Consumer Reports recently (2019) tested asphalt roofing shingles to determine the best ones for your home. It tested 3 types of asphalt shingles; the standard shingle that most people go with, the architectural shingle which is designed to offer a little bit more layering and a little more material but at a slightly higher cost. The third shingle tested was the multi-layered architectural shingle which offers significantly more material a much more layered look but comes at a significantly higher cost.
The Consumer Reports test involved a variety of performance tests to evaluate the strength of a shingle. They use an Instron machine which helps the testers assess whether the roofing materials adhesive will stick or separate when strong winds hit your roof. The Instron machine is also used to see how much force it takes for a nail to rip through the shingle. They also use a weathering machine that blasts samples of the shingles with 500 hours of simulated sunlight and rain.
So which shingle performed best?
Predictably the pricier multi-layered architectural shingles came out on top for performance. Consumer Reports recommends the Owens Corning Berkshire collection which at the time of this article was $250 per square. That is enough material to cover 100 square feet but that doesn't mean you need to spend that much. The Atlas Store Master Slate 3 tab shingle also performed very well in CRS tests and cost less at $135 per square. An even less expensive shingle is the Tamko Heritage Architectural shingle which costs about $71 per square. Finally, Consumer Reports states that while buying a good performance shingle is important so is hiring a reputable roofing contractor to make sure shingles are being installed correctly. Consumer Reports also recommends reading the fine print on the roofing warranty, the best types of warranty cover full replacement costs for new shingles with labor.