Thursday, March 23rd, 2023

10 Best Air Compressors For Nail Guns

Carpenter brad using nail gun to Crown Moulding on kitchen cabinets framing trim, with the warning label that all power tools have on them shown illustrating safety concept

Planning to buy a suitable air compressor for your nail gun? Make sure you choose a unit compatible with your air tool.

Sounds simple, but is it? Well, the answer is no, it isn’t, especially for a first-time buyer who doesn’t know much about these tools. In fact, with several factors involved in the selection process, even a professional with years of experience may find it a tad complicated to find an ideal compressor.

That being said, after a ton of research, we have shortlisted the best options to simplify your search.

This guide provides detailed and unbiased-reviews of the 10 best air compressors for nail guns. Furthermore, we have provided a comprehensive buyer’s guide towards the end of the article to help your decision-making.

Now, without wasting any more time, let’s dive straight into the reviews!

Top 10 Air Compressors for Nail Guns

Our Top PickOur Top Pickhstcstbl-table__imageBOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor
  • 6 gallons storage tank capacity
  • Oil-free pump
  • Max pressure of 150 PSI
hstcstbl-table__imageMakita MAC2400 Big Bore Air Compressor
  • 4.2-gallon tank with 130 PSI operating pressure
  • 2.4 HP 4-pole motor
  • 4.2 CFM at 90 PSI
hstcstbl-table__imageCalifornia Air Tools 8010 Air Compressor
  • 8.0-gallon steel air tank
  • Maximum pressure of 120 PSI
  • 2.20 CFM at 90 PSI
hstcstbl-table__imagePORTER-CABLE C2002 Pancake Compressor
  • Low amp 120V motor for cold weather
  • 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI
  • 150 PSI max tank pressure storage
hstcstbl-table__imageMakita MAC5200 3.0 HP Air Compressor
  • Powerful 3.0 HP motor
  • 6.5 CFM at 90 PSI for increased productivity
  • Automotive-style industrial air filter 
hstcstbl-table__imageDEWALT Air Compressor
  • 225 PSI max tank storage pressure
  • 5.0 SCFM at 90 PSI for quick recovery
  • 10” non-flat foam tires
hstcstbl-table__imageCraftsman Air Compressor
  • 6-gallon tank delivers max 150 PSI
  • 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI
  • 2 couplers to support 2 users
hstcstbl-table__imageCampbell Hausfeld DC0060500
  • Oil-free dual piston pump
  • 125 max PSI
  • 6-gallon pancake tank
hstcstbl-table__imageWEN 2289 Vertical Air Compressor
  • 10-gallon steel tank
  • 4.0 CFM at 90 PSI, 5.0 CFM at 40 PSI
  • ¼-inch NPT quick coupler
hstcstbl-table__imageCalifornia Air Tools 10020C
  • 125 PSI max air pressure
  • 2.0 HP 4-pole motor
  • 5.30 CFM at 90 PSI

Blue horizontal air compressor isolated on a white background. 3d illustration

  1. BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor

BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor, Oil-Free, 6 Gallon, 150 PSI...
  • The portable air compressor has a long-life oil-free,...
  • 150 max PSI 6.0 gallon tank (22.7 L) and 2.6 SCFM* delivered...

Powered by a highly efficient motor, this budget-friendly air compressor ensures maximum performance under various weather conditions. Being reasonably priced, it serves as the best option for those on a tight budget.

Why Did We Like It?

This pancake air compressor offers exceptional performance at an affordable price, serving to be the best option for those under a price restraint. Furthermore, with a maximum air pressure of 150 PSI and CFM delivery of 2.6 at 90 PSI, you can use this product to drive nails at a decent acceleration.

Apart from its remarkable specifications for maximized operation, the compressor features a high-flow regulator and couplers to enhance air tool performance. It also comes with an oil-free pump, which eliminates risks of oil stains, saving you from the hassle of daily maintenance. 

Further adding to user convenience, this lightweight and portable unit, weighing only 29 lbs, is easy to carry around and store, as and when required.

What Could’ve Been Better?

Despite being reasonably priced, this portable unit delivers excellent performance for enhanced results. That being said, we couldn’t help but notice its noise level during operation. Even after having an acceptable noise level of 78.5 dBA to ensure a quiet work environment, the compressor was noisy.

  • Budget-friendly
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Oil-free and maintenance-free pump
  • Higher air pressure and CFM delivery
  • Noisy operation
  1. Makita MAC2400 Big Bore Air Compressor

Makita MAC2400 2.5 HP* Big Bore™ Air Compressor
  • Cast iron pump with Big Bore cylinder and piston is...
  • Powerful 2.5 HP 4-Pole motor produces 4.2 CFM at 90 PSI for...

