21-Degree Cordless DeWalt Framing Nailer DCN21PL

Cordless DeWalt Framing Nailer DCN21PL_4

With the breadth of tools dressed in the iconic yellow and black, it’s hard to believe there wasn’t a 21-degree cordless DeWalt framing nailer, until now. The new DCN21PL brings all the features from the DCN692, but adds the more popular (at least in this region) 21-degree cartridge.

21-Degree Cordless DeWalt Framing Nailer DCN21PL_11

Pneumatic nailers are still the go-to for most framing pros and crews. However, tools like the DCN21PL cordless DeWalt framing nailer offer convenience and portability unmatched by air nailers and their need for gas or electric powered compressors and hoses. This convenience does come at a cost, or costs, which are price and weight.


DCN21PL Cordless DeWalt Framing Nailer Features

21-Degree Magazine

21-Degree Magazine

Shooting a 3-1/4″ x 0.0148″ round-headed framing nail into pressure treated 2x4s takes a bit of power. Typically, this is done with about 90-psi coming from a compressor and airline, tied to a pneumatic nail gun. The DeWalt DCN21PL achieves this same task without the hose or compressor.

This DCN21PL cordless DeWalt framing nailer runs on the 20V Max platform and it includes a brushless motor. DeWalt uses the brushless motor to spin a flywheel, generating the energy to drive a 3-1/4″ nail, deep into pressure treated lumber. Armed with a 4.0Ah 20V Max battery, the DCN21PL is good for firing more than 500 nails on a single charge.

Is Air more your style? Check out the Cordless DeWalt FlexVolt Compressor Review.

DeWalt FlexVolt Air Compressor – DCC2560T1 60V MAX

2-Speeds and Hooked

Taken from its cousin, the DeWalt DCN692, this new DCN21PL includes two speeds for greater flexibility and capability. Speed one can be set to drive 2-inch nails, while the higher speed can handle 2-1/2″ and up plastic collated nails. If you’re working in the trusses, attic, or second story, you can take advantage of the built-in rafter hook. The rafter hook easily slips over any 2x material.

21-Degrees and Not Even Cold

The real beauty of the DCN21PL is the fact that it shoots 21-degree plastic collated nails. In the Southeast (specifically Florida) 21-degree framing nails are much more common, hence they’re cheaper as well. This provides a lower overall cost per shot, compared to a 30 – 34-degree nailer. Of course, other regions of the country may see the opposite is true.


The DCN21PL 20-Volt MAX 21° Plastic Collated Framing Nailer is DEWALT’s first cordless 21° framing nailer. The DCN21PL is capable of driving plastic collated fasteners up to 3-1/4 in. L for use in a variety of applications. The DCN21PL can also drive the largest diameter fastener in framing applications, the 0.0148 in. Dia nail. The upgraded engine design increases power and drive quality compared to previous DEWALT cordless nailers. Its compact shape, well-balanced design and easy to operate features make it a highly productive tool that helps pros get the job done quickly and efficiently.

Firing Modes and Depth

With the flip of a switch, users can switch between sequential or bump-fire modes. This is one area where you will notice a difference between a pneumatic nailer and a cordless. The cordless DeWalt framing nailers use a flywheel that has to be spun up by the brushless motor. This flywheel needs to reach a certain speed before the nail can be fired. When trying to bump fire nails, you do have to wait a few seconds for it to spool-up.

Jam Clearing Lever

Jam Clearing Lever

Setting the depth of the driven nail is simple with the tool-free depth adjustment on the front of the DeWalt DCN21PL. The depth adjustment knob has 11 different positive stops, hence it’s easy to move, yet stays in place.

Dry Fire and Jam Reset

Maximum capacity of the 21-degree magazine is just 49 nails. This means you’ll be replacing nails one stick at a time. Dry-fire lockout protects the nailer from premature failure, and this seems to occur when 7-9 nails are remaining. When you encounter a jam, there is a jam-release lever on the front face of the nailer. Engaging the jam release completes the cycle of the firing mechanism, so the whole process resets and starts over. Actual jammed nails can be removed by loosening 3 screws on the nose piece.

DeWalt 21-degree Framing Nailer Conclusion

Pneumatic nailers still have their place, and for good reason…for now. Mainly, weight and power are still unmatched compared to pneumatic nailers. So, completing big jobs, it makes sense to deal with the hassle of large compressors and air lines. However, anyone doing smaller jobs such as punchouts, the 21-degree cordless DeWalt framing nailer makes perfect sense.

If you’re ready to eliminate the hassle of dragging out a compressor and hoses everytime you have to fasten 2x material, then check out the DeWalt DCN21PL. You can pick up a kit from the Home Depot for just $399.

Rafter Hook

Rafter Hook

21-Degree Cordless DeWalt Framing Nailer DCN21PL Specifications

  • Cordless DeWalt Framing Nailer DCN21PL_10Model: DCN21PLM1 Kit (DCN21PL – tool only)
  • Includes: Tool, Battery, Charger, and Bag
  • Depth (in.): 13.25
  • Height (in.): 16.5
  • Width (in.): 4
  • Weight:
  • Maximum Fastener Size: 3-1/4 in
  • Minimum Fastener Size: 2 in
  • Nailgun Angle: 21
  • Capacity: 49 plastic collated nails
  • Speeds: 2
  • Power Type: 20V MAX
  • Warranty: 3-year Limited
  • MSRP: $399





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