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2.4 CFM and 90-120 PSI air compressors are perfect for driving framing nailers. Most of the pneumatic framing nail guns require 2.4 CFM. Set air pressure to 80-90PSI for firing 2″ nails, and set the regulator to 100-125 PSI for 3.25″ nails.
When it comes to choosing the right size air compressor for framing nailer, there are many vital things encountered. The air pressure rating, airflow rate, and tank size are the most important among them.
For the professional worker, if framing and remodeling is their primary job. They use many types of pneumatic tools in their job site to do their task. In this case, they need a high CFM rating compressor that allows fast recovery. It also requires a large capacity tank to supply the right air pressure to multiple tools.
3 Best Air Compressors for Framing Nailer – Updated List
Best Overall: Pancake air compressor for framing nailer – Metabo HPT “THE TANK”
Our top pick is the Metabo HPT THE TANK 6-gallon pancake air compressor, one of the best air compressors for framing nail guns. It’s reliable, compact, and surprisingly affordable than the competitors.
First of all, it’s a pancake air compressor, but it delivers 1.5X more air than a typical pancake compressor and boasts lots of features that make it more reliable for the contractor. This Metabo HPT 6-gallon compressor serves 4 CFM air at 90 PSI, which allows you to run multiple nail guns Simultaneously.
It took only 3 minutes 23 seconds to fill the tank from zero to max pressure at 200PSI, and it’s surprisingly fast. And it needed 35 seconds only to recover the tank pressure.
A typical pancake compressor has a plastic handle to pull up the unit, which is not suitable for harsh job sites – but you will get a metal handle at this Metabo HPT, which is more durable than the plastic handle. The weight is 41 pounds. It’s not too heavy – you can maneuver around the job sites with ease.
Best portable compressor for framing nailer
Choosing a portable air compressor for Brad and Finish nailer is an excellent choice, but most of the portable compressors’ tank sizes are between 1 to 3-gallon. Also, their airflow volume is limited to 1 to 2 CFM at 90 PSI.
Our first air recommendation was a pancake air compressor from Metabo that was designed for professional framing projects.
Our second recommendation is a pancake compressor, which will be a superb choice for every homeowner and carpenter. Also, it can handle occasional framing jobs without any issues.
The BOSTITCH 6-gallon pancake air compressor is powerful and compact, has the fastest recovery, 150PSI max air pressure, larger air delivering capacity, and is portable enough.
We tested the BOSTITCH 6-gallon portable pancake model against a framing nailer. I tried to fire 3 1/2 nails by keeping the air pressure 100 psi, and we had no issues. Its airflow volume is okay for slow firing but unable to handle rapid nail firing.
The BOSTITCH 6-gallon portable takes 2 minutes and 41 seconds to fill its tank from zero to maximum pressure. And the recovery time was faster than I expected.
1. Makita mac5200 air compressor – 3 HP
When choosing an air compressor for a small or medium custom construction company to do their day-to-day task with higher perfection, they demand a highly powerful air compressor.
For replacing cabinets, floor carpentry, roofing, framing, and doing other tasks, they use air tools. Air-powered devices come with different CFM ratings. In most cases, a low-power air compressor is unable to supply sufficient airflow.
I hope this Makita MAC5200 air compressor unit can survive and keep up with any demand for your job site.
This Makita MAC5200 is the best air compressor on our list. It comes with a 3 HP motor that runs in 120V AC. Need 15 amp power outlet for power supply.
This industrial-grade air compressor produces 6.5 CFM at 90PSI, which is plenty enough to run two framing nailers at a time.
It took only 70 seconds to reach 140 PSI from 0. That is faster than other similar size units. The big-bore cylinder and piston are designed for faster recovery, which helps to increase your productivity.
This unit, mac5200 used an oil-lubricated air compressor to release running temperature faster and give long-lasting life. It is quieter than other similar-sized units.
2. Dewalt air compressor 225 psi
This is another air compressor from Dewalt. You can use one framing nailer and a finish nailer at a time. It produces 5.0 SCFM at 90 PSI, which is enough to power up one finish nailer and a framing nailer simultaneously. This high CFM rating allows for faster recovery.
The high-efficiency motor and pump provide a maximum of 225 PSI. So you never lose pressure at your job site.
The noise level is 78db, which is not loud. You can use it in a noise-sensitive area.
It has two wheels that allow it to move significantly with ease in a rugged job site.
You may undoubtedly choose this if you are looking for a portable air compressor for staple gun, framing carpeting, and remodeling tasks.
3. Stealth 4.5-gallon ultra-quiet air compressor
Professional remodelers and DIYers always need the most durable, quiet, less maintenance, high-efficiency air compressor to do their daily job with air tools.
According to their needs, beginners and professionals can use this compressor on their toughest Jobsite.
We mention this budget air compressor for framing nailers, but it has a lot of power. It will amazingly fit your other jobs like car painting, tire inflating, and other nailing tasks.
This model is more expensive than the other brands. You may find the larger tank with a high CFM air compressor on the online market. But they are loud, not suited to extreme Jobsite, and they are not durable like this model.
You may see a twin Twin stack 4.5-gallon tank at the front side, which may allow you for extended run time. And 120V 1.3 HP motor sited on the backside.
The telescoping handle makes it handier, attached two 6-inch wheels at the bottom for easy moving.
It produces a maximum of 150. You will get 3 CFM at 90PSI, which is plenty enough for running blowguns, framing nailers, staple guns, brad nailers, and finishing nailers with a fair amount of job with ease.
4. Stealth Portable Ultra-quiet Air Compressor – 3-gallon
If you are a beginner or do some finish nailing or occasionally framing nailing, this Stealth Portable Air Compressor model will fulfill your criteria.
