The best way to determine what size air compressor you need is by looking at the CFM requirements of you air tools and sizing your compressor accordingly. The second best way is to look at this Air Tool CFM Chart!
In the chart below you’ll find a list of common air tools, their working pressure, how many CFM a given air compressor needs to provide in order to power them, and a recommendation. If you’re looking to buy a new air compressor but don’t know what you need, this chart is a great place to start.
|Tool||Working Pressure||CFM Requirement||Recommendation|
|Brad Nailer||1.0 CFM @ 90 PSI||1.5||Makita Mac210Q (2 CFM)|
|Framing Nailer||4.2 CFM @ 90 PSI||6.3||Makita Mac5200 (6.5 CFM)|
|Finish Nailer||1.0 CFM @ 90 PSI||1.5||Makita Mac210Q (2 CFM)|
|Palm Nailer||1.5 CFM @ 90 PSI||2.25||Porter Cable C2002 (2.6 CFM)|
|Flooring Nailer||2 CFM @ 90 PSI||3||Stealth 4.5 Gallon (3.0 CFM)|
|Roofing Nailer||2.5 CFM @ 90 PSI||3.75||Craftsman CMXECXA0331042 (4.0 CFM)|
|Pin Nailer||1.0 CFM @ 90 PSI||1.5||Makita Mac210Q (2 CFM)|
|Siding Nailer||2.5 CFM @ 90 PSI||3.75||Makita Mac2400 (4.2 CFM)|
|Stapler||1.0 CFM @ 90 PSI||1.5||Makita Mac210Q (2 CFM)|
|1/4 Ratchet||4.2 CFM @ 90 PSI||6.3||Makita Mac5200 (6.5 CFM)|
|3/8 Ratchet||4.4 CFM @ 90 PSI||6.6||Makita Mac5200 (6.5 CFM)|
|1/2 Impact Wrench||4.0 CFM @ 90 PSI||6||Makita Mac5200 (6.5 CFM)|
|1/4 Angle Die Grinder||4.0 CFM @ 90 PSI||6||Makita Mac5200 (6.5 CFM)|
|Air Hammer||4.4 CFM @ 90 PSI||6.6||Makita Mac5200 (6.5 CFM)|
|6″ Palm Sander||4.5 CFM @ 90 PSI||6.7||Makita Mac5200 (6.5 CFM)|
|HVLP Paint Spray Gun||8.0 CFM @ 30 PSI||12||Ingersoll Rand SS5L5 (18.1 CFM)|
|3″ Cut off Tool||4.0 CFM @ 90 PSI||6||Makita Mac5200 (6.5 CFM)|
|Reciprocating Saw||3.0 CFM @ 90 PSI||4.5||California Air Tools 10020C (5.3 CFM)|
|Tire Inflator||1.0 CFM @ 100 PSI||1.5||Dewalt DWFP55126 (2.6 CFM)|
|3/8 Air Drill||4.0 CFM @ 90 PSI||6||Makita Mac5200 (6.5 CFM)|
|Needle Scaler||4.0 CFM @ 90 PSI||6||Makita Mac5200 (6.5 CFM)|
Air Tool CFM Chart FAQ’s
What is CFM and why is it important for air tools?
CFM stands for cubic feet per minute and it is the measurement of air flow rate that an air tool requires. It is important because it determines the power and efficiency of an air tool.
Can I run air tools with a small air compressor?
It depends on the specific air tool’s rating and the compressor’s ability to deliver the required CFM levels. Some smaller air tools can operate with a smaller compressor, but larger tools will require a larger compressor.
What is the difference between CFM and PSI in air tools?
CFM is the measurement of air flow rate while PSI is the measurement of air pressure. Both are important in air tools, but CFM is more important for determining the tool’s power and efficiency.
How much CFM do I need for my specific air tool?
The manufacturer’s guidelines or the specified amount mentioned in the tool’s manual will indicate how much CFM is needed to operate the tool at the required pressure level.
Can I run multiple tools simultaneously with the same air compressor?
Yes, but the total CFM demand of all tools should not exceed the compressor’s ability to deliver the required CFM levels.
What does pressure mean in air tools?
Pressure means the force of compressed air that is being delivered to the tool. It is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI).
What happens if I use too much pressure in my air tool?
Too much pressure can cause damage to the tool and make it unsafe to operate.
What happens if I use too little pressure in my air tool?
Too little pressure can cause the tool to operate inefficiently or not at all.
What is duty cycle in air tools?
Duty cycle is the amount of time that a tool can operate continuously before it needs to be rested or cooled down.
Can I operate air tools for lengthy periods with short breaks in between?
Yes, this is an acceptable practice as it allows the tool to rest and cool down before resuming operation.
Articles You May Be Interested In:
- What Size Air Compressor Do I Need? (With Chart)
- Best Size Air Compressor For Home Garages: What You Need & Why
- Best 6-Gallon Air Compressors for the Money
- 10 Best Brands of Air Compressors: You Can’t Go Wrong With These
- 3 Gallon Air Compressors: All Your Questions Answered
- 6 Gallon Air Compressors: All Your Questions Answered
- Air Compressor Types Compared (Pancake, Hotdog, Twin Stack, Vertical)