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Cadex 18 Gauge Brad Point Nailer (CB18.50A) Review

This topic contains 9 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  svensshutters 5 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #89667

    mattryyc
    Pro
    Calgary, Alberta

    I recently decided it was time for an upgrade to my 18 gauge brad nailer. I had been getting by with a pretty low end Campbell Hausfeld that was very inexpensive, but had lasted me quite a few years. I had been using a friends Hitachi a few weeks before I decided I needed an upgrade, it made me realize how much the CH model had been frustrating me.

    I started doing my research on brad nailers, I knew that I wanted something that would last me quite a long time, and with the brad nailer being the one I most often, I was looking for something that was of high quality.

    There were a few features I was looking for, the main one was anti-dry fire. As much as I know that I should be able to hear the difference I don’t always when the nails run out. There’s nothing more frustrating then having to do a job twice – and I occasionally found myself doing that with the old nailer.

    I was also looking for something that had a safety system that wasn’t too rigid. I know this is an odd one, but if you were to use my old CH for an afternoon, you would understand, you really had to depress far into the material to be able to fire. This is a real issue on any work that is close to delicate, especially if you’re nailing a mitered corner up and want to keep the joint tight.

    Armed with these needs, I went to the local tool supply and decided I really needed to get my hands on them to be able decide which felt the best. The three top contenders from the selection available were the Max, the Cadex and the Grex “Little Green Buddy”. In the end, the Max didn’t offer anti-dryfire, the Cadex did have it and the Grex seemed to have everything the Cadex did – but at a premium of about 20% more without any discernable differences or improvements I could see.

    I’ve had the Cadex CB1850A now for a few months and have put it to very good use, mostly on trim, baseboard and some flooring and furniture as well. It has an all metal case which gives the gun a bit of heft, but not so much that I found it hard on the arm when doing overhead nailing. It includes two no-mar tips, a blow mold case, allen keys, a 360 coupler as well as safety glasses and a bottle of oil.


    The magazine will hold 110 nails, however I’ll usually just load in a single clip instead of messing with splitting them. There is a low capacity indicator on the slide body, and it also has the mentioned anti-dryfire mechanism which was a must have for me. Another nice feature is an included blower at the top and rear of the body which I’ve used more than I anticipated.

    Near Empty:

    Empty:

    The gun is very well balanced which I noticed right away, it only tilts a slight bit when balancing on a single finger, which makes it very comfortable to use. The nose of the gun is also very slim, making it very easy to sight in where you are placing your nail, and the no mar tip doesn’t get in the way, a second one (included) also stores well on the side of the magazine and hasn’t been lost yet, a small miracle for me.


    Setting the nail depth as well as the firing mode are both easily done, the gun has single or bump fire modes and easily switches in between. Operating at about 100PSI on 100’ of hose I’ve had no issues fully setting nails consistently through a variety of woods including end-grain hardwood. The depth setting was very consistent, and when set properly for the material will set consistently just below the surface without any additional marking from the firing pin.

    I have managed to avoid a single jam since getting the Cadex and have probably run a few thousand nails through it, but should it happen it does have a quick release up top which is a nice feature.

    One thing that I would have liked to have seen was a belt clip, to the point that I may try to adapt one myself. Overall I’ve been really impressed with this nailer and I anticipate that it should be with me for a very long time, it’s been a pleasure to use as compared to my previous one.

    #89676

    The three top contenders from the selection available were the Max, the Cadex and the Grex “Little Green Buddy”. In the end, the Max didn’t offer anti-dryfire, the Cadex did have it and the Grex seemed to have everything the Cadex did – but at a premium of about 20% more without any discernable differences or improvements I could see.

    Great review Matt! Did you ever get to actually put the Grex 1850GB to test in any way? I know a couple of guys who love theirs, but I also know that this cadex model is top notch as well!

    John S

    #89679

    Anonymous

    Great review Matt, That really looks like a nice one. I have a cheapie Craftsman electric that doubles as a stapler which is what I mostly use it for. And there ain’t nothing worse than a dry fire that leaves a mark, That would be a very important feature for me. Do you find that a regulator is needed for this one at all or does it not make a difference? Other than it dropping too low of course. Thanks for the pics

    #89680

    mattryyc
    Pro
    Calgary, Alberta

    Great review Matt! Did you ever get to actually put the Grex 1850GB to test in any way? I know a couple of guys who love theirs, but I also know that this cadex model is top notch as well!

