SENCO F-35FRHXP 18V Cordless 3 1/2″ Cordless Framing Nailer Review
This tool review will focus on the excellent new F-35FRHXP 18V cordless framing nailer from SENCO. What this tool brings to the table is a robust 20°, 3 1/2″ full round head, plastic collated, nailer design with an 18V battery system. What’s missing in the equation? Fue cells, gas cartridges, rubber hoses, and all that other nonsense. The F-35FRHXP offers outstanding power and performance without the hassle of being tethered to an air hose.
SENCO is a company with a long history of designing innovative products. Since 1935, SENCO has provided manufacturers and contractors with exceptional fastening tools. In 2010 the company’s Fusion technology first debuted with a line of cordless finish nailers. Fusion provides instant trigger response with no ramp-up time. Although I have no experience with the original SENCO Fusion tools, the F-35FRHXP is undoubtedly the pinnacle of this technology.
- Bare Tool Weight: 9.96 Lbs.
- Height: 14 3/8″
- Length: 14 5/8″
- Width: 4 11/16″
- Warranty: 5 Year Tool / 1 Year Battery
- Battery Size: 3.0 Ah
- Fasteners Per Charge: 600
- Nail Capacity: 35
- Strip Type: 20° Full Round Head Plastic Collated
- Smooth Shank Size Range: 2 1/4″-3 1/2″
- Ring Shank Size Range: 2″-3″
Standout Features of the SENCO F-35FRHXP
Fusion Air Technology
The SENCO Fusion technology uses a compressed air cylinder to drive nails. During my testing, I drove a case of 3 1/4″ smooth shank nails on a framing project. During this time period, I did not experience a single failure to drive the nail to the set depth. The F-35FRHXP shoots nails with power and authority, regardless of material. I experienced no issues in traditional framing lumber as well as LVLs. The Fusion technology also has zero ramp-up time and will fire a nail as fast as you can work the trigger.
The manual does not specifically state a recommended service interval for the Fusion system. However if the user experiences a drop in pressure, the manual recommends bringing the tool to a SENCO authorized service center.
The SENCO nailer features two main modes of operation. The first is sequential operation, where the front contact element of the tool must be reset and depressed in order to fire each nail. The other is contact actuation, or bump fire, where the trigger is held down and pressing the contact tip of the tool against the material fires the nail. These two modes are standard across the board for all framing nailers.
A single selector switch is used to turn on, turn off, and also cycle through the modes for the F-35FRHXP. As you can see in the picture above, the switch is backlit with a green light when the tool is on. In order to change modes, the switch gets to the right for contact activation and to the left for sequential. When switched over to contact actuation, the green light will stay flashing. This is a great visual indicator to warn the user of what mode the tool is set for when picking it up. Changing modes was a little clunky at first and I found myself mashing the button out of frustration. However, with more time on the tool, it became simple and intuitive.
Adjustable Rafter Hook
SENCO incorporated a six-position rafter hook at the base of the grip for their cordless framing nailer. The hook will sit flush with the front housing of the tool and then rotate all the way around to the opposite side of the tool. There are six positive detents spaced out along that travel path. The hook is made from thick aluminum and easily hangs from joists and rafters. It feels too large for me to use as a belt hook. I can easily slip it onto my framing belt but found it would dig into my waist or back. I much preferred using it as a rafter hook. The hook is also removable.
Rugged Contact Tip
A contact tip with some grab to it is extremely desirable in a framing nailer. The F-35FRHXP features a rugged steel contact tip with very pronounced tines. These do a good job overall of grabbing the material surface, but aren’t as aggressive, or angled, as traditional pneumatic framing nailers.
A plastic cover is included with the contact tip as well. This cover protects the surface of the material from damage and prevents gauges. The cover locks in place very solidly and did not come off at all during use.
SENCO Cordless Framing Nailer
Overall this is an excellent cordless framing nailer. But that brings up the question, who needs a cordless framing nailer? Is this a full replacement for a framing crew? No. It is not. However, it is an excellent supplemental tool for framing contractors. The SENCO is heavy. All of that power and portability come at a cost. At almost ten pounds as a bare tool, the F-35FRHXP would wreak havoc on the arms and shoulders of a framer using it all day every day. It also can’t keep up with the productivity of a coil nailer. But for harder-to-access areas and quick jobs, the SENCO is an excellent complement.
Remodeling contractors would also greatly benefit from the portability of the SENCO. The ability to shoot a full-size framing nail without the need for hoses and compressors is invaluable. It means lugging fewer tools into a house and saving time on your set-up and tear-down for each job. Small framing remodels, installing nailers for showers, nailing together beams, are all perfect applications for this tool.
Price and Availability
Currently, the SENCO cordless framing nailer is available for $549.99 as a kit only. That kit price includes the nailer itself, a SENCO branded tool bag, battery charger, and two 18V 3.0 Ah batteries. This is a costly investment on the front end, but there are no long-term costs, such as gas cartridges, for the life of the tool. SENCO’s current market price is about a hundred dollars more than comparable cordless nailers, such as the Milwaukee FUEL, however, the SENCO includes two batteries. This allows one battery to be used in the tool while the other is charging. The extra battery I think adds to the value of an excellent quality tool.
Follow the Buy Now link below to purchase the SENCO cordless framing nailer from our friends at ACME Tool.
3 1/2″ Cordless Full Round Head Plastic Collated Framing Nailer
Overall Impressions of the SENCO F-35FRHXP
SENCO clearly put a lot of thought, effort, and engineering into their new cordless framing nailer. The F-35FRHXP is a powerful and robust tool that is made for professional use. The best way I can describe it is Tank Like. Two areas of concern I have are the overall size and bulk of the tool as well as the cost of the tool vs. the lack of additional tools on the platform. In the words of Boris the Blade, “Heavy is good. Heavy is reliable.”, but my orthopedic surgeon doesn’t want to hear that and neither do my shoulders. If the F-35FRHXP could be slimmed down it would greatly improve its usefulness.
In terms of the SENCO battery platform, the only other available tools are cordless finish nailers. Most users are trying to remain on the least amount of battery platforms possible. However, the power and performance of the SENCO framing nailer make an additional platform manageable in my opinion. I experienced no jams at all during my time testing the tool. This includes shooting a case of SENCO branded nails as well as others. SENCO claims that each of its batteries can shoot up to 600 nails on a single charge. I did not come close to this mark during use, instead, this tool shined in intermittent or occasional use where I did not want to lug a compressor and pneumatic setup. The F-35FRHXP is more than capable to be pressed into a full-time framing role if needed.
Overall this is a reliable and capable cordless framing nailer and I would expect nothing less from SENCO. As an industry leader in the world of pneumatic tools, I am glad to see SENCO giving as much attention to detail to their cordless Fusion platform. The F-35FRHXP is a great example of the passion that SENCO has and I look forward to seeing what tools are added to the line in the future.