Engineered with Makita’s big-bore cast-iron pump cylinder and piston, the MAC2400 ensures efficient nailing with reduced noise. Furthermore, its improved durability and industrial power make it ready to face challenges in tough jobsites.

Why Did We Like it?

With the powerful 2.4 HP motor, delivering 4.2 CFM at 90 PSI, and 4.8 CFM at 40 PSI, the unit offers high industrial power for increased productivity. It is equipped with an oil-lubricated pump that runs efficiently with a low RPM for noise-efficient operation. In fact, the reduced RPM, along with the lower APM, also enhances the motor and pump life for long-lasting performance.

Furthermore, the compressor is engineered with a cast-iron cylinder and large diameter piston, delivering faster recovery time for improved performance. Apart from efficiency and power, expect it to withstand tough jobsite conditions with its enhanced durability. 

No, it doesn’t just end there! Designed with a roll bar handle, the model is easily portable and well-protected from damage. In fact, it is also equipped with additional features like a tank drain valve, a convenient oil drain and oil sight glass for easy maintenance, and a finned discharging tube for efficient dissipation of heat.

What Could’ve Been Better?

The Makita MAC2400 features best-in-class engineering, enhanced with innovative technology for improved performance. However, we were not thoroughly impressed by the quality of materials used for its construction.

The air filter mount was brittle and broke during hand assembly. Furthermore, the tank rusted over time, which was also quite disappointing. Nonetheless, it is an exceptional choice suitable for various jobsites and workshops.

  • Quiet operation
  • Jobsite durability
  • Easy to maintain
  • Faster recovery time
  • Poor quality of materials used for construction
  1. California Air Tools 8010 Air Compressor

California Air Tools 8010 Steel Tank Air Compressor | Ultra...
  • Comes complete with Wheel Kit & Air Filter | No hose...
  • Product dimensions – 26" L x 14" W x 23” H | Max...

Powered by a 1.0 HP motor, operating at a speed of only 1680 RPM, the California Air Tools 8010 is designed to be one of the quietest air compressors in the market. It has also been engineered with an oil-free dual-piston pump system for enhanced durability and performance.

Why Did We Like It?

With only 60 decibels of sound, this unit ensures 30% less noise compared to the standard compressors on our list. Hence, its ultra-quiet operation makes it an ideal choice for indoor use.

Furthermore, the unit is designed with an oil-free dual piston system, featuring a life cycle of 3000 plus hours before wear. That being said, it ensures long-lasting performance compared to other models with life cycles of 500 hours or less. Not only this, but the oil-free pump also offers convenience with zero maintenance, allowing you to use it in various temperatures.  

Equipped with a thermal overload protector to dissipate heat efficiently, this compressor is a safe choice. Apart from durability and convenience, the unit also offers easy portability with its wheel kit and handle. Weighing only 54 lbs, you can carry it to different worksites with ease.

What Could’ve Been Better?

We loved this durable and ultra-quiet compressor as it ensures long-lasting performance for your convenience. However, despite being light, the weight of the unit is not distributed evenly.

With the top being heavier than the bottom, the unit lacks stability as a whole. Hence, it is prone to get tipped over during use.

  • Ultra-quiet operation
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Can be used in various temperatures
  • Thermal overload protector
  • Lacks stability
  1. PORTER-CABLE C2002 Pancake Compressor

PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor, 6-Gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free...
  • 150 psi max tank pressure of the portable air compressor...
  • 2.6 SCFM @ 90 psi of the electric air compressor allows for...

From firing nailers to filling tires, this six-gallon pancake compressor ensures exceptional performance within a compact package. Being convenient to use, the portable unit runs efficiently using normal household circuits.

Why Did We Like It?

Engineered with a six-gallon pancake-style tank, featuring rubber feet, the unit ensures stability for easy and mess-free operation. It also includes a water drain valve and an oil-free pump, requiring no maintenance to enhance your convenience further. In fact, the durable pump is built to last long, enhancing the overall life of the unit.

Apart from being robust and easy to use, weighing only 30 lbs, the lightweight compressor is portable. It comes with a handle and console to help you carry it around to various worksites with ease. Not only this, but the shroud console also protects its vital components from harsh jobsite conditions. 

Furthermore, the budget-friendly unit is equipped with two regulated, factory-installed air couplers to support two users. That being said, it is an economical choice for those under a tight budget.

