When it comes to nail guns, it’s a highly complex task to get a suitable air compressor. You see every pneumatic air tool has different requirements regarding CFM, PSI, and Tank size. That’s the reason, you need a complete review and guide that will help you get the best air compressor for a nail gun.
We will not only talk about their features but will tell you their pros and cons which will be helpful for you. We will also talk about different types of portable air compressors.
Also, you will learn some of the features you should consider before getting the right air compressor for your nail gun. Make sure to read this to get your answers.
- 1 Top 10 Best Air Compressor for a Nail Gun
- 1.1 1. BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor
- 1.2 2. Makita MAC2400 2.5 HP Big Bore Air Compressor for Framing Nail Gun
- 1.3 3. CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor, 6 Gallon, Pancake
- 1.4 4. PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor, 6-Gallon, Pancake
- 1.5 5. DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor, 6 Gallon, 165 PSI
- 1.6 6. DEWALT Air Compressor
- 1.7 7. DEWALT Air Compressor, 225-PSI Max, Hand Carry with Wheels
- 1.8 8. California Air Tools 8010 Steel Tank Air Compressor
- 1.9 9. California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S Light & Quiet Portable Air Compressor
- 1.10 10. Makita MAC210Q Quiet Air Compressor Series
- 2 What are the Factors to Consider While Buying an Air Compressor?
- 3 How Does a Compressor Power Up a Nail Gun?
- 4 5 Styles and Types of Portable Air Compressor
- 5 Single Stage Air Compressor Vs. Two-Stage Air Compressor.
- 6 Oiled Air Compressor Vs. Oil-Less Air Compressor
- 7 What are the advantages of Pneumatic Tools?
- 8 Can You Use a Nail Gun Without an Air Compressor?
- 9 What is a WheelBarrow Air Compressor?
- 10 FAQ’s
Top 10 Best Air Compressor for a Nail Gun
Oil-free and maintenance-free, the Bostitch pancake air compressor is one of the least complicated air compressors to use. It is a portable compressor, lightweight, and delivers 2.6 SCFM at 90PSI. It has a maximum pressure of 150 PSI. Its work position is ideal for quiet environments because of its 78.5 dBA.
The Bostitch has a highly efficient motor that can efficiently work in cold weather and extension cords. It has flow regulators and couplers which work to maximize the work of air tool performance.
Bostitch has two couplers that can easily support two users. It weighs 29 lbs, because of which it is easy to carry from one position to another.
The Makita’s 2.5HP air compressor is the best for nail guns. Big-bore engineering allows the nailers to operate at higher outputs due to their pump cylinder and piston. It has a low voice and can improve job performance.
The Makita2400 helps to improve and give power to industrial works. It has durability on heavy-duty job sites. It is powered by 2.5 HP. This compressor is oil-lubricated and has automatic style filters to increase air tank efficiency.
The compressor has a 4.2-gallon tank that can sustain 130PSI of pressure and reliably delivers around 40 PSI (4.8 CFM) and 90 PSI (4.2 CFM) which is more than enough for two nailers. It has a low AMP which makes it efficient for not tripping or dropping in voltage that can cause failure in the motor.
The compressor has a roll bar handle which provides portability and additional protection. Additionally, it has an oil drain, an oil sight glass, and a tank drain valve. It is a perfect example of innovative technology.
The craftsman 6-gallon air compressor requires no maintenance and is long-lasting because the pump in this compressor is oil-free. Compact and lightweight, the compressor is also portable. Weighing 30 lbs is highly convenient. It’s a 6-gallon air compressor, so it’s portable.
It offers 150 PSI (Maximum pressure) and requires a voltage of 120 volts. It can also work in cold weather.
There is a kit of accessories with the compressor: air hose + coupler, tire chuck and a blowgun with plug, tire gauge, rubber tip, inflator adaptors (three), blow gun with OSHA nozzle. It comes with a 1-year warranty.
These compressors are made in the United States with global materials in Jackson.
