If you’re serious about fixing your cars, or just break away those rusty lug nuts, you might think about getting air tools, and an air compressor that won’t break your bank but will get the job done. They’re not even that expensive as you might think and there are lots of jobs that are tons easier with air tools.
Now, to get the most out of your tools, you’re going to need the best air compressors for impact wrenches. It’s pretty simple once you know what you need. And, that’s precisely what this guide is all about.
Can you run air powered tools off of a 5 – 8-gallon compressor?
The short answer is yes. A lot of people will tell you that you will need at least a 20 gal — compressor for running air tools properly. Well, that’s true if you are planning to run an auto shop.
But, for most small garage owners who would just use their air powered tools to break bolts on trucks, lawnmower, etc. now and then, you don’t need a bigger compressor.
A smaller gallon air compressor will suffice in most scenarios. It’s the CFPM aka Cubic Feet Per Minute that matters not the PSI. Although both or kind of same, it matters on the tool that you are running.
Nail guns, lug wrenches should work just fine. But, if your tool needs continuous air flow, switch to a bigger tank. Now, that being said, have a look at the top 4 air compressor for an impact wrench.
Top 4 Best Air Compressor For Impact Wrench
Makita MAC5200 Big Bore 3.0 HP Air Compressor
Makita is a well-known brand in the power tool industry. Most of the products they manufacture are really good, and this one is no exception. The MAC5200 Big Bore features a powerful 3.0 HP motor that can produce 6.5 CFM at 90 PSI.
For increased productivity and faster recovery time, the pump is made out of cast iron and the cylinder and piston both are engineered to make recovery time faster and provide continuous air flow.
The pump is lubricated with oil which reduces heat and keeps it cool even when used for a long time. It also reduces the wear on the pump and increased pump life. The double cast iron cylinder is also removable for easy storage.
Speaking of storage, there is a folding handle, and the overall unit has a low-profile design that makes it very easy to tuck it away in a small corner in your garage. There is a small compartment built-in that stores all your air fittings and accessories.
– Large 5.2 gal. tank with 6.5 cfm @ 90 PSI.
– This unit features a built-in thermal overload for additional protection.
– It is designed for a wide range of applications.
– Big Bore air compressors usually have a low noise level.
– If you all your tools fit in this mark, you won’t have to worry about anything.
DEWALT D55146 4-1/2-Gallon 225-PSI Hand Carry Compressor
This mini-powerhouse of a compressor packs some serious punch under the hood. The D55146 from Dewalt features 5.0 SCFM at 90 PSI. Along with its 225 PSI max tank storage, you’ll be getting 80% more usable air and quick recovery time.
It’s not as quiet as the CAT-100-20, but it generates less noise compared to other models in the industry. This model is made for those who work outside a lot. Featuring a vertical stand with a collapsible handle which makes it easy move around the workspace.
Speaking of transporting, the 10-inch non-flat foam tires make it easy to transport around the job site. It has a 4.5-gallon heavy-duty tank which is solidly built and constructed to withstand harsh job site condition.
You don’t always need to stay close to a power outlet. This highly efficient motor can be used with 12 GA. Or heavier or 50’ or less extension cord. It’s oil-free, requires no maintenance for the pump.
– 78 dBA noise level for a quiet work environment.
– 5.0 SCFM @ 90 PSI for a quick recovery.
– An efficient and high-pressure motor that can be used with an extension cord.
– Dual connections that allow you to operate more than one tool at a time.
– It doesn’t come with a long extension cord. You need to provide your own.
California Air Tools CAT-10020 Ultra Quiet and Oil-Free Air Compressor
Air compressors can get pretty loud sometimes, and I don’t blame the manufacturers. That’s just how these machines are. But, the CAT-10020 is an exception. It’s ultra-quiet, and the noise level doesn’t exceed 58 decibels.
It’s an oil-free compressor which needs less maintenance and considered as one of the quietest motors out there. Not only it has a low noise level, but it is also very powerful. The 3/4 HP motor operates at only 1680 RPM. This motor is engineered to create less noise, less wear and increase the duty cycle.
The 2-gallon tank may seem small, but the duty cycle makes up for the lack of tank storage and allows for longer continuous runtimes. The dual piston pump gives you durability with higher performance. It’s ideal for working in a small garage where noise is a major issue.
On top of that, since it’s oil-free, you can use it in a variety of different weather condition and uneven surfaces. It’s easy to transport and weighs around 32 pounds.
– If you hate noise, this is the one to get.
– It is ideal for woodworkers, hobbyist, and small garage owners.
– 1.50 CFM at 90 PSI and 2.40 at 40 Psi should be enough for frequent users.
– Increased duty cycles for longer runtime.
– Very small tank compared to other compressors at this price point.
Eagle EA-5000 Silent Series 5000 Air Compressor
The last one on this list is the Eagle EA-5000. This one features 5 CFM @ 90 PSI and 6.1 CFM @ 40 PSI with 2 HP peak motor and max 125 PSI. It is a popular model from their Silent Series lineup with 5-gallon tank capacity. If you have an air compressor which is unpleasantly loud, this is the one to go for.
