Best Roof Shingles Guide • Top 7 Shingle Brands (2022)

By Jack Gray, Roof Online Editor • Last updated October 22, 2022

Table of Contents

best roof shingles
This roof was installed using CertainTeed Belmont® shingles, some of the best roof shingles available.

Introduction

We’re professional roof consultants – professional roof experts, you might say. People often ask us what the best asphalt shingles are. The answer we give isn’t always the same.

This is because of all the things you have to consider before you can say what the best roof shingles will be for a particular roof.

Different people have different roofs in different environments, and they have different concerns and expectations for their roofs.

To figure out what the best shingles for your roof will be, you have to take a few things into account:

Your Budget: Does it make sense to spend money on the ultimate performance shingles right now? Is it really necessary? If not, the roof shingle brands listed below offer the best roofing shingles for every budget.

The top performance shingles from any particular shingle manufacturer will typically cost roughly two to three times as much as their cheapest shingles.

Roofing labor costs are normally anywhere from 40% to 60% of the total cost of a roof installation, depending on the details of the job. The cost of labor in roofing is virtually unaffected by the quality of the materials; cheaper shingles aren’t going to reduce labor costs.

Many people try to reduce the cost of their new roof by reducing material costs. Going with the cheapest shingles instead of the most expensive shingles might reduce the cost of your new roof by as much as 20% to 30%.

This can mean 1000’s of dollars in savings on the roof installation, but it might not really be worth saving 25% on a new roof that will only last half as long.

It’s something to think about.

Of course, it’s not a choice between using the most expensive shingles or the least expensive shingles. The best shingle manufacturers offer plenty of shingle lines in between. In fact, these tend to be the most popular shingles.

Your Location: Do you live in a place where severe hail will be a concern? Do you live near the coast or in some other high wind area? You’ll want high-end asphalt shingles with the top impact or wind resistance ratings.

Your Future Plans: Are you going to keep your house or sell it? A new roof will definitely increase the resale value of your home, but there’s more to it. Will a transferable roof warranty be a selling point? You’ll want shingles from a company that offers you a good selection of warranty upgrades.

Appearance: You’ll want a roof that complements your house. Some of these manufacturers offer shingles in colors that the others don’t have. Shingle styles have proliferated in recent years, and available styles also vary from brand to brand.

You’ll want to browse the available shingles on these companies’ websites to find the perfect color and style for your house.

Roof Complexity: Do you have hips and valleys and dormers and skylights all over your roof? Workmanship will be even more important than usual. You’ll want a top-notch contractor who is already familiar with the material.

You’ll probably want use a contractor who is certified by the manufacturer, and you’ll want to use shingles from a manufacturer who has a contractor certification program.

a very complex roof
A complicated roof requires a high level of competence on the part of the roofing contractor (image courtesy Malarkey Roofing Products).

So, what are the best roof shingles?

The best roof shingles on the market are going to be shingles from one of the top performance lines from one of the top shingle manufacturers.

There is a group of shingle manufacturers who all have similar experience, high standards, quality products, and reputations. These companies all compete with each other on warranties, product lines, prices, etc.

When one of them adopts a new shingle technology, the others usually aren’t far behind. Whether it’s algae-resistant shingles, Energy Star-certified reflective shingles, improved self-sealing strips…all of these companies stay up-to-date and continually roll out new products that take advantage of state-of-the-art developments.

This group of companies produces the best roofing shingles, and we’d be likely to recommend shingles from any one of them, depending on the roof in question.

We put together this list of the best roof shingle manufacturers to get you started off looking in the right place, and to make sure you can feel comfortable with the shingles you end up using.

Why You Want the Best Roof Shingles

Roof Performance: The best roof shingles perform better. High winds, hailstorms, constant sun…the best roof shingles can handle whatever the environment throws at them.

They will be less likely to develop leaks, leaks that can seriously damage your house and the things in it. They will also be less likely to develop other common roof issues that will cost you money to repair.

Roof Longevity: The best roof shingles last longer, often much longer. They will be less likely to fail prematurely or unexpectedly, meaning that you won’t have to deal with the headache of having your roof replaced again for a very long time.

Life-Cycle Cost: The best roof shingles will cost you less in the long run. Whole-life cost (or life-cycle cost) is the total cost of ownership over the life of an asset.

