What Size Air Compressor do I need for Air Tools

You will see that air compressors have a wide range of uses such as they can be used in the fields of construction, manufacturing, agriculture, engines, heating, ventilation, filling gas, spray painting, pressure washing, and many others. We can assume that you might be a DIY (do it yourself) believer if you are looking for an air compressor to do all your work by yourself. It is important to consider the right size air compressor as much as you need to look for other factors in a good-quality compressor.

If you are confused about the right-sized air compressor then we bring you our informational guide on “What size air compressor do I need for air tools? then this is the perfect place that will solve your problems and confusion. The guide will also help you understand how everything works. We will be discussing all the factors and things in detail so it is convenient for you to understand everything completely.

What size air compressor do I need for air tools?

To determine the size of the air compressor without any chance of mistake, you need to consider some points or precautions that are important while looking for an air compressor of the right size. We made a list of all these things that affects the size of the compressor so you can make sure that you consider them properly. The points are as followed:

  • Exactly, for what purpose or you need an air compressor.
  • Types of air tools that you will be using with the compressor.
  • A power source that is available for work.
  • How much space it is going to use.

The specifications and factors that will determine what size air compressor do I need for air tools are described below in detail. 

CFM requirements

The first factor that determines the size of your air compressor is the CFM requirements from your air tools. If you do not know what CFM (cubic feet per minute) is, it is defined as a standard unit to measure the amount of airflow or air pressure. It tells you how much power the air compressor is capable of providing to the air tools. All the air tools come with a specific required amount of pressure that is set by the manufacturer so the air tools can work properly.

You can easily find the list or chart of air tools with the recommended CFM that they need. To determine the air compressor with what quantity of CFM you need for air tools, we are going to tell you a very simple and easy trick that you can do to get a rough idea of the required CFM requirements for air tools.

If you have air tools or are planning to buy air tools that do not need a continuous flow of pressure then you have to take the highest CFM rating that your air tools need and multiply it by 1.5 and you will get the size of air compressor you need to buy. But if your air tools require continuous pressure to work fine then you need to multiply the CFM rating by 4.

Tank size

The size of the air compressor you require depends on the size of the tank it comes with. There are multiple air compressors with different tank sizes. You need to consider the type of work and how much quantity you need so you can make a decision on the basis of your requirements. The variants of tank size that you will find in the air compressors range from 1 gallon to 60 gallons. The tank size is important to consider because the size and capacity of the tank will tell you how long it is capable of running your air tools.

Most of the air tools such as sanders and grinders require a continuous flow of pressure so if your air compressor is not big enough to run continuously to provide pressure to such air tools then you may want to reconsider your decision as air compressors need to rest to build pressures and work again. Based on this fact, you must not buy the biggest size available in air compressors because many larger air compressors do not give you much pressure as small.

So, this concludes that you need to buy the right size of the tank for the air compressor to work properly. An air compressor with a tank size of 30 gallons will be the right choice for you if you do not have work in a manufacturing or construction company. If you are only using it for household purposes then a 10-gallon air compressor will also do good.


We hope that our article “What size air compressor do I need for air tools?” was helpful for you as much as we wanted it to be so all your tensions regarding air compressors and air tools can disappear. The size of the air compressor only depends on your needs and what you require from it to fulfill. You need to be careful while selecting an air compressor because a smaller size will not give you what you need and a bigger size will be a waste of money only.

Some of your air tools might want a smaller size air compressor and some of the air tools will work with a bigger size air compressor so you need to make sure that you count on every possibility before making a decision on which air compressor is the right-sized for you. This may seem a little difficult for the first time but we assure you that as you started this journey of deciding with us you must have seen how easy it was.

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