Last updated on November 2nd, 2022 at 10:27 am

Whether you are a professional, DIYer, or a beginner with nailing and painting, the best air compressor for nail gun can be a life-changer.  Speaking of handling, functionality, performance, and durability, what size air compressor for nail gun can be a tricky question to ask. We have prepared an extensive guide for your convenience when it comes to finding or choosing the best air compressor for nail gun

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Why do nail guns need air compressor?

The Air compressor basically is a power source for the nail gun you will be using. It determines your tool’s mobility and handling at work along with performance. 

Types of power sources for nail guns

Coming to the types of power sources for nail guns, you will find the two most common ones in the market; battery-powered nail gun and pneumatic nail gun. 

Battery powered nail guns usually fire more shots than pneumatic nail guns, as they require compressed air that needs to be filled once empty. Whereas, battery-operated nail guns use a compact battery that is proved to be efficient in every working space as well. 

Things to consider before buying the best air compressor for nail gun

The aspects to consider while buying an air compressor for nail gun have been described briefly. It’s up to you to pick the best one as per your requirements, budget, and preferences.

Single Vs. Two-Stage Air Compressors

A pump is required for the air compressor to inhale free air and store it in the tank. This requires a powerful compressor, and the difference in air-drawing ability categorise compressors into two types:

  • Single Stage

A single-stage air compressor is normally rated at 155 PSI, allowing a rotating tool to perform at a CMF of less than 100 PSI.

  • Two-stage

The two-stage counterpart would power force any tool to run at a CMF rating of over 100 PSI and have at least 175 PSI outage.

If you need the nail gun to run at a CMF of more than 100 PSI, a two-stage air compressor is a way to go as per your personal preference. 


Oil vs. oilless

A compressor’s machines can run with or without oil, and the one that uses oil to work comes with an oil tank. As a result, the compressor’s size and weight are significantly increased. The oilless machines, on the other hand, run smoothly and efficiently, also reducing the tool’s weight and size to a minimum.

It’s best to be aware that oilless compressor machines make a lot of noise when they’re functioning. If you prefer a quiet compressor, an oil-run compressor machine is a way to go. You must know that the compressor’s performance is unaffected by whether the engine is running with or without oil.


The Rate of Airflow (CFM)

CFM, or cubic feet per minute, is another consideration to ponder when purchasing an air compressor for your nail gun. It is a unit for measuring air flow rate. It is most preferable to use an air compressor with a CFM value of 2 or greater when using any type of nailer. The CFM ratings however change with the pressure.

Determining the compressor’s power and performance can be critical. Furthermore, if the compressor’s CFM rating and the pneumatic tool’s CFM rating don’t go together, you must prepare yourself for the worst.


Pressure Rating (PSI)

PSI is a measurement standard that is used to determine how much air pressure the compressor can push the tool with. Any compressor on the market will almost certainly have a working PSI, so you won’t have to worry about that. However, you should consider how much psi for nail gun, especially if your requirements are more than the bare minimum.

How to determine pressure rating?

The CFM rating will determine the pressure rating you require. First and foremost, determine how much CFM your nailer requires. Then you must determine whether the air compressor can deliver that much CFM while staying within its pressure limit.


Tank Capacity

While purchasing a compressor, the size of the compressor tank is an important consideration. The rule of thumb is that the larger the tank, the more convenient it will be to keep your nail gun running at full power. In a nutshell, you should go for the larger tank capacity for smoother operating over a longer period of time.

Moreover, a larger tank can be a problem when it comes to portability and handling, especially if you move around much. 


Noise Levels

Although the noise level an air compressor generate has nothing to do with the performance and working of the nail gun, it can surely be a problem if you are continuously working. So, it is as much important as any other factor to be considered while making a purchase for the best air compressor for nail guns. 



Another important factor to consider is portability. Obviously, some compressors are more portable than others and have a larger power source than their alternatives on the market. 

An air compressor can be portable in two ways: 

  1. It can be small enough to carry easily.
  2. It can include wheels and handles if it is sturdy enough to move around from one place to another.

For air compressors to be used in industrial settings, wheels and handles are an important component. On the other hand, wheeled and handle air tools have the advantage of being simpler and easier to use.



Any tool that is used on a daily basis needs proper maintenance to save them from unwanted and premature damage. Although it can be time-consuming and costly at the time, you can earn convenience, better performance and work in a long run. Properly maintained air compressors for nail guns can do not cause stalling or delay on the job. 

What you need to know!

While an oilless machine would be requiring less maintenance in comparison to oil-run machines.


As the general rule of thumb, you get what you pay for – but it is not impossible to find the best budget portable air compressor for your nail gun without compromising the quality. It is a huge disappointment not being served what you pay for. 

