DEWALT 20V Cordless Roofing Nailer

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DEWALT 20V Cordless Wire Collated Roofing Nailer DCN45RNB Review

DEWALT 20V Cordless Wire Collated Roofing Nailer DCN45RNB

Manufacturer: DEWALT
Model number: DCN45RNB
Price: 319.00
Power source: 20 volts
Motor size: Brushless
Weight: 6.7
We recently got our hands on the DEWALT 20V 15° cordless coil roofing nailer. This is the first battery-powered only nailer we’ve seen, we did review the Duo-fast gas nailer years ago, but it did not stick with contractors.

We’ve been using the DEWALT pneumatic nailer for a few years and like it, but we’re super happy to see a cordless solution.

First Impression

The first impression on the DEWALT 20V 15° cordless coil roofing nailer is that it is heavier than its pneumatic older brother. It weighs 6.7 lbs. and has a fly-wheel wind-up and wind down sound. I was also impressed with how fast it was at installing nails, and unimpressed by its sharp recoil when fired. We’ll talk more about this later in the review.

The DEWALT 20V 15° cordless coil roofing nailer kind of looks like they reused the casing of the 18-gauge brad nailer.  It does have DEWALT’s famously comfortable grip. DEWALT put a lot of time and effort in past years perfecting this grip, and it’s a winning design. The nailer’s nose is different from their pneumatic nailer – it has a square shape and we found it to have provided excellent stability and surface contact.

Nailer Capacity

Powered by a brushless motor this battery-powered nailer can drive the full range of wire-collated roofing nails from 3/4 in. to 1-3/4 in. in bump mode.

The nailer has a tool-free nail tray that easily adjusts to accommodate different nail lengths and a tool-free depth adjustment wheel. The nail canister adjusts to allow 3 positions:

  1. ¾” nails
  2. 1” to 1-1/4” nails
  3. 1-1/2” to 1-3/4” nails

Nail Canister

The DEWALT 20V Cordless Roofing Nailer canister housing and the cover are made of thin plastic and is not as rugged as the pneumatic nailer’s canister.  Just moving the cordless nailer around on our shed roof project popped the coil housing open a few times. The thinner canister was probably a trade-off to cut weight off the already beefy nailer.

Additionally, the metal “nail door” clip is different from the pneumatic version. This new clip resembles a spring-loaded, slide-bolt which I would describe a sticky and sluggish to operate. It’s not a precisely machined fit.

Rate of Fire and Runtime

The DEWALT 20V 15° cordless coil roofing nailer fires up to 3 nails per second on a 2 Ah battery.  It can install up to 500 nails per charge, or to put that into layman’s terms easily one square (100 sq.’) of asphalt roofing shingles per charge.

We installed 5 bundles of shingles on a single 2.0Ah battery. That’s over 100 shingles with 4 nails per sheet and then the ridge cap on the top.

There is NO dry-fire lockout on this tool.

DEWALT 20V Cordless Roofing Nailer Specifications

  • Nail Capacity 120
  • Height 5 IN
  • Length 5 IN
  • Weight 6.7 LBS

Depth of Drive

The depth adjustment wheel is top-mounted and is a turn-knob mechanism requiring your thumb and index finger to operate. We found it stiff to turn. There are five depth settings and we found that we needed to use the deepest setting to ensure nails installed flush.

Stall Lever

The nailer has a tool stall-release lever to return the driver blade in the event of a jam. When this happens, it typically means that the nailer’s driver blade did not complete the drive cycle and is not reset. When this happens the jam /stall LED light will flash.

To clear a stall, you need to remove the battery [to reset it] and activate the stall release lever on top of the tool. The lever releases the driver blade and resets it for nailing.

Using the DEWALT 20V 15° Cordless Coil Roofing Nailer

We used this nailer on a shed roof installation shooting 1-1/4” nails and it’s super-fast for a cordless nailer. This roofing nailer has a sharp recoil, a lot more than I’d like to see on a roofing nailer.

We also experienced a fair share of driver blade jambs with this nailer.

Note – We were using the correct angle nails, a charged battery, and even replaced the coils to see if that would reduce the jambs, it did not.

We also tried to use the nailer to install Hardie siding over Advantec sheathing. The nailer did not have the power to install the nail into the Hardie siding and punched [recoiled] the nailer back toward us resulting in a half-driven nail.

Improvements to the DEWALT 20V Cordless Roofing Nailer

We’d like to see DEWALT Improve two things on this nailer:

  • Reduce the weight
  • Reduce the recoil


The DEWALT 20V Cordless Roofing Nailer sells online for $319.00

DEWALT 20V Cordless Wire Collated Roofing Nailer DCN45RNB

Overall Impression

The speed of the gun is great but the weight is a factor. The DEWALT cordless coil roofing nailer is definitely designed for small, quick roofing repairs or jobs like this shed.

Larger jobs would require a pneumatic gun, but there isn’t a doubt in my mind that this nailer could tackle a full roof, it’s just too heavy and the recoil will fatigue you over time.

We can all agree that cordless nailers are convenient and ideal for service repairs and small jobs. The lack of hoses, compressor, or gas cartridges alone makes cordless nailers attractive.

Kudos to DEWALT for trail-blazing this nailer to the market.

DEWALT 20V Cordless Roofing Nailer Video Review

About the author

Rob Robillard

Robert Robillard is a remodeler, general contractor, and principal of a carpentry and renovation business located in Concord, Massachusetts, and serves as the Editor of Tool Box Buzz and founding editor of A Concord Carpenter . Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review - Tool and Product Review - Video Channel, , where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the remodeling industry. The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob Robillard

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  1. Corey Moore

    I’m heavily invested in DeWalt, and a very satisfied customer, but I have a hard time convincing other folks that my disdain for Milwaukee stuff is basically limited to 80% marketing, and maybe 20% ergonomics and personal experiences haha My point with that is this- I WISH DeWalt would invest the time and fervent obsession to their tools as Milwaukee does. Now obviously DeWalt knows how to make a tool, the same way you can’t deny that Ford, Chevy, and Dodge all know how to make a truck- they’re all extremely successful businesses because of those products. DeWalt takes its categories and it doesn’t take others, but what I fail to see as a customer is anything close to the actual caring about making the best they can. Compared to Milwaukee’s annual core tool updates, and steamrolling passed misses/failures, DeWalt can seem very quiet and corporate in the lack of information or communication with the customer base, as they just kind of pop out tools methodically if sometimes slow and random. I think they’re good tools, I own a lot of them and make my living with them. But it’s hard to see these kinds of “Well it’s not that great, but whatever it’s what they made” releases happen. I’m sure there are very dedicated and qualified folks making DeWalt run with their ideas and creations, but there’s a serious lack of deliberate communication and follow up with the brand, which gives us the perception of just accepting whatever comes out, whether it’s celebrating it’s success or looking for excuses not to be unenthusiastic because there likely won’t be any radical change to whatever it is for some time.

    1. I hear you! This nailer is a great tool for what it is – small projects and repairs. Its basically a trail blazer – first of its kind [All battery] so you have to give them some credit there.

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