When using an impact wrench, it is essential to consider the type of work you need, how much pressure the compressor produces, and what kind of fuel the compressor uses. Choosing the right air compressor for an impact wrench can be a daunting task. With so many factors to consider, what size air compressor for an impact wrench?
Throughout this article, we will highlight important factors to consider when choosing the size air compressor that is best suited to an impact wrench.
- 1 What Size Air Compressor for an Impact Wrench?
- 2 Factors to Consider Before Choosing Air Compressors for Impact Wrench
- 3 How to Determine Air Compressor Power?
- 4 CFM & PSI Chart for Selection of Air Compressor for Impact Wrench
- 5 Why Use Air Compressors for Impact Wrench?
- 6 Conclusion
- 7 FAQ’s
What Size Air Compressor for an Impact Wrench?
There are five factors that one should consider before choosing an air compressor for an impact wrench. They are CFM, tank size, project level, Impact Wrench Size, and space & portability.
Also, it depends on what type of work a person will be doing with their impact wrench. The larger the tank size, the more power is available to use tools longer without refuelling them again.
The next factor to consider when choosing what size compressor to use for an impact wrench is the type of task you want to do with it.
Smaller projects may require less power, while big projects may require more powerful compressors and different types such as pneumatic drills or screwdrivers.
You will need a 4-5 CFM air compressor for your ½” impact wrench. That’s the average size you can expect.
It will be different based on what kind of drive system is in use: 1-inch drives require 10 CFM @90 PSI; ⅜ ” wrenches only get 3cfm at 90 PSI with this type.
Factors to Consider Before Choosing Air Compressors for Impact Wrench
Whenever we choose something, we always consider some factors. Prior to purchasing the product, we examine certain aspects and then choose. The same applies to air compressors. what size air compressor to run an impact wrench is needed for this you need to consider some factors:
1. Impact Wrench CFM Requirements
We determine a suitable air compressor for an impact wrench by the amount of pressure they produce and the amount of airflow they provide. You can understand the power of an air compressor; the more pressure in the air, the greater the power.
As we mentioned earlier, the size of the air compressor for the impact wrench is directly related to the CFM (cubic feet per minute) requirement. If we know how much CFM is required for an impact wrench, then it’s easy for us to select a suitable air compressor.
One should consider what type and how powerful is your Impact Wrench before buying an Air Compressor unit. To know the air requirements of your Impact Wrench, we’re here with a formula.
Calculate Impact Wrench CFM or Air Requirements
Airflow is the rate at which air leaves and enters a compressor. We measure it in cubic feet per minute (CFM). You should check if your impact wrench has enough airflow for it before you plugin. CMF is usually measured with a comparison of PSI. Most CFM is @90 PSI.
That will affect how fast things happen when using an electric device to power its metal teeth against other materials such as nuts, bolts, etc.
Usually, the manufacturers recommend CFM of the impact wrench. We only need to calculate the minimum CFM rating. The impact tool’s CFM is only half the battle. To calculate an accurate minimum requirement for your air compressor, you can multiply that number by 1.5.
Nowadays, with the high demand for power from tools and hammers, it is important to stay up-to-date with any changes in equipment requirements as an electrician or HVAC technician.
For your better understanding, let’s say we have CFM of Impact Wrench 5. We’ll multiply with 1.5, and the resultant will be 7.5. So, the minimum CFM of an air compressor should be 7.5.
2. Air Compressor Tank Size
The compressors are measured in gallons. The larger it will be, the more it can hold air. It will work more and will need less refilling. Simply, the larger the tank, the better it is. An air compressor tank is what stores the compressed air in tanks. Its size depends on what type of work a person will be doing with their impact wrench.
Determine Tank Size of Air Compressor for Impact Wrench.
The formula is simple: You just have to multiply the CFM of Impact Wrench by 6. For your better understanding, let’s say we have CFM of Impact Wrench 5. We’ll multiply with 6 and the resultant will be 30. So, the minimum tank size of an air compressor should be 30.
3. Project Level
The size of an air compressor for an impact wrench also depends on what level the work is. You can perform a small task with less power, but if you are working on a large project and need to drive pneumatic drills and screwdrivers.
