Porter Cable PCC790LA Cordless Nailer Review


The Porter Cable PCC790LA cordless nailer is one of the recent crop of cordless nailers on the market, including offerings from brands such as Ryobi, Ridgid, DeWalt and others.

This is an 18 gauge ‘brad’ nailer, so just the tool you need for attaching trim, baseboards, crown moulding or tacking together wood to hold it in position while glue dries for example. We used ours to tack together 4 simple bird boxes for the garden recently, and hold drawer faces in place prior to attaching with screws for example. We’ve also used it to re-attach window and baseboard trim.

Depending on your needs, Porter Cable also offers 16 gauge (heavier nails) and stapler versions of this tool. The 18 gauge is probably the most versatile size and type though.

Compared to the Ridgid and Dewalt cordless nailers, (I’m a big DeWalt fan/user for most of my other tools), this Porter Cable nailer is good value, regular price from most DIY stores is around $279-$299 (CAD) but they do get down to $229 sometimes at Lowes and Amazon.ca. Check out this nailer on Amazon now (currently on sale at $229 CAD!)

For the average home user, the Porter Cable PCC790LA is easily up to most DIY tasks you’ll throw at it, such as nailing trim, baseboards and so on. For more ‘pro’ level use you’d probably want to look at the DeWalt 20v unit, or consider a traditional compressor nailer.

For the ‘weekend warrior’ DIY/home user, we’d say cordless is the way to go – nice and portable, you can just grab the tool and do your nailing job and be done with it. No compressors, hoses, compressor noise or hassle – just charge the battery, drive your nails and enjoy. Probably the biggest benefit of using a cordless nailer is not being tied to a compressor.

What’s in the Box?

In the box you get the Porter Cable PCC790LA cordless nailer, one Porter 20v battery, charger and a small selection of brad nails to get you started. There’s no case or storage bag.

I’ve sunk maybe 800-1,000 nails with this nailer so far, varying nail lengths from 3/4″ to full 2″, into 1x and 2x pine, 3/4″ ply and some 1/2″ mdf while building various things and it’s worked almost flawlessly – just two missfeeds, all the nails sunk to uniform depth no issues at all. I’ve been left wondering how on earth I coped without this tool!

The two jams/missfeeds we experienced with this nailer were easily cleared – remove the battery for safety, open the nail magazine and then simply open the top latched ‘inspection hatch’ – both times I found a nail hadn’t quite fed up enough, so I used the tip of a small slot head screwdriver to push the nail out. Close everything up, battery pack back on and you’re ready to nail again.

There’s no ‘bump’ mode on this nailer like the more industrial level compressor ones, initially I thought it was a feature I’d like for faster work, but honestly for my simple needs I just don’t miss having it – being forced to go slower and a bit more carefully is actually a benefit for me.

Watch the video below for a more visual review of features and a demo, and then read on for our likes/dislikes of the Porter Cable PCC790LA Cordless Nailer :

What We Liked About the Porter Cable PCC790LA Cordless Nailer:

🙂 The safety in the handle is pretty fiddly – but effective – I have young kids and while they don’t play with the nailer, I’m glad of the extra safeguard. I keep the battery away from the tool when it’s not in use and unload it anyway just in case.

🙂 Battery life with the supplied Porter Cable battery is fine in a home/DIY setting – if you were attaching trim to baseboards all day driving loads of nails you may want to invest in second battery to avoid any downtime though. Mine ran flat around 350-400 nails with the supplied battery pack.

🙂 The nailer is super easy to use – I was testing it out literally right out of the box. Just plug the battery on, drop in a row of nails and close up the magazine, safety off and push the tip against the work surface. Squeezing the trigger spins up the motor for maybe a second and sinks the nail.

🙂 It’s surprisingly quiet to use as well – a little whirring when you pull the trigger, a ‘thwack’ as the nail sinks.

🙂 Takes a little getting used to versus air-powered nailers, due to the delay of about 1 second between you pulling the trigger and it driving the nail. There’s two fairly bright front-facing led lights which are very handy for nailing in a dimly lit garage or corner, these activate as you pull the trigger to light the way.

🙂 The depth gauge is a bit fiddly and feels a bit plasticky/imprecise, but it works well. The nailer feels decent quality overall, not super heavy duty but feels like it’ll last. It’s fairly weighty (it was a bit overly heavy for my wife to use overhead), but the balance is nice and you need the weight to counteract the force of the nail being sunk. Feels solid and stable to use.

What We Didn’t Like About the Porter Cable PCC790LA Cordless Nailer:

🙁 Minor con – there’s no bag or case supplied – I like to take care of my tools and having a bag like the Dewalt ones with this would have been nice to keep everything together tidily.

Overall we’d highly recommend this cordless nailer, we think Porter Cable have hit the nail on the head with the PCC790LA (nailed it!?) – bad puns aside, this nailer is good build quality, works great and a good price relative to the competition.

If you’re looking for an 18ga cordless nailer I don’t think you’ll beat this without spending a lot more $, it’s perfect for the homeowner and diy-er. Check the price on Amazon.ca now.