What Could’ve Been Better?

The highly portable and durable pancake compressor serves to be an exceptional option at an affordable price. However, we noticed certain issues related to its drain valve, which caused air pressure leakage.

The open valve releases pressure, preventing the tank from holding the air inside for a longer duration. That being said, you can fix this issue by screwing the valve to close it completely.

  • Durable
  • Lightweight and portable design
  • Economical
  • Easy to use
  • Air pressure leakage
  1. Makita MAC5200 3.0 HP Air Compressor

Makita MAC5200 3.0 HP* Big Bore™ Air Compressor
  • Cast iron pump with Big Bore cylinder and piston is...
  • Powerful 3.0 HP motor produces 6.5 CFM at 90 PSI for...

Engineered for low noise and higher output for two nailers, the Makita MAC5200 ensures enhanced, powerful performance for industrial use. Furthermore, the cast iron construction makes it a durable option capable of withstanding tough jobsite conditions.

Why Did We Like It?

Equipped with a powerful 3.0 HP motor, this unit from Makita produces 6.5 CFM at 90 PSI for enhanced productivity and industrial power. It is also engineered with a cast iron pump cylinder and piston for improved jobsite performance.

Built to last, the unit is even capable of withstanding tough worksite conditions. Furthermore, it is designed with rugged wheels and folding handles, allowing you to transport it to various locations conveniently. You can also carry its air fittings and accessories by storing them in the built-in storage compartment. 

Not only this, but the unit also features an oil-lubricated pump equipped with a large automotive style industrial filter for greater air intake and improved efficiency. Requiring no attention and maintenance, the pump, along with its finned discharging tube, ensures convenience and long-lasting performance.

What Could’ve Been Better?

The durability and consistent performance of this compressor make it a recommended choice, especially for industrial use. That being said, unlike the previous options on the list, this model is not capable of running in cold temperatures. You will need to reset the settings repeatedly for it to run smoothly.

  • Improved Jobsite performance
  • Durable and solid construction
  • Greater air intake and efficiency
  • Powerful motor
  • Easy portability
  • Doesn’t run smoothly in cold temperatures
  1. DEWALT Air Compressor

DEWALT Air Compressor, 225-PSI Max, Hand Carry with Wheels,...
  • 225 PSI max tank storage pressure provides a user with 80%...
  • 5.0 SCFM at 90 PSI allows the compressor to recover quickly...

This unit from DEWALT, a leading name in the world of power tools, is designed to meet consumer requirements. Equipped with an efficient high-pressure motor and oil-free pump, the tool is an ideal option for those in search of high power and low maintenance compressors for their nail gun.

Why Did We Like It?

Powered by an efficient high-pressure technology, the DEWALT air compressor offers a maximum tank storage pressure of 225 PSI. This ensures consistent and 80% more air compared to the majority of other units on the list. Not only this, but the efficient motor is also responsible for enhancing the overall life of the unit, making it a reliable investment option.

Coming to its design, this is a heavy-duty handheld compressor, featuring a sturdy and solid built that is capable of withstanding tough jobsite conditions. It also features a vertical stand and collapsible handle for compact storage and transportation. 

Apart from this, the model is equipped with 10” non-flat foam wheels for easy portability around various worksites. Furthermore, the oil-free pump adds to its convenient use by saving you from the hassle of regular maintenance.  

We were also quite impressed by the performance and versatility of the unit. Equipped with a high flow coupler for maximum nailing experience, you can use it for both small framing or large trim carpentry/remodeling.

What Could’ve Been Better?

This handheld compressor is one of the most reliable and versatile options on the list. That being said, the extension cord needed to run the unit with the highly efficient motor, was too short. However, this is a minor concern, which will not compromise on its overall performance.

  • Quiet operation
  • Easy storage and portability
  • Durable and robust
  • Convenient and versatile use
  • Higher air pressure force
  • The extension cord is short
  1. Craftsman Air Compressor

CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor, 6 Gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free with...
  • The portable air compressor is proudly made in the USA with...
  • PORTABLE: 6 gallon capacity maximizes portability and stored...

Equipped with a durable oil-free pump, this lightweight compressor from Craftsman requires zero maintenance. In fact, it also features a high power motor, which ensures long-lasting performance, even in cold weather.

Why Did We Like It?

Equipped with a 13-piece accessory kit, including tire gauge, three inflator adaptors, blow gun with plug, PVC air hose with coupler, and a tire chuck with plug, this Craftsman product is a complete package.

