You might be wondering what size air compressor do I need to use an impact wrench. Although air compressors come in a variety of sizes, their ability to power your impact wrench is usually determined by the compressor’s capacity. In this article, we’ll show you how to determine your impact wrench’s air requirements so you can find the right air compressor.

The first thing to check is if your impact wrenches task requires constant or occasional use of your compressor. If you just need your impact wrench on occasion, a small compressor will suffice. But, if you need it on a regular basis, the compressor must have the discharge capacity that impact wrenches require.

In a non-assembly line context, an impact wrench is likely to be used for significantly less than half of the time, drawing the full CFM rating.

To use an impact wrench, what size air compressor do I need?

The size of the air compressor required for an impact wrench is usually determined by the impact wrench’s size. For a 12-inch impact wrench, you’ll need a 4-5 CFM at 90 PSI air compressor.

For example, a 1′′ drive impact wrench requires 10 CFM at 90 PSI, a 12″ drive requires 4 CFM at 90 PSI, and a 38″ drive requires 3 CFM at 90 PSI.

Most impact wrenches have a 12″ drive, which means you’ll be getting around 4 to 5 CFM at 90 PSI.

Other variables, on the other hand, will decide the size of the air compressor you’ll require. The type of project, the impact wrench, the power source, the quantity of space available, and the position where it will be used are all factors to consider.

How to Determine the Size of an Air Compressor Tank and the Air Requirements for an Impact Wrench

Two additional major factors influence the size of your air compressor. These are some of them:

* Air requirements for impact wrenches

* Size of the compressor tank

How to Determine How Much Airflow Your Impact Wrench Requires

Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM) is a unit of measurement for airflow (CFM). In general, the air compressor’s CFM should fulfill the impact wrench’s minimum CFM rating. As a result, CFM is frequently mentioned in terms of the amount of pressure (PSI) required to operate an impact wrench. CFM at 90 PSI is the most common example.

We just need to measure the air compressor’s minimum CFM rating because the impact wrench’s suggested CFM is set by the manufacturer. To do just that, multiply the CFM of the impact wrench by 1.5.

For example, if your impact wrench has a 4CFM airflow rating, the Air Compressor CFM = 1.5 x 4CFM, resulting in at least 6CFM of airflow from the compressor.

However, for impact wrenches, you can select the best one from the Barbershop air compressor list because these air compressors produce significantly less noise and are of high quality.

How to Calculate the Required Tank Size for an Air Compressor

Now that you know how much CFM the air compressor has to produce to operate your impact wrench, you can measure out how big the tank needs to be to accommodate that airflow.

Tanks for air compressors can hold up to 80 gallons. The larger the tank, the longer the compressor will be able to power the impact wrench before producing more compressed air. Because impact wrenches, unlike sanders and power tools like grinders, don’t require a steady supply of air, you’ll need a smaller tank. So, an 80-gallon air compressor is most powerful to run an impact wrench.

Simply multiply your impact wrench’s suggested CP by 6 to get the minimum tank size. For instance, if you have an impact wrench with a 4CFM, the size should be:

At least a 24-liter air compressor tank = 4CFM x 6. This is only an estimate, and we recommend going with a slightly larger tank just to stay safe.

Other Considerations in Choosing the Right Air Compressor Size

There is no such thing as a universal air compressor for impact wrenches. Other aspects to consider while choosing an air compressor for your impact wrench are listed below:

Type of Project

The amount of the air compressor needed to power the impact wrench will undoubtedly be determined by the type of project you’re working on. A stronger air compressor, such as the California Air Tools 8010 compressor, is required for high-torque operations like huge construction projects, car repair, or assembly projects.

A smaller air compressor will suffice for simple applications such as house maintenance or DIY projects.

Size of Impact Wrench

The compressor size will vary depending on the size of the impact wrench you have.

In comparison to a 1/2-inch and 14-inch drive, a 1-inch drive will require an air compressor with a larger tank and more airflow.

Amount of Space

If you aren’t working on any jobs that require high-torque impact wrenches, you should think about how much storage space you have. If you’re short on room, a smaller air compressor, such as a pancake air compressor, would be a better option.

On the other hand, if you have plenty of storage and require a larger tank, a larger compressor is the way to go. Keep in mind, that a compressor’s size does not always determine its air output. A compact air compressor, for example, may have a higher air output than a larger air compressor.

