Duo-Fast DFCR175C Cordless Roofing Coil Nailer Review
For the first time ever, you can do roofing repairs without having to drag out a compressor and a hose thanks to the new Duo-Fast DFCR175C Cordless Roofing Coil Nailer. This new nailer uses an exclusive gas and battery system to give you the full functionality that you would expect from a pneumatic roofing nailer; complete with coil nails. While we were a little skeptical at first, after some quality time with the nailer we concluded that this really is a must-have tool if you are in the roofing repair business.
Duo-Fast DFCR175C Cordless Roofing Coil Nailer Features
For those of you that are familiar with the cordless Duo-Fast and Paslode systems, this nailer works on the same principals. Rather then relying purely on a battery to power the tool, they have found that using a combination of technologies helps to make for a more powerful and compact tool. While the inner workings of these nailers are slightly complicated; the basic idea is that they work much like an internal combustion engine. There is a moving piston that drives the nail, a cylinder that acts as a place for the fuel and air to mix, and a battery that provides the ignition. What all this does is gives you is a very powerful and fast ability to drive nails into even the toughest of materials. After talking things though with the manufacturer, we learned that what makes the Cordless Roofing Coil Nailer unique from their other offerings is the coil nail system. When using coil nails, there is an added complication to the system of advancing each nail so it is ready for the next shot. Since the nail driving technology is different than pneumatic tools, the nail advancement system required extensive engineering to make it robust and dependable.
The main body of the tool is plastic, but don’t think for a minute this makes it feel cheap or light weight. The overall weight of the Duo-Fast DFCR175C Cordless Roofing Coil Nailer is a tad over 7 pounds which is actually a few pounds heaver than its pneumatic cousins. While some might be put off by the heft, the nailer truly has a great balance and feel. With overmolded rubber grips, a belt hook and even a stretchy lanyard that you can attach to your tool belt to ensure that if it does get away from you when you are on a roof, it will not fall to its demise. Included with the tool is one battery, a charger, a padded backpack for storage/transport, and a box of nails with a fuel cell. The battery compartment is on the bottom of the tool and the fuel cell is inserted into the back side of the tool. The coil nails load into the holder not unlike other roofing nailers. We did like the single cover that completely swings open so that the nails are easily loaded and also the tip area is exposed so it would be easy to clear a jam. Pretty much once the battery, fuel cell and nails are in place you are ready to rock and roll.
Some of you might be wondering: “Why did they they send a backpack for the tool?” Well, school is in session – let us teach you. The biggest thing to remember with this tool is that its target market is for folks that have to do roofing repairs, flashing, and vent boot installs. This tool is not designed to lay square after square of shingles and there are a few reasons for this. This nailer has the capability to fire up to 2 nails per second. What this equates to is that it shoots nails about half as fast as a pneumatic nailer. While you might think this is a bad thing, follow us here. The idea is that you can leave your compressor, extension cords and air hoses in the truck. All you have to do is strap the backpack that the Cordless Roofing Coil Nailer comes with on your back, grab a bundle of shingles and head up the ladder. No multiple trips up and down to gather supplies and tools. Pretty much what we saw from our experience, is that you can do most repairs with just a single trip up and down the ladder. The beauty of the Cordless Roofing Coil Nailer is that you are free to go where you need to with no attachments to the ground and you have a fully functional nailer in your hand and a pretty handy place to store it when you are not using it. There is enough space inside the backpack to hold the tool and a case of nails which gives you enough firepower to lay a full two square of shingles.
Testing and Use
To start off, while we thought we knew what we were doing, we figured the included owners manual was worth a read (as is the case with any new power tool). For example, we learned that it is very important to keep the air intake screen that is located above the fuel cell clean and that it takes two hours to fully charge the battery. With the battery freshly charged, we inserted it into the base and then inserted the fuel cell into the back side of the tool. There is a latch on the fuel cell that took us a little while to get used to since it uses a curious push-in, slide, and pull action to open and close it. The last thing we did was put in a coil of nails.
It’s worth pointing out the way the nails and fuel cell are sold for this tool. While it uses standard coil nails like any other roofing nailer, the fuel cell is not sold separately. What Duo-Fast has tried to do for the end user is make it easy for them to have the right amount of fuel and nails to do a job. So, what they did is boxed up 720 nails (6 X 120 nails per coil) with one fuel cell which, under perfect circumstances, is supposed to last roughly 900 shots. The idea is that they want to ensure that you will be able to use all the nails in a box. One box of nails is able to install two square of shingles (200 sq ft) which is usually more then sufficient for a single repair job. These boxes are also a handy size that actually fits inside the backpack which makes it easy to haul them around. The Roofer’s Choice Fuel + Nail Combo Pack is competitively priced and is available wherever the Nailer is sold.
Out first test involved laying some 30 year architectural shingles over some 1/2” plywood. The initial nail depth setting was a little too deep because it was almost shooting though the shingles. Using the included Allen wrench, we loosened the screw that holds the depth adjustment plate and adjusted the depth accordingly. We found it a little odd that there was no tool-less depth adjustment knob on this nailer. It seems to us that the engineers at Duo-Fast did their homework for this tool, yet somehow overlooked one of the simpler items that even budget grade tools include. The only reason that we noted the depth adjustment is because when you are in the roof repair business, the repair guy does not have much control over what is the substrate is under the shingles. What happen to us is that we ended up working with the tool on an older home that had 3/4″ pine boards for the roof deck that also had some repairs that were made to the roof deck with some 3/4″ plywood. On this project, we had to adjust the depth of fire a few times depending on what the deck material was and it took a little extra work and care to make the adjustment. Aside from this we found that the Duo-Fast Cordless Roofing Coil Nailer to be an ideal tool for making roof repairs. It functioned flawlessly though all our testing and projects without a single misfire or jam.
The Duo-Fast DFCR175C Cordless Roofing Coil Nailer is a fantastic tool for a number of reasons. It makes doing roofing repairs much easier because of its cordless design. The included padded backpack makes it easy to transport both the tool and a box of nails up onto the roof. While the Duo-Fast Cordless Roofing Coil Nailer does cost more than its pneumatic counterparts, we think that given its specific use for doing repairs, installing vent boots and flashing, the extra cost is easily justifiable for the convenience and ease of use. For our Performance rating we gave the nailer an 8/10 because it is a tool that we suspect many roofing contractors will want to get their hands on. For our Value rating we gave the tool a 6/10 since, while it does have a high initial cost but given its unique market position, it is still inline with the cost of other cordless nailers offered from Duo-fast and its convenience will easily justify its cost.