Finding a suitable compressor for your nail gun can be tricky. It’s not just about the PSI or the tank size. You need to accommodate your needs first. Remember, it’s not about what’s the best of all. It’s what’s best for your nail gun.
If you look from a professional standpoint, the DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor stands out among all the competitors. But if you think of a portable & lightweight option, the CAT air compressor is a great option, especially if you want a quiet operation while working.
Contenders for Best Air Compressor for Nail Gun
We have collected some of the top air compressors in the market for you. All the upsides & downsides are discussed in length. So let’s jump right in.
1. Craftsman Air Compressor- Best Professional Tool
If you’re a professional, then our first candidate will catch your eyes. Craftsman has designed & built this air compressor in the USA, Tennessee. It is one of the best air compressors for framing due to its high power.
Craftsman features a pressure capacity of 150 PSI max. This is perfect for a variety of operations. Very few nail gun air compressors have such high capacity. The average you will get is around 100 PSI.
The recovery time of 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI makes it perfect for large projects. Especially for all sorts of woodworking projects with your nail gun. It features a 6-gallon pancake-style tank. 6 gallon is perfect for driving nails on any surface.
A 120 volt low amp motor gives the compressor a considerable boost of power. You can nail all the year with the worries of underperforming. The motor doesn’t need any oil to run. Moreover, as it runs on electricity, you don’t need to stall midway while nailing.
But the Craftsman does come with some flames of itself. It has a habit of losing air quickly. The pressure can drop down from 150 PSI to 100 PSI even when all the valves are closed. It also makes a tingling sound for about 15 seconds before turning off.
- Max pressure at 150 PSI.
- Excellent recovery time at 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI.
- 6-gallon pancake-style tank.
- No usage of oil.
- Drops pressure at an alarming rate.
- Irritating noise before shutting down.
2. Bostitch Air Compressor – Best Durable Tool
Bostitch has become a household name if you are considering any sort of power tool. This reputation is the same going for Bostich air compressors. It would be a prime choice for those who intend to drive nails at an incredible pace.
This air compressor has a maximum air pressure of 150 PSI. This is a perfect apex for nailing in any sort of surface with consistent performance. High-pressure air is capable of cleaning & removing any sort of obstacles in its quarter.
The model delivers a 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI. If you are working with large projects, this number might be perfect. Moreover, it has a 6-gallon tank which makes it convenient for a wide range of works. It can keep & store air without any leakage. The specs are pretty like the previous Craftsman air compressor.
Bostitch’s motor is designed to work in all types of weather throughout the year. The oil-free operation makes it a long-lasting compressor with very few interruptions. Electricity makes sure it runs smoothly without any alterations. The kit comes with a lot of other tools to work with.
The air compressor does have higher noise than other competitors. It is also complicated to use as the instructions are vague. Any new user will get confused.
- Max air pressure of 150 PSI.
- Recovery time 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI.
- Massive 6-gallon tank.
- It runs on electricity.
- Quite loud compared to others.
- Complicated to use for amateurs.
3. DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor – Most Powerful Tool
If you are looking to work with framing nailers, then the DEWALT air compressor is one of the best in the business. It provides high power & agility to work while framing. Any fixation job, DEWALT has got you covered.
The pressure capacity for this air compressor is at a maximum of 165 PSI. This number is the highest among all our contenders here. It’s enough to do any sort of nailing work as a professional. More extensive pressure handling means you can work on harsh surfaces with nails.
DEWALT has a quick recovery time of 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI. This enables a long runtime without any interruptions. The air compressor has a massive 6-gallon pancake-shaped tank. It can store enough air to run long time projects.
The motor can run all year long without any errors. 120 V,60 Hz motor gives a constant flow of power to keep the compressor running as long as you need it to. It’s perfect from a professional standpoint.
The extra pressure might have a downside. The fittings might mismatch due to this extra pressure. The noise level is also slightly high during operation.
- Max pressure of 165 PSI.
- Decent recovery time.
- Powerful motor to keep it running at all seasons
- Perfect for professionals.
- Fittings may mismatch.
- Slightly high noise.
4. Campbell Hausfeld FP209499AV Air Compressor – Best Lightweight Tool
If you are looking into a more simple air compressor, Campbell Hausfeld might be the one you are looking for. Due to its compatibility, you can use it for all sorts of personal nailing use. It’s best for any home usage.
Home-based work doesn’t need so much air pressure. That’s why the Campbell Hausfeld has a max air pressure of 110 PSI. The number is lower than our other brands here. But it’s enough for amateur-level work.
The recovery time for the compressor is 0.36 CFM at 90 PSI. That’s decent, considering it’s for personal use. It has a 1-gallon tank capacity that gets the work done. The lightweight factor makes it great for portability.