Life-cycle cost analysis is an established asset management technique and it typically shows that using high quality roofing materials reduces the total lifetime cost of a roof by reducing required maintenance and repairs as well extending the useful life of the roof.

When you use the best roofing material, you typically end up getting more use out of your roof per dollar spent on the initial roof installation than you would for cheaper materials.

Insurance Discounts: The best roofing shingles can save you money on your homeowner’s insurance. Discounts for a new roof installed with highly-rated performance shingles from a top shingle manufacturer may help you save up to 20% on your homeowner’s insurance policy premiums.

Resale Value: The best roof shingles will help increase the value of your home, and help preserve that value over time. For the money invested, compared to other home improvement projects, your roof has an outsized effect on the resale value of your house.

What the Best Roof Shingles Have in Common

Personal opinion often plays a big part when someone tells you what they think the best roof shingles are. Personal experience with a company, a preference for a certain style of shingle, etc.

But there are some things about shingles that are simply factual and often measurable. You can use these criteria as a guideline to selecting the best roof shingles.

Production Quality: The best roof shingles are manufactured to high standards, using industry best practices, with a final product that is consistently satisfactory.

This short video from CertainTeed shows you the basic steps involved in asphalt shingle production:

CertainTeed Roofing - How Shingles Are Made

High production quality means your roof will be far less likely to suffer from the common problems that affect asphalt shingle roofs.

Shingle problems that are frequently due to manufacturing defects include premature shingle cupping, clawing, and curling; cracked shingles, loss of granules, blisters, and failure of the self-sealing adhesive strips.

These issues can often be seen on old roofs where the shingles have reached the end of their design life. But shingles produced with poor manufacturing quality can start to develop these issues almost as soon as they’re installed.

Of course, you won’t be able to observe your shingles being made or see the actual quality standards being enforced in the factory, so you’ll just have to take the manufacturer’s word for it. Which brings us to manufacturer reputation.

Manufacturer Reputation: The best roofing shingles are made by a manufacturer with a great reputation. A great reputation is the result of years of producing quality products, treating their customers well, honoring their warranties, and being honest about what their products can and cannot do.

If a manufacturer has a good reputation, that’s as good a sign as any that you will get what you pay for when you buy from them. All of the companies listed below have a good reputation within the roofing industry.

Thickness: The best roof shingles are relatively thick. This is something that holds true across all roofing materials in general. Everything else being equal, the best roofing material will be a thicker roofing material.

Thicker material will last longer and perform better than a thinner version of the same type of roof covering.

Polymer Modified: The best asphalt shingles use polymer-modified asphalt, also called “rubberized” asphalt. Much like the modified bitumen roofing used on flat roofs, 3% to 12% of a polymer-modified shingle is synthetic rubber, styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS), blended into the asphalt during production.

Polymer-modified shingles perform better in extreme cold, high winds, and hailstorms. They are more resistant to cracking or tearing than regular asphalt shingles.

Impact Resistance: When you’re talking about impact resistance, you’re talking about how well the shingles can stand up to hail. Impact resistance ratings for shingles go from Class 1 to Class 4, with Class 4 being the most impact-resistant.

A Class 4 impact resistance rating can help residential property owners to obtain a reduction in their residential insurance premium. The best roof shingles will have a Class 3 or Class 4 impact resistance rating. The highest impact resistance is normally achieved by polymer-modified shingles.

Fire Rating: Fire ratings for asphalt shingles go from Class A to Class C, with Class A having the highest fire resistance. The best roof shingles will have a Class A fire resistance rating.

Wind Resistance: This is another big one. Shingle damage due to high winds is super common. Low-quality shingles will tear, crack, or even lose their tabs in a windstorm. If you live in an area with above-average wind conditions, you’ll want to pay close attention to this.

The best roof shingles will be covered for wind speeds up to 110 mph right out of the package, regardless of who installs them.

Depending on the manufacturer and the product line, this coverage can be upgraded for wind speeds of 130 mph, 140 mph, 150 mph, or even 160 mph if the roof is installed by a certified roofing contractor following (much) more stringent installation guidelines from the manufacturer.

prevent wind damaged shingles like this by using the best roof shingles
The best roof shingles will greatly reduce the risk of costly wind damage to your asphalt shingle roof.

