each with its own set of advantages and considerations. In this blog, we’ll explore the features, benefits, and ideal use cases of Milwaukee’s cordless and pneumatic nail guns, providing you with the insights you need to make an informed decision for your next project. Whether you’re a professional tradesperson or a passionate DIY enthusiast, join us as we uncover the strengths and capabilities of these two exceptional tools, setting the stage for an electrifying nail gun showdown!

Cordless Milwaukee Nail Guns

The independence and mobility of Milwaukee’s cordless nail guns are unmatched. These guns, which run on lithium-ion batteries, provide users with unmatched ease by removing the need to be entangled in cords or attached to an air compressor. The cordless design means that you may work effectively in any area, from the cellar to the rafters, whether you’re fixing trim or construction of an entire house.

The Milwaukee cordless nail guns boast rapid firing speeds and consistent driving power, rivalling their pneumatic counterparts. With no hoses or cords to wrestle with, you can transition seamlessly between tasks, saving precious time and effort. Plus, with Milwaukee’s renowned battery technology, you can expect long-lasting performance, minimising downtime and maximising productivity on the job site.


  • Portability: Cordless nail guns offer unmatched portability and convenience. You’re not tethered to a compressor or an outlet, allowing you to work in tight spaces or move around freely.
  • Quick Setup: No need to fuss with hoses or cords. Just grab your nail gun, load it up, and you’re ready to go.
  • Versatility: Cordless nail guns are often versatile, able to handle various nail sizes and materials, making them suitable for a range of applications.
  • Reduced Noise: While not completely silent, cordless nail guns tend to be quieter than their pneumatic counterparts, which can be a significant advantage in certain environments.


  • Battery Life: The primary limitation of cordless nail guns is their reliance on batteries. Depending on the model and the size of the battery, you may need to recharge or swap batteries frequently, which can interrupt workflow.
  • Power: While cordless nail guns have come a long way in terms of power, some pneumatic models still offer higher driving force, especially for heavy-duty applications.
  • Cost: Cordless nail guns tend to be more expensive upfront due to the cost of batteries and chargers. However, this cost may be offset by the convenience and productivity gains they offer over time.

Pneumatic Milwaukee Nail Guns

For those seeking maximum power and reliability, Milwaukee’s pneumatic nail guns deliver unrivalled performance. These guns harness the force of compressed air to drive nails with precision and speed, making them ideal for heavy-duty applications and prolonged use. Whether you’re tackling large-scale framing projects or demanding construction tasks, the pneumatic design ensures consistent driving force without the need for recharging batteries.

Milwaukee’s pneumatic nail guns are engineered for durability, featuring rugged construction and high-quality components that withstand the rigours of daily use. With the ability to drive nails into even the toughest materials effortlessly, these guns are the go-to choice for professional contractors and tradespeople who demand the best.


  • Power: Pneumatic nail guns are generally more powerful than their cordless counterparts, making them suitable for heavy-duty tasks and driving larger nails into tougher materials.
  • Continuous Operation: As long as you have an air compressor running, a pneumatic nail gun can operate continuously without the need to recharge or swap batteries.
  • Consistent Performance: Pneumatic nail guns tend to provide consistent performance throughout the job since they’re not reliant on battery charge levels.
  • Cost: While there’s an initial investment in an air compressor for pneumatic a nail guns, nail guns themselves are often more affordable than cordless models.


  • Portability: The biggest downside of pneumatic nail guns is their lack of portability. You’re tethered to an air compressor, which can limit your range of movement and make working in tight spaces more challenging.
  • Setup: Setting up a pneumatic nail gun involves connecting hoses, adjusting air pressure, and ensuring proper lubrication, which can be more time-consuming compared to simply grabbing a cordless nail gun and getting to work.
  • Noise: Pneumatic nail guns can be quite loud, especially when paired with a powerful air compressor. This noise level may not be suitable for all work environments.

Cost Implication and Maintenance

Milwaukee Cordless Nail Guns Cost and Maintenance


  • Mobility and Convenience: Cordless nail guns provide unmatched mobility and convenience as they do not rely on air compressors or power cords. This can result in time savings and increased productivity on job sites.
  • Versatility: They can be used in various environments without the need for access to electricity or air compressors, making them suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications.
  • Lower Operational Costs: While they may have a higher initial cost, cordless nail guns generally have lower operational costs since they don’t require electricity to power an air compressor.


  • Higher Initial Cost: Cordless nail guns tend to have a higher upfront investment compared to pneumatic models due to the inclusion of battery technology.
  • Battery Dependency: They rely on rechargeable batteries, which have a limited runtime and may require recharging or replacement, adding to long-term ownership costs.
  • Maintenance Concerns: While they generally have lower maintenance requirements, cordless nail guns still require occasional cleaning, lubrication, and battery care, which could add to overall maintenance costs.

