Nailer: What Size Air Compressor Do I Need?
The first thing to remember when choosing an air compressor for your home is to choose one that will fit your needs. There are many different sizes available. You may want a larger model than others, or perhaps you have a smaller space in which case you might prefer something with less power.
Whatever the reason, there’s probably at least one size that fits all of them!
Choosing the right size air compressor for your application is a very important decision. If you’re looking to save money, then you’ll want something small enough that it won’t take up too much room in your garage or basement. However if you’re looking to save time, then you’d like something with more power so that it can get the job done quickly without having to wait around for the next load of nails.
Air compressors come in various shapes and sizes. Some are simple boxes with no moving parts while others have complex controls that require some skill to operate properly. Regardless of their design, they all work on the same principle; air moves through a series of pipes and chambers until it reaches its destination where it is compressed into a gas.
In general, the bigger the better. A big compressor is going to be able to handle more air pressure and therefore make a faster job of removing nails from your roof. On the other hand, if you’re trying to save money, then you’ll want something that’s small enough that it doesn’t take up too much room in your garage or basement.
There are two main types of compressors available: electric and gas powered models. Most professionals will agree that if you intend on using your compressor on a regular basis, a gas-powered one is the best option. They’re able to start much quicker and offer more power than their electric counterparts.
Now, I’m sure you’ve probably noticed that most of the major brands such as Kobalt and Husky sell two different types of compressors: mini and standard. The “mini” style air compressors are much cheaper and usually have a smaller storage tank. The main difference between the two is that gasoline models are able to produce more pressure, but they can be quite dangerous and you will need to make sure you have enough storage space for the engine.
Gas powered compressors use a small engine to turn a series of pistons which push air through the system. As the air goes through it passes through a filter which removes all dust and debris before being pumped into the tank. The trade-off is that they’re designed for smaller jobs around the house and are not powerful enough to handle framing nailers.
With that being said, I normally don’t recommend buying one of these mini compressors for doing your own roofing projects. It would be a huge hassle having to refill it every 30 minutes. If you have the budget, I’d highly recommend buying a “standard” or larger style model.
They’re able to produce enough power to run most framing tools.
The other main type of compressor is the storage tank. This option is more common for electric models, and it operates using a series of fans and paddles to push air into a tank. They are able to produce far less pressure, but take up much less space – making them easier to store.
It is also possible to get a “two stage” compressor. These units have two separate stages which operate in sequence to achieve maximum performance.
The main thing you’re going to want to look for when purchasing a compressor is the PSI that it’s able to produce. The higher the number means that it will be able to function at a higher pressure. This is important when compared to other models because the actual PSI (pounds per square inch) that goes into the tank is different than what comes out.
In most cases, the first stage is small and intended for quick repairs. It pushes the air through a filter which removes dust and debris.
The second compressor is used to fill the tank, and it pushes out air at high pressure. Two-stage compressors are able to produce more power than single-stage models of the same size.
Most of the better compressors available on the market today are two-stage designs.
What this means is that a compressor that is able to pump at say 150 PSI is not always going to be outputting 150 PSI. That’s because there is a small loss of pressure between the time it enters the tank and when it comes out. The closer you are to the max PSI, the quicker the tank will run out of air.
This is especially important if you plan on running larger framing guns since they can easily deplete smaller tanks in a matter of minutes. I would highly recommend looking into these models if you seriously think you’re going to be doing a lot of work.
If you’re only looking to inflate car tires and sometimes resetting a few nails then a cheaper single-stage model is going to do the trick.
One of the main factors that will influence the price of a compressor is the PSI that it is able to produce. While it may seem like more PSI is always better, this isn’t always the case.
Most framing guns require 90 PSI or more to function properly. It’s not rare for a professional to have tanks that run at 200 PSI or higher. This is important to know because if you are using a large compressor and running several nail guns at once, it may be inadequate to keep up with the demand.
