Crisp-Air Magnesium 18-Gauge Brad Nailer

A sturdy nailer that has a good set of features and a stellar price


Crisp-Air Magnesium 18-Gauge Brad Nailer

You may not be familiar with Crispo, even though the company has been around since 1920, making it the oldest fastening supply company in Canada. They are also the largest generic distributor in Canada of fasteners to the pneumatic tool industry. A short while ago we had the pleasure of reviewing their 8 gallon 2.5HP heavy duty air compressor, the CRSTANK, which we found to be a standout tool.
Over the past month we've been using their Crisp-Air Magnesium 18-Gauge Brad Nailer (CR1850), which has turned out to be a stellar performer.
The CR1850 comes with a hard shell plastic storage case, a starter vial of oil, hex wrenches and safety glasses. The glasses don't appear to be high-impact safety glasses, so I would discard them and go with something you know is going to give you maximum eye protection. There are no brads included - which would have been a nice gesture - but the nailer does come with a pre-installed 1/4" NPT coupler that swivels a full 360°. This is much appreciated, as I didn't have to hunt around the shop, or trek out to Canadian Tire to fetch one.

The rubber grip is somewhat slippery
A 1/4" NPT coupler is pre-installed
The CR1850 is a durable, solidly built nailer, with a magnesium body and mostly steel for the rest of the unit. According to Crispo Canada, it has a 1 million shot duty cycle. Unless you plan to be shooting nails six or seven hours a day, this nailer should, like the renowned Energizer Bunny, go on forever.
At 2.7 pounds, and just under 2-3/4" wide by 9-3/4" and 10-3/4" long, it's light and compact. In the hand it feels well balanced and it's compact size makes it very easy to manoeuvre into confined spaces. The handle is covered with a rubber grip, but I find it somewhat slippery. The magazine holds 100 18-gauge nails from 5/8" to 2". Occasionally I need to shoot longer nails, and for that I'll get my framing nailer out.

A pair of small windows at the front of the magazine let you know when you need to reload. The firing pin is 9/32" x 9/16", a larger than what I'm used to on other nailers, and with the no-mar tip attached it verges on the massive. For a finish carpenter it might not be an issue, but if you use it for assembling fine cabinetry or furniture, then it makes precise brad placement a bit more difficult. Also, there isn't any on-board storage for the no-mar tip, which I find somewhat inconvenient.

Low brad indicator
No-mar tip covers a fairly large firing pin
In all the time we used the CR1850 the nailer never jammed, but if it does, the tool-free jam release mechanism at the front of the tool will make the job or removing a brad quick and easy. Just flip a lever, tilt up the end of nose cap, and pull the offending brad out.

Tool-free jam release mechanism
Removing jammed nails is a snap
Just below the trigger is the depth-of-drive adjustment, used to set the brad depth below, above or even with the work surface. With the compressor set at 100 psi, and 2" nails in the magazine, I set the depth adjuster half way between it's minimum and maximum setting to sink nails slightly below the surface.

Depth of drive adjuster
Magazine release switch
On top of the cylinder cap is the exhaust air deflector, which rotates a convenient 360°. The deflector cap is not very thick, which makes turning it, especially if wearing gloves, a bit difficult.

360 deflector exhaust cap
The CR1850 - a stellar performer
You can use the CR1850 in sequential or bump fire mode. There isn't any switch to set. For sequential firing, press the nose against the work piece and press the trigger. For bump mode, press and hold onto the trigger and then bump the nose onto the work piece. Bump mode is great if you're laying sheathing, but less useful when installing trimwork or assembling cabinets. I prefer to use a nailer in sequential fire mode - I'm less likely to accidentally put a brad where it doesn't belong.
I found the noise level, at 89.8 dB, reasonable, based on my experience with other nailers. The slim design of the nailer provides very good line-of-sight, making it quite easy to place nails more precisely.
All-in-all, I quite like this nailer, and at a suggested retail price of just under $90, it's well priced.


  • 22.6" W x 9.8" H x 10.7" L
  • 18 gauge brad diameter
  • 5/8" - 2" brad length
  • 100 brad magazine capacity
  • 60 - 100 psi air requirement
  • 360° adjustable exhaust deflector
  • Depth of drive adjuster
  • Low brad indicator window
  • Tool-free jam release mechanism
  • Sequential and bump fire mode
  • 1 million shot duty cycle
  • 2.7 lbs
  • 1 year warranty
  • Includes: hard shell case, hex wrenches, oil, 1/4 NPT swivel plug, no-mar tip, safety glasses

Manufacturer:Crispo Canada Inc.
Available From:Tool and equipment suppliers nationwide
Retail Price:$89.95
Model #:CR1850
Made In:China
Carl Duguay, June 2011
Discover more great woodworking reviews!
Subscribe Now and get instance online access to our library filled with exciting woodworking information.
Continue to stay connected to the latest tool reviews with our bi-monthly woodworking magazines!