What size Air Compressor for Framing Nailer?

Connecting a framing nailer with the right size air compressor is essential for enjoying a cumbersome experience and improving productivity. An air compressor is available in various sizes and shapes, and choosing the wrong size can greatly affect the framing nailer project. So what size air compressor for framing nailer should you use?

The answer depends on several factors, including the type of compressor and the nailing project, as well as the compatibility between these devices. Despite this, the amount of nail guns or other power tools required for the project is also among the key considerations. Such as air nailers for framing, coil framing nailers or cordless, are not required same matrix compressors. From our experience we have discussed this in detail.

Thus, we have discussed several factors in this guide deeply that determine the size of an air compressor for certain framing nailer projects. So, reading the guide will assist you pick the right size air compressor so you can complete the framing nailer task.

Different types of an air compressor for framing nailers

Framing nailers are used for handling different types of heavy-duty tasks, including deck building, sub-flooring, and framing. These need sufficient power to conquer the tough surfaces. The following are three types of framing nailers with their power source:

  • Pneumatic Framing Nailer: it demands extreme power and runs on a portable air compressor.
  • Cordless Framing Nailers: following the name tag, it doesn’t have a cord and gets power from charged batteries. So this framing nailer doesn’t need an air compressor to operate.
  • Brushless Framing Nailer: Like cordless framing nailers, this type of framing nailer can operate without an air compressor.

Only pneumatic framing nailers require an air compressor to run through. So, the guide will proceed to consider this framing nailer.

The requirement for a Pneumatic Framing Nailer from an air compressor

Pneumatic framing nailers require a specific rating of CFM (cubic feet per minute) and HP (horsepower). So the air compressor you will choose should have a certain CFM and HP to run through the framing nailer. In short, if the CFM and HP don’t perfectly match between the framing nailer and the air compressor, you won’t be able to operate the power tool. Keep reading to find out how to calculate the right CFM and HP for the framing nailer.

How to measure the framing nailer’s pressure requirements

Nail guns require minimum compressed air to operate, which is known as CFM. Usually, the manufacturer sets the minimum CFM requirement for any air tool. But if you desire to calculate it yourself, the formula is:

Increase CFM to highest rating of the pneumatic framing nailer and divide the amount by 1.5. The result will be the average CFM required for the tool to do the nailing task.

Let’s have a look at the CFM requirements of different pneumatic nailer tools:

Type of Air Nail GunCompressor TypeCFM Required
Brad NailerPancake/Portable2.0 CFM, 2 Gallon
Roofing NailerPortable4.0 CFM, 6 Gallon
Framing NailerPortable4.0 CFM, 4 – 6 Gallon
Upholstery staplerPortable2.0 CFM, 1 Gallon
Sheathing nailerPortable4.0 CFM, 4 – 6 Gallon
Finish NailerPancake/Portable2.0 CFM, 2 – 3 Gallon
Air Compressor size Chart for Framing Nailer

So an air compressor with 2-4 CFM and 2-6 Gallon is the best air compressor for framing nailers.

Air Compressor for Framing Nailer

Craftsman: Air Compressor for Framing Nailer

  • The Craftsman air compressor is a 6 gallon pancake tank model.
  • It provide 90 PSI air pressure at 2.5 SCFM, so it can easily handle framing nailer.
  • It is suitable for framing nailer air tool.
  • The air compressor is 32.5 pounds only, so you can easily carry it.
  • The air compressor tank is made of aluminium and durable.
  • It provides 150 PSI maximum air pressure.
  • The Craftsman is made in USA.

How to measure the HP Requirement of a Framing Nail gun

The next important task is to check the HP requirement of an air compressor. Many people may believe the more horsepower, the air compressor has, the more powerful it is. But it can be misleading. The HP is not the only indicator that determines how quickly the compressor will perform. 

Manufacturers measure the HP of the air compressor in a different style. While some rate their products by peak horsepower, others rate them by normal operating horsepower. Among these two, peak horsepower is the highest output that the motor can generate. To operate a framing nailer, pick an air compressor that can produce 5HP-10HP.

What size air compressor is ideal for a framing nail gun?

