Best Roofing Shingles From Consumer Reports' Tests

Top-rated 3-tab, architectural, and multilayered architectural asphalt shingles from Consumer Reports’ tests

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Consumer Reports technician testing roofing shingle in lab
CR engineer Misha Kollontai tests the strength of shingle swatches.
Photo: Consumer Reports

Your roof provides your home’s chief protection against severe weather and all that comes with it: hail, water and ice, fallen trees, and debris. Choosing strong roofing shingles is a crucial step toward making sure that you, your home, and your belongings are well-protected. (Another key step: hiring a good roofing contractor.)

Consumer Reports’ comprehensive review of asphalt roofing shingles found that the best of the batch are more than twice as strong as the competition.

CR focuses strictly on asphalt roofing shingles because they’re the most common choice for roofs by far. Asphalt shingles are easy to install, last 10 to 50 years, depending on the type, and are less expensive than other roofing materials, such as slate, tile, and metal.

The three types of asphalt shingles we test are three-tab, architectural/laminated, and multilayered architectural. Three-tab shingles are the most common. These single-layer shingles are typically rated to withstand winds up to 60 mph and moderate impact from flying debris or hail. Architectural/laminated shingles have several layers and can withstand stronger winds and weather than three-tabs. And multilayered architectural shingles are the toughest of the bunch, with some rated for winds of up to 110 mph.

“When you see these shingles up close, it’s easy to see how some of the thicker, multilayered shingles fare better than standard three-tab shingles,” says Misha Kollontai, CR’s test engineer in charge of roofing. “In some cases, the material is so thick you’re getting more than triple the protection you’d get from standard shingles.”

How CR Tests Roofing Shingles

Our roofing tests focus on a shingle’s strength and how well it maintains its appearance over time. We use a calibrated machine, called an Instron, that applies force to shingles to replicate everything from ferocious winds to fallen tree limbs.

More on Roofing

We test the thickest part of each shingle, which is where the largest number of layers overlap. And we test the thinnest parts—typically near the edges—where there’s often only one layer of material, because those are the weak spots that can lead to loose or cracked shingles and eventually leaks. We also drop 5-pound weights from various heights to simulate heavy hail to see which shingles bend, dent, or crack from the impact. To see how they stand up over time to sun and rain, we use a machine that exposes them to 500 hours’ worth of UV light that’s as bright as the midday sun and water sprays that duplicate strong rain.

Below, CR members with digital access can read ratings and reviews of three top-performing shingles from our tests. Check our latest roofing ratings for detailed results for the different lines of asphalt roofing shingles that we test. For information on roofing materials and installation, see our roofing buying guide.

A Note on Shingle Pricing
While home centers price roofing by the bundle, the square footage a bundle covers will differ by line. In our ratings, we list prices per “square,” an industry term that denotes a 10x10-foot area, or 100 square feet. This allows you to make direct price comparisons across different lines of shingles.

Best Roofing Shingles

CR members with digital access can read on for ratings and reviews of asphalt roofing shingles in our ratings for multilayered architectural shingles, architectural/laminated shingles, and more basic three-ply shingles. These top picks are listed in rank order within each category and come from a range of brands, including Atlas, CertainTeed, GAF, Iko, Owens Corning, and Tamko.

Become a member to read the full article and get access to digital ratings.

We investigate, research, and test so you can choose with confidence.