What size air compressor for impact wrench

While air pressure is important, it’s not the only way to evaluate an air compressor. Are you looking for what size air compressor for impact wrench? You also have to consider the size of the air compressor’s tank.

Impact wrenches are intermittent tools, which means that, unlike sandblasters or grinders, you won’t be using the impact gun continuously for an extended period. 

You can operate an impact wrench with a good portable electric compressor just fine, although a small pancake type would only work for nail guns. 

Air compressors come in various sizes that are measured in liters.

The larger an air compressor is, the more air it can hold, which translates to more time working and less time filling your air tank. 

In short, bigger is better when it comes to air compressor tank size. 

In my opinion, the minimum air compressor for the impact wrench is 22,712 liters with 4 CFM. If it’s lower than that, you will have a hard time using the tool. 

Remember that this is the minimum size. 

I strongly recommend buying one with a tank capacity of 75,708 liters or more. 

In general, you’ll want to balance price with capacity. 

So we have to be clear that air compressors with larger tanks can allow you to work longer without interruptions, but they will also cost much more. 

I don’t usually use the impact wrench for long periods, so I’m perfectly happy with a 10,000-gallon tank. 

That gives me enough air to do what I need without costing too much or taking too long to refill. 

However, you can easily see someone who works in a commercial environment needing a larger tank. 

If these do anything like a professional construction job, I recommend investing in a larger 200,000-gallon tank, maybe even a 300,000-gallon tank. 

Will a 300-gallon air compressor work with an impact wrench?

The short answer is no. One of the most common home air compressors is the 30,000-gallon air compressor. 

Most of these low-cost air compressors are marketed as “beginner” models. So many people have them, and you might be curious if it can run an impact wrench. 

Most 300-gallon air compressors are extremely weak when it comes to air pressure. 

Air pressure varies a lot, but in my experience, a 300-gallon air compressor will have an air pressure of around 0.5 CFM. 

Like I said earlier, even the smallest impact wrench needs 1-1.5 CFM to work reliably, so it’s probably not a good investment. 

But more importantly, a 3000-gallon air compressor will not provide sufficient air for the impact wrench to work properly. 

You will tire of constantly waiting for the compressor to refill the air. 

Can a 22,712-liter air compressor run an impact wrench?

The answer is yes, but I wouldn’t recommend it. In my experience, the smallest size air compressor you’ll need to run an impact wrench is 22,712 liters. 

With such a compressor, you should be able to work for a couple of minutes before running out of stored air. 

For example, if you’re removing a lug nut with an impact wrench and you have a 50-gallon compressor, you should be able to remove a wheel and then wait 2-3 minutes. 

This machine may not be a big deal for home users who occasionally use the air impact wrench. 

Air compressor for impact wrench

An air impact wrench requires a certain minimum size of air compressor to work. 

How can you find the right air compressor for your specific impact wrench?

In this article, I’ll do my best to help you through this surprisingly complicated process by telling you what you need to know about air compressors for impact wrenches. 

Can you tell me what size air compressor you need to use as an impact gun?

You will generally need an air compressor with 4 to 5 CFM at 90 PSI to run a 1/2 inch impact wrench. 

To avoid delays between tasks, I would also recommend getting a 75,708-liter capacity compressor. 

You can refer to the CFM chart at the end of this guide for other sizes. 

Here is why you need this minimum CFM and tank size. 

In what range of air pressure should you use an impact wrench?

Air compressors are measured, at least in part, by the amount of air pressure (PSI) they produce and the airflow (CFM). 

Even if you’re not particularly familiar with air compressors, you can probably guess why air pressure is important. 

The higher the air pressure, the more power the tool has. Likewise, the amount of air flowing is also important. 

Before you continue, you need to understand the difference between air pressure and airflow units. 

CFM (cubic feet per minute) is the mass of air flowing per minute.

PSI (pounds per square inch): is the unit that denotes air pressure.

So, this begs the question of exactly how much air pressure and CFM you need for the impact wrench. 

The answer to this question will largely depend on the size of the impact wrench you are using. 

The larger the impact wrench, the more air it will need. There is no one type of guide that can apply to all air tools. 

