What Size Air Compressor Do I Need for Impact Wrench

Getting the right air compressor is important to have the perfect operation of the impact wrench. With a lot of options available for different impact wrenches, it sometimes becomes confusing to select the right size of the compressor.

Normally, impact wrenches have their unique CFM on their box. So it should be easier to select the right compressor size right? Well, that’s not the case in many instances.

After finding out the type of impact wrench you require, the next thing is obviously to determine the right compressor for the power source. There are certain things you need to bear in mind before making your final choice. This content will explain all these considerations in simple terms.

What Size Air Compressor Do I Need

Whether you are a garage tinkerer, a weekend warrior or a DIY mechanic, one of the most significant things to your tasks is having nice sets of tools. And one important thing you need to consider is either investing in top quality tools or using your more conventional electric tools.

But there are good benefits to having top quality tools which include

  • The lesser risk for electric shock or fire hazard
  • Lower heat output
  • Reduced weight to minimize operational fatigue
  • More power
  • Longer lifespan

In order to work effectively with your air tools like paint sprayers, nail guns, and impact wrenches, you have to get a matching processor. If you want the perfect size, you need to consider the following.

Available power source

Larger compressors will need nothing less than a 220v source of power to operate. However, most types of compressors can work well in most standard home power outlets. There are even others you can power using gasoline in case there is a power outage. So, your power source will determine the size of the air compressor you need to get.

Which air tools do you have?

There are some tools like sandblaster that will require an air processor with more airflow and a bigger tank. But an air tool like brad nailer can cope with any size of the compressor. So, the type of air tools will significantly determine the size of the air compressor you need.

What projects are you undertaking?

Are you planning on larger construction works or do you require occasional maintenance? Is it home upgrades or automotive repair? The size of the tasks you have at hand will determine the compressor size you need.

Consider the weight of the compressor

Here, you need to look at its portability if you are likely going to move it around. There is no use getting a very heavy compressor when your job involves moving your tools constantly. In this case, you need to consider an air processor with a lightweight design. There are so many lightweight options available with equally strong power. With this vital information, you can confidently select the size of air compressor you need.

Space consideration

If you are considering a compressor with a large tank, you will need more space to keep them. An air compressor with a 30-gallon air tank may not fit into a small space. But an air compressor with 6-gallon air tank can fit almost anywhere. You need to select the right size of the air processor, considering the amount of space you have. If you don’t have enough space in your home, there is no need of buying a spacious compressor, unless you are going to need it because of your type of work. In this case, you need to provide a bigger environment where you can keep the right size of the compressor.

How Big Of An Air Compressor Do I Need To Run Air Tools?

It is a fact that air tool will save you both money and time in your project. They are used in offices and homes to make faster and better repairs. But you need the right size of air compressor based on the type of tool required. The following are specific compressor requirements for some of the tools you will need for your work.

Chiseling Tools

Chisel is a very popular air tool. It needs between 4 and 8 CFM with 90 PSI to operate. In addition, a needle sealer is similar to a chisel, which means they require almost the same CFI to operate.

Grinding Tools

A grinding tool with operating power of 6-inch grinding disc requires at least 7CFM with an air pressure of 90 PSI.

Drilling tools

If you are looking for more efficiency, a drill with 1/2 inch chuck capacity, such as DEWALT Max Lithium-Ion Drill Driver, requires about 7 to 9 CFM with at least 90 PSI. However, for drilling tool with about 3/8 inch capacity, you will need at least a compressor of 5 to 8 cubic feet CFM for operation.

Mechanics Tools

An impact wrench is arguably the most common air tool for an air compressor. If you are using it for automobiles, you may require 1/2 inch impact wrench like the Porter-Cable Impact Wrench to operate 5 CFM. However, a bigger impact wrench of 3/4 inch will need between 7 and 10 CFM to operate effectively. You will also need a bigger air hose.

The compressor tank size is also very important

Apart from the air tools, the performance of the impact wrench will also depend on the size of the compressor’s air tank. You will need a compressor with the larger tank if you are making use of more air tools requiring more constant air. A smaller tank will be enough if the tools are not much with the more sporadic operation. The main consideration here is to use a compressor with a tank enough to accommodate all your working air tools.


On a general note, compressed air is certainly a versatile and important source of energy needed for construction, craft, maintenance, and repairing of other tools. That is why it’s important to select the right compressor that can accommodate your impact wrench, making your tasks more convenient for you. If you match the right tools with the right compressor, you will always have an efficient and successful project.

Leave a Comment