There are two different test standards used to determine the wind resistance of asphalt shingles. These standards test shingles in different ways and for somewhat different performance criteria. Either or both may be used to rate shingles.

ASTM D3161, “Standard Test Method for Wind Resistance of Asphalt Shingles (Fan Induced Method).” This standard rates shingles as Class A (60 mph), Class D (90 mph), or Class F (110 mph). Class F is the highest rating and the best roofing shingles will have this rating.

ASTM D7158, “Standard Test Method for Wind Resistance of Asphalt Shingles (Uplift Force/Uplift Resistance Method).” This standard rates shingles as Class D (90 mph), Class G (120), and Class H (150 mph). Class H is the highest rating and the best roof shingles will have this rating.

Manufacturers generally just state the top windspeed that their shingles will resist (or are warranted to resist). You can always find the wind resistance information for any particular product by looking under the warranty information on the manufacturer’s website.

Warranty: The best roof shingles will come with a non-prorated material warranty good for at least ten years. The length of the non-prorated period of the warranty is the real clue as to how confident the manufacturer is that these shingles will perform, and that they will keep on performing.

The best roof shingles will have warranty options that allow you to extend the non-prorated period (up to 50 years in some cases) and increase the maximum windspeed covered.

What Shingles Do Roofers Recommend?

We’ve worked with hundreds of roofers and they all have a favorite roof shingle manufacturer, almost always one of the ones on our list.

If you search the internet and read the shingle reviews and shingle recommendations on roofing contractor websites, you will find plenty of roofing contractors telling you that one or another of the shingle brands listed below is the best.

The reasons they give for recommending a particular brand of shingles tend to be the same reasons no matter which brand they are recommending. Quality. Reliability. Performance. And that’s fine, because all of those reasons apply to all of the shingle companies on our list.

The truth is that roofers tend to recommend shingles made by the shingle manufacturer with which they have a professional relationship.

These shingle manufacturers train, certify, and recommend roofers. They have loyalty programs. They offer material discounts to roofers who consistently use their products instead of someone else’s. They offer better warranties to customers who use their preferred roofing contractors.

But just because a roofer gets a discount on shingles and gets improved warranties to offer their customers doesn’t mean that they’re being dishonest when they recommend a brand of shingles.

Roofers normally join loyalty programs and become manufacturer-certified because they were already a fan of the manufacturer in the first place.

And since all of these companies produce excellent shingles, why wouldn’t they recommend the brand of shingles that they install the most?

List of the Best Roof Shingles and Best Shingle Brands

The roof shingle manufacturers listed here are presented in no particular order.

Malarkey

Malarkey Roofing Products logo
  • Year Founded: 1956
  • Headquarters: Portland, Oregon
  • Annual Revenue: $120 million
  • Types of Shingles: 3-Tab, Strip • Architectural, Dimensional • Designer, Luxury, Premium
  • Contractor Certification Program: Yes
  • Find a Malarkey Certified Contractor
  • Non-Prorated Warranty Period: 7, 10, 12, 15, 20, 40, 45 and 50 years, depending on product and installer
  • Top Performance Shingle Line: Windsor® Scotchgard™
  • Cheapest Shingle Line: Dura-Seal™ AR
  • Most Popular Shingle Line: Vista® AR
  • Website: Malarkey Roofing Products

Malarkey makes residential roofing products including asphalt shingles and asphalt shingle accessories, as well as closely related roll roofing products.

Malarkey is unusual because it uses high-performance polymer-modified (“rubberized”) asphalt in all of its shingle product lines, not just in its premium performance shingles. Of course, this means that the lower-end Malarkey shingles are somewhat more expensive than the lower-end shingles from the other manufacturers on this list.

Because of the premium material that they use, Malarkey produces what are probably the best 3-tab shingles on the market when it comes to long-term performance. Again, you do get what you pay for.

Malarkey is a small company compared to the others on this list, but when it comes to shingle performance, Malarkey has one of the best, if not the best, reputations in the industry.

Windsor® Scotchgard™ shingles, the top performance shingles from Malarkey and some of the best roof shingles available.
These are Windsor® Scotchgard™ shingles, the top performance shingles from Malarkey.

