Before choosing the size of your air compressor, consider the type of work, the location, the available place, and the CFM rating of the air tools.

If you are a garage work specialist or a professional mechanic, you may have several air tools that need suitable air compressors.

But for someone new to the air tools, it is easy to be confused about the type of air compressors they need to use. There are different types of air compressors that come in various sizes but choosing a random one for your tool may cause more harm than good.


Advantages Of Air Tools

Some might wonder since electric tools are available, why should anyone get air tools? Well, air tools have many brands and are quite handy power tools. They also have some amazing benefits

● They last longer than electric tools
● They cost less
● Little chance of being hazardous and getting an electric shock
● They are lightweight and easy to carry around

To make these air tools highly effective you will need the right compressors. Since there are various types available, You will need the Best of Machinery guide to help you find the right one.

Size Depends On The Type Of Work

The Type of Project you are working on might define the type of tool you need. If you are doing some heavy construction work or some large home upgrade, then a stronger air compressor is needed for the air tools to provide more power.

Make sure to buy one that does not create noise pollution. Quiet yet powerful air compressors are now available and it is amazing to work with.

If you are doing some small repair jobs, minor maintenance, or DIY home projects. then getting powerful compressors will not be ideal. A small air compressor will be the best choice for such projects.

Type Of The Tool Determines The Compressor

This does somewhat correlate to the previous subject. Larger and bigger projects require intense work and to support that, you need bigger tools that can generate a lot of power.

If you are to use a tool that requires a constant flow of air, then you will need an air compressor with a larger air tank that can provide airflow for a longer period.

If you are using smaller tools like a brad nailer, then any small compressor would do. So consider the type of tools you are going to use before getting an air compressor.

Location & Space

The location and place also influence the size of your compressor. If you are working in a small space like indoors or in a garage, then large air compressors might prove to be difficult.

A 6-gallon pancake compressor is bound to fit in just about any garage, but if you have no worries about space, then you can get a stationary 30-gallon compressor. And as for location, if you need to constantly move around from one place to another while working, these bulky 30-gallon stationary units will pose a challenge.

So, it will be wiser to get more lightweight ones which can be moved around easily.

Big Compressors Are Not Always The Best

Bigger air compressors might seem more powerful and you think of using them everywhere. But that is not always the case.

Yes, you do get more power from bigger compressors and can get airflow for a longer period, but what if your tool cannot maintain this massive flow of power?

Chances are the tool will be damaged internally and your entire work will come to a stop. In recent times, many companies have developed smaller and lighter air compressors, without compromising their power.

Although a bit pricey, getting these air compressors will prove to be helpful for cases where you require a larger one but also need to move around quite often.

Determine How Much Air You need

Each air tool comes with its CFM number, which is a measurement for how much airflow is required for that machine to work properly.

Any higher quantity would damage the tool and lower would not give satisfactory output. Smaller air tools, for example, tire inflators require 30-140 CFM. However,  those used in the industry for heavier work require much higher CFM.

A pneumatic stapler will run perfectly at 3 CFM whereas a spinning sander moving at 90 PSI may require 8 CFM

Air CFM Chart

Here is a chart that lists different types of air tools and how much CFM they require-

30-40 CFM

60-70 CFM

150 CFM

¾” impact wrench

OTI tire inflators

Pneumatic saws

2” horizontal grinders


90 lb Jackhammer

Tire inflation

60lb jackhammer

Rock drills

Chipping hammers

Backfill tampers

Trenchless piercing tools


Just like the tools listed above, there are plenty of air tools that have a fixed set of CFM ranges that are required for proper function.

Choosing The Right Air Compressor

You have sorted out all the necessary information you need. The type of project, the location, the available space, the type of tool, and the required CFM range. Everything is settled. You just need to find the perfect air compressor and you can get down to work. But that is not all.

Some other factors should be taken into consideration while selecting the air compressor like whether it will be stationary, the power source for the machine, and whether it will be a reciprocating or rotary screw. Once these are sorted out it will be easier to look for the perfect air compressor

You can check online or in the market for air compressors and research which one will be the best one for your project.

Final Thoughts

Air tools are getting more popular these days as they provide all the benefits of electric tools, but do not have any of the bad qualities of an electrical one. Some air compressors can even provide more power than electric tools.  Hopefully, this article will provide you with the insight to find the right air compressor.