The 10 Best Roofing Nailers

Updated June 16, 2018 by Sam Kraft

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We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. If you're a professional roofer, you'll obviously need a professional tool. Even if you're not a pro, you don't want to take on a roofing project without the proper equipment. One of these nailers will provide you with the power and versatility you need to get the job done far more quickly — and using significantly less energy — than you would with an old-fashioned hammer. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best roofing nailer on Amazon.

10. Wen 61782

The Wen 61782 is an affordable option that works well for light to moderate tasks. It will help an ambitious do-it-yourself enthusiast with new or re-roofing applications, but professional contractors who plan to use the tool daily will probably want to look elsewhere.
  • quick release mechanism to fix jams
  • exhaust valve is adjustable
  • double shoots periodically
Brand WEN
Model 61782
Weight 12.8 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

9. Craftsman 18180

In addition to durability, the magnesium housing protecting the Craftsman 18180 gives it a lightweight feel for easy handling. It's suitable for long hours on the job, with a comfortable rubber grip that helps to minimize pesky hand fatigue.
  • onboard allen wrench storage
  • does not jam very often
  • not the most powerful option
Brand Craftsman
Model SC18180
Weight 7.6 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

8. Ridgid R175RNA

If you prefer to handle home repairs on your own, the Ridgid R175RNA is a straightforward solution to what at first may appear to be a daunting task. It can hold up to 120 nails, fires smoothly and comes with a wrench and eye protection.
  • nosepiece is easy to replace
  • includes lubricating oil
  • rather heavy and bulky
Brand Ridgid
Model 21163
Weight 10.1 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

7. Senco Roof Pro

Loaded with useful features, the Senco Roof Pro is lightweight enough to use one-handed for an extended work session. It consistently sets nails time after time, even when you're tackling thick materials with rugged surfaces.
  • comes with a carrying case
  • convenient 360-degree exhaust
  • bends nail heads occasionally
Brand Senco
Model 3D0101N
Weight 10 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

6. Milwaukee 7220-20

As a general rule, these tools aren't the quietest machines, but the Milwaukee 7220-20 does a pretty decent job of keeping it to a dull roar. Its reliable air filter is self-cleaning, which will save you time and hassle between jobs.
  • quick easy-to-press trigger
  • shingle guide is removable
  • magnet holds nails in place
Brand Milwaukee
Model pending
Weight 7.7 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

5. Porter-Cable RN175B

Rock-solid wear guards help shield the Porter-Cable RN175B from premature wear and tear, while its compact body makes it simple to control in most situations. Its shingle guide is adjustable without tools, which is helpful when you're working on a roof.
  • 120-nail capacity
  • 2 magazine doors for easy reloading
  • lightweight and very portable
Model RN175B
Weight 5.7 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Grip-Rite GRTCR175

The dial used to set the drive depth on the Grip-Rite GRTCR175 is located just above the trigger, which is useful for making quick adjustments as you work. It’s designed with a well-balanced magnesium body and a comfortable handle that provides a solid grip.
  • built-in belt hook
  • simple to use with 1 hand
  • accommodates a range of nail sizes
Brand Grip-Rite
Model GRTCR175
Weight 10.2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. Max Superroofer

The small but mighty Max Superroofer is fast and dependable for the most demanding jobs. It comes equipped with an innovative tar-resistant nose that prevents build-up of the substance more effectively than conventional tools, resulting in less maintenance and cleaning.
  • end cap filter captures debris
  • backed by a 5-year warranty
  • has a useful rapid-fire mode
Brand Max
Model CN445R3
Weight 7.3 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. Bostitch RN46

Safety comes first with the Bostitch RN46. It's designed with an advanced lockout mechanism that blocks it from firing if the magazine is empty, which could cause damage to the internal components. It's also backed by an impressive seven-year warranty.
  • adjustable shingle guide
  • one-step nail loading
  • includes pads to prevent skidding
Model RN46-1
Weight 6.4 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Hitachi NV45AB2

The Hitachi NV45AB2 is ideal for professional use, including installation of asphalt shingles and insulation boards. It's built to stand up to harsh conditions for years, yet still somehow weighs in at less than six pounds, which makes it easy to handle.
  • rubber body protectors
  • comes with safety glasses
  • high-capacity side-load magazine
Brand Hitachi
Model NV45AB2
Weight 7.3 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

The Benefits Of A Roofing Nailer

Though roofing nailers are available for purchase by anyone, they are predominantly a tool of the construction trade. For large jobs, roofing nailers are a necessity. Roofing is almost always a job for a nailer, as roofing projects can require thousands of nails.