For example, you’re working on someone’s roof and using your Impact Wrench at one corner to remove some broken nails from wood pieces that hold them together. In this case, there won’t be much demand for driving screws but just removing the old ones out of the way so new ones can take their place.
Alternatively, what if there were four tiny holes in the roof that you should drive four screws through? That would be a much bigger project.
4. Impact Wrench Size
The size of an air compressor for an impact wrench also depends on what size of the Impact Wrench you will be using. A 1-inch drive will need to use an air compressor with more power and better airflow than what is needed for ½” or ¼” drives.
5. Space & Portability
An air compressor for an impact wrench also needs to be space-efficient. You do not want it to take up too much room in your toolbox or garage, do you?
In terms of portability, if you have enough space inside your vehicle to store large equipment comfortably and without hassle, using larger tanks will be ideal. Despite all this, it is crucial to keep in mind ease of carrying and ease of use.
How to Determine Air Compressor Power?
What are the recommended air compressors for impact wrenches? There are some things that will help you to determine the best air compressor for you.
CFM Rating (Air Flow)
Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM) is what calculates the air of an air compressor. It’s what measures how much airflow a machine can produce in one minute.
Horsepower (HP) is the power rating of an air compressor. It’s what measures how much power is needed to run a machine.
Air Compressor Tank Size
Tank size determines the amount of compressed air available inside a machine to drive its motor. It works by storing all the airflow produced by an air compressor’s motor and using it as needed.
Pounds per Square Inch (PSI) is what calculates the air pressure of an air compressor’s motor. It’s what measures how much air pressure a machine can produce in one minute. An impact wrench uses up to 70 PSI at its peak while some drills need as low as 30-50 PSI.
CFM & PSI Chart for Selection of Air Compressor for Impact Wrench
|Impact Wrench Tool Size||CFM||PSI|
|1-Inch||10 to 16 CFM||90-125 PSI|
|1/2 - Inch||5 CFM||90-100 PSI|
|1/4 - Inch||2 CFM||90 PSI|
|3/4 - Inch||7 CFM||90-100 PSI|
|3/8 - Inch||3 CFM||90 PSI|
Why Use Air Compressors for Impact Wrench?
An air compressor for an impact wrench helps to increase the productivity and efficiency of a job. This tool reduces fatigue in your hands, wrists, arms, and shoulders by doing most of the work with its high torque motor making it an ideal addition to any garage or toolbox.
You only plug the components that need compressed air into what we call an air compressor, use the compressed air that comes out as you need it, and get on with your day.
To work with the impact wrench, we need an air compressor. What size of air compressor will be good for an impact wrench? When we purchase something, we always look for its specifications. There are some factors you need to consider for the air compressor when you choose one.
Factors: size, project level, space, and portability. These factors will help you choose the best one. But how to know what power of the air compressor will be good? For that, you need to see their tank size, PSI, CFM.
We’ve also added a chart of CFM and PSI that can help in the selection of the air compressor for the impact wrench. The air compressor can increase the productivity and efficiency of impact wrenches.
Will a pancake air compressor run an impact wrench?
A pancake compressor can run multiple air tools but it is not suitable for Impact Wrench. This is because an impact wrench requires a tremendous amount more power than what these small compressors can provide. It is only appropriate for use with small pneumatic drills and nailers. For Impact Wrench, the minimum size we’d recommend is 6 Gallon and 4 CFM.
Can you use an 18-gallon air tank for an impact wrench?
Yes, you can use the same one, but we suggest you go for a bigger one if the project requires more power. Check out our article on what size of an air compressor one should have.
Will a Portable or small air compressor work with an Impact Wrench?
In contrast with larger air compressors, small portable compressors won’t be able to drive tools such as impact drivers and pneumatic drills because their small tanks won’t provide enough airflow.
Also, these pumps will run out of air quickly if they are used to power tools that require high amounts of pressure.
Yes, you can go for smaller units that can provide enough airflow and pressure levels required by what we call an impact wrench or pneumatic drills. Nevertheless, you should choose larger ones since impact wrenches need more power than what these small compressors can offer.
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)