PORTER-CABLE FR350A vs FR350B Review

Porter-Cable has been around since 1906 and they’ve been making power nailers for over two decades.Let’s look at these two framing nailers and decide which model will be the right tool for your next project.

PORTER-CABLE FR350A

PORTER-CABLE FR350A

FR350B

FR350B

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PORTER-CABLE FR350A Round Head 2-Inch to 3-1/2-Inch Framing Nailer

When the FR350A emerged on the scene about a decade ago it had features that delighted contractors. Let’s look at this tried-and-true nailer now.

Advantages of the FR350A

  • It’s ideal for structural nailing because it accepts .113 to .148-inch diameter nails measuring from 2 to 3-1/2 inches long. The .148-inch diameter nails are often required in areas like California where their building codes are more demanding.
  • It’s marked as accepting 22-degree plastic collated full round head nails, but users say it takes 20, 21, and 22-degree magazines without jamming. Many modern nailers are locked into only one angle and don’t have this flexibility.
  • The magazine holds two strips, or up to 64 nails.This is four more than the FR350B can hold.
  • There is a depth adjustment wheel with detents so the user can sink nails flush or countersink without having to do guesswork with compressor pressure.
  • A selector dial built into the trigger changes the gun from sequential fire to bump action. Bump action fires a nail each time the tip contacts the surface as long as the user holds down the trigger.
  • The tip has clawed points for toe-nailing and a removable no-mar tip to protectfinished surfaces. This is a nice addition as not all framing nailers come with a no-mar tip.
  • The no-mar tip has a storage place near the bottom of the handle so that it doesn’t get lost when it’s not in use.
  • The exhaust deflector rotates to 8 different positions.
  • Dry-fire lockout stops the nailer when only 4 nails are left.
  • The nailer comes with a 1/4-inch quick connect coupler for the air hose and runs on 70-120psi.
  • It weighs only 7.7 pounds, less than many other framing nailers on the market.
  • Porter-Cable offers a 90-day money-back satisfaction guarantee, a 1-year free service contract, and a 3-year limited warranty.

 Disadvantages of the FR350A

  • If a nail jams it is difficult to clear. Users have to resort to using tools like a ¼-inch punch and hammer, pliers, and a hex wrench. If the jam is bad, they may have to partially disassemble the nailer.
  • When the dry-fire lockout kicks on, the user wastes the last four nails because they must be removed from the nailer in order to load a new magazine.
  • The exhaust deflector of the FR350A has only eight positions instead of the 16 that the FR350B has.
  • On the FR350A, the selector for single to contact firing is tiny and difficult to access as it is built into the trigger. A user must remove their hand and pop the small dial out to use it. This is more complicated and slower to use than the selector on the FR350B, and almost impossible to do while wearing gloves.

PORTER-CABLE FR350B 3-1/2-Inch Full Round Framing Nailer

This is the newer model of the FR350. Let’s see how it measures up to the older nailer.

 Advantages of the FR350B

  • The FR350B is lighter than the FR350A by almost half a pound.
  • It also accepts 2 to 3-1/2-inch plastic collated full round head nails measuring from .113 to .148 inches, so it can be used in areas with building codes that demand the thicker nails.
  • The magazine officially accepts 22-degree strips, but users have run the nailer with 20 and 21 degree magazines too. This makes it possible to use a wider assortment of nails.
  • Dry-fire lockout stops the nailer when only 4 nails are left.
  • The ¼-inch connector comes pre-installed unlike the connector on the FR350A. The nailer runs at 70-120 psi.
  • There is a depth adjustment wheel with detents, or presets, that makes it easier to sink or countersink nails without guesswork at the compressor.
  • The selector for sequential fire or bump fire is located above the trigger instead of on it. This is a design improvement over the FR350A. It doesn’t require removing the user’s hand or taking off gloves to make changes.
  • The tip is sharply clawed for toe-nailing and the no-mar pad stores neatly on-board so it doesn’t get lost when it’s not being used.
  • The FR350B has a new rafter hook which allows the nailer to hang on either the right or left side. The FR350A has no hook.
  • The exhaust deflector now rotates to 16 positions, double that of the FR350A.
  • Porter-Cable offers a 90-day money-back satisfaction guarantee, a 1-year free service contract, and a 3-year limited warranty.

 Disadvantages of the FR350B

  • Oddly, although it is lighter in weight at 7.3 pounds, it is slightly larger in size compared to the FR350A.
  • The difficulty in clearing nail jams is the same. It may require the use of tools and partial disassembly of the nailer.
  • The magazine holds up to 60 nails, 4 less than the FR350A.
  • The last four nails left over after the dry-fire lockout kicks in have to be removed before loading the next magazine and are wasted.

Conclusion

Here’s how to choose—let’s see which details make one of the nailers right for you.

If you want a nailer that contractors have used for over a decade, go with the FR350A.It’s been tested and tried and found to be a real pro’s tool. It’s slightly smaller than the FR350B, and the FR350A holds more nails in its magazine than the FR350B does.

If you’d like a newer model with some updated design features, go with the FR350B. If you do a lot of overhead nailing, the F350B is lighter in weight. It’s also easier to keep the exhaust out of your face because the deflector rotates to twice as many positions. And if you often switch from single shot to contact nailing, the FR350B makes it easy to change between the two modes.

 

Click here to purchase PORTER-CABLE FR350A on Amazon!

 

Click here to purchase PORTER-CABLE FR350B on Amazon!

 

 

 

 

 

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