What size air compressor for nail guns

What Size Air Compressor For Nail Gun, Answered According To Testing

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There are nine different types of pneumatic nail guns available. They need appropriate compressed air to drive nails into the targeted surfaces.

This guide covered all types of pneumatic nail guns and how much compressed air they need to run properly without sacrificing air pressure.

A 1-gallon size air compressor unit has adequate airflow to run lower air hungry nail guns. But when it comes to run a framing nailer, is it possible to run it with a small compressor? NO!!!

For taking the right decision, We divided nail guns into three categories according to their air consumption rates.

Pneumatic staple gun, brad nailer, finish nailer, PIN NAILER these are consumed lower airflow to work done. And those are listed in our low CFM nail guns listing.

The second category is moderate CFM consuming nail guns. Roofing nailer, palm nailer, flooring nailer placed in the second category.

According to their higher air consumption rating, siding and framing nailers enlisted in the high CFM nail guns category.

Top 3-Best Air Compressor for nail guns-Reviews and guides.

After tested more than 6 portable air compressors, we got 3 units from different manufacturers. We recommend them according to their air pressure, airflow capacity, and noise level. Also, they will fit your budget, without draining your pocket. They will serve lots of working opportunities with their performance.   

If you need an air compressor that can run all types of regular nail guns, as such, brad nailers, finish nailers, floor nailers, staple guns, even must have the capacity to keep up on occasional framing. Then choose a pancake compressor unit.

You probably know that air compressors are available in different kinds and sizes-not all compressors contain the same features. Furthermore, the portable models are designed for lightweight jobs, such as inflating tires, trim, carpentry, installing hardwood floors, and much more. And their price varies depending on their build quality, air serving capacity, tank size, noise level.

Overall, The best air compressor for nail guns. – CRAFTSMAN CMEC6150K

After testing with mid-air hungry nail guns, this portable pancake air compressor by craftsman was our pick for the best air compressor for nail guns overall. 

Here the several reasons to pick this portable compressor.

  1. First of all, its air delivery capacity matched the nail gun’s air pressure and CFM rating requirements. It delivers 2.6 CFM air at 90 PSI, which is plenty enough to power up brad nailers, finish nailers, staple guns, floor nail guns – Even it performed well with framing guns in moderate use. 
  2. Design and compactness: This CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor has 6 Gallon tank, which is large enough to store adequate air for professional nailing jobs. Well-built and compact design makes it easier to carry. And, it weighs not too heavy, only 32.5 pounds, you can move it around with one hand at your job sites. 
  3. Quick recovery: A typical 6-gallon compressor can deliver 2.6 CFM air at 90 PSi. Our test took 2 minutes and 26 seconds to fill the tank from zero to max pressure at 150 PSI. Which is not too fast or too slow – It’s considerable.
  4. Price: At amazon, its retail price is 149 dollars, and it’s a package that includes a compressor unit and 10 pieces accessories kit. 

Portable air compressor for nail gun – California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S: (1-Gallon)

Best for brad nailer, finish nailer, pin nailer, staple gun.

portable air compressor for nail gun
  • Airflow Capacity: 1.20 CFM @ 90 PSI
  • Tank Size: 1-Gallon
  • Noise Level: 56 DB
  • Maximum Pressure: 120 PSI
  • Pump Type: Oil-Free
  • Quick Recovery: From 90 PSI to 120 PSI – 15 Seconds
  • Item Weight: 29 Pounds

There are hundreds of portable air compressors available on online markets and local tools shops, but you won’t find all features in one unit equally. But if you look at California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S, it’s portable, quiet, handy, compact, less price, and the best choice for lightweight nail guns as well. Also, it serves every feature that meets your expectations.

Here’s the brief, Why do we recommend this portable air compressor for nail guns?