IKO

IKO logo
  • Year Founded: 1951
  • Headquarters: Brampton, Ontario
  • Annual Revenue: $1.17 billion
  • Types of Shingles: 3-Tab, Strip • Architectural, Dimensional • Designer, Luxury, Premium
  • Contractor Certification Program: No, they just have a contractor loyalty reward program
  • Non-Prorated Warranty Period: 5 to 15 years
  • Top Performance Shingle Line: Nordic™
  • Cheapest Shingle Line: Marathon™ Plus AR
  • Most Popular Shingle Line: Cambridge®
  • Website: IKO Industries

IKO makes residential and commercial roofing products including asphalt shingles and asphalt shingle roofing accessories, low-slope modified bitumen and built-up roof systems, as well as insulation, cover board, and other low-slope roofing accessories.

IKO has a reputation as a lower-priced alternative for good quality shingles when its product lines are compared to those of other manufacturers. Shingles from IKO have scored well and appeared in the short list of best roof shingles that Consumer Reports puts together every year.

A roof with Nordic™ shingles, a top performance shingle line from IKO.
A roof with Nordic™ shingles, a top performance shingle line from IKO

Owens Corning

Owens Corning logo

Owens Corning makes residential roofing products including asphalt shingles and asphalt shingle roofing accessories. Owens Corning is best known as one of the top building insulation manufacturers in the world, and they also produce a variety of fiberglass composite building materials for various specialty applications.

Owens Corning is so confident in their manufacturing standards that they offer one of the most generous material warranties in the industry.

Provided that all of your roof components are made by Owens Corning and you use a roofing contractor certified by them, Owens Corning will give you a 50 year non-prorated warranty. The 50-year coverage includes the labor cost to repair or replace defective materials.

Owens Corning's top performance shingles, the Duration® FLEX® line.
Owens Corning’s top performance shingles, the Duration® FLEX® line

TAMKO

TAMKO logo
  • Year Founded: 1944
  • Headquarters: Joplin, Missouri
  • Annual Revenue: $500 million
  • Types of Shingles: 3-Tab, Strip • Architectural, Dimensional • Designer, Luxury, Premium
  • Contractor Certification Program: Yes
  • Find a TAMKO Certified Contractor
  • Non-Prorated Warranty Period: 5 to 30 years, depending on product and installer
  • Top Performance Shingle Line: Titan XT®
  • Cheapest Shingle Line: Elite Glass-Seal®
  • Most Popular Shingle Line: Heritage®
  • Website: TAMKO Building Products

TAMKO makes residential and commercial roofing products including asphalt shingles and asphalt shingle roofing accessories, specialty underlayments, modified bitumen rolls, and waterproofing.

TAMKO is a company with a solid reputation for producing affordable and reliable roof shingles. Although they have concentrated on making high quality shingles for the middle- and low-end markets for most of the company’s history, they recently began producing a line of premium performance shingles as well.

Even though they don’t offer as wide a range of shingle colors and styles as some of the other manufacturers, TAMKO is a sensible choice for roof shingles when your budget is one of your main concerns.

Titan XT® shingles, TAMKO's top performance shingles.
Titan XT® shingles, TAMKO’s top performance shingles

Atlas

Atlas Roofing logo

Atlas makes residential and commercial roofing products including asphalt shingles and asphalt shingle roofing accessories, a variety of roofing underlayments, and insulation board.

Compared to the other manufacturers, Atlas offers a wider assortment of shingle styles and colors in the popular architectural/dimensional-tier shingle lines. If you can’t find the exact look you want from the others, you’d do well to look through the shingles available from Atlas.

Atlas shingles have a solid reputation for consistent quality. Many contractors consider them to be the best value for your money, as they tend to cost a bit less than similar shingles from other manufacturers while performing just as well.

Atlas’s most popular shingle line, Pinnacle® Pristine, consistently scores near the top in tests conducted by consumer product evaluators such as Consumer Reports.