The most cost-effective unit can be the one on a budget. So, in order to choose the proper air compressor that meets your needs and maybe the greatest overall, you’ll need to do some study and legwork. If you don’t want to do that, you can choose from any of the products listed below.

6 Best Air Compressor For Nail Gun

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For your convenience, we have gathered the best air compressors for nail gun that can be used in both home workshops and professional settings.

1. PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor (C2002)

Porter Cable Air Compressor



  • Tank Capacity: 6-gallon
  • Tank Style: Pancake
  • Power Source: Electric / 120 Volts
  • Max Pressure: 150 PSI
  • Flow Rate: 2.6 SCFM @ 90psi
  • Pump: Oil-free 
  • Weight: 30 lbs

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One of the greatest air compressors to buy is the Porter Cable air compressor. This air compressor can be used for a variety of tasks, including pumping basic equipment and tools, painting ceilings, and driving nails to construct 2×4 frames. We consider it to be one of the greatest air compressors for everyday use. 

Speaking of functionality, the Porter Cable air compressor is one of the best air compressors for nail guns on the market. This air compressor can supply up to 6 gallons of air at once. Any element may be dealt with because the porter-cable air compressor is so compatible and user-friendly.


  • High-pressure storage
  • Oil-free
  • Portable
  • High-efficiency motor


  • Not recommended for heavy/professional uses

2. BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor

Bostitch Air compressor for nail gun



  • Tank Capacity: 6-gallon
  • Tank Style: Pancake
  • Power Source: Electric / 120 Volts
  • Max Pressure: 150 PSI
  • Flow Rate: 2.6 SCFM @ 90psi
  • Pump: Oil-free 
  • Weight: 29 lbs

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Nailing for precision, home repair, and roof fixing has always been a special and desirable function superbly assisted by the air compressor. The spaces and areas where hands and cleaning stuff cannot go is a pain for all of us. It becomes a serious issue when it comes to cleaning those areas perfectly. The Bostitch BTFP020126-gallon pancake compressor is an outstanding air compressor for nail guns to drive nails successfully in narrow spaces satisfactorily.

It is one of the best air compressors for all the tricky and tough works to buy nail guns. Moreover, if you are to clean your car edges, sofa corners, bed edges, etc. using air pressure, the Bostitch air compressor is very much recommended. Its high psi with large tank capacity makes it a favourable air compressor for nail guns as well as cleaning purposes.


  • Offer high pressure 
  • Cleaning air compressor
  • Sturdy and reliable


  • Suitable for specific levels of task

3. California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S Portable Air Compressor

California Air Tools Air Compressor For Nail Gun


  • Tank Capacity: 1-gallon
  • Tank Style: Horizontal
  • Power Source: Electric / 110 Volts
  • Max Pressure: 8.2 bars
  • Flow Rate: 1.2 SCFM @ 90psi
  • Pump: Oil-free 
  • Weight: 29 lbs

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For any type of air filling task, an air compressor is a must-have gear. The California Air Instruments CAT-1P1060S is one of the most preferred and appropriate tools for your air-filling activities as a whole as it offers numerous benefits over others.

Apart from running any sort of nail gun, the California air compressor can be used for a variety of everyday tasks. Its compatibility with nail guns distinguishes it from other air compressors. It is one of the greatest air compressors for putting together a perfect combo that can easily manage both indoor and outdoor tasks.


  • Light in weight
  • Efficient motor


  • Offers inadequate PSI

4. Metabo HPT EC99S Electric Air Compressor

Metabo Best Air Compressor


  • Tank Capacity: 4-gallon
  • Tank Style: Twin stack Horizontal
  • Power Source: Corded-electric
  • Max Pressure: 135 PSI
  • Flow Rate: 3.1 CFM @ 90psi
  • Pump: Oil-Lubricated 
  • Weight: 59.2 lbs

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The best air compressor should be able to handle the strain in every kind of working environment. The Metabo HPT EC99S electric air compressor is noted for its dependability and versatility. It guards against certain issues such as overheating, burning, and so on.

The Metabo air compressor is one of the best professional air compressors for nail guns on the market. It serves the operation so efficiently that it causes very little disruption when in use. It is perfect for carrying place to place due to its sturdy body and light weight. Professionals will find it to be an excellent choice for their daily tasks.


  • Extremely light in weight
  • Tough construction
  • Offers pressure regulation


  • Needs frequent oil lubrication

5. Craftsman Air Compressor CMEC6150K Kit 

Craftsman Best Air Compressor For Nail Gun


  • Tank Capacity: 6-gallon
  • Tank Style: Pancake
  • Power Source: Electric/110v
  • Max Pressure: 150 PSI
  • Flow Rate: 2.6 SCFM @ 100psig
  • Pump: Oil-Less 
  • Weight: 30 lbs

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But the high PSI rate has made it perfect, and a go-to option for nailing tasks, and you can apply it both in precision and heavyweight nailing projects.  The craftsman CMEC6150K 150 psi air compressor, gives beginners and professionals the greatest and most appropriate performance.


