Porter-Cable Nailers - Your Choice

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I love that South Dakota is the first state to have any purchases.

Yep, they totally nailed it!

Bought the Roofing nailer from big orange for hanging hardi lap siding, I also bought a comparable unit from HF. The Porter Cable blew it out of the water. HF jammed constantly, PC hung 500 sqft without a hitch.

Going to use it to hang some fencing in a few weeks.

Anyone else immediately think “Tommy-Gun” when they saw the drum magazine?

The Porter-Cable FN250CR fully-automatic sub-machine gun uses the familiar 20rd box “XX” magazines while the RN175BR comes standard with the 50rd “L” drum magazine that everyone loves to mow down their…I mean have lots of fun at the range!

Ok. This is coming from a female. Just throwing that out there. Do I need a compressor to use these? I’m thinking…yes. But, heck I don’t know. Little help here.

yes you need an air compressor to use these.

Thank you for the assist. Now. What size compressor. Or just take it to the nearest HD or wherever and find out that way?? Ughhhhhh. I’m really not as ignorant as I come across. Just learning.

Compressors are often rated in Pounds per Square Inch (PSI) for driving power, and Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM) for how much air they can distribute. The requirements are usually noted on the box or in the manual. A quick glance at this primer from Lowes looks decent.

That said, both models top out at 120PSI, so the CFM will probably be your limiting factor of how quickly you can fire repeatedly.

I have the HF one as well. I love that it is adjustable so takes almost any manufacturer’s nails. It did jam on me all the time until I realized that (for fencing at least) it needs to be upright. Turn it sideways or upside down, and it’s done.

That, and you need at least three nails in it. But it got the job done.

Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!!

I need to use this to put up crown moulding & to replace a wood fence. Which do u recommend I purchase?

the finish nailer is the right tool for the crown moulding.

Neither of these are really appropriate for a wood fence, but the roofing nailer would be the only one that would work.

The finish nailer uses small guage nails that are meant to be hidden…in a fence though, it means they have little strength and will quickly rust out.

The roofing nailer uses nails with large heads that aren’t typically used in fencing, and are shorter than would typically be used. However since you can get coiled galvanized nails, you could probably get away with using it to attach the planks. Just make sure that if you used pressure treated wood, the nails are compatible with it.

A framing nailer is really what should be used for the fencing project as it uses a more standard size nail head that is more appropriate to a fence

For those with compressor questions:

Any decent compressor will work fine with these. Porter-Cable makes a few different pancake-shaped red compressors that are relatively inexpensive.

Air volume (cfm = cubic feet per minute) is what you need to be concerned with. The finish nailer won’t give you much trouble because it doesn’t use air as quickly as the roofing nailer.

The roofing nailer will work just fine as long as you don’t work so quickly that the compressor can’t keep up. Unless you’re a contractor or a pro, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

All that said, if you just need the finish nailer and a compressor, check out the Porter-Cable PC1PAKR. Amazon has these as a combo kit with everything you’ll need to get started.

We have long, cold winters… which leaves us plenty of time to research our tool purchases.

You could say this is what allows us to be quick on the trigger.


I have three Porter Cable nail guns including this exact finish nailer. I’m happy with all three and have never had any troubles.

I have also used my father’s PC framing nailer and again it has never given us any troubles. I have my own Campbell Hausfeld framing nailer, but his PC is much nicer… and lighter.

The coil nailer is a very specialized gun that not many people would be able to justify, but the finish nailer can be used in a variety of applications. You can hang interior doors, install baseboard, crown molding, and other trim. You can install exterior trim and decorative molding and even facenail the top row of cedar or cementatious shingles for a nice clean finished look. I’ve used mine much more often than I thought I would - would recommend.

Getting ready to build a fairly large tool shed in the back yard. Probably 350 sq ft. I have a Hitachi framing nailer and a finish nailer. This is a good price on the roofing nailer and I am wondering if I can justify the roofing nailer for my shed. Is the roofing nailer preferred for hanging hardi-board over the framer? I’ve never hung hardi but I’ve decided that will be my siding of choice on the shed and of course, I will roof the shed with traditional shingles so I know I could use if for that. Any other uses for the roofing nailer that could help me talk myself into another tool?

Check with the siding manufacturer, but for James Hardi, they do list a roofing nail as an acceptable option for lap siding.


I installed about 600 sq ft of their fiber cement shingle panels, and for those I used a framing nailer with a coated ring shank nail… worked great.

Honestly though if you already have a framing nailer, I’d probably opt to use that instead (with the proper recommended fastener size). That’s just my preference as I prefer a longer fastener and really like ring shank, but if you need an excuse to buy a roofing nailer and would rather use it there you go. Just be aware the larger head means you have a greater chance of having shiners if you are offline a bit. That is more of an issue with shingle panels - not really an issue with lap siding.

Just ask yourself after you are done roofing and siding your shed - how often are you going to use a roofing nailer? A 350sq ft shed wouldn’t be all that difficult to roof with a hammer and nail pouch - the nailer might save you an hour total time, maybe two hours if you are really slow with a hammer - so just ask yourself if your time is worth the expense.

There is a difference between a roofing nailer and a siding nailer though… and most people would get more use from a siding nailer as they are often used for fencing projects and other light duty work as well. This is the primary reason I have yet to purchase a roofing nailer - I just wouldn’t use it often enough to own.