  • First of all, it’s the most portable unit, and its weight ratio makes it super handy. Its weight is only 29 lbs, and the superb weight balance makes it compact and convenient. It won’t make you disappoint during maneuvering at your job sites. 
  • Airflow capacity: How much air does it deliver? Its air delivery capacity is 1.20CFM at 90PSI, which is good enough for trim-carpentry works, perfect for brad, finish, pin nailer. Also, it allows users to complete household tasks like tire inflating, airbrushing, and blowing off dust from daily uses equipment. 
  • Price: This portable 1-gallon air compressor price is cheaper than the competitors. It’s only 122$. Where Makita, Dewalt, and Senco sell prices are above 140$. 

Finally, Comparing all features and prices with the competitors, our product tester gives it 9 out of 10. 

Best For Brad Nailer, Finish Nailer, Staple Gun, Floor Nailer – Makita MAC210Q: (2- Gallon)

Makita mac210Q
  • Airflow Capacity: 2CFM @90PSI
  • Tank Size: 2-Gallon
  • Noise Level: 65DB
  • Maximum Pressure: 135PSI
  • Pump Type: Oil-Free
  • Motor Power: 1HP
  • Item Weight: 44 Pounds

With a budget-friendly price tag, much quieter, easy to use, quick recovery, sturdy and solid built quality-and doesn’t cost a lot of money- want to get all these in one package? check out the Makita MAC210Q. 

This portable, quiet air compressor comes with a 2-gallon tank made with steel, is well finished, and most durable constructed design can survive on the most challenging job sites. It can hold around ‎135 Pound per Square Inch, which is the maximum PSI position.

With 2.0 SCFM @90 PSI, which allows for running all kinds of lightweight nail guns, we used it to install hardwood flooring, no issues we found.

You may think the tank size is small than the regular pancake style, but they are loudest, made with cheap materials, won’t survive on most challenging jobs. The MAC210Q is much quieter than others. We measured 64 dB when tested in our garage. The most indoor-friendly compressor unit won’t bother you during conversations with your beloved daughter in your home garage.

The last thing, before utilizing this ‎MAC210Q on our testing, we started the unit, and it took around 47 seconds to fill the tank on maximum point. In other words, it recovers the tank within a few seconds and always contains absolute pressure. 

Next Read

What size air compressor for brad nailer and how choose them?

Air Compressor With Nail Guns Combo – Bostitch BTFP3KIT 3-Tools Combo kit

  • Airflow Capacity: 2.6SCFM @90PSI
  • Tank Size: 6-Gallon
  • Noise Level: 87DB
  • Maximum Pressure: 150PSI
  • Pump Type: Oil-Free
  • Motor Power: 0.8HP
  • Whats Included: 3/8-inch crown stapler, 18GA brad nailer, 1/4” PVC air hose

Bostitch  BTFP3KIT is the most selling air compressor combo kit and offers one 18GA brad nailer, a 16GA finish nailer, and a 3/8 pneumatic staple driver. Also, You will get a 1/4 inch 15 feet PVC air hose with fittings.

What do you need more for starting a new DIY project as a beginner?  

I especially recommend this combo unit for beginners who wants to increase their arsenal by adding the 3 most common nail guns.

If you are professional and want to change your old compressor that fails to serves pressure, you must go with our 2 or 3 rd recommendation. 

We have tested both nail guns with this 6-gallon compressor unit. It can serve decent air for running low air hungry nail guns, which requires 1.5 to 2 CFM airflow. 

Let’s talk about the combo Bostitch  BTFP3KIT 3-tool air compressor combo kit

How much air can deliver?

How much air can it deliver? 

Air delivering capacity is the primary concern for running nail guns at the desired pressure setting. But the included compressor unit deserves your appreciation for its decent airflow, which is 2.6 SCFM at 90PSI, and it is adequate to run all low CFM nail guns. For testing purposes, we used It to install face, it did the work flawlessly. We fired up to 500-540 nails and didn’t lose pressure when it encountered rapid-fire.

How was the noise level?

Manufactures claimed it produces noise up to 80 DB. It’s quite louder like other pancake moels. I suggest using it for outdoor tasks. 

How much time does it take to touch the tank pressure from zero to max?