The 6 gallon pancake compressor delivers a maximum 150 PSI, making it an ideal option for a variety of applications. Not just that, but it also produces 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI, allowing quick recovery and long run time.

Furthermore, being equipped with a high-performance motor, it ensures quiet operation with about 78.5 decibels of sound. In fact, the durable motor offers powerful and efficient performance even in cold weather.  

Coming to its design, the lightweight and pancake unit maximizes portability. That being said, you can transport it to various jobsites with the help of its handle. 

What Could’ve Been Better?

Despite being a complete package, offering versatile use in a variety of applications, this compressor could not make it to the top of our list. The reason being, leaks and defects were noticed in the drainage valve. It prevented the tank from delivering the optimum air pressure of 150 PSI.

  • 13-piece accessory kit
  • Quick recovery and long run time
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Quiet operation
  • Runs in cold weather
  • Leakage in valve
  1. Campbell Hausfeld DC0060500

Campbell Hausfeld 6 Gallon Portable Quiet Air Compressor...
  • Greatly reduced noise: 68 decibel rating allows the user to...
  • Max 125 PSI

Campbell Hausfeld is a reliable company offering a complete line of air compressors, nailers, air tools, accessories, inflators, and more. That being said, this quality compressor from Campbell Hausfeld is designed to ensure a quiet work environment.

Why Did We Like It?

With a sound level of 68 decibels, this unit is 50% quieter compared to some of the other options on the list. That being said, it is capable of creating a quiet environment while working on a variety of applications, including nailing, fastening, bolting, and inflations.

Furthermore, being equipped with an oil-free dual-piston pump, it delivers long-lasting performance. In fact, the components of the compressor last four times longer without the need for any maintenance. 

Apart from its reliable and powerful performance, we also loved its user-friendly features. Equipped with a durable, soft-grip steel handle, the pancake compressor is easy to move around from one jobsite to another.

What Could’ve Been Better?

We loved the versatility and user-friendly design of this compressor from Campbell. However, the maximum air pressure is only 125 PSI, which is quite low compared to the other options on the list. This is not a major drawback, but it may not be an ideal purchase for those in search of a unit with a higher air pressure delivery.

  • Four-times more long-lasting
  • User-friendly features
  • Versatile use
  • 50% quieter than standard units
  • Portable design
  • Lower air pressure delivery
  1. WEN 2289 Vertical Air Compressor

WEN 2289 10-Gallon Oil-Free Vertical Air Compressor, 150 PSI
  • 10-gallon tank constructed with reinforced steel for a...
  • Provides air flow rates of 4.0 CFM at 90 PSI and 5.0 CFM at...

The WEN 2289 serves as the versatile and dependable companion that works to fulfill your various jobsite and workshop needs. Equipped with a 10-gallon tank and powerful motor, the vertical compressor provides a maximum air pressure of 150 PSI, sufficient for plugging in nailers and other pneumatic tools.

Why Did We Like It?

The WEN 2289 vertical compressor comes with the largest steel tank compared to the other options on the list with a storage capacity of 10 gallons. Teamed with its powerful 15A motor, the unit offers a maximum pressure of 150 PSI along with a boastful air flow rate of 4.0 CFM at 90 PSI. That being said, it is a versatile model that will help you in the garage, workshop, or any jobsite.

Apart from ensuring multi-functional use, the unit is also easy to use because of its user-friendly and convenient features. The oil-free pump and easy-to-reach valves support the easy release of built-up air. It also includes two pressure gauges to monitor the internal pressure and regulate the airflow. 

Furthermore, it ensures safe use with its auto shut-off function. This feature automatically shuts-off the compressor once it reaches the max PSI for reliable and safe compressing. Not only this, but we were also impressed by its 7-inch wheels and rubber-gripped handle, which ensured easy transportation.

What Could’ve Been Better?

Despite being a safe and convenient choice, the unit has a few drawbacks that pull it down on the list. The powerful motor of the compressor did not ensure noise-efficient operation. That being said, it is not suitable for indoor use as the sound may disturb surroundings.

Apart from this, we also noticed that it takes a lot of time to fill up air tools, causing inconvenience to users.

  • Large storage tank capacity
  • High airflow rates
  • Safe and easy to use
  • Portable
  • Two pressure gauges
  • Noisy operation
  • It takes time to fill
  1. California Air Tools 10020C

At a sound level of 70 decibels, this compressor from California Air Tools ensures at least 30% less noise compared to the previous options on the list. Furthermore, it is equipped with a 10-gallon tank and dual-piston for higher air delivery in various jobsites.