This 34-pound Porter-Cable air compressor is very compact and portable.
The C2002 is lightweight for jobs, workshops, or even houses. Simply it is appropriate for all environments. It is ideal for multiple trim finishing nailers and small roofing.
The C2002 is powerful and efficient because of its low amp and 120-volt motor. The motor comes with cords and replaceable brushes and can work in a cold environment too. It comes with 150 PSI. The compressor gives a long run and works productively.
The C2002 has thermal overload protection. It runs at 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI and 3.7 SCFM at 40 PSI for faster recharge. An important feature is an oil-free pump, making it easier since you do not need to worry about changing or maintaining oil. The pump increases the life of the compressor. It has a water drain valve and rubber on the surface, because of that there will be no scratches.
As soon as you finish using your compressor, drain it before you store it. Also, make sure not to leave it under pressure for a long time.
The Dewalt is the best portable air compressor for nail guns. It consists of three main components: the compressor, the tank, and the gauge assembly. The Dewalt air compressors give 165 PSI of pressure and have a 6-gallon tank for a longer runtime of productivity.
The air compressors are lightweight at 30 pounds. They are lubricant-free compressors, and there is not so much noise. It pumps up fast compared to 80lbs.
The air compressor has two universal couplers which can support two users and has a high-performance regulator that makes it easy to increase productivity. It has oil-free pumps that deliver 2.6 SCFM @ 90 PSI which keeps the minimum maintenance.
There is a console cover that helps to keep the dust away but can be repaired if needed. It can work outdoors because it can handle cold or has an extension cord application. A ball drain valve is also present in this air compressor to ensure quick and thorough tank draining.
Due to their ease of movement, they are more than adequate to meet household needs. It makes noise but compared to many models, it is less noisy and can effectively work indoors. The noise level is 75.5 decibels.
The product is very well made, and the prices are also reasonable for the quality. The Dewalt pancake air compressors are the best for RVs as they produce a good amount of pressure.
The Dewalt 1 gallon 135 PSI trim is the best air compressor to make your trim job easier. The trim compressors have a 2.6 amp motor pumping 0.75 SCFM @ 90 PSI. It allows the user to drive more brands before refilling them.
The compressor is quiet and has an oil-free pump, which is durable to provides lasting performance. It is lightweight. The whole compressor weighs 24 pounds in total. It is easy to carry or transfer.
It is protected from drops by a tubular roll cage. It has a 71dBa noise that makes it easier for you and your neighbors to use it without disturbing each other. It has a coupler that quickly connects and lets you attach a single nailer in seconds.
Besides its tank draining feature, it has cord wraps for easy storage and allows the ball valve to drain quickly. Its oil-free pumps provide maintenance-free operation. Air compressors are constructed with heavy iron and enclosed in a roll cage with full protection frames to protect them.
The air compressor is lightweight and not bulky. It weighs around 24 pounds and is nine inches in size. It is easy to carry and saves a lot of time.
The DeWalt air compressor has a range of compressors with different features. One of them is 225-PSI max, which is hand-carry and has wheels. Many users want these features in their compressors, particularly farmers and carpenters.
The user of compressors needs an air compressor with mobility and a strong PSI. This unit is ideal for them as it offers a PSI of 90 on 5 SCFM with a quick recovery time, and its maximum PSI is 225.
Therefore, this unit is ideal for nail guns as it has the power to provide a nail gun with its 4.5-gallon tank.
The California air compressor 8010 is ideal. With a noise level of 60 decibels, it is not noisy. This machine recovers quickly in 130 to 160 seconds. There are 8.5 amps in the compressor.
As the compressor has low amps, users will not get a high cost of using it if they are regular users. One of the best things about the compressor is that it is oil-free, which requires less maintenance.
The compressor is ideal for many jobs, whether DIY, industrial or commercial work. The compressor is moveable because of its less weight, and the compressor is usable indoors and outdoors.
The California air tools 1P1060 has thermal protection to prevent it from overheating. It has 3000 hours of large single piston.