Here is what the manufacturer has to say about this product: “It is the quietest professional grade compressor in its class.” When you actually hear their sound test, it’s not far from their claim. It is perfect for roofing/farming contractors and can easily run your lug wrenches.
The 8-inch all flat tires are great for rough terrain on the job site. Folding handle for easy carry and storage. The twin cylinder with low amp draw increases the overall lifespan of the motor. It also features a dual quick connect that can run multiple tools at once.
Last but not least, the integrated control panel. It has an adjustable pressure regulator, and the gauge is positioned on a 65-degree angle that makes it easy to read. A lever type drain valve, sleek steel face design offers extra protection to the pressure gauges.
– Very quiet motor.
– Easy to read pressure gauges.
– Flat free tires maximize mobility.
– Dual air intake.
– Regeneration time is on the lower side.
How to Choose the Air Compressor For Impact Wrench
Now, here is what you need to know when you are buying an air compressor. First things first, be honest with yourself. What are you really going to use a compressor for? And, how will you use it?
Is it going to be occasional use in your home garage just to fill the tires on your car or are you going to be running air tools? Since you came here, I’ll be assuming you will only use them for running pneumatic impact wrenches.
Some of the best air powered impact wrenches can consume a lot of air. The more air they are going to consume the larger tank you’re going to need, the more horsepower you are going to need and ultimately the more input voltage you are going to need to run that compressor.
Let’s talk about usage. Why would you buy one?
- Air tools give you more power and durability.
- They last long.
- No heat issue or contaminations from accidental leaks.
- No fire hazard or electric shock potential.
- Variable torque and speed settings.
Okay, so what’s the first thing you should look for on a compressor?
Basically, CFM is the king here. Your air tool will rely on a compressor tool to power them that matches, or is greater than their rated CFM and air volume produced is measured in cubic feet per minute, CFM for short.
Now, CFM is the key factor when it comes to choosing the right compressor for the air tools. Every air tool you’ll see will have its own rating and CFM, just like compressors. Most air tools rating is obtained while being tested at 90 psi.
Now, this next piece is important. Your choice of the compressor should be based on the air tool you use with a higher CFM. I’ll give you an example.
If you had a brad nailer rated at 2 CFM, an impact gun at 6, and a sander at 11 cm, you require compressor is 11 cm + 30% margins. Based on that example, your compressor should have at least 14.3 CFM.
But if you have two air outlets and use both of them at once, then the combined total would be the air tools + 50% margin. Something you should also know, mini air tools like impact wrenches are rated by average use.
The 6 CFM rating of a half-inch impact gun could be based on average use of about 15 seconds. In reality, rating an impact gun for a full minute use would put its CFM usage up at 20 CFM+.
You don’t need to look for the maximum psi of a compressor. For common use, don’t focus too much here. This is used as a measurement of output when related to compressors.
The max value is important when running air tools cause most of them are test rated at 90 psi. It’s an industry standard, and almost all new compressor tools now have a maximum psi rating of 120 or more.
Having higher pressure will allow the tank to hold more air without increasing the size. 150 psi in a 2-gallon tank has the same amount of air as 100 psi in a 3-gallon tank.
The capacity of the tank counts especially for extended use tools like spray guns. Tank size is important, and you can tie this to the duty cycle of the pump.
Having a larger tank will give you a longer operating time and less waiting period for the compressor to come back and refill the tank.
If you run a high-volume air tool on a small tank compressor, it will often make the compressor run continuously like spray guns.
Not good for many compressors. Tank size also fixes the severity of pressure drops. Again, especially noticeable on high-value air tools. Significant air tank capacity is good for sanders, spray guns, grinders, and air hammers. On the other hand, small ones are more suited for staplers, brad nailer, nail guns, impact wrench, and tire inflators.
Look for the running or the rated HP, not the peak. Horsepower is plastered all over the tool for marketing purpose, but it is of little importance here. 3.5 HP is close to maximum on just about any domestic power supply.
Portable or Stationary
Do you need your compressor to be portable, mobile or stationary?
Most of the time, this will depend on your primary usage like the air tools you want to power and where they will be used.
Being portable is not limited to small carry compressors. It can stretch to larger wheeled ones, and stationary compressors can be mounted to vehicles. It depends on your definition of portable.
Many of the cheaper portable compressors and some of the bigger ones have oil-less motors. These do have a tendency to be noisy, and most are not designed for continuous running.
Tip: ½” Impact wrench requires 6.0 or less avg CFM. 1” ones will require avg. 10 CFM.
That’s it, it was quite a long guide, and I had to cover all the important details here. Compressors are a great investment. They have a multitude of uses and expand what you can do by using air tools and equipment. Also, hope that you found this guide helpful and now know enough to choose the best air compressor for impact wrench.