Instead, I’ll discuss the most common impact wrench sizes. And tell you approximately what air pressure is needed to operate at each size. 

1/4-inch impact wrench

For a 1/4-inch impact wrench, you won’t need a lot of air pressure. 

An air compressor that supplies about 1 to 1.5 CFM (which stands for cubic feet per minute, the standard measurement for air pressure) will be more than enough for an impact wrench of this size. 

Of course, you could opt for more air pressure, but it’s not necessary. 

3/8 inch

For a 3/8-inch impact wrench, you’ll need a little more power. More specifically, you need about twice the power. 

So, look for an air compressor rated around 3 to 3.5 CFM. Could you lower more? Maybe. 

For example, you might see an air compressor of about 2.5 CFM running, but it would be cutting it off. 

If you’re buying an air compressor specifically for the 3/8-inch impact wrench, I’d recommend shelling out a little more money to buy the 3 or 3.5 CFM air compressor. 

Compressor for 1/2-inch impact wrench

If you’re familiar with impact wrenches, you’ll already know that 1/2-inch impact wrenches are probably the most common type. 

In terms of size, it also sits squarely in the middle of the size chart. Therefore, it is important to find the right air compressor for this wrench size. 

Fortunately, you have many options when it comes to air pressure. Any 3.5 to 5 CFM air compressor will be good for a 1/2-inch impact wrench. 

If I had to recommend a specific air pressure, I’d say play it safe and go for at least a 4 CFM air compressor. 

Also, I would recommend a 5 CFM air compressor as a personal recommendation. 

1 inch

I will conclude by addressing the 1-inch impact wrenches. These are very rare and are usually only found on construction sites. 

Due to the size of these tools, you will need a very powerful air compressor to run them. I would go for an air compressor in the 9-10 CFM range. 

That will be expensive, but if you’re using a 1-inch impact wrench, you’re most likely working in an environment where that air compressor is frequently needed, so it’s a good investment. 

What is the air pressure needed for an impact wrench? 

An air impact wrench compressor must have a minimum pressure of 90 PSI to function correctly. Ideally, the shut-off pressure of the air compressor should be higher. 

How large is the air compressor I need for my air tools?

Instead of assessing an air compressor’s capability by its physical size, operators should examine how much air it delivers, measured in Cubic Feet Per Minute (CFM). Generally, air compressors intended for powering tools fall in the 10 to 110 CFM range.

Which compressor is best for an impact wrench? 

The 6 Best Air Compressors for Impact Wrenches

 

  1. CRAFTSMAN CMEC6150K Air Compressor
  2. Senco PC1010 Air Compressor.
  3. California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S Air Compressor.
  4. Makita MAC5200 Big Bore 3.0 HP Air Compressor.
  5. DEWALT DCC2560T1 FLEXVOLT MAX Air Compressor.
  6. NorthStar Single-Stage Portable Electric Air Compressor.

 

Is it possible to use an impact wrench with a small air compressor? 

A 14-inch impact wrench does not require a high CFM air compressor because it is the smallest size. One- to one-and-a-half to one-and-a-half cubic feet per minute will be sufficient. However, you don’t have to use a compressor with a higher CFM 

When it comes to choosing the right compressor size, what should I consider?

Adding up the CFM required for all the tools you plan to use and identifying the peak PSI for each tool is the recommended formula for determining the right-sized home air compressor. Here, you will find your tank’s maximum size, capacity, and pressure in gallons, CFM, and PSI. 

For working on cars, what is the size of the air compressor I need?

The best choice for your automotive shop at home is to purchase fluids in the 20- to 30-gallon range. You can use these to run a die grinder or cut-off tool, for example, as they have both the power and reserve air you require 

Conclusion

Minimum requirement:

You will need a 3-4 CFM air compressor with a tank between 22,712 liters – and 30,283 liters.

Recommended:

Get one with 5-8CFM and a tank capacity between 75,708 liters – and 113,562 liters.

The best: For professionals, they will be frustrated by the waiting time.

I recommend getting a 50-gallon or 80-gallon vertical air compressor if you’re using multiple air tools.