So, when I tried the Arrow T50 Manual Staple & 1" Brad Gun, let's just say that my interested was piqued.
What is the Arrow T50?It's a manual staple and brad gun. That point is important, because you can also buy corded, electric staple and brad guns, and sure, they're more powerful than this model. But that's comparing apples to oranges.
I find a manual staple gun invaluable, because it fits in my tool belt and is available at a moment's notice. When I owned an electric model (note the past tense?), I rarely used it because I had to find it, drag it out, plug it in...you know the story. Not hard to do, but far easier just to have a manual model.
The Arrow T50 resembles earlier models only in that it is manual. The similarity ends there. If your ADHD has kicked in and you're tired of reading, I'll put it in plain terms for you: the Arrow T50 staples and sinks brads deeper, yet with less effort on your part.
The Insulation TestManual staplers and brad-guns have their limitations. My test: Can it staple the paper ends of fiberglass insulation to the studs? The old T55, even in better days, could barely do so. But the T50 rammed in 3/8" staples with ease.
It sounds like a tall order for a manual gun to drive 1" brads. Yet the T50 sent those brads about 7/8" into fir studs. I had only expected the gun to drive them in half-way, at best.
The gun didn't fare so well when trying to re-attach trim in my office. The brads sunk in about 3/4" But the T50 isn't made for that type of work; you'll need a real electric or compressed air finish nailer for that work. In that light, the T50 did pretty good.
Loading OperationLoading of the staples and brads was not intuitive. They did not load in the conventional manner (in the metal "tray" that slides out back). I spent close to ten minutes trying to figure out why the staples would not fit in the tray. Then I exclaimed:
"Oh, whoa. Cool!" I had discovered the secret. Staples and brads load from the bottom--far easier than loading up the tray.
Still, nothing I hate worse than tools--especially basic tools like this one--that do not lend themselves to intuition.
Buy or Not Buy?The Arrow T50 feels right in your hand. The price is reasonable. No "special" staples are needed; use the ones you currently have (as long as they are between 1/4" and 9/16"). This is a recommended buy.
PostscriptAfter I posted this review, I noticed a few things about the Arrow T50 that I should mention:
- The staples that "you currently have" may not work. The Arrow-brand staples I previously had would jam the T50 RED. Yet the T50-branded staples worked well.
- Sometimes the handle of this stapler locked in place when I tried to depress it. A wiggle freed it.
- Twice, this stapler jammed, requiring me to pry out the twisted staples with a screwdriver and lineman's pliers.