What Size Air Compressor Do You Need for Nail Gun (Must Read)

Latest Update On: June 6, 2021 | Author:

Finding the right air compressor that fits your nail gun can be tricky. That’s because there is a wide variety with different sizes of air compressors available in the market. You have to consider many features and decide what suits you the best while shopping for this device.

Size of air compressors are crucial to choose perfectly. Mostly 1-8 gallons is the usual range of this device. But 1 to 6 gallons must be sufficient for a nail gun. Since a nail gun does not require force by air continuously. For most air compressors, the range is between 1 to 8 gallons, but specifically for nail guns,

However, one question that always comes to mind while buying air compressors is what size air compressor do you need for a nail gun? The size really depends on your nail gun. But usually 1-6 gallons is a good size range for your nail gun. For your convenience, we will discuss more on the sizes of air compressors to consider in this article.

What Is An Air Compressor?

In simple words, an air compressor’s task is to increase the amount and pressure of air within the space. Actually the increased amount of air increases the air pressure in that space. This eventually results in creating a force that can be used for various purposes.

what size air compressor

Air compressor converts power as in electricity, into energy contained in compressed air. This pneumatic device keeps forcing more air into the storage tank to increase pressure. As soon as the pressure reaches its limit, the compressor stops.

The air tank keeps the pressurized air contained in it. This pressure helps in many applications as it depressurizes once released. The air compressor switches on again when the air pressure hits the lower pressure limit of the device.

One thing worth mentioning here is, pumps and air compressors are two different things. Pumps work only on liquid and air compressors work on gas, air etc.

Choosing The Right Air Compressor For Nail Gun

There are a few attributes of the air compressor to check before buying. Some of them are:

what size air compressor for a nail gun

1 .PSI

PSI stands for Pounds per Square Inch. It is one of the key factors to consider. A pound per square inch is how the actual air force that comes out of the compressor is measured.

One needs to consider PSI if it has to power multiple nail guns. Also the roofing nail gun compressor has to have higher PSI. So it is good to have high PSI in your air compressor just in case but it’s not a necessity as most of the nail guns can run at low PSI.


CFM stands for cubic feet per minute. It’s an important factor to consider while buying air compressors. CFM basically decides how smooth your nail gun experience will be. If CFM syncs up, the nail gun sessions will be free from stalls, malfunctions, delays etc.

3.The Noise Factor

This is an important factor to consider. If you’re okay with nail gun noise, then you don’t have to worry much about this. However, if you don’t like machine noise or don’t want to irritate families or neighbors with the sound pollution this creates, you need to consider this factor.

Generally air compression’s noise range is 60dB -80 dB. One thing to keep in mind is that the quiet air compressors don’t necessarily always cost a fortune. You can find many noise-free options within a low budget. The nail gun sessions can go on for hours. So even if you’re not super sensitive to noise, you should definitely go for a quieter one to spare yourself the headache that comes after.

4.The Mobility Factor

You have to decide how important mobility of this tool is to you. DIY projects require tools to be mobile to lessen the hassle.

Air compressors can come with wheels or handles to move around. These little additional features really come handy in moving the device. Device mobility is a good thing to consider.

5.The Size Factor

If you want a smooth nail gun experience, a bigger compressor is better for you. Because it can hold more air which runs for a longer time. However, big ones are not very mobile. So there’s a debate between size and mobility. You have to choose the balance in this case as per your convenience.

6.Pricing Considerations

There are many air compressors out there in the market. The price range varies enormously.  There are many high-end and low-end options of air compressors available.

One interesting fact here is, expensive ones do not always guarantee a good service and cheap ones are not necessarily worse. Sometimes expensive air compressors’ performance does not match its value, but cheap ones provide excellent features and longevity. So you should choose from the options that suits your budget.

What Size Air Compressor Do You Need For A Nail Gun?

Nail gun is a pneumatic intermittent power tool. It does not require continuous air supply. It just needs airflow with force to push the nails into the wall or wood. So for this tool, you need the air compressor with 2CFM rating at least.

what size air compressor for a nail gun

Also its tank capacity should be 2-6 gallons. Of course the exact specification depends on which model of nail gun you’re using. Here’s a chart to help you out finding the right size air compressor that fits your nail gun.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much PSI do you need for a finish nailer?

Answer: most of the finish nailers require 60-70 PSI to work.

Is 100 psi enough for a brad nailer?

Answer:  Most brad nailers can run at 60PSI. So 100 PSI is more than enough.

Should you pre drill MDF?

Answer: Yes, pre-drilling MDF with a right size pilot hole is essential to get strong joints.


In this article we’ve discussed what air sizes compressors are and their features. Hopefully we were able to give you necessary information on this tool. So now you know what features to consider while buying an air compressor.

Especially, now you should know what size air compressor do you need for a nail gun. However if you’re still confused, we suggest to research a bit more on this topic.

Jim Smith

Hello, this is Jim Smith. I am the owner of this website “power tool wiki” that will inform you about all the latest power tool machines like an air compressor, it’s related accessories and use and maintenance information. As a technical expert on this air compressor machine, I have a complete idea about its function and features. Not just because of a technician I know about this machine, I have been researching this machine for the last few years.

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