Like its cousin the framing nailer, the roofing nailer is a staple of construction work. Unlike the collated nail stick of a framing nailer, most roofing nailers like the DeWalt DW45RN coil roofing nailer use a coil of wire-collated nails. Whereas the framer is used almost exclusively for framing, these roofing tools are a little more versatile around the job site being used on roofs, siding, and anywhere a relatively short, large-headed nail is needed to hold thinner materials in place.
The larger nail capacity lets us do more work with fewer reloads. It also fires more quickly and weighs less than framing nailers. The larger nail capacity of a coil magazine adds to the weight, so stick nailers remain popular in framing where a lot of the work is above the shoulder. Roofing nailers are rarely used overhead, so capacity trumps the lower fastener weight. I took the new DeWalt DW45RN onto the job site to install shingles, siding, and house wrap.
The most important consideration for any nail gun is the weight. Securing shingles and siding is an all-day or multiple-day job. If the tool is heavy, the work is brutal. It’s not only the tool weight but holding heavy materials in place adds to the fatigue of the job. Having a light nail gun is a big advantage. Lightweight accurately describes this 5.2 pound DeWalt coil nailer.
The nailer feels comfortable in the hand with the overmold grip and trigger placement. Of course, the real test comes from using the tool for hours and days on the job site.
You won’t find dry fire lock-out on this tool, so beware of firing blanks and creating divots in your shingles. We did find it easy to open up the nose clear jams, but none occurred during testing.
DeWalt failed to include a single-fire mode on this nailer. The DW45RN only works in bump-fire mode. Users rarely—if ever—use a sequential mode on a roofing nailer, but may when putting up siding.
Siding With The Nailer
The nailer accepts 120, 0.120-inch diameter, 15-degree roofing nails ranging from 3/4-inch to 1-3/4 inches long. Manufacturers have used various mechanisms on the nail canister to adjust for the nail length and sometimes those mechanisms are not very user-friendly. The DeWalt’s nail basket easily adjusts to accommodate the different lengths of nails.
The nail depth gauge adjustment is easy to access and operates smoothly. So does the shingle guide adjustment. This handy, built-in jig allows consistent shingle spacing though most Pros will never use it.
I was impressed with the nailer’s smooth operation. Sometimes coil roofing nail guns will jam or misfire, but I haven’t had that happen so far. Needless to say, fighting these jams in the middle of a job is annoying, but this nailer seems to pull the nails very smoothly off of the coil.
The tool feels very light, and the gun is well-balanced and comfortable to work with for longs periods of time.
Pro Tip: Always read the manufacturer’s instructions on how often to oil your nailer so you won’t blow the seals. Try to also use the manufacturer-recommended 70-120 PSI. Be the expert on site and remind greener crew members of important maintenance to keep your tools working well. It’s always wise to check the tool before use to be sure it’s ready to operate properly.
The only improvement that comes to mind is the addition of a belt clip. It is a big tool to carry around your belt, but being able to hang it there for just a moment while you reposition materials or climb would make the job easier.
The Bottom Line
Performance has been outstanding with the DeWalt DW45RN Coil Roofing Nailer and we liked the tool’s weight. Even though it lacks a sequential fire mode, this model is one of the better models I’ve used.
One interesting fact is that the DW45RN can fire 10 nails per second. I don’t know many people that can work effectively at that pace, but you can work faster if you need to.
I certainly recommend the DeWalt coil roofing nailer to my fellow Pros for nailing shingles, siding, and house wrap. At around $250, it’s a pretty solid value and the 7-year warranty shows that DeWalt has confidence in the longevity of the tool.
DeWalt Coil Roofing Nailer Features
- High-speed valve technology drives over 10 nails per second.
- Ergonomic design is lighter than leading competitive coil roofing nailers.
- High life engine, seals and feed system for durability and long life.
- Steel skid plates with rubber inserts protect the tool and help to stop it from sliding.
- Depth adjust wheel with numbered detents helps drive nails to the proper depth into a variety of materials.
DeWalt DW45RN Coil Roofing Nailer Specifications
- Model: DeWalt DW45RN
- Power source: Compressed air
- Collation type: Coil
- Fastener angle/diameter: 15-degree/0.12 in.
- Fastener length: 3/4 – 1-3/4 in.
- Magazine capacity: 120
- Actuation mode: Bump
- Operating pressure: 70 – 120 PSI
- Dimensions (HxL): 10 x 12 in.
- Weight: 5.2 lbs.
- Warranty: 7 years
- Price: $249.00