Most importantly, roofing nailers will always get the job done faster. There are plenty of experienced contractors who can drive many nails a minute, but no one can compare to the speed of a roofing nailer. In most cases, roofing nailers can drive three or four nails in the time it takes to drive one by hand.

Roofing nailers are also much safer than driving nails by hand. When using a hammer and loose nails, workers are required to hold the nails in place while driving them. Even the most experienced contractors make mistakes; leading to injuries, missed work time, and worker's compensation claims. While injuries are also possible while using roofing nailers, most have safety mechanisms which minimize the risk.

Though roofing nailers are heavier than a hammer, they save space by containing nails within the unit itself. There is no need to lug a bucket of loose nails around the job site. This makes for a safer work environment, as workers stepping on loose nails are a common cause of puncture wounds which potentially lead to tetanus if left untreated.

When nailing by hand, it can take upwards of three swings to drive a nail. With a roofing nailer, it takes one hit. Whats more important than this power however is consistency. Using a roofing nailer ensures every nail comes out with the same force. A roofing nailer can deliver a uniform amount of pressure on the entire project.

Roofing Materials Throughout History

As long as humans have existed, they've taken shelter from the elements in housing of various types. A basic shelter will have two key elements: walls and a roof. Even the most basic shelters, such as caves or lean-to shelters, have effective roofing. Cavemen were said to have covered their dwellings with earth and plants, though this method let in many pests.

The first roofing tile was found in China, and dated to 3000 BCE. The ancient Roman and Greek cultures used similar earth roof tiles at around the same time. These early methods of roofing were brought to England as early as 100 BCE. This means that roof tiles actually predate thatched roofs, which were developed in 735 CE.

Just 300 years later, the first wood shingles were produced. This may have been an oversight, as rampant fires spread through London in the 12th century; causing King John to immediately order citizens to replace these roofing options with clay tiles once again.

Industrial tile production began in the 19th century; starting with clay tiles and then moving to concrete tiles in the early 20th century. Asphalt also became readily available in the 1900s; and became popular due to the ability to produce large amounts of tiles very quickly.

Most of the major changes in roofing have occurred since the industrial revolution. Modern roofing materials include polymers, glass, fiberglass, and photo-voltaic tiles which turn sunlight into energy.

How The Industrial Revolution Changed Construction

In just a few short decades beginning in the late 19th century, the United States was transformed from an agrarian society full of artisans and craftsmen to a largely industrial economy powered by workers. Before the Industrial Revolution, small towns and homesteads were very self-sufficient, each family subsisting off of their craft and what they could trade to their neighbors. These farms and towns were connected by horse-drawn carriages, and received very little by train.

This changed rapidly at the turn of the century, as manufacturing became a catalyst for rapid expansion. Goods which did not exist ten years prior were quickly becoming household items. The streamlined manufacturing and shipment methods led to even the smallest towns eventually requiring these goods to operate. By the 1920s, over half of American farms owned a car. This quick change was brought on by large manufacturers shifting their focus to profits and productivity. This required a large workforce to accomplish.

As this workforce was housed in large cities, the construction industry began booming. With the addition of cranes, tractors, and power tools such as hand drills, buildings could be made taller and faster than ever before. This rapid expansion would eventually overpopulate cities and spark the creation of modern suburbs; causing an explosion in the construction industry.

The Post-World War II economy in the United States brought even more economic expansion, and the demand for construction workers was higher than ever. With the invention of the nail gun in the 1950s, paneling and floorboards could be installed quickly and accurately by one man. Tools such as these sped up production of houses to meet the growing demand of the day. To this day, power tools continue making work more efficient for all, requiring less workers to get the same job done.

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Last updated on June 16, 2018 by Sam Kraft

Sam is a marketing/communications professional and freelance writer who resides in Chicago, IL and is perpetually celebrating the Cubs’ 2016 World Series victory.

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