This 6-gallon compressor takes 2 minutes 34 seconds to touch the max pressure of 150 PSI from zero. And the recovery time is not so fast or very low, and it is enough to do household tasks.

Best For All Kinds Of Pneumatic Nail Guns (framing, roofing, siding) – Makita MAC2400

Makita MAC2400
  • Airflow Capacity: 4.2CFM @90PSI
  • Tank Size: 4.2-Gallon
  • Noise Level: 80DB
  • Maximum Pressure: 130PSI
  • Pump Type: Oil-Lubricated
  • Motor Power: 2.5HP
  • Item Weight: 80.8 pounds
  • Overall Review: 4.9 Out Of 5

Before involving those jobs that require air-hungry nail guns, such as framing gun, roofing gun, siding nail gun, palm nailer – must ensure the air compressor has the capacity for supplying adequate air. Probably you know, these kinds of nail guns require much air to get the job done. Your compressor should have airflow capacity above 4-cubic feet per minute at 90-PSI (pounds per square inch) and must have to keep the absolute pressure while recovering.

Besides the airflow capacity, it should be compact and quiet if considered for indoor use. According to its airflow, tank size, motor power, the compressor unit might be bulky but must have easy to move capability, which means you can maneuver with ease as needed.

Say welcome to this Makita MAC2400. This 2.5 HP Air Compressor will full fill your criterion. Its powerful oil-lubricated big bore motor and 4.2 Gallons air tank would boost your next house contraction and remodeling jobs with all kinds of air-hungry nail guns.  

First things first, you will disappoint with its weight. It’s heavy, unable to lift with one hand-You might consider a Push Cart Dolly for moving around as needed. Surprisingly, its compact and solid-built contracted unit acts like a brick. It takes less space than a horizontal unit.

It is decent quieter than other oil-lubricated compressors, ideal for indoor use, where noise is a major issue.

The motor can deliver 4.2CFM at 90 PSI, which is plenty enough for all types of nail guns.

What Should You Consider When Choosing An Air Compressor For Nail Guns?

At first, figure out the number of CFM ratings of your nail guns, then add CFM ratings. Suppose you are a home renovation contractor. Probably you are considering running all nailers with one compressor unit.

Keep in mind, When choosing an air compressor for nail guns or other air tools, figure out the CFM ratings of the air tools. After that, match the number with compressor air output ratings. The closer the number is, it would take a short time when refilling, and not wasting money on a large one.

The first step for you, add the CFM ratings of both nail guns. You get 4 CFM total – this is the max CFM requirement to run those nail guns simultaneously.

In the second step, add 20% with the max CFM required to keeping up safety.

How many CFM for nail gun? Nail gun CFM requirements.

Low CFM consuming nail gunsAverage CFM RequirementsAverage PSI Requirements
Pneumatic staple gun2 CFM70-90 PSI
Finish Nailer2 CFM70-90 PSI
Moderate air consuming nail gunsAverage CFM RequirementsAverage PSI Requirements
Floor Nailer2-4 CFM70-90 PSI
High air consuming nail gunsAverage CFM RequirementsAverage PSI Requirements

What size air compressor for staple gun?

Staple gun uses for various purposes, from floor laminating to completing upholstery tasks. Only pneumatic staple guns required pressurized air for firing staples into the surfaces. Mechanical models needed muscle power, and electric models require the power supply from 120V AC outlet sockets or batteries.  

Most DIYers and woodworkers use 18 or 20 gauge and 1/2 to 3/8 size staples to reupholster furniture.

It doesn’t matter what sizes they use. To run a staple gun, you need an air compressor for supplying pressurized air into the staple gun. Most of the staple guns require 70-90 PSI pressure, and they consumed above 0.22 CFM for one shot.

Any sized portable compressor unit can drive it, but when running for eight hours a day at your job site, you must have the right size compressor that doesn’t waste your time while recovering the pressure.

Air compressor ideal size for staple gun: The minimum requirement is above 1 gallon and must have airflow capacity above 2CFM.

What Size Air Compressor For Finish Nailer and Brad Nailer?