StormMaster® Shake asphalt shingles, Atlas' top performance line
StormMaster® Shake asphalt shingles, Atlas’ top performance line

CertainTeed

CertainTeed logo
  • Year Founded: 1904
  • Headquarters: Malvern, Pennsylvania
  • Annual Revenue: $2.02 billion
  • Types of Shingles: 3-Tab, Strip • Architectural, Dimensional • Designer, Luxury, Premium
  • Contractor Certification Program: Yes
  • Find a CertainTeed Certified Contractor
  • Non-Prorated Warranty Period: 5 to 10 years, depending on the product
  • Top Performance Shingle Line: Presidential Shake® IR
  • Cheapest Shingle Line: XT™ 25
  • Most Popular Shingle line: Landmark®
  • Website: CertainTeed

CertainTeed makes residential and commercial roofing products including asphalt shingles and asphalt shingle roofing accessories; and SBS-modified bitumen roofing systems. They also make solar roofing products, vinyl siding, sheathing products, insulation, and a variety of other products with both exterior and interior applications.

CertainTeed is the #2 shingle manufacturer by number of shingles sold. They aren’t as big as GAF, but they are definitely one of the big 2.

CertainTeed possibly has the best reputation of all the biggest shingle manufacturers. They have an extremely loyal contractor customer base. Many roofing contractors have been using CertainTeed shingles for a very long time, won’t use anything else, and will be happy to tell you why they think CertainTeed is so great.

CertainTeed's Presidential Shake® shingles, which they describe as "the industry’s thickest, toughest, and heaviest shingle".
CertainTeed’s Presidential Shake® shingles, which they describe as “the industry’s thickest, toughest, and heaviest shingle”

GAF

GAF logo
  • Year Founded: 1886
  • Headquarters: Parsippany, New Jersey
  • Annual Revenue: $3 billion
  • Types of Shingles: 3-Tab, Strip • Architectural, Dimensional • Designer, Luxury, Premium
  • Contractor Certification Program: Yes
  • Find a GAF Certified Contractor
  • Non-Prorated Warranty Period: 10, 20, or 50 years
  • Top Performance Shingle Line: Timberline® AS II
  • Cheapest Shingle Line: Royal Sovereign®
  • Most Popular Shingle Line: Timberline®
  • Website: GAF

GAF makes residential and commercial roofing products including asphalt shingles and asphalt shingle roofing accessories, roll roofing, real slate roofing, solar roofing products, ventilation products, TPO and PVC single-ply low-slope roof systems, SBS and APP modified bitumen, a variety of roof coatings, and fiber-cement siding.

GAF sells more shingles than anyone else, and they’ve been in business the longest, so they must be doing something right. According to GAF (and there’s no reason to doubt them), their Timberline HDZ® line is the best-selling line of shingles in North America.

The general feeling in the roofing community is that GAF doesn’t have quite as high a reputation as CertainTeed, but they almost do, and their shingles aren’t quite as expensive as CertainTeed’s shingles are, either.

With any of the manufacturers on this list, you can count on getting what you pay for.

This roof uses GAF's Timberline® shingles, the most popular line of shingles in America today.
This roof uses GAF’s Timberline® shingles, the most popular line of shingles in America today.

About the Author

Jack Gray is a principal roof consultant and vice president at the Moriarty Corporation, an award-winning building enclosure consultant firm founded in 1967. He is also the editor of the Roof Online website.

He has worked in the roofing industry for nearly 25 years, with training and practical experience in roof safety, roof inspection, roof condition assessment, estimating, roof design & specification, roof installation, quality assurance, roof maintenance & repair, and roof asset management.

He was awarded the Registered Roof Observer (RRO) professional credential in 2009.

He also served as an infantry paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division and attended Cornell University. Read full bio.


More Shingle Resources

Types of Asphalt Shingles & Modern Shingle Categories

For more extensive explanations of shingle types, categories, and grades, please our article Types of Asphalt Roof Shingles • Asphalt Shingle Categories.

3-Tab Shingles

3-tab shingles are generally the lowest-tier shingle lines. 3-tab shingles are strip shingles with cut-outs that make the shingle strip look like three smaller individual shingles (the “tabs” of the shingle).

3-tab shingles consist of one single layer of shingle material: a reinforcement mat sandwiched between two layers of asphalt with surface granules on the top side.

For a long time, 3-tab shingles had a standard length of 36 inches and a standard width of 12 inches. Roofing manufacturers have recently started to change this, however, and a length of one meter (a little more than 39 inches) is becoming more common.

Strip Shingles

Strip shingles, also called “3-tab” shingles today, are the most basic type of asphalt shingles.

