Paslode Framing Nailer Reviews: which is the best? 
This Paslode Framing Nailer review looks at how the Paslode 1st fix gas nailer has evolved over the years, explores the differences between the latest options – highlighting their advantages and disadvantages – and ultimately helps you decide which model is best for you.
History of Paslode
Using a combination of gas from a small fuel cell and the spark from a battery, the patented ‘impulse technology’ produced incredible power, capable of firing a 90mm long nail with no compressors, hoses, or cords.
For the next 20 years, there was just one first fix cordless gas nail gun option and a single brand of fuel and nail packs.
At the end of the 20 years patent period, other manufacturers started to enter the market with their own versions of the Paslode impulse cordless nailers. Very similar copies were launched that fired identical nails with exactly the same design of fuel cell.
Paslode had previously enjoyed a comfortable period with no competition, but now the marketplace is getting more and more congested. Alternative brands of gas nailers were being launched, notably by Hitachi and Makita, but more worryingly for Paslode, numerous different types of nail and fuel packs were becoming available that were compatible with their nail guns!
Why are there two types of Paslode Gas Framing Nailers?
Following the expiry of their impulse patent and subsequent market congestion, Paslode realised that they had to raise the bar, by immediately instructing their research and development team to develop the next generation in cordless nailing technology.
In 2008, the SERIES-i IM90i was launched into the UK market, offering key features and benefits over the original IM350 Nailer as well as alternative brands.
The main improvements were not only based around the tool, but also the nails and fuel canisters, notably:
- 30% more power, capable of fully driving a 90mm ring shank nail
- New patented self-locating fuel cell with cold weather performance
- LED indicators showing remaining fuel, power and when it’s time for a clean
- Full round nail head, as opposed to a clipped head, for improved aesthetics and stronger fix
The brand new patented fuel cell was a different shape and could only be used with the upgraded Paslode SERIES-i gas nailing machines. In other words, the two Paslode 1st Fix Nail Guns required different nail and fuel packs.
In truth, the nails were interchangeable between old and new, but the gas canisters were most certainly not. To avoid confusion in the marketplace, the obvious solution would have been to kill-off the original IM350 Nailer, but concerns over losing market share meant that the two different Paslode first fix platforms were to be produced and made available side-by-side.
This is still the situation that remains today, with the most recent models.
What are the latest Paslode Gas Framing Nailers?
After very little change over more than 20 years, the Paslode Gas Framing Nail Guns have evolved considerably more recently.
Competition from other tool manufacturers has certainly kicked the Paslode research and development department into gear, now constantly looking for improvements to set themselves apart from their competition.
You can see below how the two different platforms, IM350 and SERIES-i, have changed with the introduction of new upgraded versions.
The tools on the right are the very latest models available in the UK, as of April 2021.
What is the difference between IM350, IM350+ and IM350+ Lithium?
The major changes were implemented when the original IM350 was replaced by the first IM350+. New technology improved reliability and increased service intervals. There was also a rubber soft grip handle for user comfort and a more effective nose probe.
Apart from a handful of other little tweaks, the internal workings of the two nail guns were very similar.
The IM350+ Lithium quickly followed its predecessor, largely driven by NiCad batteries being phased out in the UK, replaced by a better performing and more ecological lithium battery.
The improved battery was designed to allow the user to mechanically turn their framing nailer on or off. With the older models, there was no on/off facility, unless the battery was completely removed.
The latest battery eliminated the potential for accidental firing and was also compatible with other Paslode nail guns, including the SERIES-i framing nailers, brad nailers and positive placement nailer.
The IM90i, IM360Ci and 360Xi nail guns are compatible with the SERIES-i range of nail and fuel packs.
What is the difference between IM90i, IM360Ci and 360Xi?
