How to Find the Right Size Air Compressor for You

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Having air tools in your arsenal of garage equipment is a great idea. They are far more efficient than mechanical or electric tools, and they also last longer.

Just as cars require an engine to run, these tools require an air compressor. Therefore, having a good air compressor is essential to ensure that all your tools work correctly.

In this article, we provide you with all the information you need to find the right air compressor for you.

How to Find the Right Size Air Compressor for You

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Questions to Ask Yourself Before Making a Purchase

Before making a purchase, you might want to slow down and see how much power you really need. You might not need a powerful machine with the type of work you’ll be doing.

Instead of spending more than required on one piece of machinery, you could instead invest that money elsewhere.

After you have gone through our tips, head on over to this link to find an air compressor right for you:

What Will You Be Doing?

The amount of power that you need depends on what you will be doing. Someone who paints a wall will need more power than someone who is coloring a figurine.

Make a list of the things you need to do, and try to make an educated guess about how much power any of that will require. You’ll find that the smaller the scale of the activity, the less power will be required.

What Tools is Will You Be Needing?

If you plan on doing some heavy-duty tasks that require equipment like a water blaster, you’ll need far more power than you would have required if you were using a nailer. Get to know your tools and how much power each one requires.

Will a Home Outlet Do?

Not all machines will work with a home outlet. There are many compressors that require more than 240 volts that a household outlet simply can’t provide. You’ll need a generator to power such machines. With the generator will come fuel costs.

If you are not careful in understanding what you need, you’ll end up spending more than you need to.

Where is Will You Be Using the Air Compressor?

Air compressors can come in large and small sizes. Depending on how much space you have, you should consider how big of a compressor you need. If you have a large garage available, you’ll have no problem fitting in an equally large compressor.

However, if you are short on space, you need to look for a compressor that can fit where you want to work.

Do You Plan on Moving With the Compressor?

If you need to have an air compressor that can be moved around, look for one that has wheels attached to it. The size of the machine will also need to be much smaller to accommodate for the movement.

If you plan on staying put in your garage or workshop, then you can safely ignore this point.

Size of the Tank

Having seen all of the above, we hope by now you have a clear idea of what you want to use the air compressor for, where you want to use it, and how you intend to power the machine.

The size of the air tank is a factor that will play into your choice of the air compressor you buy. Keep in mind that the size of the tank will determine how long the tools attached to the compressor will run. Once all of the compressed air has run out, the motor of the machine will switch back on to generate more.

Certain tools, such as a blaster, will require a continuous flow of air for it to be powered. Smaller tools like a brad nailer will only need a short amount of air at specific intervals.

As we have previously mentioned, depending on the tools you will use, the size of the tank will vary. If you plan on using a smaller tank for heavier tasks then this will severely hamper the time it will require for you to complete the task.

Air Hose

This little piece of equipment will determine how safe your work will be. Always purchase a reliable air hose. Do not think of getting a cheaper one, as with the massive amounts of pressure being put through the hose, a rupture can lead to a burst. This can be very dangerous for the person operating the air compressor.

Think of your well-being and that of all the people who will be using the machine. It really is worth it to spend some extra cash and get a more expensive air hose.

CFM and Horsepower


CFM or Cubic Feet per Minute is the volume of air that will be propelled through the air hose per minute. As the name suggests, the higher this value is, the more air will be pushed through. Some tools will need a minimum amount of CFM to be operable.

Go through the tool requirements to see what CFM value you will need. It is not efficient nor safe to operate tools at CFM values lower than they require; this may lead to damage to the tool or injury to yourself.

To determine the required CFM of air compressor, multiply the CFM of the tool you will be used by 1.5; this will give you value higher than the required CFM of the air compressor. This will also allow you the comfort of upgrading to more powerful tools in the future.


Horsepower or HP refers to the power the air compressor has to refill the tank once it is empty. This is not as important as CFM.

Even though you may be told otherwise by some sellers and persuaded to buy a machine with a higher HP, you need to look at the CFM more than the HP.


We hope by going through this article you were able to gain some vital information for your purchase. Keep in mind that having a safe working environment should always be your first priority. Never buy or use a machine you think is less than reliable.

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