    I’ve handled it but have not actually gotten to use it. I was really on the fence between the Cadex and the Grex, the reviews of both were quite good and a lot of people noted that they are actually both made together in the same factory (although I take that with a grain of salt – so are Milwaukee and Ryobi after all).

    I think I was influenced by exceptionally good reviews I’ve gotten from friends in the finishing world who use the Cadex 21 and 23 gauge. The 21 is really a bit of a cult following, a lot of trimmers I know use it exclusively for baseboard and casing as the nail hole is much smaller than an 18 brad and makes for much quicker touch up.

    When I was looking at Grex reviews I did actually find a few people that had some issues with the Little Green Buddy, but I don’t think this really swayed me, every tool will have a pocket of users who have some issues, the nature of manufacturing. In the end the Grex was about a $40 premium, and I couldn’t really see any advantage to it – or rather any disadvantage to going with the Cadex. It’s kind of like deliberating the difference between a Lamborghini and an Ferrari – either would be pretty nice to own, especially where I was coming from my Chevette. (My grandmother had one, great car btw.)

    #89683

    mattryyc
    Pro
    Calgary, Alberta

    Great review Matt, That really looks like a nice one. I have a cheapie Craftsman electric that doubles as a stapler which is what I mostly use it for. And there ain’t nothing worse than a dry fire that leaves a mark, That would be a very important feature for me. Do you find that a regulator is needed for this one at all or does it not make a difference? Other than it dropping too low of course. Thanks for the pics

    Thanks Boyd. I’ve never really had to put a regulator on my guns to be honest, I mostly use 100PSI and crank it up to 110psi (at the compressor) if I’m adding an extra 50′ hose (125′ total), I usually do add the extra hose if I’m finishing in the house and run a long line from the compressor outside. The Cadex said it’s good to operate anywhere in between 80psi and 105psi.

    #89688

    Anonymous

    Good to know, I do have an air stapler and rivet gun that have a max rating of 60 & 90 psi so I used to use a little in-line regulator at the tool end of the hose. I found it was more trouble than it was worth so I set the ‘real’ regulator at the compressor down when I use those……psssst, they both work fine at the higher pressure too when I forget to turn down the pressure 🙂 ..But I’m sure that’s not a safe practice especially with that rivet gun. Thanks

    #89691

    mattryyc
    Pro
    Calgary, Alberta

    Good to know, I do have an air stapler and rivet gun that have a max rating of 60 & 90 psi so I used to use a little in-line regulator at the tool end of the hose. I found it was more trouble than it was worth so I set the ‘real’ regulator at the compressor down when I use those……psssst, they both work fine at the higher pressure too when I forget to turn down the pressure ..But I’m sure that’s not a safe practice especially with that rivet gun. Thanks

    Wow – 60psi max, that’s pretty low. I think I should probably do a better job of checking these. The only tool I have that I know is that low is my HVLP spray gun, which I do have a regulator on since it takes some tuning of the pressure every time to get it right.

    #89712

    Nice review Matt. You did a great job. The Cadex sounds like a winner and is Grex’s competition at the high end. They have a 23 gauge pinner too if I recall correctly. Did you play with that one too?

    #89820

    mattryyc
    Pro
    Calgary, Alberta

    Nice review Matt. You did a great job. The Cadex sounds like a winner and is Grex’s competition at the high end. They have a 23 gauge pinner too if I recall correctly. Did you play with that one too?

    My brother in law has the 23 and I have used it quite a bit. It’s a really nice gun – as is the 21. I have the 23 hitachi at home and it’s quite nice – but won’t shoot the 23 gauge nails with heads which would be really nice.

    #89856

    svensshutters
    Pro
    Colorado Springs, CO

    Nice review, thanks. I was thinking about nail guns again today when I was tearing some stuff apart. Having a brad or pin nailer would have come in handy.

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