The 5 Best Air Compressors for Roofing Nailers [Updated October 2020]

Last Updated on October 6, 2020 by Paul King

Home remodeling and renovation enthusiasts understand the need for the best equipment possible. You need the best industrial cleaning and construction equipment to get your remodeling jobs done on time and to your specifications. Whether you replace roofs seasonally, personally, or do it full-time, you need a contractor-grade air compressor to run your roofing nailers properly.

The best air compressors will help reduce the number of hours required to complete your DIY project or construction job by reducing recovery time and running multiple nailers at once. Here is an in-depth guide to the best air compressors on the market when it comes to roof nailing. 

Any home renovation expert that has worked on extensive projects will understand the need for a reliable air compressor. The Makita MAC2400 Big Bore Air Compressor is a best-seller for a reason – it’s been the contractor’s choice in durable and versatile air compressors for years. The Makita combines a quality 130-PSI maximum operating pressure with a recovery time that is nearly unmatched in the compressor industry which is perfect for any large roofing project. Its compact dimensions make it easily portable so you can get it onto the roof with relative ease.

The ability to utilize multiple nail guns at once makes the Makita attractive as an on-site compressor as well, since multiple workers can multitask the same job. A small roofing project taken on by a family or couple will also be able to utilize the multitasking function for a more efficient workload on their roofing and shingling projects. 

Minimal noise output helps the site run smoothly as well since you can talk to your coworkers even while the Makita is running. The low noise output also helps at home when you have neighbors or family that you don’t want to disturb with your DIY projects.

The Makita is also extremely durable due to its roll cage construction, which protects its mechanism from being damaged on a busy worksite. Since you may be working in the winter or the early morning hours, the fact that this compressor can start at any temperature due to its oil-lubricated cylinder is another plus.

Why we like it

  • Oil-lubricated cylinder makes it easy to start in cold temperatures
  • Multitasking function can help maximize the work capacity of a roofing crew
  • Competitive 2.5 horsepower motor
  • Roll cage construction provides worksite durability
  • Cylinder is easily removed for cleaning and maintenance 
  • Industry-leading recovery time 

Our Verdict

The Makita MAC2400 Big Bore is not only competitively powerful with its 2.5 HP motor, but its roll cage construction and compact design make it surprisingly portable as well. For roofing projects that require multiple heavy-duty nailers, construction sites, or DIY shingling jobs, no renovator could go wrong with the Makita Big Bore.

Our Rating

5/5

The DeWalt Air Compressor delivers on its promise of quick recovery times and competitive tank storage pressure. Operating at a maximum usable pressure of 225-PSI, the DeWalt offers 80% more air than other comparably priced compressors.

The unit can be easily stored vertically to reduce its storage footprint for those who need an industrial-grade machine with the dimensions of a more domestic model. A collapsible handle allows you to store and transport the compressor with ease. 10-inch foam tires help you wheel it around the construction site so you never have to haul the 80-pound unit around by hand.

Despite a motor that underperforms the Makita at only 1.6 HP, the DeWalt provides plenty of power for any conceivable DIY roofing or construction project, even while producing only 78 decibels of noise.

Why we like it

  • Vertical shape reduces storage footprint
  • Competitive tank storage pressure capacity at 225-PSI maximum
  • Non-flat foam tires allow the compressor to be easily transported through any worksite
  • Can handle multiple roofing nailers
  • Low operational noise level for a quieter job site or home environment

Our Verdict

The DeWalt air compressor delivers in terms of storage pressure, overtaking the maximum in its class. With a small storage footprint and convenient collapsible handle, the DeWalt is convenient to store and wheel around any job site. No home remodeler looking to get heavy-duty roof nailing done could go wrong with the DeWalt.

Our Rating

5/5

The DeWalt 165-PSI Pancake Air Compressor is a compact, versatile compressor for those that need multiple heavy-duty roofing nailers on their latest renovation project. Its 165-PSI maximum tank storage capacity helps the compressor recharge quickly and store enough pressure to complete even heavy-duty roofing tasks.

The split pressure feature allows for multiple tools to be used for a DIY couple remodeling team or a crew to multitask a roofing job with ease. 

Weighing only 30 pounds, the DeWalt compressor leads the pack in terms of portability, which could make a huge difference when you’re hauling it up onto the roof.

Why we like it

  • 165-PSI tank capacity shortens recovery time
  • Lightweight construction makes this 30-pound unit easy to haul around a job site and up onto a roof
  • Oil-free pump reduces the need for cleanup and maintenance
  • Low noise output
  • Split pressure allows for multiple tools to be used simultaneously

Our Verdict

DeWalt’s Pancake-model Air Compressor is a lightweight alternative to the vertical units. Its condensed shape gives you contractor-grade compressor power in a compact unit that’s easy to store and transport to any job.

Our Rating

5/5

The Porter-Cable Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor offers a long lifespan along with simple maintenance. The compact design offers stable compression in a unit that’s easy to store and carry to any job site (like the DeWalt pancake compressor, it only weighs 30 pounds).

The Porter-Cable’s fast recovery time allows for heavy-duty performance when nailing during a roofing project. Despite its budget price, the compressor comes with a one-year warranty for those worried about durability.

Its tank pressure maxes out at 150-PSI, but this Porter-Cable pancake compressor should still be able to handle your roofing nailers with ease. 

