A nail gun may not require continuous compressed air from an air compressor to drive a nail into the working surface.
But can you use any air compressor for the nail gun? No, a nail gun doesn’t require a highly powerful air compressor, but it demands some specifications from an air compressor to run efficiently.
Throughout the article, we will discuss the nail gun requirement of the air compressor briefly. At a time, the guide will help determine the specific requirements of certain nail guns so you can pick the right compressor for the air tool.
Can you use any air compressor for nail gun?
You can use almost all the portable air compressors to operate nail guns conveniently. It has enough power to run through pin nailers, upholstery staplers, and brad nail guns. However, it’s better to use an air compressor with at least 2 CFM to operate the finishing nail gun. Likewise, an air compressor with a 6-gallon tank and 4 CFM is recommended for framing nailers as these require considerably more power than other nail guns.
Different types of air compressors and their requirements from an air compressor
Framing nailers are a blessing from modern technology for different types of home renovation and remodeling tasks, including deck building, framing, and fencing. The design of these air tools varies. Thus, different air compressors require different power sources for operation. While Pneumatic Framing Nailers require portable and extremely powerful air compressors, Cordless Framing Nailers can run through fuel cartridges and rechargeable batteries. The Brushless Framing Nailer doesn’t need an air compressor most of the time.
So you will require an air compressor only for the pneumatic framing nailer. But the nail nailer only can run if its CFM and HP match with the air compressor. Let’s learn how to calculate the CFM and HP of a nail gun so you can easily match the requirements and run the air tool efficiently.
Every nail gun demands a minimum air pressure (CFM) to run through, which is usually recommended by the manufacturer. In case if you can’t find the manufacturer’s suggested CFM by checking the user manual, here is the formula to calculate it properly:
Simply find out the maximum CFM rating of the nail gun and divide it by 1.5. The result will indicate the average CFM requirement of a certain nail gun. Here is a chart of different nail guns and their CFM requirement:
|Type of nail gun||Required air compressor type||Required tank size and CFM|
|Brad Nailer||Portable or pancake||2 gallon and 2 CFM|
|Finish Nailer||Portable or pancake||2 to 3 Gallon and 2 CFM|
|Upholstery stapler||Portable||1 gallon and 2 CFM|
|Framing Nailer||Portable||4 to 6 gallon and 4 CFM|
|Sheathing nailer||Portable||4 to 6 gallon and 4 CFM|
|Roofing Nailer||Portable||6 gallon and 4 CFM|
|Multiple nails to run gun at a time||Wheelbarrow||6 gallon and 6.0+ CFM|
Many people believe that the more horsepower, the more powerful the air compressor is. But the power of an air compressor depends on several factors instead of just the HP rating. Apart from this, different air compressor producers calculate the HP following different methods. While some brands rate their compressor with brake horsepower or peak horsepower, others rate with normal operating horsepower.
For most nail guns, it is better to use an air compressor with a 5HP-10HP rating along with the required CFM and PSIG rating.
Portable vs Stationary
Apart from the air pressure and the power, portability is also essential for having a better experience of using an air compressor for a nail gun.
Stationary air compressors produce extremely high compressed air and it can run through DC batteries or gas. This type of air compressor requires a high power source and its output is 30-1000 CFM.
Portable air compressors are lightweight and come in a compact design compared to their stationary counterparts. Though the portable compressor isn’t extremely powerful, it is suitable for covering large working areas due to its mobility. This type of compressor includes a 4 to 15-gallon tank and enough CFM and HP to run through any nail gun.
Which one is better?
In short, a portable air compressor is suitable to operate any nail gun conveniently with improving versatility. But if you need to handle a large project and operate multiple nail guns at a time, a stationary air compressor is the way to go.
Hopefully, you have learned whether you can use any air compressor for a nail gun or if it requires considerations. Throughout the guide, we have discussed different types of nail guns and their requirement for an air compressor to run conveniently.
Choosing the right air compressor for a certain nail gun is just the beginning. A better operating experience also requires the skill of adjusting CFM and operating the nail gun properly.
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