Norman Bradshaw of Nabelec sees if the DeWALT DCN701N Electrician’s Stapler can unseat the trusty hammer from your toolbox.
Although technology has come a long way in a short space of time, I never thought that the humble (yet essential) hammer would come under threat as a result. Having had the chance to trial DeWALT’s DCN701N Electrician’s Stapler over the past few months, I can safely say that the hammer’s place as my ‘go-to’ tool for first fixing tasks is now in jeopardy.
The simplest way to describe the tool is that it looks like a big tacker gun or stapler, but it is used for clipping/tacking electrical cables to wooden joists or beams. I’ve used a number of cable tackers in the past whilst installing alarm/telecommunication cables, but I never thought that we’d see the day where one was introduced for twin and earth cable. Now it has arrived!
The unit utilises an 18V battery pack and comes either as a bare unit in a carton or as a kitted version with two batteries and a charger in TSTAK case. If you already own DeWALT batteries and a charger, you’ll find they’re easily interchangeable with this tool.
The tool itself feels balanced in your hand, which is important when you’re first fixing as, if it’s too heavy, you’ll quickly return to your trusted hammer. If you’re right-handed, you may find it easier to clip and pull the cable straight as you go along, or you could put some clips in and run the cable afterwards, especially with smaller cables like twin and earth cable or 3-core.
The clips are ‘one size fits all’ and are installed by sliding back the rail housing which can be unclipped at the rear of the tool. To install the clips, you simply turn the tool upside down and load the clips into the magazine channel, which takes 2 x 15 staples. The loading action is smooth and I had no difficulty in loading or reloading the device. As you pull the trigger, there is the standard light which illuminates the area you’re working on.
The staples are large and the machine is able to punch at least 25mm of the staple into most types of wooden surfaces. DeWALT states the staple sizes are 19mm wide with a 4.4mm insulating sleeve. This is so the cables aren’t damaged as they’re secured by the clips.
The magazine comes with 15 clips joined together, and these are housed in a large box, so it’s more than enough to first fix your standard three or four bedroom house. One area for possible improvement here would be if the tool had the ability to insert different sized staples – for example, one magazine for the larger-sized cables and one for the smaller twin and earth cables.
This tool is designed to clip flat twin and earth cables to wooden batten or similar soft materials. It comes with a holster clip so that the unit can be attached to your hip, and the unit features a useful release catch which is deactivated once the machine is placed over the cable that you wish to secure. With a firm clicking noise, your staple is fired out and your cable is secured in place.
Because the product is around 200mm wide, it can fit in between your standard joist spaces. This means it can also be used quite effectively when rewiring in situations where you don’t want the cables to be laying on the ceiling, or need them to be kept away from water and central heating pipes.
The clips provided are of a very good quality and, in general, they hold the cables nice and firmly. Due to the clips’ metal construction, it would be interesting to see if they meet the requirements for supporting cables in areas of escape routes. If they do, then I think DeWALT is on to a winner here!
Overall, I’ve really enjoyed having the opportunity to get to grips with this new tool. Let’s be honest, you might not be able to work as fast as you can with a standard hammer, but the lack of repetitive strain on the user and consistency of the results from the Electrician’s Stapler more than make up for this, saving you time and money in the long-run and ensuring neat workmanship throughout.
If you want to stay ahead of the game, this should be a real consideration for your toolbox.
For more information and specifications on the DeWALT DCN701N Electrician’s Stapler, go to: www.rdr.link/ei031