The unit has an especially recovery time of only 50-60 seconds to fill its 1-gallon tank. The compressor has a max PSI of 120.
The compressor is not noisy at all. The compressor is portable and lightweight, and the weight of the compressor is 29 pounds. It operates on 4-5 amps, making it possible to plug it anywhere at home or job.
That is a little pricey but has rubber feet that make it anti-vibration and anti-noise. In addition, it has silencing filters that prevent it from making noise during air intake.
Makita air compressors have released a series of compressors called the quiet air compressor series. These compressors offer the lowest possible noise level.
The first one is the MAC100Q, which has a 1-gallon tank, and it has a noise level of 58 dB. This compressor is suitable for indoor work.
Secondly, MAC2100Q is a relatively heavy compressor with a 2-gallon tank, and it is a little pricy. The compressor has seven amps and a 60-70 seconds recovery time, and the maximum PSI of the compressor is 135.
Thirdly, MAC3200Q is a 3-gallon tank compressor with a PSI of max 135. The recovery time of the compressor is 60-80 seconds, and the compressor is heavier and is pricy too. Its noise level is 60dB and is for larger jobs.
What are the Factors to Consider While Buying an Air Compressor?
1. Tank Size
Does the size of the compressors matter when getting an air compressor for framing nailer? To some extent, Yes, but not too much. The tanks do not produce air, only store it. The larger pumps and motors are essential.
As long as you produce the same amount of air as you need, you will never run out of air.
The smaller tanks are more portable, and they get up to pressure very quickly, whereas the larger tanks start and stop a lot. The larger tank does not mean the compressors run, not that their run time is less; it is the same.
2. Single Stage or Two-Stage
The single-stage compressors have one or more cylinders, and each is connected directly to the tanks. However, in two-stage, two or more cylinders are not connected directly to the cylinder. It passes from one to another and then in the tank.
In two stages, the air moves at 90 PSI from the first cylinder and then in the second at 175 PSI.
3. Pressure (PSI)
The air pressure in rats is PSI. A compressor needs a minimum of 90 PSI, but a higher shut-off pressure is required to maintain that pressure.
Industrial compressors are two-staged. In smaller or commercial, the compressors are single-stage, and they shut off at 125-135 PSI.
Pressure and volume are the two variables in CFM. As the element compresses, its volume decreases, and the pressure increases. Using the CFM metric, you can gauge the workability of the compressor. It measures the volume inside the compressor.
When selecting the compressor, consider its portability. Modern compressors The modern compressor is portable and lightweight. You can store them after your project.
Depending on your location, you can get either a fixed one or a portable one. The portable is easy to carry, and you can move it from one spot to another.
In the end, price is the last thing to consider, but if a product gives you all the things you need, and you are sure it’s a quality product, the price won’t matter.
Although you should consider the price according to your needs, do not buy too many high-priced items without looking into them.
How Does a Compressor Power Up a Nail Gun?
Knowing how to use an air compressor is great, but knowing a nail gun is even better. You can do a lot of work by yourself and will not need anyone else.
By knowing these two tools, you will install or replace moldings and wainscoting or even build your frames. For doing this, you will need an air-powered nail gun that will speed up your work regarding wood projects.
You will be able to do anything with it, from building pictures or cabinets. Nail guns can reach areas that are difficult to access, such as the back of cabinets or the corners of ceilings. They also make your work safer.
Combining each air compressor and the nail gun makes for the best air compressor and nail gun combo, which will do wonders for your work. Nail guns are still the most affordable, efficient tool for framers, floor installers, and roofers.
Using an air-powered nail gun has another great benefit. You do not need an air compressor to run it. If the air compressor packs enough pressure, it can do anything.
1. Choosing the Appropriate Nail Gun:
The first thing you need to do is carefully search for the most appropriate nail gun for your project. You need to choose the proper size of the nail gun because it will determine what type of nails you can use and ultimately decide what kind of job you can do with them.
