Best Compressor for Roofing [2024 Review]

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Any experienced handyman or contractor knows that the best compressor for roofing is an absolute necessity for any roofing project. This is because it allows you to quickly and easily install nails into the roofing material. I made this guide to help you find the best options for your needs.

My Top Roofing Air Compressor Recommendations

With so many different models and brands on the market, it can be tough to know which compressor is right for your needs. That’s why I did plenty of research to help you buy a tool that is the best fit for your roofing project.

Let’s get right to it.

Best Overall Compressor for Roofing: Craftsman Compressor Combo Kit

Although CRAFTSMAN has lost some of its former glory, it still has a good grip on quality compressors. The pancake CRAFTSMAN air compressor combo kit is one of the best on the market, and a great choice for your roofing project.

With a 6-gallon tank and 150 max PSI, it has plenty of power to drive nails into even the hardest materials.

At just 32.5 pounds, it is slightly heavier than the PORTER-CABLE Compressor. However,  this compressor is still one of the lightest on my list, making it easy to carry around and maneuver on the roof.  What’s more, the oil-free pump means you don’t have to worry about maintenance.

You can, therefore, use it for a long time without worrying about cleaning or changing the oil. The compressor also has a quick compressor recovery time that will enable you to work continuously without pauses.

However, if you care about the noise or don’t want to irk your neighbors, this might not be the best choice for you. This is because, just like the PORTER-CABLE Compressor, it’s one of the loudest compressors on my list. It also produces a lot of vibration, so you might want to use it with gloves.

What I Like

  • It is very lightweight and portable
  • It has a quick compressor recovery time
  • The oil-free pump eliminates the need for maintenance

What I Don’t Like

  • It is quite loud
  • It produces a lot of vibration

Best Quiet Compressor for Roofing: DEWALT Air Compressor

Unlike the CRAFTSMAN option above, this DEWALT air compressor is designed to be one of the quietest models on the market. It features a specially designed silicone sleeve that helps to reduce pump noise.

The compressor has low noise levels at around 71.5 dBA, so you won’t have to worry about disturbing your neighbors.

While this is still audible enough, it is not irritating to the ear and your neighbors will barely mind.  This unit is also very powerful, with a 2.5-gallon tank and 200 max PSI. It can easily handle roofing nails and you can fire a large number of nails before needing to stop and recharge.

At 36 pounds, this DEWALT compressor is slightly heavier than the CRAFTSMAN model. You might, therefore, not find it flexible enough on the roof. However, this is barely a deal-breaker especially when you consider that there are much heavier models. For instance, the Makita MAC2400 ticks the scale at slightly over 80 pounds.

What I Like

  • It has low noise levels for a conducive working environment
  • The fast recovery time ensures you save a lot of time while working
  • You can fire large amounts of nails before recharging. This helps you save plenty of time and finish the job faster

What I Don’t Like

  • You will need at least a 15 amp extension cord to use it efficiently
  • It is slightly heavier than other models so might have a  hard time maneuvering on the roof

Best Portable Compressor for Roofing: PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor

The CRAFTSMAN air compressor is lightweight and the DEWALT model is just the right amount of heavy. However, if you need a really portable compressor, then this PORTER-CABLE model is perfect for you. It only weighs 31 pounds and can easily be carried around by one person.

This is quite plausible especially when you compare it to the overly heavy Makita MAC2400. Looking at user feedback and expert reviews, the PORTER-CABLE air compressor performs exceptionally in four key areas: accuracy, portability, weight, and maneuverability.

This means that if you are shopping around for a roofing compressor that will give you an edge in terms of mobility, this is the model to buy.

It also offers a great recovery time at 2.6 SCFM which means you won’t have to wait for a long time between nailing. However, this model is not as powerful as the other models such as the  CRAFTSMAN air compressor combo kit. You might, therefore, have a problem nailing into hard surfaces.

What I Like

  • It is one of the lightest models on the market, making it very easy to carry around
  • The unit is very maneuverable, so you can easily get it into tight spaces
  • It has a fast recovery time, so you can work continuously without waiting for the compressor to recharge

What I Don’t Like

  • It is a bit noisy and irritating
  • It is not as powerful as some of the other models, so it might struggle with hard surfaces

Best Durable Compressor for Roofing: Makita MAC2400

Durability is certainly something you want to prioritize when looking for a roofing compressor. After all, you will be using it in tough conditions and you need something that can withstand all kinds of abuse. The Makita MAC2400 is one of the most durable models on the market.

It features a cast iron pump with Big Bore cylinder and piston, which is designed to withstand tough conditions. It also has a durable roll-cage construction that protects the compressor from extreme job site environments. This compressor is also very powerful, with a 2.5 HP 4-pole motor that produces 4.2 CFM at 90 PSI.

It can easily handle roofing nails and you won’t have to worry about it breaking down on you. This compressor is different from other models such as the CRAFTSMAN air compressor combo kit because it comes with an oil-lubricated pump.