The term “strip” was first used because the individual shingle unit was manufactured in a strip that connected what appeared to be two or three separate shingles.

Strip shingles were first produced in the 1920’s. Before this, asphalt shingles were actually produced as single shingle units, about a foot wide.

Architectural Shingles

Architectural shingles are laminated shingles. They are called “architectural shingles” because the top layer of the shingle can be used to give the shingle desirable aesthetic or “architectural” effects.

Cut-outs and overlaps in the top layer of the shingle can give the shingle a “profile” that makes the shingle look thicker and more textured, with high definition and sharp shadow lines.

The terms “architectural shingles”, “dimensional shingles”, and “laminated shingles” are used interchangeably.

Dimensional Shingles

Basic dimensional shingles are generally the mid-tier shingle lines. Dimensional shingles are the most popular type of roofing shingles installed in North America today.

Dimensional shingles are laminated shingles: they are manufactured as a double-layered (and very rarely triple-layered) product. The multiple layers in the shingle give the installed shingles a multi-dimensional appearance, implying sturdiness and quality.

Dimensional shingles are generally thicker, heavier, and longer-lasting than strip shingles, with better warranties.

The terms “dimensional shingles”, “architectural shingles”, and “laminated shingles” are used interchangeably.

Luxury Shingles

These are the best roof shingles as far as performance goes. Luxury shingles are the top-tier shingle lines from most manufacturers today.

Luxury shingles are the thickest, highest-quality dimensional, architectural shingles.

The term “luxury shingles” is used interchangeably with “premium shingles”. Luxury shingles and premium shingles are the same thing.

Premium Shingles

Premium shingles are the top-tier shingles. Premium shingles are the thickest, highest-quality laminated or architectural shingles.

They are often designed to mimic other, more expensive roofing materials such as natural slate or cedar shake. This heightened curb appeal makes them stand out from other asphalt shingles.

Most premium shingles also have a high impact-resistance rating. Premium shingles typically cost the most, last the longest, and have the best warranties.

AR Shingles

“AR” stands for “algae-resistant”. Several manufacturers add the letters “AR” after the name of some of their the shingle lines, like “Vista® AR” by Malarkey.

“AR” means that the shingles are manufactured using algae-resistant granules. This helps prevent the unattractive black streaks that form on some roofs due to algae growth.

If the shingles have “Scotchgard™” after the name, it also means they are algae-resistant and use the trademarked Scotchgard granules from the 3M corporation.

IR Shingles

“IR” stands for “impact-resistant”. When you see “IR” after the name of a line of shingles, it generally means that the shingles are UL-certified for Class 4 impact resistance, the highest impact resistance rating.

Most (but not all!) IR shingles are made with polymer-modified asphalt.

Asphalt Shingle Roofing: Useful Information Guide

Best Roof Cement Guide • Top 5 Roof Cement Products

Best Roof Repair Tape • Top 5 Roof Sealant Tapes

How Long Does a Roof Last? • Roof Lifespan for 49 Roof Types

How to Replace a Missing Asphalt Shingle

Modified Bitumen 101 • Important Facts and Guidelines

Roof Nail Pops 101 • Roof Nail Pop Repair Guide

Types of Asphalt Roof Shingles • Asphalt Shingle Categories

External Sources & References

Code Requirements: 1507.2 Asphalt Shingles – UpCodes

Fire Ratings: Fire Ratings for Roofing Material – Wildfire Information Network

Impact Resistance: Impact-Resistant Shingle Performance Ratings – The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)

Impact Resistance: New Asphalt Shingle Hail Impact Performance Test Protocol and Damage Assessment – American Society of Civil Engineers

Polymer Modified Shingles: Durability of Polymer Modified Asphalt Shingles – The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)

Polymer Modified Shingles: Modified Asphalt Strengthens Roofing Shingles – Asphalt: the Magazine of the Asphalt Institute

Shingle Standards: Understanding Asphalt Shingle Standards – Professional Roofing Magazine

Warranties: 30 Years to Life: Understanding Lifetime Limited Asphalt Shingle Warranties – Professional Roofing Magazine

Warranties: Understanding What a Roofing Warranty Is, and What It Is Not – FacilitiesNet

Wind Resistance: Wind Uplift of Asphalt Shingles – The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)