The 10 Best Roofing Nailers

Updated May 25, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

10 Best Roofing Nailers
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. Whether you're a professional contractor or an experienced DIY enthusiast looking to expand your repertoire of skills, the roofing nailers we've selected will give you the power and functionality you need to complete whatever job comes your way. These tools come in a wide range of options, so we've ranked them here by power, durability, and ease of use and maintenance. 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 as you'd expect from a bargain brand. It can be used for new or re-roofing applications, but does not garner professional-grade results, making it alright for DIY enthusiasts, but not professional contractors.
  • quick release for jam clearing
  • adjustable exhaust
  • double shoots periodically
Brand WEN
Model 61782
Weight 12.2 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

9. Craftsman SC 18180

The Craftsman SC 18180 sports a magnesium housing for lightweight performance and extreme durability. It provides the comfort needed for long hours on the job, with a rubber molded grip that also helps to minimize hand fatigue.
  • onboard allen wrench storage
  • 360-degree exhaust
  • not the most powerful option
Brand Craftsman
Model SC18180
Weight 7.6 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

8. Bostitch RN46-1

Safety comes first with the Bostitch RN46-1. It's equipped with a protective lockout mechanism that prevents firing if the magazine is empty, which could cause damage to the internal components. Plus, it is backed by a 7-year warranty.
  • adjustable shingle guide
  • one-step nail loading
  • exhaust is not directional
Model RN46-1
Weight 5.9 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. Senco Roof Pro 455XP

The Senco Roof Pro 455XP is loaded with features, yet is lightweight enough to use one-handed for a significant period. It consistently sets nails time after time, no matter what substrate material or density you are working on.
  • comes with a carrying case
  • hardened wear plates
  • depth gauge isn't numbered
Brand Senco
Model 3D0101N
Weight 10 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

6. Milwaukee Coil 7220-20

The magnesium housing of the Milwaukee Coil 7220-20 helps to reduce the unit's weight, while a simple, tool-free depth adjustment system makes changes faster and easier. Its air filter is also self-cleaning, which will save you time between jobs.
  • quick selectable trigger
  • efficient exhaust deflector
  • occasional air leakage issues
Brand Milwaukee
Model pending
Weight 7.7 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

5. Rigid R175RNE

While the Rigid R175RNE appears to be smaller than much of its competition, its full strike drive system offers a tremendous amount of power to your projects. It also includes a dry-fire lockout feature that protects the motor and helps to prevent misfires.
  • magnetic nail holder
  • clear view magazine
  • operates somewhat slowly
Brand Ridgid
Model R175RNE
Weight 7 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Porter-Cable RN175B

The Porter-Cable RN175B is designed to be five percent lighter than the company's previous model, though it still weighs in at a relatively common 6 lbs. Its shingle guide is adjustable without the help of any tools, which makes for a safer rooftop environment.
  • 120-nail magazine capacity
  • motor has an exhaust diffuser
  • dual carbide safety contact inserts
Model RN175B
Weight 6.1 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

3. Max CN445R3

The small but mighty Max CN445R3 is fast and reliable for the most demanding jobs. It comes equipped with a patented tar-resistant nose that prevents tar build-up four times longer than conventional tools, resulting in less maintenance work.
  • end cap filter captures debris
  • front magnet secures last nail
  • great for industrial use
Brand Max
Model CN445R3
Weight 7.3 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. PowRyte Elite 11 Gauge

One of the most important features of the PowRyte Elite 11 Gauge is its depth adjustment wheel, which makes it easy to precisely dial in your drive length for any number of materials. Also, the unit's nose assembly removes for more efficient maintenance.
  • 70-120 psi operating pressure
  • skid-resistant pads
  • comes with safety glasses
Brand PowRyte
Model 500023
Weight 7.8 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Hitachi NV45AB2

The Hitachi NV45AB2 is ideal for a variety of projects, including installation of asphalt shingles and insulation boards. It boasts a durable construction that can stand up to the elements for years of use, while still weighing in at a mere 5.5 lbs.
  • rubber body protectors
  • pneumatic power feed and return
  • high-capacity side-load magazine
Brand Hitachi
Model NV45AB2
Weight 7 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 May 25, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.

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