The nail gun for house use is affordable and durable. You can save a lot of money by picking a battery-powered nail gun. The finish nailers are flexible tools.
2. Select the Appropriate Size of Air Compressor for the Nail Gun:
After choosing the nail gun, you need to decide on the right size of air compressor which will power the nail gun. Nail guns usually do not need CFM or even smaller portable air.
The portable compressors that can do 2 CFM powered by 1 HP can do around 15 nails per minute. The air compressor you need should have a two-horsepower motor if you frequently use nail guns. It can keep up with you as you experience it.
3. Prepare your Compressor:
Did you buy your compressor? Now you need to prepare to make it work with your nail gun.
To make your house secure from leaks, you should tape it with Teflon. It mostly comes ready to be attached. If you need to connect, add two couplers on each end.
4. Switch On the Compressor:
After preparing the gun, connect it to the outlet and turn it on. Check the pressure gauge to see if it is at zero PSI before pressure builds up in the tanks.
Attach NPT to the compressor coupler and then attach the other coupler to the nail gun. Now turn on the pressure regulator knob to start sending air to the outlet. Until it reaches the PSI of your nail machine, keep it on.
5. Operate Nail Gun:
Use some personal protection when using your nail gun. Eye protection makes sure to keep the tip of the nail gun away from yourself. Follow the instructions in the manual. The nails should be in their correct positions.
6. Release All the Air After Use:
Switch off the compressor after using the nail gun, and release any remaining pressure from the tank. Otherwise, moisture can build up and cause rust. Simply open the drain valve and let it drain.
5 Styles and Types of Portable Air Compressor
There are 5 types of portable air compressors:
1. Rotary Screw Compressors:
The rotary screw compressor is the most common type of displacement compressor. These types of compressors are easy to maintain. They do not require maintenance as these compressors have internal cleaning systems.
They are large size machines that can be oil-free or not. It has two rotators that work in opposite directions to generate energy. They build pressure because of their internal cooling system. They can work for hours.
2. Reciprocating Compressors:
Another type of compressor is the reciprocatory compressor. They are typically used on smaller construction sites such as garages and houses. It is not for continuous use. Its parts are oil lubricated.
These compressors have a piston inside the cylinder that compresses the air to build pressure. They can move in multi-stage variations as well as a single.
3. Dynamic Compressors:
Compressors create pressure by rotating their blades rapidly and then restricting it. The kinetic energy generated then turns into static electricity.
4. Axial Compressors:
Compressors like these don’t get used in construction, but they are used on ships and planes. They are expensive, but they have high efficiency rates. They can generate up to thousands of HP. They are used mainly for aerospace research.
5. Centrifugal Compressors:
These compressors generate potential energy by slowing and cooling the incoming air through the diffuser. Because of the multi-phase compressions, they can produce a high amount of energy. They are used in chemical plants or manufacturing facilities because they require little maintenance.
Single Stage Air Compressor Vs. Two-Stage Air Compressor.
In the two-stage: the air gets compressed twice.
In a single stage: the air is compressed one time. These are also known as piston compressors. The process goes:
- Air gets into the cylinder at 120 PSI and is compressed in just one stroke
- The compressed air gets stored in the tank.
Single-stage compressors are designed to work with the air in the tank as their energy source. The process in two-stage compressors is quite similar to the single-stage, but the compressed air does not get stored in the tank. Instead, it gets to the piston for the second stroke at 175 PSI. Then it gets stored in the tank and gets used for the high-powered equipment.
Oiled Air Compressor Vs. Oil-Less Air Compressor
Oiled air compressors:
In the oil air compressors, the cast iron pump is oiled. For high-capacity work, they produce a tremendous amount of heat. Oil works as a medium for transferring heat. They are more durable and functional.
These compressors are used in industrial areas. They produce less noise than the oilless compressors. Another benefit is there will be reduced wear and tear.
There is nothing beneficial, but the oiled air compressors have some drawbacks too:
- They need a lot of maintenance.
- You have to change the oil regularly.
