DeWalt DCN680 Review: A Good Cordless Brad Nailer?

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DeWalt DCN680 Review

While other cordless brad nailers out there are too heavy to carry around, the DeWalt DCN680D1 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer Kit has a balanced weight and convenient features for your next DIY project. Built for crown molding, decorative work, and all sorts of molding projects around the house, this powerful tool packs precision for delicate jobs.

So, what are the features of the DeWalt DCN680D1? What are its pros and cons? Let’s find out more about this tool in my review below, which will help you decide whether or not this cordless brad nailer is for you.


Reviewed Product

DeWalt DCN680D1 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer Kit

A premium cordless brad nailer kit packed with great features to protect you and your material. It has a tool-less trigger to toggle between contact or sequential mode, and runs on a brushless motor.


If you’ve previously worked with pneumatic tools, this cordless brad nailer is a great starter. It packs a lot of power, but with great accuracy thanks to its slim profile that would be otherwise too difficult to reach using a pneumatic tool. It’s also built for difficult positions such as crown and trim molding.


When it comes to the specs, this cordless brad nailer accepts 18-gauge nails with a fastener length of 5/8 to 2-1/8 inches. While other brands and models accept only up to 2 inches in length, the extra 1/8 inch is a plus point if you need to work with longer nails.

The tool uses (and comes with) a 20V MAX 2.0 Ah (DCB203) lithium-ion battery. Weighing 5.3 pounds and measuring 10.3 x 11.8 x 3.7 inches, this cordless brad nailer has a balanced weight when compared with most units of the same class.


As with most DeWalt products, this brad nailer comes with a 3-year limited warranty, 1-year of free service, and a 90-day money-back guarantee to put your mind at ease. Aside from that, to uphold its durability and quality, it uses a brushless motor, which helps the tool to run significantly cooler.

When compared to units with carbon brushes, this tool not only has less likelihood of heating up, but it is also less frustrating to maintain because there are no carbon brushes to replace. Brushless motors also run quietly due to fewer mechanical parts.


When it comes to usability, you’ll find the depth adjustment convenient when countersinking nails, since it doesn’t require any tools to use. Other tool-less functions include the jam release and the trigger switch for either sequential or contact actuation mode.

It even has a stall release lever (that’s also tool-less!) in case of stalling, where you would need to reset the driver blade.  With these many tool-less features, you’ll get your job done in no time. Due to its micro nose design, you’ll find it easier to fire nails even in the most cramped situations.

What’s more, it has LED lights that will keep your nails precisely placed even in low-light situations. To help you multitask, the cordless brad nailer also comes with an adjustable belt hook for either left or right mounting. Another plus point for usability is the low nail knockout, which prevents dry firing onto your material.

DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer Kit, 18GA (DCN680D1)

Should You Buy the DeWalt DCN680D1 Cordless Brad Nailer?

Crown molding, decorative molding, home renovation, and simple carpentry projects are among the best uses of the DeWalt DCN680D1.

With its tool-less features, such as jammed nail removal, a trigger switch, depth adjustment, and a staling lever, you’ll have less downtime and finish your project faster, without ruining the material that you’re working on.

If you are still unsure about the decision, go through the below list of the pros and cons of the tool.

Pros of the DeWalt DCN680D1

Let’s start with the pros.

It has a plethora of tool-less functions.

You’ll find its tool-less features convenient when you’re stuck in an awkward position while working on a molding task, such as a crown or trim molding. This includes the depth adjustment, which is useful to make countersinking nails a breeze.

Next, it has a jam release feature to get stuck nails out faster, plus a stall release lever to reduce downtime. Aside from that, its trigger switch is also tool-less so you can conveniently switch between contact actuation and sequential mode, whichever you need at the moment.

There’s a low nail knockout feature.

By having a low nail knockout, you don’t need to worry about accidentally dry firing your cordless brad nailer. After all, no one wants their material bruised from dry firing! In cramped situations where you can’t always see if the magazine needs to be refilled, by having a low nail knockout feature, your tool won’t fire blank dents into your material.

