Best Air Compressor For Home Garage

compressor-for gaurage

Air compressors are a great investment, they have a multitude of uses and they can expand the projects you can do by using all the air tools available and other related air equipment.

With the many different air compressors on the market making a decision to choose the best air compressor for home garage is a tricky subject, especially if you are new to the world of air compressors. This article reviews the different types of air compressors and what you should be looking for to make the best buying choice.

Understanding your needs for an air compressor.

The first question is what do you want the air compressor to do? There is a multitude of uses for air compressors from the simple pumping of tires to sandblasting, there is a particular type of air compressor to suit every purpose.

Some of the common tools that you are likely to use with your workshop air compressor are a tire pressure gauge for pumping up the car, motorcycle, and mountain/road bike tires. Plus the various balls and inflatable toys around the house. While the best air compressors for these jobs are small and inexpensive, the next level up to powering air tools is a different matter.

What size air compressor for home garage

Best Air Compressor For Home Garage

The first step in choosing the best air compressor for your garage is to think about the tools you are likely to use. And then find out what those tools require in regards to air pressure and free air delivery.

Free air delivery is the volume of air delivered over a period of time. This free air delivery is generally measured as CFM cubic feet per minute.

It’s really important to know how much air the tools you will be using consume. The last thing you want is to be forever waiting for the garage air compressor to keep up with the demand. A small tank using a high demand tool will have slow recovery time constantly be turning on and off with you having to wait each time until you have usable pressure. Whereas something a bit more heavy-duty, designed to provide

Having a small air compressor tank means that you may need to wait for the air to replenish so as to reach the operating pressure of the tool you are using. if you are in a situation that is using a lot of hair this is referred to as recovery time.

Tools used such as grinders, sanders, and spray painting guns require a constant air pressure feed. You won’t get the required air to run these tools using a small 3-gallon air compressor, forget it! Whereas if all you are using is a brad nailer, staple gun, the air pressure is just one shot of air at a time, recovery time is minimal and isn’t a constant drain, so a smaller 3-6 gallon compressor may be the best Air Compressor for a home garage in this case. Size depending on how much load is put on them, the CFM, especially if two tools are being run at the same time.

What does CFM mean for air compressors

CFM stands for cubic feet per minute and is the standard measurement for all air compressors and is the airflow or volume of air that a compressor can supply, its output. In choosing the best air compressor for home garage we need to determine is how much air in cubic feet per minute we will require for our use and then choose a compressor that will give us the right CFM.

Say you have a brad nailer that uses 2 Cfm, an impact wrench that uses 6 Cfm and a sanding tool that uses 10 Cfm, the highest CFM of your tools is 10 CFM of the sanding tool. Your compressor then needs to match your highest rated tool, PLUS 30 %, so in this example, with the highest tool having 10 CFM, your compressor needs to have an output of 13 CFM.

Your choice of a compressor is based on the tool you would use with the highest CFM

How Many PSI do I need in an air compressor

PSI is an acronym of Pounds Per Square Inch and is used as a measurement of output. The industry standard determines that compressors are test rated at 90 PSI. This makes the PSI rating not so important as nearly all compressors now have an output rating of 120 PSI or more.

However, there is one advantage to having higher tank pressure. Having higher pressure allows holding more air without increasing tank size.

This is important, for example; 150 PSI in a 3-gallon tank is the same as 100 PSI in a two-gallon tank. So the capacity and PSI of a tank is important especially for extended use tools. A larger tank gives more air before the pump motor kicks in to repressure the tank or, better recovery time.

What is the Best compressor for air tools

So how much air do you need for different air tools? The first thing is we need to measure what the air compressor tank is capable of. This is measured in PSI ( pounds per square inch) and CFM ( cubic feet per minute )

What we need to determine is how much air in cubic feet per minute we will require for our use and then choose a compressor that will give us the right CFM.

Below is a list of tools and the amount of air they require, plus a suggested suitable compressor, the important number is the CFM. This is a general list as each tool manufacturer has different specs, which will be stamped on the tool itself. To fully determine the best size air compressor for home garage you need to match your gear to the compressor.

Common Air Tools and Compatible Compressors

Fo gear with an average CFM of 0 to 5.3 these are best for small portable compressors, these are easy to use, generally, oil-free, and easily carried by one person, These makes and models are some of the best air compressors for the home garage.

TOOL
Brad nailerAverage.CFM.03
Framing nailerAverage.CFM2.5
Tire inflatorAverage.CFM2
3/8 ” Impact wrenchAverage.CFM3.5
1/4 ” RatchetAverage.CFM3
Compatible CompressorsTo Suit Average.CFM0 to 4 CFM
Makita Mac 2400 air compressorDewalt dual tank air compressor for diyDeWalt DIY home air compressor
Makita Mac240, 4.2 Cfm at 90 psi.Dewalt 55154, 4 Cfm at 90psi,Dewalt 55130, 3.0 SCFM at 90 PSI
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Makita Mac 700 home garage air compressor
Makita mac 700 3.3 Cfm 90psi,
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Air gear that needs more grunt between 4 and 6 CFM, these are well priced, have good power and would handle most air tools. Worth considering if you are on the fence about having enough air power, best to upgrade to more power if unsure.

