Are you searching for an air compressor that will help you drop the use of electric tools? The main question on your mind now is,Which size of air compressor will I require?  The best air compressor will help you minimize the amount of power you use in operating your tools.

Technically, compressed air is the most flexible, efficient, and effective energy source. In that case, it is the main source of energy when using air tools such as buffers, nailing, stapling guns, wrenches, and drills.

So, these pneumatic tools are more advantageous compared to electric ones. Some of their merits include:

  • Minimal heat production.
  • Highly powerful.
  • Minimal risk of electric shock or fire involved.
  • Light in weight.

This article will help solve the question about the size of the compressor you need.

Also read: 10 Best air compressor for cleaning PC

Which size of air compressor Do I Need to Get the Best Air Compressor Size

The market has a variety of different air compressors. Notably, the size of these machines will depend on various aspects. Thus, before determining the right size of an air compressor, it is vital to consider a few factors. Let’s look at some of them.The type of project you are working on

The type of project you’re buying the air compressor will influence the same size. For example, major construction projects require a more powerful compressor than occasional maintenance jobs.

  1. Type of Air tools

The type of air tool you use will also affect the size of your ideal air compressor. Tools like Sandblasters will require a more powerful compressor than brad nailers. Therefore, before you settle on a particular machine, it is prudent to consider the types of tools you intend to use.

  1. Power source

Mostly, larger air compressors may require a 240-volt source power, but most average machines can operate on a standard 110/120-volt power outlet. Also, some air compressors use gasoline if the electric power is unavailable.

  1. Storage space available

Without a doubt, the storage space available will influence the size of the compressor you can purchase. It would help if you bought a compressor that comfortably fits in your garage. Alternatively, you can also make more room if you need a stouter device.

  1. How portable is the compressor?

Again, the place of work will determine the size of your air compressor. A large stationary compressor will be okay if you work in one place. But if you will need to move the compressor as you work, it is vital to consider a smaller and portable machine.

After you consider the above factors, determining the size of the air compressor becomes a bit easy.

Now, you will have to consider the power requirements. Notably, the main factors are tank size and airflow.

  1. Size of the air tank

An air compressor stores pressurized air into the tank. Mostly, the size of the tanks ranges from 1 gallon for the small air compressors to over 60 gallons for larger ones. Also, the size of the tanks determines the duration that the reservoir will run before the machine compresses more air. and when you think about which size of air compressor will I require?

Larger tanks have a high air capacity than smaller tanks. These larger tanks’ air compressors tend to produce more CFMs’ than the amount it uses. Therefore, they can run continuously.

Smaller air compressors have less capacity; hence, they will run on short bursts. The bursts give them time to compress more air.

Therefore, if you need an air compressor that can run continuously and produce enough CFM’s, you will need large air compressors. Grinders and Sanders are good examples of tools that will require large air compressors.

Smaller air compressors will be enough if you use pneumatic tools that run in short bursts. An example of such equipment is framing nailers.

  1. Airflow

At this stage, you need to understand the meaning of the following short forms;

  • CFM (cubic feet per minute) – this is the amount of air a pneumatic tool needs for it to run.
  • SCFM (standard cubic feet per minute) is the air supply rate an air tool needs to operate under typical factors.
  • PSI (pound per square inch) is the unit of measuring pressure.

Now, you need to acquire an air compressor that matches your pneumatic tool’s CFM’s and PSI. That means the pressure the air compressor produces should be higher or equal to the amount of compressed air the pneumatic machine needs to operate.

Therefore, if the compressor is to be used with different tools, it is essential to total the CFM‘s of all the tools. Furthermore, you should aim at acquiring an air compressor that can run all the air tools without having a tool that will be under powered.

Technically, change in PSI will always affect the CFM’s of the air compressor. Thus, when comparing these units on the compressor to those of the air tools, it’s vital to use CFM’S at 90 PSI.

what size air compressor do i need(1)

The table below compares the most common pneumatic tools CFM’s and PSI.


Required PSI

CFM @ 90 PSI

Brad Nailer

60 – 120


Finish Nailer

70 – 120


Blow Gun

90 -100


Framing Nailer

60 – 120


 Impact Wrench

90 – 100



90 – 100


Staple Gun

70 – 90


Grease Gun

120 – 150


Chisel/ Air Hammer

90 – 100



90 – 100


Speed Saw

90 – 100



70 – 90


Plasma Cutter

90 – 100


Die Grinder

70 – 90


The above table shows the test in 25% usage time. That means the determination of CFM was after operating the tool for 15 seconds duty cycle. Therefore, to calculate the CFM’s of a continuous air tool, you should multiply the CFM in the table by 4.

Again, it would help if you looked for these units on your devices and the air compressors you want to purchase and compare.

The Verdict

In conclusion, compressed air is a source of energy preferred by most manufacturing companies. It is also common in small and medium-sized enterprises. Either way, It is possible to save energy with minimal waste.

With the above article, which size of air compressor will I require? It should never be a challenge again. That means you should evaluate the above factors in depth before acquiring your machine.


Also read: 10 Best small air compressor in 2022