Although it might require frequent maintenance, this helps to minimize wear and prolong the lifespan of your compressor. On top of that, this compressor comes with a durable cast iron cylinder that boosts pump life and reduces wear. However, at 80 pounds, this is the heaviest compressor on this list.

It might, therefore, not be a good option if you are looking for portable options like the PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor.

What I Like

  • It is very durable, with a cast iron pump and roll-cage construction that can withstand tough conditions
  • It is powerful, with a 2.5 HP 4-pole motor that produces 4.2 CFM at 90 PSI
  • It has a fast recovery time, so you can work continuously without waiting for the compressor to recharge

What I Don’t Like

  • You might have to keep replacing the oil in cold weather
  • It is a bit heavy, so it might be difficult to maneuver on the roof

Best Entry-Level Roofing Air Compressor: BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor

If you just started using air compressors for roofing and still trying to get the hang of it, then the BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor is a great choice for you. There are several reasons why I think this machine is beginner-friendly. First of all, it is really easy to install.

The manual is very easy to follow and within no time, you will have your machine set up and ready to use. The oil-free pump also means that you do not have to worry about maintenance or replacing the oil frequently. As such you will have an easier time working the compressor even when you’re not a pro yet.

This is also one of the lightest air compressors on my list, weighing in at only 29 pounds. As a beginner, you want to avoid bulky and hard-to-operate nailing compressors. When you compare it with the MAKITA MAC2400 which weighs 80.1 pounds, you will see why I think this is a really portable model.

Lastly, the BOSTITCH Pancake Compressor is decently affordable. Compared to other options like the  CRAFTSMAN air compressor combo kit,  this one will save you a few bucks without compromising on quality. So, if you don’t have a lot of money to spend on your first air compressor for roofing, this one will be an easy pick.

What I Like

  • It is easy to install and use, even for beginners
  • The oil-free pump means little to no maintenance
  • It is very lightweight and portable, perfect for when you’re just getting started with air compressors
  • It has low noise levels which is a good fit for beginners who are not yet used to the irritating sound of some air compressors

What I Don’t Like

  • It’s not very durable
  • The electric cord is a bit short

What to Consider for the Best Air Compressor for Roofing

Although there is no one-fits-all solution when it comes to finding the best compressor for roofing, there are definitely some factors that you should keep in mind when making your decision. Here are a few things to consider:

Air compressor


If you have to move your compressor around a lot, then you want something that is lightweight and easy to carry. This is fairly common if you are working on a roofing project as you will have to move your compressor from one side of the roof to the other.

If you are specifically looking for portability I recommend the BOSTITCH Pancake model or the PORTER-CABLE Compressor.

Size and Weight

Another important factor to consider is the size and weight of the compressor. If you have a small roofing project, then you might not need a very big or bulky compressor. On the other hand, if you are working on a larger project, then you will need something that is more powerful and can store more air.

When it comes to size and weight, the BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor, the PORTER-CABLE, and the CRAFTSMAN options are my top recommendations.

Pump Type

The type of pump is also important when choosing a compressor for roofing. For example, if you live in a cold climate, then you might want to get an oil-free pump to avoid freezing. A good example is the CRAFTSMAN combo kit.

On the other hand, if you are working in a hot climate, then an oil-lubricated pump will be more suitable. In this case, I recommend the Makita MAC2400.

Noise Levels

You also want to make sure that the air compressor is not too loud. This is important for two reasons. First of all, you don’t want to disturb your neighbors with a loud compressor. Secondly, you also don’t want to damage your ears with a very loud compressor.

Air compressor

An ideal noise level for a compressor would be about 60-75 decibels. In this case, the DEWALT air compressor at 71.5 decibels is the best option. 

Recovery Time

The recovery time is the amount of time it takes for the compressor to recharge after it has been used. If you are working on a large project, then you want something that has a fast recovery time. This will help you save time and get the job done faster.

All of the compressors in this guide have reasonable recovery times. However, for the fastest recovery time, I recommend the CRAFTSMAN air compressor combo kit and the Makita MAC2400.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Big of a Compressor Do I Need for a Roofing Gun?

Most of the air compressors for roofing I have reviewed need around 2.2 to 2.5 CFM. However, if you can find one that delivers 4.0 CFM @ 90 PSI with a 6-gallon tank compressor, that would be big enough.

Is SCFM Higher Than CFM?

Yes, SCFM is higher than CFM. This is because SCFM measures volumetric air conditions which is always higher when compared to the CFM value for a compressor.

What Is the Difference Between Single-Stage and Two-Stage Air Compressors?

In a single-stage compressor, the air is only compressed once while in a two-stage compressor, the air is compressed twice producing double the pressure.


Choosing the best compressor for roofing is not an easy task. There are many factors that you need to consider such as size, weight, pump type, motor capacity, tank capacity, noise levels, recovery time, and power source.

However, if you take the time to do your research and find the right one for your needs, you will be able to get the job done quickly and efficiently.