Nailers

NuMax SFL618 Review: Affordable Pneumatic Flooring Nailer

NuMax SFL618 Review

Photo: swbah.com

What We Like

  • Affordable
  • Strong and durable construction
  • 3-in-1 nail gun for T-Cleats, L-Cleats, and Staples
  • Ergonomic long handle
  • Magazine cover for quick and smooth feeding

What We Don’t Like

  • Lacks a reload indicator

Bottom Line

An affordable pneumatic flooring nailer that has 3-in-1 versatile functionality, and is ideal for beginners or DIYers.

Introduction

DIY hardwood floor installation does not have to be an expensive venture. With NuMax’s SFL618, you get a practical and versatile nailer that is very affordable.

As such, it checks all the boxes for DIY installation, as well as for beginner use. Let’s dive into the review below to learn more about this tool.

NuMax SFL618 Review

NuMax SFL618

Photo: NuMax

Performance: 3-in-1 Tool

Though very affordable, NuMax’s SFL618 is a multi-purpose tool that can punch in staples, T, and L cleats. This allows you to install different types of floors because cleats are better for hardwood boards while staples are better for softwood (they can split hardwood).

That said, the nailer’s magazine has a capacity of 90-120 staples and is compatible with 15.5-gauge glue collated 0.5-inch crown staples that range from 1.5-2 inches long.

If using cleats, the magazine can fit either 100 T cleats or 100 L cleats and these must be 16-gauge glue collated with a length of 1.5-2 inches.

This magazine has a cover that gives smoother and faster feeding while its semi-quick release mechanism gives you easy access to the drive blade to clear any jamming, in case it happens.

The underside is fitted with an interchangeable base plate and two are included in the kit to allow you to work on 1/2-3/4-inch tongue and groove flooring boards.

While punching in the staples or cleats, this underside is smoothened out and has a no-mar design that will not scratch the wood boards. This ensures you get a smooth, high-quality finish at the end of the installation process.

Design & Construction: Solid Frame with an Ergonomic Handle

The NuMax SFL618 is solidly built using die-cast aluminum to form the main frame structure. It also has heat-treated steel parts that are very durable.

Aside from that, the unit comes with an ergonomic detachable handle, which is designed to keep you from bending too much and hurting your back.

This handle is fitted with a rubber grip to give a non-slip hold as you install the floorboards, and this section is curved away from the hammer cap to give you enough space in the work area.

Versatility: Works with Multiple Cleat and Staple Sizes

Apart from being able to work with staples, L cleats, and T cleats, NuMax’s SFL618 can hold different sizes of these fasteners, which can be 1.5 - 2 inches long.

This enables you to fasten thin 3/4-inch flooring using the shorter 1.5-inch size while the thicker 1/2-inch boards can be fixed with the longer 2-inch fastener.

That said, you can opt to add on the Freeman PFNRB roller base converter to this nailer, which increases versatility and productivity while reducing fatigue during the installation process.

The converter attaches to the bottom of the nailer and is fitted with non-slip wheels that enhance accuracy by placing the SFL618 firmly on one spot.

Additionally, it has self-adjusting rollers, which eliminate the need for a base plate, and these are ideal for the installation of 5/16 to 3/4-inch tongue and groove floorboards.

Ease of Use: Quick Loading

While punching in the cleats and staples using the included white rubber mallet is pretty straight forward, it is important to check how easy it is to load and unload the fasteners. With the SFL618, this process is very quick and easy.

Loading either cleats or staples requires you to connect the tool to the compressor, pull the magazine’s pusher to the back then lock it in place using the lock button. Next, insert the strip of staples, T, or L cleats into the magazine from the top.

Press the lock button to release the pusher, which should slide forward and engage the fasteners. That’s it; you are ready to go. However, remember that you can only fit up to 100 cleats or up to 120 cleats at a time.

After the work is done, unloading the remaining fasteners is also an easy process because you only have to disconnect the tool from the compressor, pull the pusher back and lock it using the lock button then unload the cleats or staples and that’s it.

Other than that, changing the footplate is also quite easy. The nailer comes pre-installed with the 3/4-inch footplate but you can remove it by first disconnecting the unit from the air source then emptying the magazine. Fire the tool away from you to release any pressure.

Set the tool on its side to expose the footplate and its screws. Undo the screws then fit in the 1/2-inch plate or the Freeman PFNRB roller base converter as explained above, and you’re good to go.  

Note: Before use, make sure the air pressure is within the limits of 70-110 PSI and do a couple of tests before getting into the project.

Price: Affordable   

Most pneumatic flooring nailers cost about $200 or more and therefore, the NuMax SFL618 is very affordable because it costs just slightly above $100. However, this does not mean it is sub-standard.

In fact, apart from being a versatile 3-in-1 nailer, it includes air tool oil and adjustment tools in the set to give you more value for your money.

That said, within NuMax’s lineup of pneumatic flooring nailers, there are 3 more units but two of the closest ones to the model under review are the NuMax S50LSDH and S18GLCNDH.

The S50LSDH is slightly cheaper than the SFL618 but it is a 2-in-1 nailer that can only work with 16-gauge L cleats and 15-5-gauge 0.5-inch crown staples.

On the other hand, the S18GLCNDH is slightly more expensive because it has an ergonomic dual handle design plus it comes with 3 interchangeable plates for working on 3/8 to 3/4-inch flooring boards.

It also has an anti-dust cap for protecting the internal components from debris but is only compatible with 18-gauge 1.25 - 1.75-inch L cleats.

Verdict

An affordable but versatile pneumatic flooring nailer that is suitable for beginners and DIYers. 

With its 3-in-1 multifunction design, NuMax’s SFL618 is very versatile and in addition to this, it can handle fasteners of different sizes. Being very affordable, this makes it the ideal choice for beginners and DIYers.

Find Other Options: The Best Flooring Nailers

Specs

  • Product Name: NuMax SFL618
  • Product Brand: NuMax
  • Operating Pressure: 70-110 PSI
  • Fastener Gauge: Staples: 15.5 GA/ T and L Cleats: 16 GA
  • Magazine Capacity: 90 – 120 Staples, 100 T-Cleats, and 100 L-Cleats
  • Fastener Crown: 0.5 inches
  • Fastener Range: 1.5-2 inches
  • Dimensions: 15.13 x 3.5 x 21.38 inches
  • Weight: 12 lbs.
  • Warranty: 1-year limited for the tool, 30 days for the wearable parts

Key Features

  • Sturdy aluminum construction with heat-treated steel parts.
  • Magazine cover with a semi-quick release mechanism.
  • Long ergonomic handle with a rubber grip.
  • Two interchangeable no-mar base plates.
  • Includes a white rubber mallet, air tool oil, and adjustment tools.
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