Now, before you get all annoyed at a tool review, let me preface this with the fact that I have so far refrained from these sort of posts. However, Tacwise is a brand that's made by a friend of my dad's, and I'm all about supporting my friend's and family's endeavors. Also, I told my dad that I would be completely honest and if there was something that I didn't like about it, I would say it (I have been known to be not so friendly). And I'll say up front as well that the way we were comped for this project was that my dad's friend gave us the two staplers to keep.
When my dad first gave us these two staplers...
...I thought these were the only tools this brand manufactured. But in fact they've got a fairly large line of tools. We were given the Z1-140 (which is the smaller one) and the Z3-140 (which is the larger one).
Chris and I each used one (he used the bigger one, I used the smaller one), so we've each got our own set of opinions on them. I will make one generalized review about the brand before we get to our own personal reviews: this is a brand from the UK. Currently on their website it looks like the only stores you can walk into and purchase from are all overseas, so that's a bit of a bummer (for all us US folks at least). You can however purchase them online and Amazon has the one I used (here), so that's good, but you won't get the advantage of being able to handle them before you purchase, so that's a downside.
Alright, now for the tools.
Meryl's review of the Z1-140 (weight: 9.4 oz.)
So far I've only used this tool once - for stapling the fabric of Cashew's curtain to the 2x2 we hung it from
One cool thing is that there is a locking feature that keeps that handle down against the base of the tool so that it stores easy (the lock is that small diagonal gray button on the bottom of the tool). When it's locked it stores easier and it obviously locks the tool from being used, so that's nice.
It opens to load staples just like most staple guns I've used (a rod at the back/bottom that gets pulled out. That sounds vaguely dirty...)
Now, normally this is how staples get loaded into a staple gun (on the top of that rod that slides out), but I found out that was not the case with this gun when I tried to shove it back into the tool and it didn't budge. Of course, I also didn't read the directions, soooooo....I took the staples off and flipped the tool over and realized that the staples got placed into the space that the rod slides into
Duh. This was of course user error from not reading directions, so I blame that one on me being an idiot. However, the one sort of downer I had about that tool was that because it's so small, you can't really actually fit very many staples into it. This is of course me being a stickler because the plus side of it being smaller is that it's easier to use (my hands are small) and it's very light.
Once the staples were correctly loaded in, I got ready to staple. Certain staple guns are actually a bit difficult to really get the "trigger" part nailed down properly so that the staples go in correctly. You have to make sure that the head of the gun is exactly flat on whatever surface you're stapling to and you have to really shove down on the "trigger." I actually have to say that the tool was really easy to use (and I'm really not just saying that). Even if the head of the gun wasn't exactly flat, the staples went in easily and I didn't have to clamp down super hard on the "trigger" for it to release a staple. I also find that a lot of times I have to go over some of the staples with a hammer because they don't go in all the way, but these went in really well
Overall I have to say that I will go to this staple gun instead of the two I've been using in the past (we have this one - that I really hate, and then one like this one). I really like that the staples go in easier and don't need to be hammered in afterwards. And while I'm sure I'll get slightly annoyed at needing to load in more staples because it doesn't fit as many as the other two staple guns we have, I like that it's lighter and a lot easier to use.
Chris' review of the Z3-140 (weight 2.0 lbs.)
I used the Tacwise Z3-140 to attached lath to the shower pan and shower curb before doing the mud job for each.
As a replacement for the Arrow T-50 (which is 2 oz. lighter) the Z3-140 worked real well. It still doesn't replace a hammer tacker like the Arrow HT50 or HT55, however.
In terms of power, the Tacwise performs about as well as the T-50. It has an adjustable power lever which is potentially useful when using smaller staples or tacking staples into softer wood. Using 9/16" staples neither staple gun was able to fully sink a staple into a sheet of 5/8" plywood.
(Arrow stapler on the top, Tacwise used on the bottom)
Using 1/4" staples both guns were able to fully drive the staples. The Tacwise, with power turned all the way up, was able to sink some of the 1/4" staples below the surface of the plywood. I'd give a slight edge to the Tacwise in the power category.
(Tacwise on the top this time and Arrow on the bottom)
Ergonomically I preferred the Tacwise. The stapling felt slightly more fluid and less jarring upon impact. Also, the larger gripping hole in the center of the tool allows for a more forward grip. The top trigger goes slightly higher than the T-50, though, and sometimes this would result in my not fully resetting the actuator between shots.
Other features of the Tacwise go above and beyond the run of the mill staple gun. It has a hook on the side which is a nice addition if you're tacking up insulation or something else that may require two hands on occasion. It also has a trigger lock which allows you to nest the trigger in the closed position. This is nice for safety, but especially helpful for keeping it in the tool box where it'll take up less space and is less likely to grab onto whatever other stuff you have in the there. Another improvement is that you can see how many staples you have left without removing them all. Just flip the gun upside down and pull the slider out to see how many staples remain.
With the T50 you would have to flip the gun upside down, pull out the slider, take the staples out and then load them back in.
Lastly, the Tacwise Z3-140 is capable of driving nails. I tested several 9/16" nails out on the same piece of 5/8" plywood and they were driven either just proud or flush with the surface.
Overall I like the Tacwise Z3-140 more than the Arrow T50 (which I have had for several years). It's not as powerful as most electric staple guns, but it's more portable and less expensive (by $10-30). When a job calls for a manual staple gun, I'll probably reach for the Tacwise over my old T50 from now on.