Why we like it

  • Pancake design encourages portability 
  • 6-gallon tank capacity, including a water drain valve
  • Low-amp motor for easy starting in lower temperatures
  • Oil-free pump, with no maintenance required
  • Lightweight at only 30 pounds

Our Verdict

The Porter-Cable Pancake Compressor is competitively priced, while backed by a satisfactory tank pressure capacity and a compact design. At only 30 pounds, anyone should be able to get this up to their roof with ease. Low maintenance and a product warranty round out this compact but attractive package.

Our Rating

5/5

The pancake design of this Craftsman 6-Gallon Air Compressor allows for stability on rooftops and easy storage. The maximum PSI of 150 allows for extended use without the need to charge the compressor during a project.

Similar to other units on this list, the Craftsman easily starts in cold weather, which is perfect for DIYers who tend to leave their tools out at night or have to store them in outdoor sheds.

This unit uniquely comes with a 13-piece accessory kit that includes blowguns, gauges, nozzles, inflator adaptors, PVC air hoses, tire chucks, and more. Since most of these units come only with the compressor unit, this kit makes the Craftsman ideal for beginners who need to get nailing work done but don’t have any of the required hoses or attachments lying around.

Why we like it

  • Compact design promotes portability
  • 13-piece accessory kit makes it ideal for roofing novices
  • Competitive tank capacity and storage pressure
  • Easy startup in cold temperatures
  • Quick recovery time
  • 1-year warranty

Our Verdict

This Craftsman Pancake Air Compressor is competitive in terms of its pricing, tank storage pressure, tank capacity, and low-maintenance pump. What sets it apart is its accessory kit, which makes it perfect for novice roofers that want to get started on a construction project but don’t have any of the hoses and attachments to supplement their new compression unit.

Our Rating

4.5/5
best-air-compressor-for-roofing-nailer

Buyer’s Guide

Whether you helm a roofing crew or want to get started on your own DIY roofing project at home, a quality air compressor is indispensable to your work. Looking for the right compressor requires knowledge of your job requirements, but also general expertise in what to look for in any compressor on the market.

Here is a short buyer’s guide to the features that you should look for and compare in any air compressor you’re considering for use in your roofing project.

Motor Capacity

Anyone experienced in roofing work understands that the motor capacity of a compressor is incredibly important. Comparing the horsepower of multiple motors can tell you not only how much heavy-duty work that compressor can handle, but also for how long it can run without needing to be recharged.

If you have sensitive neighbors or a house that you don’t want to fill with the racket of the highest-grade air compressor, you may alternatively consider a motor that runs on less horsepower to cut down on the noise. So long as it still has the tank storage capacity that you need for your project, you don’t need to put extra strain on your family or neighborhood.

Communication during any type of renovation project is extremely important, either between crewmembers on a job site or spouses on a home remodeling team. Noise output could be a big deal when it comes to your comfort and the comfort of your family, so it’s worth looking into.

Required Maintenance

For those that are utilizing a compressor daily for roofing work, it is imperative to clean and maintain the machine. Roofing work might entail jobs in colder weather as well, so the ability to start the compressor easily even in low temperatures should not be underestimated when you’re comparing models.

Most pumps on modern consumer-grade air compressors run oil-free and require no maintenance over their long lifespans. This is something to look for when you’re comparing models and deciding whether a little extra money now is worth the cost in time and money later in machine maintenance, delayed projects, and stress. 

Durability

Since this compressor is intended for roof nailing projects, you may want to prepare for it to be banged around a bit, both on the way up and down the ladder and in the possibility that it could be dropped.

Therefore, the design of the compressor needs to be taken into consideration. Pancake models and compact, roll cage constructions tend to be sturdier than the longer, vertical tank models or the ones mounted onto wheels.

Portability

Taking on a roofing job alone or with a team will require taking the compressor up a ladder or around the job site. Being able to handle some nailing work without assistance can allow a home renovation enthusiast to get ahead on a project.

Taking any type of compressor up a ladder should be done with supervision or assistance as serious injury could result from a fall. However, the most compact units on this list (weighing as little as 30 pounds), are built for maximum portability and conveniently small storage spaces. 

Multitasking 

The ability to use multiple nail guns during a roofing project is not present on all compressors, but its usefulness should not be underestimated. By splitting the pressure and running two tools at once, you can coordinate with your trim team, framing crew, and your painting professionals and get the job done twice as fast.

The Takeaway 

Roofing projects can be a challenge, but the right air compressor expedites the process and packs enough punch to run even the heaviest roofing nailers with ease.

The Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor is our top pick because of its power, durability, ability to run two roofing nailers simultaneously, and noise output level. It has the largest motor on the list with large storage capacity and strong tank pressure to get any conceivable DIY project done. It’s hard to argue with that versatility in such a compact package, which is also simple to transport to the roof or around the job site.

Whichever compressor you choose, comparing your project’s needs to the aptitudes of each unit is essential. This buying guide is the key to matching yourself to the perfect machine so you can get your nailing work done right. Check out some of the best roofing nailers to pair with your new air compressor!

Paul King

I have an unhealthy obsession with contracting and renovation. I’ve been a contractor for over 15 years and I love tackling challenging projects to make them look amazing.