  • Massive capacity for firing a nailer
  • Easy maintenance
  • Oilless machine free from combustion and ring disintegration


  • It is a bit heavy in weight
  • For professional use only 

6. Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor

Matika Air Compressor


  • Tank Capacity: 4.2-gallon
  • Tank Style: Twin stacked horizontal
  • Power Source: Electric / 120 Volts
  • Max Pressure: 130 PSI
  • Flow Rate: 4.2 SCFM @ 90psi
  • Pump: Oil-Lubricated
  • Weight: 77 lbs

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The Makita air compressor is vastly used for nailing projects at home and at the working site. Almost all the professional works find it superbly functional. Starting to form industrial practices to official actions, it has provided its service quite convincingly.

Professionals choose to use an air compressor because it saves them a lot of time by allowing them to complete multiple tasks at once. Its extensive maintenance is also something to be considered. The Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Compressor is the best air compressor to have if all of these tasks are to be completed. However, it is the people’s favourite for empowering all types of nailers due to its distinct and fascinating qualities.


  • Quiet 
  • Offers stable pressure
  • Powerful motors
  • Strong and rigid construction


  • Oil lubrication minimizes the validation

7. CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor 57-Piece (CMEC6150K & CMMT99446)

CraftsmanAir Compressor For Nail Gun



  • Pressure Level: Max 150 PSI
  • Tank Capacity: 6 Gallon
  • CFM Rating: 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI
  • Weight: 30 lbs.
  • Power Required: 120 Volts
  • Pump: Oil-Free

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The CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor CMEC6150K & CMMT99446 is a home tool kit that includes an air compressor. This is a portable air compressor that may be used with nail guns and other air tools such as an inflator. With this air compressor, you can use a variety of nail guns. Its CFM rating and pressure level are ideal for any nailer. In addition, this kit includes an inflation pistol as a bonus.

This kit includes a number of handy items in addition to the air compressor. Hammer, pliers, screwdrivers, and other tools are examples. It has a 6-gallon tank, which makes it quite portable. Furthermore, the pump is quite long-lasting.


  • Quick pressure gain.
  • Perfect for home garage (Nailing/inflating).
  • Easy to operate.
  • The strong handle makes it easy to carry.
  • The parts are pre-assembled.
  • It is a quiet air compressor.


  • The safety valve leaks.

Conclusion | Best Air Compressor For Nail Gun

Finding the best air compressor for nailers is a no brainer with the right guidance. You can go a little bit up, not the least down in terms of capacity, as long as the PSI requirement and CFM rating are met. Going above your standard needs and requirements will not provide you with a higher return on your investment. As a result, the best air compressors for nail guns are those that best satisfy your needs while remaining within your budget. Going for an air compressor nail gun combo can save you from mismatching your tools with the right compressor. What size air compressor for nail gun must not be a question for you after going through this guide. 


  1. What is the best air compressor for brad nailers?

You must not overlook the pressure need when purchasing an air compressor for your brad nail. As a result, matching the nailer’s recommended pressure to the target compressor might be the best option.

Getting a combo kit that includes a brad nailer and an air compressor, which could spare you the trouble of choosing the wrong pressure.

2. What is the best air compressor for the finish nailer?

The search should instead be focused on finding a suitable air compressor. The right or best air compressor for your finish nailer should have a pressure of 120 PSI and a flow rate of roughly 2 CFM. That air compressor’s capacity will be quite useful for driving the finish nails required for a house project.

3. Is there a specific oil for an air compressor for a nail gun?

While oiling your pneumatic tool can cost you more money, you should think of it as a return on your investment because it prevents the wearing parts from becoming fried. However, it is straightforward to understand either spend on new parts of lubrication. All you have to do is choose the proper type of oil that is specifically designed for pneumatic tools. 

4. How many CFM do I need for nail gun?

To run any form of nail gun, you’ll need at least 2 CFM. 2 CFM is enough to run a pin or brad nailer. Other nailers, on the other hand, will require more than 2 CFM to operate.

5. What size air compressor do I need for a nail gun?

A nail gun does not demand the use of a large or powerful air compressor. Your nail guns can be powered by a 1-gallon air compressor. The tank size is usually between 1 and 6 gallons. It determines the firing rate of the nailer. A larger tank will give you longer working hours, but if not chosen wisely can cost you portability. However, the air compressor’s size is just as significant as the PSI and CFM ratings. 

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