The finish nail gun is using to fire thicker and longer nails than brad nail guns. And the internal mechanism is slightly different. As a result, the finish nailer consumes a little bit higher airflow than a brad nailer. Both are working well on 70-90 PSI. You may run both nailers with a 2-gallon air compressor that must have airflow capacity above 2CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute).  

Do not have major differences between a brad nailer and a finish nailer. Both have corded, cordless, and pneumatic models.

When it comes to working done with the pneumatic one, The First thing encountered in our mind is that we must have an air compressor for supplying the juice into the tool. Which energized the tool to make fire nails into the job surfaces.

Brad nails are thinner than finish nails. The brad nails are 18 gauge in diameter and lengths from 1/2-inch to 2 1/2-inch. The working uses are different on brad nailer, it uses on narrow trim, picture frame, building birdhouse, paneling, etc.

Otherhand, the finish nailer diameter is slightly bigger in gauge, and it is 15 or 16 gauge in diameter and nail length 1-inch to 3 1/2-inch. Finish nails are using for interior and exterior trim, crown moulding, carpentry, baseboard, and cabinets making.

What size air compressor for roofing, floor, and palm nailer?

As air-consuming rates, palm nailer, roofing nailer, and floor nailer is listed in our moderate CFM nail gun category. When we tested them with my 6-gallon pancake air compressor unit, they performed well and made me satisfied. We noticed that palm nailer consumes more air than the roofing and floor gun. Palm nailers need continuous airflow like impact wrenches. The pneumatic palm nailer makes persistent impacts when it drives nails into the wood. As a result, you need an air compressor with a bigger storage tank capable of running your palm nailer continuously. Otherwise, it will waste your time when recovering the pressure.

Otherhand, roofing nailers and floor nailers consume moderate air, but they do not require continuous air like a palm nailer. They use a short burst of air to fire nails into the wood.

You can run both palm, floor, and roofing nailers with a small air compressor unit setting the air pressure anywhere from 70 to120PSI. It would be a great decision when you are a DIYer or occasionally perform re-roofing or install hardwood flooring.

When it comes to choosing an air compressor to run roofing and floor nailers at your home remodeling sites, where you need to supply air for two or more nail guns simultaneously, you must have considering a bigger air compressor unit.

Our experts recommended a 3-6 gallon compressor unit and that must have an airflow capacity above 3CFM or more.   

What size air compressor for framing and siding nailer?

Framing nailers and siding nailers are known as air-hungry nailers for their high air consumption rates. You can run them with any portable small air compressor with keeping the air pressure from 80to 120 PSI. Nowadays every air compressor has the capability to hit that pressure. But the duty cycle is a major concern. Your compressor must have the capacity to keep you up with sufficient airflow when your framing gun encountered rapid fire.

If the motor pumps the air slowly, it will take a lot of time to recover the air pressure. As a result, your productivity will be going down.

Consider a compressor that has a minimum airflow capacity of up to 5CFM.

How we test air compressors that we recommend for nail guns

We test all air compressors we have selected for nail guns to determine how well they can handle all kinds of nail guns like staple guns, brad nailers, floor nailers, framing nailers, palm nailers, and even low-air-hungry impact guns. We also test the air compressor’s actual air-delivering ability at the working pressure.

To evaluate each air compressor’s performance, we count how long each compressor takes to fill the tank pressure at maximum, how many nail shots each compressor can make before the compressor kicks on, and how long the compressor motor takes to recover the tank pressure. 

The pressure recovery time, tank pressure, airflow capacity, and nail gun holding capacity can differ based on the air compressors’ tank size, model, and brand.

When we evaluate air compressors, we focus on each compressor’s noise level. Air compressors must not only perform well in handling different nail guns, but they should be quiet enough. We measure air compressor noise with digital decibel meter. We note down multiple results that our expert tester measure from different distances from the compressor unit. Then, we compare the compressor’s noise levels with each other to find out the quietest unit, and this helps us to find the quietest model in each category and at the best price point.

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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

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