While other cordless brad nailers have a low nail alert feature, which lets you know when it’s time to reload, I much prefer a low nail knockout feature. Like I mentioned above, there will be situations where checking the magazine all the time is not possible, so you’ll likely end up with dry firing. That’s when this knockout feature comes in handy.

It comes with an LED light.

Whether it’s crown molding or most decorative molding tasks, it’s always great to have added accuracy with the help of an LED light. Not only that, it has LED lights to help keep you and your material safe from harm due to the added accuracy.

The micro nose is ideal for cramped areas.

If you’ve dealt with brad nailers in the past that are simply not that ideal for cramped spaces, the DeWalt DCN680 is for you. Thanks to its micro nose design, you can get into small areas that need delicate nailing without a lot of hassle. This works well for projects that require extra detail.

Cons of the DeWalt DCN680D1

Even though the DeWalt DCN680D1 is a great tool, there are a few cons worth noting as well.

It eats up battery quite fast.

Although it comes with a battery, the tool does eat up battery quite fast, so unless you’re only using it very casually, I advise you to get additional batteries at hand for quick replacement while the other battery is charging.

The tip can leave marks if you’re not careful.

Although this is only a minor con, the hard plastic (pointed) tip could potentially damage your wood material if you’re not careful. However, this is workable by sanding the tip or adding a rubber tip to avoid denting or nicking your wood.

What Are the Alternatives to the DeWalt DCN680D1?

Alternative to DeWalt DCN680 Although the DeWalt DCN680D1 is a solid cordless brad nailer, if it isn’t your cup of tea, don’t worry – there are alternatives that I’d like to suggest:

A similar tool that you’ll find convenient for most DIY projects around the house is the Makita XNB01Z 18V Cordless 2-Inch Brad Nailer (read my review). It has a driving capacity of up to 1,660 nails on a single charge with its 110-nail magazine.

It also has two modes: sequential or contact, plus it has a similar LED light to illuminate your working area. Aside from that, it has rubber bumpers to protect your surface, plus it has a tool-less depth adjustment and an anti-dry firing mechanism. The only slight concern is that this tool is a little bit heavier.

A difference between this Makita tool and the DeWalt brad nailer is that the Makita nailer has a battery gauge. This will help you estimate your usage of the cordless tool to avoid inconvenience while in a difficult position. After all, using any power tool until it goes on the low battery could potentially damage the motor and the battery system.

If you’re eyeing a more lightweight unit, the Ryobi P320 Airstrike Cordless Brad Nailer (read my review) is for you, which is only at 5 pounds minus the battery. It has a magazine capacity of 105 nails, as well as two non-marring pads to protect your surface area. A similarity that you’ll find between the two is the built-in LED light.

To prevent dry firing, this tool has a low-nail indicator, which is almost similar to the low nail knockout feature of the DeWalt DCN680, although it’s more of just an alert feature that prompts you to reload.  Similar to the DeWalt pick, this Ryobi brad nailer also has many tool-less features, such as the jam release. Perhaps the only small concern is that this unit doesn’t come with a battery.

Another great consideration for crown molding projects is the Porter-Cable PCC790LA 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer (read my review) , which weighs 5.9 pounds. Although slightly heavier, it has a convenient depth adjustment plus tool-less features such as jam and stall release levers.

As with my main DeWalt pick, this unit also has LED lights to illuminate your working area in low-light situations. On a single charge, the Porter-Cable brad nailer will fire up to 1,300 nails.


As a whole, you will love the DeWalt DCN680D1 if you’re wanting to get rid of air compressors and extensions while also searching for a tool-less way of adjusting settings, switching the firing mode, and clearing jammed nails.

Although it has a few small cons, overall, this is still a great durable and handy cordless brad nailer, especially if you like tool-less adjustments and functions.


Reviewed Product

DeWalt DCN680D1 20V MAX Cordless Brad Nailer Kit

A premium cordless brad nailer kit packed with great features to protect you and your material. It has a tool-less trigger to toggle between contact or sequential mode, and runs on a brushless motor.