What Size Air Compressor For Framing Nailer? [The Ultimate Guide]

One of the most important things to consider when using a framing nailer is the air compressor. A good air compressor is essential for a smooth and efficient experience. without one, you will likely find yourself being less productive at the worksite.

Different machines require different types of air compressors. For example, framing nailers typically require between 2 and 10 gallons of air, depending on the model.

Even though compressors that hold 4-6 gallons are usually recommended, those who enjoy DIY projects or are professionals might end up needing a 6-10 gallon model. Let us tell you what size air compressor for framing nailer is the best. Not only will this ensure you have a good experience, but it will also help prolong the health and longevity of your compressor.

What Size Air Compressor For Framing Nailer

Air Compressor Size Chart For Different Tools

Machine TypeGallons
Sheathing nailer4
Roofing Nailer4
Finish Nailer2
Framing Nailer4
Angle Grinder5-8
Orbital Sander6-9
Paint Spray Gun4-8

Types of Frame Nailers – Which Needs Air Compressor

Due to the use of different technologies, not all framing nailers require compressors. If you want a nail gun that doesn’t need a compressor, take a look at cordless and brushless guns. The cordless ones run on fuel cartridges or batteries. Brushless ones share a similar mechanism compared to cordless nailers, and they don’t need air compressors most of the time.

If you decide to get a pneumatic framing nailer, you will definitely need one. These nailers require a powerful air compressor to operate. Pneumatic nailers offer some unique features. They do not cause electric shock or fire hazards. They are also environmentally friendly and last longer.

Let’s Know About the Basics First

Before heading further, we should clear out some basic terms. All the words like CFM, PSI, HP might get confusing. It will be a lot easier to pick the right compressor if you have clear ideas.


It is used to measure the flow of substances. The term ‘CFM’ means cubic feet per minute, typically used for calculating airflow. For example, 10 CFM compressor means the machine could create airflow of volume 10 cubic feet per minute.


The term PSI means Pound per Square Inch. It is used as a unit of pressure. PSI needed for framing nailers depends on the compressor. The CFM and PSI have a linear relation. The devices with more CFM can generate more pressure.


Some company also mentions horsepower as HP on specifications. Some cite the motor’s power as HP, and others say the machine’s peak power as HP.

Tank capacity:

The air compressor for framing guns has a certain capacity to hold the air inside. It is the measurement of how much air can be put inside the tank. In hindsight, this air will be displaced at a specific CFM to create some pressure in PSI. The power used in the whole operation tends to get measured in HP.

Calculating the correct CFM

Determining the required CFM is essential for the best performance. Not having the right compressor connected to the machine will leave you with a bitter taste. Let’s see how to find the proper CFM range.

The framing nail guns need very low CFM to work. All you have to do is to divide the mentions CFM by 1.5. That will be the average. Always try to match both the nail gun and compressor. Matching both will ensure the best possible performance.

What Size Air Compressor for Framing Nailer To Choose

What Size Air Compressor For Framing Nailer

Choosing the right compressor for your framing nailer is crucial. The quality of work relies on the compressor to a great extent. Imagine getting a weak air compressor. It might not generate enough power. As a result, the nail might not go deep enough. On the other hand, if you get overpowered one, that will harm all mechanisms inside. It even might lower the expected lifetime.

As different machines require different size of compressors, it is very important to choose the right one. CFM for framing nailers varies depending on the machines. Getting the right sized compressor is crucial to finish the projects without any hiccups.

  • 2-4 gallon compressor: This size is usually perfect for the home. This should be enough for DIY stuff and pet projects. These tanks will be enough for all kinds of light activities.
  • 4-6 gallon compressor: These tanks are capable of taking a medium-sized workload. They might even surprise when used for heavy-duty work. For using a single nail gun in outdoor environments, 4-6 gallon tanks are enough.
  • 6-10 gallon compressor: If you decide to use two or more nail guns, these tanks are your friend. They can provide fully professional-grade support to multiple nail guns at the same time. You can have long sessions as these tanks last for a long time.

So, what size compressor for nail gun is the best? Well, it depends on your project. Here are a few of the best framing air compressors.

  1. DEWALT Air Compressor – 4.5 gallon
  2. Grip-Rite GR152CM – 2 gallon
  3. PORTER-CABLE C2002 – 6 gallon
  4. Makita MAC2400 – 4.2 gallon
  5. California Air Tools CAT 0 – 4.6 gallon

Maintenance Tips

Here are a few tips that will help your machine to last longer.

Do not leave it on: The worst thing you could do to your machine is to leave it on unnecessarily. This act will reduce the expected lifetime of the product. Leaving it on might harm the internal parts of the compressor as the temperature gets high.

Lubricate regularly: After long sessions, internal machine parts tend to get decayed a little by little. Lubricating on a regular interval will solve this problem.

Do not oil the feed system: Do not put lubrication liquids into the feed system. Lubes like oil, always attract dust particles. The feed might get jammed if you use oil.

Check the screws: Due to the constant vibration, the screws get loosed over time. Always routinely check for the loosened screws. Loose screws are often the culprit of many preventable accidents.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Bottom Line

There is no benefit to getting the bigger sized compressor, especially in this pandemic hit economy. Getting a size smaller will not help to complete the work smoothly.

So, when choosing an air compressor for your framing nailer, be sure to select the proper size. We’ve discussed what size air compressor is needed for framing nailers. Hopefully, this article has cleared up any questions you may have had.

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