Your Workplace

As inconsequential as it may appear, the location from which you will be operating may influence the size of the air compressor you want. If you simply work in one location, such as a garage, a large air compressor will be sufficient.

If you’re moving from one position to another, though, a smaller, lighter air compressor that’s easy to transport may be preferable. Depending on the type of stationary workplace, a large or small air compressor will be necessary.

Is the Size of the Air Compressor Important?

Some manufacturers are now concentrating their efforts on manufacturing air compressors that are tiny and light while still providing adequate power. Most manufacturers, on the other hand, still measure a compressor’s power by its size.

As a result, estimating an air compressor’s power just based on its size is challenging. However, the following four factors can help you determine whether a compressor is powerful enough:

* Horsepower is a measure of how powerful something is (HP)

* CFM (cubic feet per minute) — The amount of airflow produced by the air compressor

* Pounds per Square Inch (PSI) – Airflow pressure

* Liquid capacity of the tank in liters

This information is normally found in the air compressor’s user handbook or on a sticker.

FAQs about what size air compressor I need to use an impact wrench

1. What is the minimum CFM required for using an impact wrench with an air compressor?

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2. Can I use a small air compressor with an impact wrench?

An impact wrench can be used with a tiny air compressor, but it might not have enough power to operate the wrench effectively. For optimum performance, it is advised to use an air compressor that satisfies the impact wrench’s minimum CFM and PSI requirements.

3. What size tank is recommended for using an impact wrench with an air compressor?

The frequency of usage and the power of the impact wrench will determine the size of the tank needed when utilizing an air compressor and an impact wrench. A tank size of 20 gallons is adequate for light use, but a tank size of 60 gallons or more is advised for heavy use to ensure constant airflow and prevent frequent refills.

4. What is the ideal PSI rating for an air compressor to use with an impact wrench?

When using an impact wrench, an air compressor with a PSI rating of between 90 and 120 is recommended. Nevertheless, depending on the kind and strength of the impact wrench being used, the necessary PSI may change. Before buying an air compressor, it’s crucial to review the manufacturer’s recommendations for the necessary PSI.

5. Can I use an electric air compressor for an impact wrench, or do I need a gas-powered one?

As long as it satisfies the impact wrench’s minimum CFM and PSI criteria, you can use an electric air compressor with it. Gas-powered compressors are often more powerful, but for light to medium use, electric compressors are more practical and economical.

6. How does the size and power of an impact wrench affect the size of air compressor needed?

The size of the air compressor required directly depends on the size and power of the impact wrench. The compressor’s CFM and PSI requirements increase with the wrench’s size and strength. It’s crucial to pick an air compressor that can deliver the airflow and pressure needed for the particular wrench being used.

7. What is the difference between a direct-drive and belt-drive air compressor for an impact wrench?

Although direct-drive air compressors are smaller and lighter, they might not be powerful enough for use in heavy-duty applications. A belt-drive compressor is typically more robust and powerful but may cost more and need more upkeep. The decision between the two varieties is influenced by usage frequency, intensity, and personal preference.

8. Can I use a portable air compressor with an impact wrench?

An impact wrench can be used with a portable air compressor, although it might not have enough power for heavy-duty application. It’s crucial to pick a portable compressor that satisfies the minimum CFM and PSI criteria of the wrench being used because they are ideal for mild to medium use.

9. What factors should I consider when choosing an air compressor for an impact wrench?

When selecting an air compressor for an impact wrench, elements to take into account include the wrench’s power and frequency of use, the compressor’s size and portability, the compressor’s noise output, and the wrench’s minimum CFM and PSI needs.

10. Is it possible to use multiple impact wrenches with one air compressor?

The CFM and PSI needs will rise if more than one impact wrench is used with a single air compressor. It’s crucial to pick an air compressor with a tank capacity and horsepower sufficient to meet the increased air demand. Using a manifold or splitter to disperse the airflow evenly among the various tools is also advised. It’s crucial to check that the air compressor’s capacity is not exceeded by the combined CFM and PSI demands of all the tools.


From the article above we discussed what size air compressor do I need to use an impact wrench in detail. While the size of the air compressor required to power a specific impact wrench is still significant, there are other aspects to consider when deciding whether or not the compressor is right for you. Above 6-gallon air tank can handle wrench, screw gun or drill machine. Horsepower, CFM, and PSI are examples of these. It’s necessary to keep these considerations in mind when looking for an air compressor.

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