Whether you’re planning on performing some DIY, or are a professional roofer, the first step in any roofing project is making sure you’ve got the right tools for the job. As one of the most abused tools on any job site, making sure you’ve got the best roofing nailer possible will save you a lot of headaches and a lot of wasted time. In this roundup we’ll compare the top roofing nailers to help you decide which the right one is.
Roofing Nailer 101 What to look for
When choosing the best roofing nailer, one of the primary things to look for are power, recoil and speed. Operational functions such as depth-of-drive adjustments, exposure gauges are also important, as are ease of use features such as ease of reloading, ergonomic handling and wear guards. Overall, it’s best to look for a nailer that can withstand quite a lot of abuse as well, needing to withstand tough environments on-site.
Why Use a Roofing Nailer?
A roofing nailer can save an inordinate amount of time, whether for a small or large job. While a claw hammer is suitable for quick knocks to hang a picture frame or for a quick repair, anything larger requires the use of a nailer, or a power roofing nailer. Placing the nail right every time first try, a nailer will slam your nail in at the pull of a trigger, dramatically reducing the time taken to complete any job.
Roofing nailers also offer a significant safety advantage, saving your thumbs and fingers from poorly-aimed swings, as well as ensuring the quality of your completed project.
Types of Roofing Nailer
Most roofing nailers are pneumatic, requiring an air compressor to deliver pressurized air to fire the nail, although battery powered or even fuel driven combustion nailers are on the market. There are two types of roofing nailer configurations to choose from- coil, and strip.
Coil nailers use a drum magazine that holds many more nails than a strip nailer, sacrificing maneuverability for volume. Strip nailers hold nails in a long vertical magazine which offers a lighter, better balanced option.
When using any power tool, safety should be your number one operating factor. Roofing nailers are built from the ground up with a safety mechanism that prevents firing unless a pressure sensitive tip is placed against the work you’re doing, but misfires occasionally happen even in the most experienced hands. There are two types of safety mechanisms in roofing nailers, sequential fire and dual contact firing.
A dual contact firing mechanism the user to press the pressure tip against the work then pull the trigger, allowing for quick successive nails. This allows the user to keep the trigger suppressed and rely on the pressure tip for safely, but presents a risk of firing if the pressure tip is bumped accidentally.
A sequential firing mechanism requires the user to release the trigger to fire the nail, meaning more trigger pulls per job which can become tiring on the finger, but is safer overall.
Top 5 Roofing Nailers of 2017
The following are the top 5 best roofing nailers out there. Each has been reviewed in its own right so that you can make an unbiased choice on which one is best for you based on your needs.
The Bostitch N80CB-1 is a lightweight coil framing nailer ideal for lightweight roofing jobs. Weighing in at just 8 pounds the N80CB-1 will accommodate nails from 1-1/2 to 3-1/4 inches, and offers a large capacity magazine with a 300 nail volume.
With a dual contact mechanism, this gun fires off nails fast and accurately, but requires users remain mindful of the single safety design. Rough and rugged, the Bostitch N80CB-1 is a great DIY tool for eager home improvers.
- Aggressive teeth grip for lumber toe-nailing.
- Adjustable deflector directs exhaust away from user.
- Quick release mechanism makes reloading simple and easy.
- Large capacity magazine causes first few nails to jam occasionally.
- Lacks adjustable drive depth.
Custom built for roofing, the Ridgid ZRR175RNE is a purpose built machine that addresses many of the pain points of using a nailer while roofing. With a strip configuration this nailer offers improved range of motion and weighs just 6.5 pounds, easy on the wrist and easily maneuvered. Surprisingly powerful for a lighter unit, the Ridgid possesses a full strike drive that optimises air power.
- Hex pattern microtexture grip improves in-hand stability.
- Incorporates an innovative dry-fire lockout that prevents misfires.
- Magnetic nail holder streamlines reloading.
- Lightweight design contributes to significant recoil with larger compressors.
- D-shaped pin drive can bend some nails, reducing fastening power.
Offering tool-less depth of drive adjustment and a side loading magazine, Hitachi pack many features only seen in higher-priced nailers into a reasonably priced package. Optional quick drive dual contact firing allows for fast job completion, and the casing is completely weatherproof, ensuring reliable firing in any environment.
Weighing in at just 5.5 pounds, the NV45AB2 is one of the lightest and the best roofing nailers on the market. Finally, an easy reload 120 round nail magazine capacity balances maneuverability with capacity to create a functional and economical nailer for daily sue
- Extremely lightweight design is great for long jobs.
- Rubber pads keep nailer from sliding away when put down.
- Innovative side loading magazine makes reloading simple and easy.
- Doesn’t fire 1 3/4″ nails so well- has a tendency to pretzel nails.
- Optional two-way safety system that can confuse some users.
Manufactured in China, the Porter Cable RN175B is an great budget option for occasional roofers. With adjustable shingle guide, this low-cost roofing nailer offers some great features designed solely for roofing with a light design, but sufferers from occasional jams that can frustrate users.
- Low cost model excellent for weekend warriors.
- Dual Carbide inserts to protect from wear and tear.
- Depth-of-drive customization.
- Does not ship with air hose coupler.
- Has powerful recoil that can make long jobs uncomfortable.
Lightweight but powerful with minimal recoil, the Max CN445R3 strikes the perfect balance between drive power and maneuverability. With a slew of features such as adjustable depth control, rapid fire safety, in-nose magnet, full round driver and even a self-cleaning nose, this roofing nailer is the Ferrari of nail guns.
Complete with a shingle guide and trigger lockout safety switch, the CN445R3 is the full package, with additional features such as a tangle free swivel plug and superlight 5.3 pounds weight making roofing a breeze.
- Super light, low recoil and high power.
- Tar resistant self-cleaning tip.
- Trigger lockout offers triple redundancy safety.
- Has difficulty firing in sub-zero weather.
- Can occasionally jam, but easily resolved.
2017 Roofing Nailer Roundup Winner
Out of the top five products reviewed above, the Max CN445R3 Superroofer emerges as the best roofing nailer. Offering an option between sequential or dual contact firing with an additional lockout safety, the Superroofer is the safest of the bunch. In addition to the enhanced safety, Max has squeezed in a bunch of extra features not seen anywhere else in the business.
With a tar resistant tip that reduces cleaning, and even cleaning itself, Max streamlines roofing with a the lightest nailer of the lot with half the recoil. Whether you’re setting up to do some DIY, or are a professional roofer looking for your next tool, the Max CN445R3 is definitely the best buy.