California Air Tools 10020C Ultra Quiet Oil-Free and...
  • Ultra Quiet, only 70 Decibels
  • Oil-Free Pump for Less Maintenance & Costs

Why Did We Like It?

Last but definitely not least, the California Air Tools 10020 boasts of a higher air delivery rate in a variety of temperatures and terrain. It features an easy-start valve that helps the motor to spin freely with fewer amps, even in low temperatures. Not only this, but it also operates at 1680 RPM to ensure quiet operation and reduced wear.

That being said, the model is designed to offer long-lasting performance with its dual-piston having a life cycle of 3000 plus hours. Furthermore, it comes with a large steel tank equipped with a wheel kit, allowing you to move it around with ease.  

Further adding to your convenience, the control panel with easy to use controls help in its convenient operation, serving as an exceptional choice for first-timers.

What Could’ve Been Better?

Designed to offer power and higher air delivery without the need for maintenance and service, this compressor promises ultra-quiet operation. That being said, we had to place it at the bottom of the list owing to certain manufacturing defects.

The quality of the components of the product was poor, which compromised its durability. Not only this, but its welding was also not up to the mark.

  • Quiet operation
  • Long-lasting performance
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to move around
  • Poor quality components

Air compressor on the white background.

Air Compressors for Nail Gun Buyer’s Guide

With several factors contributing to the selection process, buying a suitable air compressor for your nail gun is not easy. Apart from these factors, the availability of a wide range of options also makes decision-making time-consuming and tedious.

Even though we have narrowed it down to 10 top-notch options for your convenience, first-timers may find it difficult to make the best choice. For this reason, we explain a few critical points below, for you to consider before purchase.

  1. Air Pressure – PSI

PSI is referred to as ‘pounds per square inch.’ Being a metric used to measure air pressure delivery of the compressor, it serves as a vital factor in the selection process. 

Most standard units offer sufficient air pressure to support nail guns. That being said, it is better to purchase a model that comes with a maximum air pressure of 120 to 150 PSI. On the other hand, if you wish to use the compressor for more than one purpose, you can also opt for a model with a higher PSI.

  1. Air Flow Rate

The air volume of the unit is measured in CFM, which stands for ‘cubic feet per minute.’ Ensure the compressor you buy comes with a CFM level, which syncs with that of your nail gun.

For a standard portable compressor, the average airflow rate would be at least 2 CFM at 90 PSI. This will be ideal for a big nail gun to deliver 15 drives per minute. On the other hand, a medium nail gun will be capable of delivering 30 drives per minute, while a small gun will ensure 70 drives in a minute.

That being said, if you wish to use a heavy-duty nail gun or two guns simultaneously, then you require a compressor with a higher airflow rate of 4.0 CFM at 90 PSI or more.

  1. Size of Tank

Ensure the compressor features a steel tank with a large air pressure storage capacity of 6 to 10 gallons. Ideally, a bigger tank will keep your nail gun running for a longer time, ensuring a smooth user experience.

  1. Quiet Operation

Loud noise can interfere with your work productivity. Hence, it is important to choose a compressor that ensures quiet operation at a sound level of less than 70 decibels. In fact, certain units come with powerful motors, operating at an optimum speed of 1680 RPM, reducing noise and wear.

These compressors create a quiet work environment to enhance productivity. Furthermore, they are ideal for indoor use where noise is a major concern.

  1. Portability

A nail gun offers versatile use in various garages, workshops, homes, and jobsites. That being said, you will also need a compressor that is easy to move around. For this reason, it is better to look for a lightweight unit, featuring wheels and soft-grip handles to help you transport it to different locations with ease.

Construction handyman is working on renovation of apartment using air nail gun

Best Air Compressors for Nail Gun Buyer’s Guide

A nail gun is a crucial power tool that is capable of serving a variety of purposes. That being said, it is completely useless without an air compressor as the latter helps in driving the nail into different surfaces.

Hence, it is equally essential to invest in a premium air compressor equipped with a powerful motor, durable pump, and high-pressure storage tank.

On that note, we now come to the end of our comprehensive and informative review-based guide. Before concluding, let us go through a quick recap of our top-most recommendations.

BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor serves as a budget-friendly option for those under a tight budget. With its enhanced durability and industrial power, Makita MAC2400 is ideal for tough jobsite conditions. Lastly, California Air tools 8010 is the quietest air compressor on the list.

Hope this guide helped you make the perfect choice from our list of available options. Till next time!

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