How Fast Can a Nail Gun Shoot? (Recommended by Professional Roofers)

“Time is money,” says a seasoned roofer as he effortlessly drives nails into the shingles with his trusty nail gun.

In the world of roofing, speed is crucial, and having the right tools can make all the difference. But how fast can a nail gun shoot, and what factors determine its speed?

In this article, we’ll explore the world of nail guns, their speeds, and what professional roofers recommend.

What should I consider when looking for a fast nail gun?

Power Source

The power source of a nail gun plays a significant role in determining its speed. Different power sources include:

  • Pneumatic (compressed air): Pneumatic nail guns are generally faster than other types because they can provide high driving forces consistently. They rely on an air compressor to generate compressed air that powers the nail gun.
  • Cordless (gas or battery-powered): Cordless nail guns offer mobility and are not limited by air hoses. However, their speed can vary depending on the specific model and power source. Gas-powered cordless nail guns tend to provide higher driving speeds compared to battery-powered ones.
  • Electric: Electric nail guns use electricity as their power source and are typically slower than pneumatic or gas-powered models. However, they can still offer decent speed for lighter applications.

Driving mechanism

The driving mechanism of a nail gun determines how it propels the nails into the material. There are two common types:

  • Contact or bump fire: In this mode, the nail gun can fire a nail when the trigger is pressed and the nose of the gun is in contact with the work surface. The user can keep the trigger pressed and rapidly bump the nose against the material to drive nails quickly.
  • Sequential fire: In this mode, the nail gun requires the user to press the trigger for each nail to be fired. The sequential fire mode is generally considered safer but may be slower compared to contact firing.

Magazine capacity

The magazine capacity refers to the number of nails a nail gun can hold at a time. A larger magazine capacity means fewer interruptions for reloading, leading to increased speed and productivity.

  • Nail type and size: Different nail guns are designed for specific nail types and sizes. The type and size of nails can affect the speed at which they are driven. Smaller and lighter nails, such as brad nails, can be driven faster compared to larger and heavier nails used for framing or construction.
  • Depth adjustment: Some nail guns feature depth adjustment settings that allow you to control how deep the nail is driven into the material. Adjusting the depth to the desired setting can impact the speed at which the nail gun operates.
  • Operator skill and technique: The skill and technique of the person using the nail gun also play a role in its speed. With practice and experience, an operator can improve their efficiency and speed in handling the tool.
Most Popular
BOSTITCH Coil Roofing Nailer, 1-3/4-Inch to 1-3/4-Inch (RN46)
  • Lightweight aluminum housing for durability
  • Zero nail lockout prevents dry firing
  • Carbide inserts for long-life performance
  • Aggressive wear guards for tool protection
  • Quick-set adjustable depth guide for convenience
For Professionals
Metabo HPT Roofing Nailer | Pro Preferred Brand of Pneumatic Nailers | 16 Degree Magazine | Accepts 7/8-Inch to 1-3/4-Inch Nails | Ideal for Asphalt Roofing Shingles & Insulation Boards | NV45AB2
  • Ideal for shingles and insulation board installation
  • Side loading magazine for fastener installation
  • Lightweight and well-balanced for easy maneuverability
  • Quick driving system for maximum efficiency
  • Tool-less depth adjustment for precision nailing
MAX USA CORP SuperRoofer CN445R3 Roofing Coil Nailer up to 1-3/4
  • Tar resistant nose reduces tar build-up
  • Self-cleaning filter ensures reliable operations
  • Easy tool maintenance with removable contact foot
  • No nail waste or jams with nose magnet
  • Consistent and accurate nail shooting power
As an affiliate, we may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases if you click from our site and choose to make a purchase

How fast can a nail gun shoot?

Nail Gun TypeFiring SpeedNails per Minute
Pneumatic Nail Guns4-6 nails per second240-360 nails per minute
Cordless Nail Guns3-5 nails per second180-300 nails per minute
Electric Nail Guns2-4 nails per second120-240 nails per minute
The table provides an overview of firing speeds for different types of nail guns, including pneumatic, cordless, and electric models, indicating their approximate rates of nails shot per second and nails per minute.