Milwaukee Pneumatic Nail Guns Cost and Maintenance


  • Lower Initial Cost: Pneumatic nail guns typically have a lower upfront cost since they don’t include batteries or electronic components.
  • Continuous Operation: They can be used continuously without downtime for battery charging, making them suitable for extended use.
  • Lower Long-Term Maintenance Costs: While they may require more frequent maintenance, pneumatic nail guns often have lower long-term maintenance costs due to their simpler design.


  • Dependency on Air Compressor: Pneumatic nail guns require an air compressor, which adds to the initial setup cost and may limit mobility on job sites.
  • Operational Costs: They consume electricity to power the air compressor, which could result in higher operational costs depending on electricity rates and compressor efficiency.
  • Maintenance Complexity: Pneumatic nail guns may require more frequent maintenance, including lubrication, cleaning, and replacement of worn parts, which could increase overall maintenance efforts and costs.
FeatureMilwaukee Cordless Nail GunMilwaukee Pneumatic Nail Gun
Setup TimeQuick and straightforward, requiring minimal setupSetup involves connecting to air compressor, which may take time to build pressure
MaintenanceMinimal maintenance required, occasional battery checksRegular maintenance needed for air compressor, including lubrication and cleaning of the tool
CostHigher initial cost due to battery technology and electronicsLower initial cost, but potential long-term operational and maintenance costs associated with air compressor
A comparison of the setup time, maintenance requirements, and cost considerations between Milwaukee Cordless and Pneumatic Nail Guns.

Our Best Sellers

Milwaukee M18 FFN-0C 18V Fuel First Fix Angled Nail Gun (Body Only)

Milwaukee 18V Fuel First Fix Angled Nail Gun (Body Only)

The Milwaukee M18FFN-0C FUEL framing nail gun will not let you down! With best in class power it consistently seats nails sub-flush to material surface in hardwoods. Designed to deliver durability and reliability for the most demanding users. Compatible with 50 to 90mm nails including 90mm ring shank EURO 5 nails. Work faster and more efficiently due to the integrated ready to fire technology which eliminates ramp-up time and the bump fire feature for faster nail fires. Able to fire up to 700 nails on one 5.0Ah battery

Milwaukee M18 FN18GS-0X 18V Fuel Straight Second Fix Nail Gun (Body Only)

The Milwaukee M18 FN18GS FUEL™ 18ga Straight Finish Nailer offers the best-in-class power to consistently seat nails sub-flush to the surface in hardwoods. Ready to Fire Nail Technology eliminates ramp-up time between each nail discharge. Different designed noses stored on board, allow the user to get the best finish no matter what the application. The cordless design means that there are no gas cartridges and no cleaning required. Delivers durability and reliability to the most demanding users with very little maintenance. The small work contact bracket allows the user to fire and sink nails at a more acute angle. Leaves a smaller nail hole, the exact size of the nail head leaving a neater finish.

Milwaukee M18 18V Fuel Straight Second Fix Nail Gun (Body Only)

Milwaukee M18 FN16GA-0X 18V Fuel 16 Ga Angled Second Fix Finish Nailer (Body Only)

Milwaukee M18 18V Fuel 16 Ga Angled Second Fix Finish Nailer (Body Only)

The Milwaukee M18 FN16GA-0X is an 18V cordless finish nailer with powerful brushless motor and a REDLINK PLUS™ intelligence hardware and software – which deliver outstanding power, run time and durability on the jobsite. The nailer is compatible with all Milwaukee M18 Batteries. It fires up to 1200 nails per charge on a REDLITHIUM™ 2.0 Ah battery pack for maximum productivity.


What are the main differences between Cordless and Pneumatic Nail Guns?

Cordless Nail Guns are powered by rechargeable batteries, offering greater mobility and convenience, while Pneumatic Nail Guns are powered by compressed air, usually requiring an air compressor to operate.
Cordless Nail Guns are generally more portable and suitable for use in areas where access to power sources or air compressors is limited. Pneumatic Nail Guns are typically more powerful and can handle heavier-duty tasks.

What type of air compressor is suitable for Milwaukee Pneumatic Nail Guns?

Milwaukee Pneumatic Nail Guns require an air compressor capable of delivering sufficient air pressure and volume to operate the nail gun effectively. Refer to the nail gun’s specifications for recommended air compressor requirements.

How do I maintain my Milwaukee Nail Gun?

Regular maintenance is essential for keeping your Nail Gun in optimal condition. This includes cleaning the Nail Gun after each use, lubricating moving parts as recommended by the manufacturer, and periodically inspecting for any signs of wear or damage.

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