Please let this serve as a word of caution so you don’t end up with a broken gun and an empty tank! Single-stage compressors can only operate at a certain pressure and anything beyond that isn’t going to help.
Most of the time you’ll be running an air impact tool or a nail gun. These tools consume so much air that they will quickly deplete the tank if it’s pumping out more than about 110 PSI. This means that most of the cheaper models are able to reach their max without any problem.
Most of the time, you’ll be able to judge how well a compressor is going to work for you by looking at the PSI that is required to operate a framing gun. If it’s over 90, then you better have a compressor that can run at 150 or more.
Determining Which Brands are Best
When you start shopping around for a new compressor, you’re going to quickly notice that there are many different brands and models available on the market today.
This isn’t the only thing to consider however. There are a few different types of compressors that may not be compatible with your tools. It’s still definitely worth looking into these models if you aren’t sure that a bigger one is going to be necessary.
One thing to note is that most cheaper compressors can’t handle dust or any type of liquid substance. If these are introduced into the tank it can cause a fair amount of damage and is usually not covered by the warranty. Some you’ve heard of and some you haven’t.
In some ways, this can make your choice a lot easier since you already have a basic idea of what will work and what won’t. Always make sure to transport these safely if you need to move it from one place to another.
It’s also important to understand that the larger a compressor is, the louder it usually will get. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing since you want a solid machine that isn’t going to break down when you need it most. Just be aware that is one of the things you can count on.
One of the most well-known brands is California Air Tools. You’ve heard great things about them and read excellent reviews from people online. Even their smaller models can reach up to 125 PSI and are able to run framing guns without any problems. They’re also one of the more expensive models, but you know they are worth it since you won’t need to buy another for a very long time. There is no such thing as a quiet 1-ton machine.
You may find that the place you buy your compressor from doesn’t offer you the best choices or they only carry one brand. Don’t be afraid to shop around a little bit and look for better deals, it can save you a lot of money in the long run. If you really want to, you can always sell it later on if you ever need to.
Another big-name brand is Senco. Their framing guns are the industry standard and almost all of their products are extremely reliable. Most professional framers will have at least one Senco tool in their truck.
Other well-known brands include Bostitch, Stanley, and Porter Cable.
Make sure you also take a look at reviews. Even if the compressor is one of the popular ones, it may not be as good as you think or offer the features you want. It’s best to do some research before buying anything.
Of course, the most important part of a compressor is the motor inside of it. You don’t really have to concern yourself too much with this aspect, but it’s good to keep in mind that more expensive doesn’t always mean better.
You can find smaller compressors that will be cheaper. They will usually only reach about 120 PSI which is enough to run a framing gun, but they usually won’t be able to run more than a few nails before the compressor has to catch up. You can also find larger models that can go up to 150 PSI or more.
These are much more expensive and require a lot more maintenance.
It’s important to match your gun to your compressor.
You would have to be in the construction or framing field in order to really need a 1-ton machine. This is something that you would have to think about since you don’t need it all the time. It’s very obvious that your current compressor can keep up with what you need it to do since you only do this part time as a hobby.
If you have a small compressor but decide to get a large framing gun, you probably won’t be able to run it very long without the compressor shutting off.
You’ve decided that you don’t really want to spend a whole lot since you’re not quite sure how serious you’re going to be with all this. You’ve never even used a nail gun before so there is a bit of a learning curve.
It would be best to get something in between. You would get a machine that can run a framing gun, but can also keep up with smaller tasks. You find that the choices are building up a little since there are so many different choices out there for you.
There are always pros and cons no matter what you pick. One of the most popular is the Porter Cable C2002. It has great reviews online and people say it’s an excellent value for what you spend on it.
You could buy something smaller and cheaper since you only plan on using this for your own personal projects around the house.
Which do you pick?
A small, cheap compressor that is just enough for what you need it for. A larger, more expensive model so you can possibly rent it out in the future. Something in between that is more versatile.
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