Pneumatic nail guns

Pneumatic nail guns, powered by compressed air, are known for their fast firing speeds. On average, they can shoot anywhere from 4 to 6 nails per second, which translates to approximately 240 to 360 nails per minute.

Cordless nail guns

Cordless nail guns can have varying firing speeds depending on the specific model and power source. Gas-powered cordless nail guns tend to offer higher driving speeds compared to battery-powered ones. Some of the fastest cordless nail guns can achieve firing rates of around 3 to 5 nails per second, or approximately 180 to 300 nails per minute.

Electric nail guns

Electric nail guns are generally slower compared to pneumatic or gas-powered models. They typically have firing speeds ranging from 2 to 4 nails per second, or approximately 120 to 240 nails per minute.

When it comes to roofing, the speed at which a nail gun shoots may not be as crucial a factor as it would be in other applications.

Do professional roofers need fast nail guns?

Fast nail guns can be beneficial for professional roofers, but the emphasis is not solely on speed. Professional roofers require nail guns that offer a combination of speed, reliability, accuracy, and durability to enhance their overall efficiency and productivity.

Here are a few considerations regarding the use of fast nail guns by professional roofers:

  • Time-saving efficiency: Fast nail guns can help professional roofers complete their work more quickly, especially when they are working on large-scale roofing projects. Faster firing speeds allow roofers to drive nails efficiently, reducing the time required for each shingle or roofing material installation.
  • Increased productivity: By using nail guns with faster firing speeds, roofers can increase their overall productivity. With fewer delays for reloading and quicker nail placement, roofers can work more efficiently and complete jobs within tight deadlines.
  • Workflow optimization: Fast nail guns can contribute to the smooth workflow of a roofing project. Roofers can maintain a steady rhythm and pace while driving nails, resulting in consistent and even installation of shingles or roofing materials.
  • Ease of use: Nail guns with higher firing speeds often incorporate features that enhance user comfort and ease of operation. These features can reduce user fatigue during prolonged use, allowing roofers to work for longer periods without experiencing excessive strain.
  • Safety considerations: While speed is a factor, professional roofers prioritize safety. Fast nail guns should also have appropriate safety features, such as trigger locks, sequential firing modes, and depth adjustment mechanisms. These safety features help prevent accidental firing and ensure controlled nail placement, minimizing the risk of injuries on the job site.
  • Material compatibility: Professional roofers use specific nail types and sizes that are compatible with roofing materials. Fast nail guns designed for roofing applications should be capable of accommodating these specific nails effectively and driving them into the roofing material with the required force.

How do I make a nail gun shoot faster?

Modifying a nail gun to shoot faster is not recommended, as it can compromise safety, damage the tool, and void any warranties or guarantees.

Attempting to increase the firing speed without proper knowledge and expertise can lead to hazardous situations or damage to the tool itself.

Instead of modifying a nail gun, consider the following practices to optimize its performance within its intended capabilities:

  • Select the right nail gun: Choose a nail gun model that aligns with your desired speed requirements. Different nail guns are designed for specific applications, and selecting a model with a higher firing speed can naturally provide a faster operation.
  • Maintain proper air pressure: If you are using a pneumatic nail gun, ensure that the air compressor is providing sufficient and consistent air pressure. Insufficient air pressure can result in slower firing speeds. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for the recommended operating pressure.
  • Choose the right nails: Using the appropriate nails for your nail gun is crucial for optimal performance. Using nails that are compatible with your specific nail gun model ensures smooth and efficient firing.
  • Keep the nail gun clean and lubricated: Regular maintenance of your nail gun is important to ensure its smooth operation. Clean the tool regularly and lubricate it as per the manufacturer’s instructions. A clean and well-lubricated nail gun will function more efficiently.
  • Use proper technique: Ensure you are using the nail gun correctly and applying proper technique. Maintain a firm grip on the tool, position it correctly against the work surface, and press the trigger smoothly and consistently. Proper technique can help optimize the firing speed.

Other interesting articles:

Author: Logan

I help people connect with businesses