The brand claimed it is an ultra-quiet, oil-free air compressor. Yeah, they are correct. In operation mode, it produces 67db noise, which is much quieter. You can work independently in sensitive areas.
Let’s look at how much pressure it can produce. How much time is needed for recovery? How much is its pumping capacity?
First of all, we need 90-100 PSI for framing nailer. This model can deliver a maximum of 150 PSI and has 2.3 CFM at 90 PSI and 3.5 CFM at 40 PSI. It’s not super powerful and not designed for impact wrenches or other high CFM-rating air tools.
This model is a hotdog-style single-tank air compressor. It has A 3-gallon tank for reserving pressurized air. And a drain valve attached to the downside of the tank for draining water.
If we look at its powers, It needs 1.45 munites to fill up the 3-gallon tank at a maximum of 150PSI. That is not bad, and it does not take a longer time to fill the tank. Only 37 seconds are needed for recovery, which is not bad. Surprisingly, it can perform well on your job site.
In our test, it took 83 seconds to fill up the tank from empty. It takes 37 seconds to recycle from 120-150PSi. It comes with a dual air pump that generates the continued compressed air.
Long-lasting, durability, higher performance, less maintenance, and ultra-quiet is your main priority. You may go ahead with this Stealth Ultra Quiet Air Compressor.
How much PSI is needed for a framing nailer?
The pneumatic framing nailer is renowned as an air-hungry nail gun, and it requires most air pressure to drive 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 inch nails. We examine the top 7 framing nailers against firing 3 1/2 inch nails by keeping the air pressure in different settings. Most of the nail heads flashed on the surface when we set the air pressure at 60 PSI. We fired five 3 1/2 nails, keeping the air pressure at 100 PSI, and it worked well.
So, set the air pressure at 90 when firing less than 2 1/2 inch nails, and keep the air pressure between 100-120 PSI (pound per square inch) when firing above 3-inch nails.
Can you use a framing nailer with a pancake compressor?
Pancake air compressors are available in different sizes, and it starts from 1 gallon. You can use any size tanked air compressor, but it must have the capability to serve air at 100 PSI.
We recommend using an air compressor that can deliver up to 2 CFM air at 90 psi, and this recommendation is only for occasional framing jobs. If you are a carpenter or construction guy, you should choose a 6-gallon pancake air compressor with 4-6 CFM air-delivering capacity.
Will a 6-gallon air compressor run a framing nailer?
Of course, it can. Most of the 6-gallon air compressors are pancake models. Their air delivery capacity is 2.6 SCFM at 90 psi, except for some powerful pancake compressors.
Our recommendation was 2.6 CFM at 90 PSI for occasional framing jobs. So, if the airflow capacity of the 6-gallon compressor goes down, our recommendation is that it will take a long time to recover the tank pressure.
Which is the best air compressor for framing nailers?
At the end of our discussion, you may get good ideas on what size air compressor will be best for a framing nail gun.
For a small or medium-sized construction company, you may go with Makita mac5200 air compressor.
If you want to run one framing nailer with another low CFM rating tool simultaneously, you may choose the Dewalt air compressor 225 psi or Stealth 4.5-gallon ultra-quiet air compressor.
If you are a beginner or do some framing tasks occasionally, This Stealth Portable Ultra-quiet 3-gallon Air Compressor is the perfect choice for you.
How we test the best air compressor for framing nailers
Usually, an air compressor with an airflow capacity of 2.5 CFM to 4 CFM at a pressure of 100PSI is ideal for any pneumatic framing nailer. The tank size of an air compressor plays a crucial role in dropping or increasing the run time. So, we usually test different-sized air compressor that comes with tank size ranging from 4 gallons to 10 gallons so that you can choose the right size compressor according to your job requirements.
- Performance: To evaluate the actual performance of an air compressor with framing nailers, we focus on a few major features of each compressor. First of all, the airflow capacity of an air compressor, we only shorted those compressors with a minimum airflow of 2.5 cubic feet per minute at a pressure rating of 90 PSI. Secondly, regarding the tank capacity of each compressor, we always prioritize 4 to 6-gallon compressors with a tank pressure rating maximum of 200 PSI. Actually, a compressor with a tank size of 6 gallons, airflow capacity of 4 CFM, and a maximum tank pressure of 200 PSI can serve adequate air to any framing nailer with no issues. Pressure recovery is another crucial factor when we test air compressor performance. We count the pressure recovery time of each compressor and only select that air compressor has fast pressure recovery.
- Design and ease of use: In this test, we examine how each compressor has robust build quality and is equipped with the safest roll cage protection. If the pressure regulator and pressure gauges are easy to operate and have more accessibility, it makes the compressor easier for users to operate. We recommend an air compressor, especially for the framing crew, that has two quick couplers. It allows you to run two framing guns simultaneously.
- Noise rating: Air compressors are noisy; it’s common for them, but we always list quiet air compressors at the top of our list. When it comes to choosing a powerful compressor according to framing nailers’ requirements, there is a limitation in choosing quite an air compressor for their below 2 CFM airflow capacity. So, mostly high CFM oil-free compressors have a minimum noise rating below 90 DB.
- User experience: At the end, when all tests ended, we collected info on each compressor from users from different trustworthy forums, Reddit, quora, and marketplaces. Then, we investigate how they rate the compressor performance, pressure recovery ability, framing gun continuous running ability, noise rating, and maneuverability around the toughest job sites. Then, we shorted those compressors with mostly positive user reviews and only served value-for-money deals.
Hi, Eddie T. Jones and I am the author of homegearsolution.com. I have been working with household appliances, tools, outdoor gear, and gardening tools for several years. I publish unbiased comparisons based on user reviews, expert reviews, and test results. I hope you like the website.
Best regards, Eddie T. Jones