TOOL
Chisel hammerAverage.CFM4
Reversible drillAverage.CFM5
Cut off toolAverage.CFM6
Die GrinderAverage.CFM5
1/2 inch Impact wrenchAverage.CFM6
Compatible CompressorsTo Suit Average.CFM0 to 6 CFM
Quincy 2hp 20 gallon tank 7.4 CfmHusky 20 gallonWEN 2202 20-Gallon 
Best Air Compressor For Home GarageWen 2202 - 20 gallon
20-gallon tank 7.4 Cfm175 max PSI – 4.0 SCFM at 90 PSI3.8 CFM @90 PSI – 5.0 CFM@ 40 PSI.
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California air tools 10020C compressor
California Air Tools C10020125 PSI,5.3 CFM,1-Phase 110V
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Air hungry tools like air grinders, die grinders, impact wrench, air sander, 6 -10 Cfm tools such as these are often used for a minute or more in one go. For serious players.

TOOL
Angle grinderAverage.CFM6
Paint spray gunAverage.CFM4 – 8
1″ Impact wrenchAverage.CFM10
DA SanderAverage.CFM10
1″ Impact driverAverage.CFM10 – 12
Compatible CompressorsTo Suit Average.CFM0 to 12 CFM
Ingersol rand 2475n 80 GallonQuincy QT-54 – 60 GallonDeWalt DXCMV5048055, 80 Gal
Ingersol-rand-2475-80-gallonQuincy QT 54 Air compressorDeWalt 80 gallon stationary air compressor
16.8 ACFM @ 175 PSIG15.4 CFM at 90 PSI17.9 CFM @ 100PSI
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0 to 12 CFM Air Compressors

The Best type of air compressor for home garage.

For all your garage DIY and renovation projects, typical tools include air staplers in various forms for upholstery and woodwork, Framing nailers and Brad nailers are also commonly used in a home garage with air compressors. These are the more standard air tools one would likely find and your garage. Here you would be quite ok with a 6 gallon oil free garage air compressor.

The next level we go to is for those who are interested and maybe restoring autos or into metalworking. What’s involved with these tools are generally cut off tools, grinders, Sanders and, polishers. These types of tools require a lot more consistent airflow than the basic tools of a brad nailer or large nailing tool.

Where should I put a compressor in the garage

It’s important to have your air compressor in a clean environment where workshop dust is not an issue. Air compressors suck in air through a filter and although the filter is designed to clean the air, the initial air should be as clean as possible. Over time dust can and will affect the machine operation if the environment is overly dusty.

If you have a mid-sized air compressor that requires fixing to the floor then you may want to consider placing it in a purpose-built cupboard, this is also a good idea if the air compressor is overly noisy as you can add sound insulation to the inside of the box. Small portable air compressors can be stowed away and used when they are required. Another place that will really keep your compressor both quiet and clean is in an attic space that will be very low noise. This does however require having a permanent air outlet somewhere in the garage.

What Is The best quiet air compressor for home garage

Some air compressors are downright noisy. In many situations, this can be an issue, especially if you live in close proximity to your neighbors, or the garage is to close to your family living space. There are solutions for noisy compressors, you can put them inside a purpose-built soundproof cabinet, stash it away inside the roof space, or buy a a quiet air compressor.

Some of the best quiet air compressors are made in the USA by California air tools, some of their machines are as low as around 70 DB or less, depending on the model and size. Around 60 -70 DB is as quiet as normal conversation or driving in your car.

Tank Size and Home Air Compressors

The quality of any air compressor tank matters. Consider two 3-gallon compressors using a brad nailer. The cheap 3-gallon compressor may only give you 5 shots before the machine starts needing to pump more air, whereas a better quality compressor may let you fire 20 or more before the compressor starts pumping again. Every time your compressor starts pumping you have to wait until the air tank fills again to the required pressure. Every time your compressor pumps the shorter its life gets.

Consider two different three-gallon compressors, the budget one has a small motor that runs at 3000 rpm driving a compressor piston that has to say a four-inch stroke. The other has a large motor runs at 1600 Rpm and has a six-inch stroke. Which one is going to be more efficient at pumping air into the tank, which one is going to last longer? Number two. A low power compressor motor needs to work harder and must pump a smaller piston to get pressure up. Where a more powerful motor pumping a larger piston will be not only more efficient but will last longer.

Horsepower, Look for the measurement of running or Rated horsepower, not the peak horsepower.

The bottom line is buy the best you can afford and avoid the cheaper models.

Air Compressor Tips

It’s important at the end of the day to release the air from your air compressor when it’s you have finished using it. Main reason for this is to remove all any moisture it may be present inside the compressor and so reducing any likelihood of corrosion inside the compressor. this is steel of course where is aluminium it is not so important as aluminium does not rust. 

Consider the likelihood of portability in your air compressor it may be that you require the compressor to be moved from your garage to inside your house or even taking it with you to the job site. Having a portable air compressor can be of real importance if you have multiple uses. The bigger compressors get the heavier they get.

Many of the small portable and cheaper air compressors use oilless motors, these are not recommended for continuous use as in a spray painting situation for example. Also, this type of compressor does also tend to be noisy.

Maintenance, couplings oil lines, one thing that should be installed with every compressor is a water separator. or a water trap. Small inline filters can be fitted to the air tool itself. single wall mounted traps are available in different pipe sizes.

Best Air Compressor For Home Garage Summary

Choosing an air compressor for home garage is tricky for some, especially if you are new to the game and aren’t sure where you may end up as far as your future use may be. If you know exactly what your intended scope of use is going to be we have answered some of the main points here. The best advice is to choose a home garage compressor that is more powerful than you need, look at the required CFM use of your tools, and buy with that in mind. Finally, go for quality, and pick reputable brands.

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