- They are made for industrial use only, so they are heavy.
- It can be installed at one location, but shifting it can be challenging.
Oil-less air compressors:
The name expresses itself. There is no need for oil regularly in these compressors. It is not like they do not need oil at all. Their workload is less, so they do not need regular lubrication.
The product that works as lubrication in these is Teflon. These compressors are smaller and lightweight. Mostly the prices are also less relative to the oiled air compressors.
They do have some drawbacks too:
- They are more exposed to the weather of getting damaged earlier.
- Their life-span is also less
- They produce a heavy amount of noise. You cannot use them at home.
But some brands are taking care of these issues and producing a silencer-based version of these compressors.
What are the advantages of Pneumatic Tools?
The pneumatic tools are also known as air tools; they benefit many manufacturing, automatic, and aerospace facilities. They are safer to use and maintain.
Some of the advantages of using pneumatic tools:
Unlimited Air Resources – One of the most significant components of pneumatic systems is air. Air is available to us all the time in unlimited quantities on earth.
Easy to transfer – Air can easily be transferred from one location to another using a pipe.
Can adjust the temperature – We can adjust the temperature of the air as required through different equipment designed specifically for this purpose.
Safer – The air does not explode and is not flammable. That makes it easy to load. Protection against it is easy.
Cleaner – The air around us tends to be clean without chemicals that can be harmful. It is safer to use a pneumatic system in pharmaceutical, industrial, and beverages.
Easily storable – We can easily store the air using seat tubes. It can be installed for the safety of the system.
Utilizable – It can be utilized directly in metal or machinery. Or indirectly, that is through the pneumatic system.
Can You Use a Nail Gun Without an Air Compressor?
Nail guns work in different ways: they can work with the compressor or cannot work with the compressor. The nail guns that work with the compressors are called pneumatic nail guns.
It is possible to use nail guns without an air compressor, but you’ll need an alternative power source. These are Battery-powered nail guns, gas-powered nail guns, electric nail guns, powder-actuated nail guns, combustion-powered nail guns, and solenoid-powered nail guns.
What is a WheelBarrow Air Compressor?
The wheelbarrow compressor has its name resembling the small propelled load transporting carts. The compressors have a single wheel at the front end and allow you to move them on your site.
It has a compact design. It has two tanks with handles at the bottom of the unit and a motor suitable for heavy-duty work.
Additionally, the compressor’s manoeuvrability allows for maximum placement it offers: Capacity for power, Capacity in tanks, Pressure, Airflow delivery/CFM, Oil-less or oiled, and Work timing.
When we talk about the best air compressor for nail guns, many brands manufacture and sell air compressors. All air compressors have their properties and pros and cons.
The brands like BOSTITCH, PORTER, MAKITA, and DEWALT offer air compressors with different features and capabilities. Some can be oil-free, or some may need oil. They may be portable or may make a lot of noise. They may be movable or not moveable.
There are different types of portable compressors that you need to select according to your needs. There are some factors you should consider while purchasing or selecting the compressors: the size of the tanks, HP, CFM, PSI, prices, and portability.
A wheelbarrow compressor with wheels is also available, which you can move from one place to another.
Will a 6-gallon air compressor run a nail gun?
A pneumatic nail gun is a powerful tool that does not require a regular supply of air. There needs to be a small burst to drive nails into the woods. You need a portable air compressor with at least 2CFM and 2-6 gallon tank capacity.
So, sure, you can run your nail gun with the 6-gallon air compressor.
Can I use a portable air compressor with a nail gun?
Yes, nearly all portable compressors have sufficient efficiency to drive staplers, pin nailers, and brand nail guns. For the framing nailers, you can use a 4 CFM air compressor with a 6-Gallon tank.
Hamza is a founder of Compressors Insights. He is an Electrical Engineer having strong experience in Technical and Power tools. He has been helping electricians, and HVAC technicians regarding tool selection, and how to use power tools (Compressors, Pressure Washers, Multimeters, etc)