Unlike the other nailers that we have reviewed over the years, a roofing nailer serves only one true purpose - nailing down roof shingles. The pneumatic (air driven) roof nailers are powerful tools and are widely used by all roofing contractors around the United States. The leading brands are Bostitch, Hitachi, Milwaukee, Senco, Porter Cable, and Paslode. The #1 selling coil roofing nailer on Amazon.com is the Milwaukee 7120-21. In head to head comparisons, the Hitachi NV45AB2 was rated best by professional roofers and other reviews noted that the Bostitch RN46-1 was the leader. All were within a $100 of each other in price, but certainly the Milwaukee nail gun gets the most sales online because their price is the lowest and the consumer reviews are excellent for that model. Which roofing nailer is right for you? Depending on the daily requirements on the nailer - each serves it's own purpose quite nicely.
In general you want a roofing nailer to be easy to load, fire off nails without jamming, have great "feel and balance" in your hands, and drive the nails in with power. You should be able to switch from sequential to contact actuation without much difficulty and depth adjustment needs to be simple. Every other kind of nailer we found has a cordless option available, but we could find nothing in the cordless roofing nailer category. I think they used to exist but in reviews we found online most pros said they were useless and not worth the $$$. Where can you find reviews on roofing nailers? There are lots of websites that review individual tools like Toolbarn.com, Epinions, Nailgundepot.com, and of course our favorite - Amazon.com.. Perhaps the most in depth article was done by Mike Guertin which is listed on the Toolsofthetrade.net website where he tested 11 coil roofing nailers for power and recoil, durability, ergonomics, driver blades, exposure gauges, and more. "Power, speed, and recoil matter most" says Mike in the article. With all the information we gathered, it was rather easy to come up with the Top 3 choices we have listed below. I think I agree with Art Waldal (home builder) the most when he says you really can't go wrong with any other these. If price is an issue, then the Milwaukee will probably be your best bet. If higher quality and long term durability are an issue, then the Hitachi should be your choice. Otherwise the Bostitch is the middle of the road and well worth the $200. You can browse the most popular roofing nailers online here.
Bostitch Roofing Nailer:
RECOMMENDED - The Bostitch RN46-1 3/4-Inch to 1-3/4-Inch Coil Roofing Nailer is the #2 seller on Amazon and it gets 5 out of 5 stars from almost all that review it. The few negative reviews on this pneumatic roof nailer were back in 2004 and 2005 when a few issues existed on the Bostitch that have since been solved and any comment after those dates is incredibly positive on the RN46-1. The coil roofing nailer will shoot 3/4 inch to 1 3/4 inch nails and the lockout mechanism will not allow any firing when the gun is empty. Owners say the adjustable depth control is easy to use and they like the full round driver. Other features include side-load canister, body and magazine wear guards, and the magnesium housing which keeps the Bostitch roofing nailer lightweight and durable. You'll find this tool at almost any construction site you stop by as roofers prefer this and the Hitachi model below. The 7 year limited warranty is an added plus say several owners. At around $200 owners say it's a great tool that equals the performance of higher end roofing guns.
Top Rated Hitachi Roofing Nailer:
RECOMMENDED FOR PROFESSIONAL ROOFERS - The Hitachi NV45AB2 7/8-Inch to 1-3/4-Inch Roofing Nailer is another top rated product from Hitachi. Their nails guns are always tough and reliable. The NV45AB2 roofing nailer is slightly more expensive than the Bostitch and offers a few different features. First you will find that the nails it shoots range from 7/8 inch to 1 3/4 inches with a 120 nail capacity. Professional roofers and DIY homeowners all have reviews we found online and the vast majority were very satisfied with the performance of the Hitachi. It weighs in at 5.5 pounds and comes with a 5 year warranty. A few features that stand out ot owners are the side load magazine (makes loading effortless) and the depth driver adjustment. The comments left by roofing contractors online really swayed us to list this product. They say the quality and durability of the Hitachi roofing nailer is what sets it apart and that is why it's more expensive. Sure, Bostitch may have more market share, but true roofers look for Hitachi.
Coil Roofing Nailer - Budget Model:
RECOMMENDED - BEST VALUE - The Milwaukee 7120-21 3/4- to 1-3/4-Inch Coil Roofing Nailer certainly gets the online vote at Amazon where it is the most popular roofing nailer. We can't argue with the owner comments as they are spot on with this tool. We talked with several roofers in our local area to verify how Milwaukee rates as compared to Hitachi and Bostitch. They did reiterate that Milwaukee just doesn't have the same "toughness" reputation that Hitachi does but they did go on to say that the newer Milwaukee nailers are proving to be a "great value" compared to the other more expensive competitors. Art Waldal, is a reputable home builder in Washington and his crew used the Milwaukee roofing nailer along with all the other major brands and models and said they could "find nothing that would prevent them from purchasing" this roofing coil nailer. Some of the features on the 7120-21 roofing gun are the 120 nail magazine capacity, 15 degree collation angle, shoots wire collated nails from 3/4 inch to 1 3/4 inch in length, and you get precise depth control. Owners say the selectable trigger allows you to switch from contact actuation to sequential firing by in seconds - just turn the knob. Roofing contractors say the Milwuakee coil roofing gun works on asphalt and fiberglass shingles, cement board, metal drip edges, roofing felt, waterproof tar paper, siding and more. Comments include "great price, well built tool", "worked great on cement board", and "awesome nailer".