Makita AF601 16-Gauge 2-1/2 in. Straight Finish Nailer Review: Pneumatic Finish Nailer for All-day Professional Use

You can drive 16-gauge straight finish nails from 1″ to 2-1/2″ in length. Weighing in at only 3.8 lbs this compact nailer comes with three-year manufacturer’s warranty. Packaging includes safety glass, pneumatic nailer oil, 1/4″ air fitting, 2 non-marring tips, tool case and belt hook.

The Bottom Line: Best overall 16 ga pneumatic finish nailer kit, ideal for trim work and finish woodworking application. Access confined areas with narrow nose design and efficient motor ensure faster & easy nailing. Control nailing operation with 2-mode selector switch, dry-fire lockout and tool-less nail jam removal. Magnesium housing for durability and regular oiling for maintenance.

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Our Take 4.6

NailgunGuide rating

AF601 16-Gauge Pneumatic Straight Finish Nailer from Makita

Ideal for trim work, baseboard & crown molding installation, flooring & other woodworking applications


70 – 120 PSI Corded-Pneumatic



16-gauge straight finish nails from 1 in. to 2-1/2 in.


3.8 lbs


3-Year Manufacturer’s warranty

Makita AF601
Makita AF601 16-Gauge Pneumatic Straight Finish Nailer

Pros & Cons


  • It has a lockout so when you’re down to the last few nails it’ll automatically lock out so it won’t dry fire that’s a nice feature
  • Nose adapter (contact element) is pretty good, it gives you decent visibility into where the nail is going to go when you drive
  • In case you do have any jams, it has a nice quick release mechanism to open up the front of the gun to clear any jams and no screws or tools needed
  • Switch between contact and sequential firing with 2-mode selector switch. It also has a nice detented depth adjustment wheel that even has a little symbol to indicate which direction is deeper and shallower
  • 360-degree exhaust port is very convenient and built in air duster can clean surface, tool and worksite
  • Accessories includes pneumatic nailer oil, safety glasses, (2) no-mar tip, air fitting, tool case


  • Rear-loading magazine do not work smoothly. For loading you have to slide the nail into the slot and push them in as they just don’t get stuck but kind of sit there and won’t slide down into the gun automatically. You need to wiggle them down and get them past the follower and only then once they’re manually pulled down can you release the follower.
  • Before and after use maintenance (oiling) required to keep the tool operational.

Compare to Other Finish Nailer

Full Review

If you are looking for a compact finish nailer packed with a lot of great features and consider a 16-gauge pneumatic straight finish is ideal for trim work, baseboard and crown molding installation, flooring and other woodworking application and on top of that its not the most expensive then you’ll love this model from Makita. AF601 from Makita is not only one of the better straight finish nailers, but it’s our pick for best overall in 16 ga pneumatic finish category.

What makes this tool (and other Makita products) so priceworthy is its compact design, reliable functions and ability to deliver craftsmanship. It’s high-efficiency motor not only give leading power performance but also doesn’t require a lot of maintenance or upkeep. In short, it will last longer than the competition while still maintaining the same level of power and performance. 

Makita AF601 is precisely designed to drive standard 16-gauge straight finish nails from 1 in. to 2-1/2 in. length. It’s rear-loading magazine has the same capacity of 100 finish nails like most other finish nailers but the nail lock-out mechanism that protects the tool and work surface from blank fires is where it stands out from the competition. One element of this nailer we liked most is the ability to work in confined areas, the narrow nose design allows easy access to tight spots and placement of nail is clearly visible. Another simple but useful feature we found interesting is built-in air duster that provides convenient air flow to clear work surface.

Among other standard finish nailer features that we appreciate about this model, 2-mode selector switch for controlling nailing operation is one of them. By turning the switch back and forth you can simply change between bump and sequential firing. Tool-free depth-adjustment is there for more precise flush and countersink nailing and you cannot miss the “Tool-less” easy to clear nose installed for fast and easy nail extraction. Additionally the reversible belt hook make the job of keeping the nailer within reach when not in use. It is hard to believe that Makita managed to squeeze all these features inside lightweight but durable magnesium housing that also has bumpers for tool and work surface protection, and integrated rubber soft grip for operator comfort.

There’s very few things where this nailer do not excel are rear-loading magazine may cause dissatisfaction to some user and the tool must be oiled before and after use to keep it operational. Apart from these downsides, Makita AF601 outstanding feature and performance is enough to call it our choice for best overall 16 ga pneumatic finish nailer.

Uses & Customer Review of Makita AF601

Customer Review

Best way to take buying decision is to ask previous buyer about their experience. Fortunately these power tools are available in plenty of online retail store and huge number of actual buyers submit their reviews on the tool to help others looking for the product. So you don’t have to rely on sales pitch and rather read reviews before taking final buying decision.