Considering the versatility, portable type air compressors are suitable for both working in remote places and your garage. These come in different sizes, from where you can pick the correct air compressor for the project. So we will move forward by sticking with a portable type air compressor.

sizes of air compressor for framing nailers

The tank size of the best air compressors ranges from 2 to 20 gallons. If you need to work in a remote place for a longer time, you should use a bigger tank size air compressor. Otherwise, a small tank size air compressor will be acceptable for working in the garage for lighter jobs.

Let’s have a look at the list of tank sizes suitable for different tasks operated with framing nailers:

  • 2-4 gallons of tank size: ideal for home use, this tank size air compressor is mostly used for semi-professional nailing projects as well as other light activities.
  • 4-6 gallons: these size tanks are suitable for handling medium-sized projects. However, they can surprise you by offering support for heavy-duty tasks. If you need to run through a single nailer to complete your outdoor tasks, this tank’s size range is recommended. 
  • 6-10 gallons: If you had to run two or more framing nailer guns all together for a larger project, you might consider this tank size range. This tank-size air compressor will offer professional-grade support throughout the long season.

In short, what size air compressor is needed for framing nailers depends on the project type and its requirements.

Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Framing Nailer

Once getting the 4 CFM air compressor for framing the nailer, let’s get prepared to complete the nailing task efficiently. There are plenty of factors to keep in mind so you can complete the project precisely and safely. Let’s check out some handy tips:

Prepare the compressor

Both the HP and CFM ratings will indicate how powerful the air compressor is. So before dealing with a framing nailer, don’t set its power at the highest level. Find out the right amount of CFM needed for your framing nailer and set it in such a manner.

Select the Right Trigger

The trigger is the output mechanism of framing nailers. Generally, framing nailers come with two types of trigger, including single fire and bump fire triggers.

Considering the speed, the bump firing trigger is the quickest, but it doesn’t offer better precision and control over the nailing job. Conversely, a single fire trigger ensures a precise job with better control, though it doesn’t produce much speed. So set the trigger following your nailing project requirements before powering on the machine.

Check for Safety Concerns

Likewise, operating other power tools, an air compressor for nail guns also demands some safety equipment and alertness in terms of safer operation. It needs an incredible amount of pressure and speed to operate a nail gun. So it can cause an accident by leading the gun in the wrong direction. Apart from these, check the nailer often as its head can get jammed and cause other faults in the system.

FAQs on What size Air Compressor for Framing Nailer

How many CFM is appropriate for running a framing nailer?

CFM prefers the airflow that an air compressor can supply. Some pneumatic framing nailers require 5 CFM. However, it varies. While a pneumatic stapler requires 0.3 CFM, an air compressor should have 4 CFM to run a framing nailer.

Can I use a 6-gallon air compressor to operate a framing nailer?

Almost all portable air compressors have enough power to run brad nail guns and pin nailers. To operate the finishing nail gun, the air compressor should have 2 CFM for constant nailing. To operate a framing nailer, it is recommended to use a 6-gallon tank size air compressor with a 4 CFM rating.

Which is the best air compressor for a framing nail gun?

Among a range of models, the Porter-Cable C2002 WK will be the best air compressor for framing nailers. This air compressor has the highest pressure of 150 PSI to ensure a long run time of multiple framing nail guns. Plus, it is designed with a water valve and exclusive rubber feet to help boost it conveniently.

Take the Best size Air Compressor

It isn’t necessary to get a larger size air compressor to invest more money, which can damage the internal parts of the framing nailer due to excess power. Similarly, using a smaller air compressor won’t offer sufficient power to operate the nailer efficiently for having a precise job. 

So what size air compressor should framing nailers use? Choose an air compressor whose CFM and HP match with your framing nailers. Besides, consider the project type, whether it demands a 5-gallon tank size air compressor or 10. Hopefully, now you know what size air compressor you should use for your framing nailer project.

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Sam Morgan is a professional interior designer and part time content writer of Machine Handyman. He is a lifelong tools enthusiast and loves accessories of all shapes and sizes! He always research on different types of improvement tools like drill, air compressor, saw, nail gun, screw gun, grinder, cutting tools etc. Sam works hard on his project and try to find out which machine or tool will get him perfect results.

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