I recall when the IM90i was replaced by the IM360Ci thinking… ‘what’s the point?’ I couldn’t fathom why Paslode had bothered. There was very little difference between the two nail guns in terms of features and performance. The latest SERIES-i platform upgrade, which is the brand new Paslode 360Xi, does have tangible benefits though:
- Reduced weight from 3.8kg to 3.6kg
- Improved balance for reduced fatigue
- Quick release magazine preventing nail jams
- Upgraded housing with improved rubber grip
- New battery position for easier change
- Belt or rafter hook can be placed on the left or right
It’s apparent that the best innovative ideas have been reserved for the SERIES-i tools, with the aim to encourage users to switch platforms.
From a commercial perspective, this makes sense as sales in the future for Paslode branded nail packs are guaranteed, due to their exclusive captive gas cell system. At the end of the day, users have two options with Paslode First Fix Framing Nailers.
“Buy the best performing nail gun, but only have the option of using genuine Paslode branded nail and fuel packs or compromise on useful features and benefits and have the option to use any brand of nail and fuel packs.” Craig Sanders – Joint Managing Director.
What are the main differences between IM350+ and 360Xi Paslode Gas Framing Nailers?
The key features and benefits that were added to the original SERIES-i nail gun remain today with the cold weather performance, down to a staggering -15°C, being pertinent in the UK.
Another useful and unique feature of the 360Xi, and other SERIES-i nail guns, is their ability to fire NailScrews. The countersunk ‘screw’ is fired-in like a nail but can be removed and reinstalled like a traditional woodscrew.
The comparison table below shows the specifications for the two latest Paslode 1st fix framing nailers.
|Material||Wood & board materials||Wood & board materials|
|Nail Length Range||50 – 90 mm||50 – 90 mm|
|Nail Type||Up to 75mm ring shank nail
90mm smooth or part ring shank nail
|Up to 90mm ring shank nail
Up to 75mm nail screw
|Head Type||Clipped head nail||Full round head nail & TX15 Nail Screw|
|Fuel Type||IM350 fuel cell||SERIES-i fuel cell|
|Power Impact Force||82J||105J|
|Operating Temperature||0°C to +49°C||-15°C to +49°C|
|Shots Per Battery Charge||9000||13000|
|Shots Per Second||2 – 3 nails||2 – 3 nails|
|Shots Per Hour||1,000 nails||1,000 nails|
|Battery Charge Time||90 mins||90 mins|
|Magazine Type / Capacity||Fixed / 55 nails||Quick release / 47 nails|
|HAV Vibration||2.6 m/s²||3.9 m/s²|
|Sound Pressure Level||89 dB(A)||95 dB(A)|
|Weight||3.3 kg||3.6 kg|
Paslode Framing Nailer Review: The Verdict
Our Paslode Framing Nailer review has now reached the verdict!
For optimum performance and usability, we would say that the 360Xi is the best 1st fix cordless gas framing nailer available. This decision is not just considering the two Paslode options, but all brands of cordless gas nail guns.
When it comes to the fastenings, SERIES-i nail and fuel packs cost slightly less than like-for-like sized Paslode branded IM350 packs, but there is now a raft of alternative branded nail and fuel packs for the IM350, available in the UK, some costing significantly less than the premium consumables manufactured by Paslode.
One word of caution though; many ‘copy’ nails out there contain very poor-quality gas canisters that prematurely clog-up the nail gun and compromise performance and reduce service intervals.
Potentially, the savings you make on purchasing the copy fastenings are lost in the future for additional servicing, repairs, and downtimes.
Another key consideration when choosing which Paslode nail gun platform to invest in, is whether the nails are purchased by you or the main contractor on site. If it is the latter, you’ll need to ensure their purchased product is compatible with your tool.
Protrade is a Paslode specialist with a nationwide delivery service, and approved service centre facility. We stock a wide range of Paslode nail guns, nail packs and accessories, such as Paslode batteries and chargers and Paslode staple and fuel packs.
Craig Sanders – Joint Managing Director