What Tools Require an Air Compressor: Helpful List

What Tools Require an Air Compressor

Most are familiar with air tools such as the impact wrench, palm sander, nailer, cutting tool, and ratchet wrench, to name a few. I have gathered a list of some tools that will require an air compressor to operate as follows:

Air Tool
Handheld Grease Pump
Hammer and Chisel
Gravity Fed Hopper
Dual Action Sander
Reciprocating Saw
Nozzle Air Blow
Ratchet Wrench
Impact Wrench
Palm Sander
Cut-Off Tool
Die Grinder
Tire Inflator
Spray Paint
Air Drill
Air Tool List

What Size Air Compressor Do You Need for Air Tools?

Selecting the right air compressor for your tools and your shop can be a challenge. So if you are a severe type of car guy who is doing a restoration and your fellow friends are helping you. For example, if they are going to be operating a pressure blast, and you want to paint an entire car simultaneously, I recommend you go for the 80-gallon air compressor right away if you are serious. Many people might say, well, if I’m not operating the pressure blast if I’m not using all these air tools. Well, what air compressor do I need? Not everybody is using a plasma cutter.

One factor you have to consider is how often a compressor needs to be recharged. This means that the larger the tank, the less the compressor needs to be recharged. (Below)I will now break down the compressor you may need according to the capacity and the task you might need as follows:

What Can a 3 Gallon Air Compressor Do?

You can use a 3-gallon air compressor for powder coating; it allows you to clean the sprayers, for example, after a drywall repair project. It also works very well to fill tiresbasketballs, and pool floats and has a straightforward minimum use as the main powder coating job. Still, it can do other household tasks as well. 

What Can a 30 Gallon Air Compressor Do?

These are for the do-it-yourself type; if you are in your garage and want to do some automotive work on a sandblaster, or air ratchet, you may need to use a plasma cutter. Note: If you use a plasma cutter with 30 gallons, you won’t be able to use it non-stop or do significant cuts, but it will give you enough hair to do most of the cuts you need to get the job done. As I said, not a ton of air, but it will allow you to do many things like using a blaster, powder paint, putting air in your tires, and light paint. For example, a hood, bumpers, and panels will give you enough air to do a little project.

What Can a 60 Gallon Air Compressor Do?

The 60-gallon compressor comes with a much larger tank, so you will get more air volume, and you’ll be able to do a lot. So if you want to use your impact driver, you could probably take off all four tires of your car without any issues. The 60-gallon compressor is also recommended for blast cabinet projects. You may want to paint a larger panel and use the plasma for longer cuts or even sanding. You’ll be able to do more projects with this air compressor because it has more air before you have to recharge. A 60-gallon is still do-it-yourself but a little more serious. The difference in many of these air compressors is going to be the recharge time.

What Can an 80 Gallon Air Compressor Do?

The 80-gallon compressor is for the severe guy; maybe he and his friend want to work on a car and doing complete restorations. Tons of flow, and tons of power; this is going to do everything you want to do. It will run your air tools, cutting tools, impact drivers, air ratchets, jet cabinets, and pressure jets. The pressure blast is a big issue when you don’t have the right air compressor to run because it is essentially just an open hose that discharges the air. The other thing that will allow you to do is complete paint jobs, so if you want to paint the whole car, this is your compressor.

An 80-gallon air compressor can run with multiple users.  Again, a larger pump and a larger tank give you everything you need to do, and it has all the pressure regulators. Keep in mind that all bigger compressors are going to be 220-240 volts. You will never have to worry about not having enough air. 80 gallons is for the serious guy who restores his car and probably uses those air hogs who will use an impact driver and don’t want to wait for anything to be recharged.

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For more on air tools read the full article.

Using Your Air Tools the Right Way

After you buy your air tool, you must do one more thing to get the most out of your air tools, and that is to give enough air if you want the tool to work. For example, let’s say you just got a high-torque, half-inch air impact driver and, best of all, a thousand foot-pounds of maximum torque at the touch. As I mentioned earlier, if you don’t give this tool enough air, it will not work. This applies to all air tools, but I’m just going to use an air impact driver half-inch as an example. To maximize airflow and torque, start with high-flow couplers and plugs paired with a short, large-diameter hose. 

Second, you’ll want to check the dynamic pressure on the tool. Looking at the manual that came with the tool, most half-inch impact drivers require dynamic air pressure of 90 PSI in the tool to get maximum torque from an air impact driver. By dynamic air pressure, I mean the amount of air pressure while the trigger is pulled. This has to be measured on the tool. You may have in-line air fittings, a long hose, reel, or other airway restrictions that make measuring air pressure in the compressor useless.

You can make a tool yourself by using an air pressure gauge, a pipe tee, and a coupler and plug. It will take you fewer than two minutes to make it. This allows you to measure the air pressure in the tool, which is very important. This will allow you to get the most out of every air tool you have. You don’t need to leave this on your line all the time. Just use it when you are adjusting your dynamic pressure. Once you have set that number, you can put it back in the toolbox.

For example, a high-torque ½ air gun needs a dynamic pressure of 90 PSI. Pull the trigger and adjust your air pressure until you have 90 PSI on the tool; again, the tool’s pressure needs to be measured. Yes, it’s that easy. So, after you have established the dynamic air pressure, there are a few other things that will let you get the best performance from your pneumatic tools. 

Keep your air tool lubricated. It keeps out rust and allows parts to move freely. You can put a few drops of pneumatic tool oil in the air intake when you are done using the tool. Circulate the oil in the air tool a few times and wipe off the excess.

The next thing to consider is an in-line air filter. You can use it to keep dirt and water from getting into the air tools and clogging up the work. You can go a step forward; you can use an in-line lubricator. This can be a real-time-saver if you change tools all day and don’t want to stop and lubricate your tools by hand. 

Finally, after prolonged use, you will want to do some maintenance. Clean and lubricate the air impact driver and paddles. Clean off old grease from around the anvil and hammer, and pack in new grease. Every part worth maintaining is a worn item.

To recap, to get the most out of your high-torque air impact driver, use high-flow couplers with a short, large-diameter hose. Adjust the dynamic air pressure to 90 PSI, grease your tool, install an in-line air filter, and finally, re-grease and rebuild your tool as needed.