will a 3 gallon air compressor run an impact wrench

What Size Air Compressor Do I Need For Impact Wrench? – (In 2021)

To run an impact wrench, it is a big question what size of air compressor do I need for an impact wrench. After discussing which factors we should consider, let us discover the right one for you which suits your work. We will also try to recommend the best air compressor needed to run your impact wrench effectively.

What is an impact wrench?

An impact wrench maybe a wrench machine designed to deliver high torque output with minimum effort by storing energy during a rotating mass, then delivering it suddenly to the output.

Factors that we should think about before choosing an air compressor

An air compressor is a widely used tool both in commercial and personal matters. This is a pneumatic device that converts power into potential energy, which is stored in pressurized air. Here two factors that determine the effectiveness of an air compressor. These are CFM and PSI.

CFM : means Cubic Feet per Minute. It may be defined as the measurement of the velocity at which air flows into or out of space. Saying about impact wrench, air compressors are needed that can create 2-16 cubic feet per minute airflow for different types of impact wrench. We will discuss it later.

PSI : stands for pound-force per square inch. This is a unit of pressure that is taken into account to evaluate the power of the air compressor (How much air pressure they produce). Different sizes of impact wrenches require an air compressor with roughly 90-125 PSI air pressure.

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If we randomly pick an air compressor without considering the CFM, PSI, and tank size that would result in a worse performance. Instead, choosing the best suit may result in more output.

Now, after discussing CFM and PSI, let us correlate it with the specific size of the impact wrench. As you know, there are different sizes of an impact wrench, and each of them needs different power of air compressors. The smaller one may need an air compressor with less CFM and PSI, while a larger one needs more. 125 PSI air pressure is a waste for a 1/2 inch impact wrench, but 2-3 CFM air compressors may not be able to operate a 3/8 inch impact wrench. 

So, let's discuss individually the best air compressor for different types of the impact wrench.

1/2 inch impact wrench

Let's start with the most common one. Among all sizes of the impact wrench, 1/2 inch is widely used. Maybe it is more popular than any other wrench. So, it is necessary to find the best suit for this type of impact gun. For a 1/2 inch impact wrench, it is wise to use an average air compressor midway between 3.5 to 5 CFM.

Also, this compressor should have the power of creating 90-100 PSI air pressure. At least 4 CFM air compressors should be used for safety. One can enjoy a good balance of everything and the best quality performance using a 5 CFM air compressor for a 1/2 inch impact wrench.

1/4 inch impact wrench

This is a small size of impact wrench which does not require a lot of pressure. So, what size of air compressor do I need for a small size impact wrench? An air compressor that is capable of creating only 1-1.5 CFM and at least 90 PSI air pressure is enough to operate this kind of an impact wrench. For a 1/4 inch impact wrench using more pressure air compressors may be a waste.

3/8 inch impact wrench

A 3/8 inch is worthy of a little bit more power. An air compressor less than 2.5 CFM is not perfect here. Though 2.5 CFM air compressors may work, it is also not recommended. An air compressor that is capable of delivering 3 to 3.5 CFM and at least 90 PSI air pressure is acceptable.

Final talk about what size of an air compressor do I need for a 1-inch impact wrench

This kind of impact wrench is not for household work. These are only worthy for construction use. One inch impact wrench is not seen typically. As it is a big size, it needs a heavier investment. One can go for an air compressor between 9-10 CFM range, and that tool should be capable of creating at least 90-125 PSI air pressure.

What tank size of air compressor do I need for an impact wrench?

However, talking about air pressure is not enough to conclude. We should consider the size of the gallon to choose the best air compressor. Air compressors differ by their Gallon sizes. Talking about the minimum, a 6-gallon air compressor with 3.5 -5 CFM is necessary to operate an impact wrench.

But this is not sufficient for day to day work, let alone professional work. To clarify, the larger the size of the gallon, the better the performance of the air compressor. But the cost matters.

3-gallon air compressor cannot operate an impact wrench at all. Because it is only capable of creating 0.5 CFM air pressure, but the minimum air pressure needed to operate an impact wrench is about 1 to 1.5 CFM. Though a 3-gallon air compressor is cheap, one should not choose it. A 6-gallon air compressor may be able to run an impact wrench, but it is the minimum size. 

What Size Air Compressor Do I Need For Impact Wrench

So using this size of air compressor will result in an interruption. After working a small-time, stored air may run out. As we know, there exist 1 to 60 gallons tank size air compressors, but it is wise to use a definite size of air compressor which meets one's requirement. 

Suppose, for personal use, one can recommend a 10-gallon size air compressor. But for professional use, it needs much more investment, which is about a 20-gallon air compressor.

Recommended air compressors

At last, we can recommend here some best air compressors for impact wrench.

These are

  • Eagle EA - 5000 Air Compressor
  • DEWALT Air compressor
  • Makita MAC5200 Air compressor

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Final Word

The question of what size air compressor do I need for an impact wrench may be concluded with the result that an air compressor with 5-8 CFM and gallon size between 20- 30 is recommended.

While 3-4 CFM with 6-8 gallon is the minimum requirement. But who needs heavy use may go for further investment and use as much as 60- 80 gallons.

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