The compressor runs entirely on electricity. It doesn’t need any oil or anything. This makes its service guaranteed for the long run. Other accessories come with the compressor for the best possible usage.
Although this is a small, lightweight air compressor, it produces a lot of noise. It’s also not best for the long run too. The tank is also tiny. But it is excellent as a home tool for your nail gun.
- Lightweight design.
- Suitable for all sorts of home use.
- Portable to work with.
- Comes with accessories.
- Quite loud considering it’s for home use.
- PSI rating low.
- Not great for the long run.
5. California Air Tools Air Compressor- Best Quiet Tool
California Air Tools or better known as CAT tools, are to give a user-friendly working experience. Working with pneumatic nail guns can get very noisy, especially with air compressors contributing to the noise. But CAT tools have integrated an ultra-quiet air compressor for CAT 1P1060S.
The largest air pressure the CAT can handle is 120 PSI. It’s enough to get any household work done. Not like you are nailing on a daily basis. The best thing about the compressor is its weight. You can carry it anywhere you want to work.
The compressor uses a 0.6 HP motor at 90 PSI pressure. It uses a system that produces minor noise while in operation. This is one of the quietest air compressors in the market. Only 56 decibels.
CAT has a steel tank that is about 1 gallon. You don’t need any oil to operate this machine. This speaks to the longevity of the compressor. The recovery time from 90 PSI to 120 PSI is about 15 seconds.
This is the perfect machine to have in your home. But the capacity might be a significant drawback to this nice compressor. If you are working on more complex surfaces, the PSI might lag you behind.
- Ultra-quiet design.
- Lightweight feature.
- Oil-free operation.
- Decent motor.
- Small tank capacity.
- PSI rating low.
|Attribute||Craftsman||Bostitch||DEWALT||Campbell Hausfeld||California Air Tools|
|SCFM||2.6 @ 90||2.6 @ 90||2.6 @ 90||0.36 @ 90||1.20 @ 90|
|Tank Size||6 Gallons||6 Gallons||6 Gallons||1 Gallon||1 Gallon|
|Noise||71 decibels||80 decibels||75.5 decibels||80 decibels||56 decibels|
Specs to Know When Considering the Best Air Compressor for Nail Gun
There are a few things you need to get up to date while searching for the perfect air compressor for your nail gun.
PSI stands for pounds per square inch. It is the standard unit to measure the amount of air pressure. All pneumatic tools have a PSI rating to ensure you have the proper pressure to work with.
On average, a nail gun requires around 90 PSI to operate. But we all know how surfaces can vary with your work. If you need to work on a rough surface, you need greater power in your nail gun. This power comes from the air pressure of the air compressor.
If you need a higher PSI rating, then the 150 PSI-rated air compressors are superb for professional-level work. But if you are looking for home use, then around 100 PSi will do the work for you.
SCFM stands for Standard Cubic Feet per Minute. This is an essential factor to check as it defines the performance of the air compressor. It represents the airspeed at which the compressor works.
You have to cross-check your nail gun specification & your air compressor. A mismatch can result in delays. For a standard air compressor, the airflow rate is about 2 SCFM at 90 PSI. You need to pick an SCFM rating that will match your workload.
A heavy-duty nail gun can deliver 15 shots per minute. But a medium one can deliver 30 drives. If you want to use two big nail guns simultaneously, then the rate must be 4 SCFM at 90 PSI.
Another essential factor to note is the tank size. The primary thing to note is that the bigger tank size will keep your nail gun working at full power. This makes sure you have a smooth operation throughout your work hours. Larger air compressors also state larger weights too.
A standard air compressor will have a 6-gallon capacity. This is enough to ensure you have a smoother user experience for a significant amount of time. But if you are looking for a portable air compressor, then look for the ones with one or 2-gallon tanks.
Any power tool requires maintenance for the long run. If you are working with your tool daily, then make sure you treat it right. But make sure your air compressor is oilless so that you don’t have to worry too much. Oil-free operation requires less maintenance & cuts down on weight.
If you are working from home or in a neighborhood, noise can create hassle all around you. Air compressors tend to make some noise while in operation. But the minimal level that guarantees a quiet operation is a level less than 70 decibels.
The noise ratings are given in the specification of the air compressor. Make sure you take a closer look at the rating. Otherwise, you will have problems all around due to the noise.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. What is PSI best for framing nail guns?
2. How much power is needed for a brad nailer or stapler?
3. Should I drain out the pressure of an air compressor after usage?
Of course. You should drain all the pressure out of the tank. Release the air and open the drain valve for a while to let it out. Otherwise, it might damage the inside gradually.
To get the best air compressor for nail guns, you need to relate your work & nail gun to it. Meaning, you have to buy the air compressor according to your work & nail gun specs. Make sure it’s completely compatible with your nail gun. No matter how high level the thing you buy, it’s useless unless it goes with your nail gun.