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post #1 of 17 Old 07-06-2020, 01:05 PM Thread Starter
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air compressor

New guy here again. How many gallons should an air compressor hold for driving brads and nails? I see 6 gal compressors on Amazon that the reviewers say are good for filling tires and other small jobs but not woodworking. Also, can you recommend an air compressor at a reasonable price. My shop is a third of a 2 car garage unless my wifes car is out. so size matters.

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post #2 of 17 Old 07-06-2020, 01:19 PM
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For small inside the house I use a small 3 gallon Craftsman compressor. It has done brads in many feet of crown molding and base board. As well as a couple of years keeping a neighbors car mobile because he had a leaky tire. Took him several months to fix.

I do not have a nail gun so have not tried it for that, but it is plenty adequate for pins.

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post #3 of 17 Old 07-06-2020, 01:32 PM
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I have a much older version of this Porter Cable compressor and the 16 & 18 gauge nailers that came with it. The compressor is loud but no issue using the nailers with it. I have even done a little bit of finish spraying with a touch-up spray Gun.
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post #4 of 17 Old 07-06-2020, 01:40 PM
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I have a 2 gallon pancake compressor for working away from the shop.
I runs any nail gun I have. I do have to wait for it to recharge after 3 or 4 nails out of the framer.
Brad and finish nailers are not a problem. It will not run a sander or impact wrench.
Be warned that these small oil less compressors are very loud. That's the main reason I bought a 60 gallon and put it in a closet.
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post #5 of 17 Old 07-06-2020, 01:55 PM
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If you're just talking about brads and nails for woodworking projects and not for framing a house, then a 2-3 gallon California Air Tools compressor is going to be just fine, small, and quiet. If you're trying to build a house, spray paint, or use automotive air tools, that's a different story.
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post #6 of 17 Old 07-07-2020, 08:39 AM
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I have a 6 gallon Porter Cable compressor and use it for woodworking nailing: pins, brads, staples, finish nails, and hardwood flooring cleats. No problems....just noisy....weighs 35 pounds. If I were to replace it I would get something smaller, lighter, and quieter for this type of work.
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post #7 of 17 Old 07-07-2020, 10:31 AM
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I can vouch for the California Air being reasonably quiet. My 10 gal model (which is way bigger than needed for nail guns) is quiet enough that you can carry on a conversation standing next to it; annoying but possible. If you plan to use your compressor indoors, I highly recommend a "quiet" one (none are perfectly quiet). Compare the decibel specs.
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post #8 of 17 Old 07-07-2020, 12:14 PM
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i or 2 gal is sufficient for a tank supplying nail guns. IF you find yourself getting more into air tools requiring higher CFM's you will be dissappointed, as it will run (cycle) more often to keep up. since the smaller ones are usually around $100, u can buy one of those now and watch for a (oil type) later for your bigger (20 gal+) one!
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post #9 of 17 Old 07-07-2020, 01:06 PM
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some of those oil-free compressors will get you driven off a construction site with the noise they make. google "small quiet air compressors" and choose the smallest compressor you can get. home depot popped up with 'california air tools' ultra quiet compressors. reviews state they are very quiet and you can converse with them running.

this is $199 1hp, 2 gal ultra quiet

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post #10 of 17 Old 07-07-2020, 07:01 PM
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Quiet as can be...

I purchased from lowes their compressor and it works wonderfully in the garage for brad nailers and filling tires. Upside - it's super quiet.
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post #11 of 17 Old 07-07-2020, 08:37 PM
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With brad nailers and staplers, size is usually not an issue. When you need a larger compressor is when you are spraying a finish. it is not the PSI that counts, it's the CFM that counts. For finishing, you need a larger volume of air and sustain it.
Again, just about any of the small compressors will run your brad nail guns. the brad nailers require about 90 or less PSI and virtually not much air volume. Air sanders usually require about 4.5 to 5 CFM at 90 PSI.
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post #12 of 17 Old 07-07-2020, 10:55 PM
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I just got my first compressor. looks about 30+ years old. American something I think. steel loud and loud. it was cheap and i was already at the guys house for a router, haha. its a 4 or 5 gallon, when i do upgrade how loud it is will be a priority. its the loudest thing i own!

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Last edited by Nick2727; 07-07-2020 at 10:56 PM. Reason: tried being fancy adding a emoji. failed
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post #13 of 17 Old 07-07-2020, 11:22 PM
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I have a $39.00 HF 1 gallon ( I think ,maybe 2 gallons) compressor in the garage for filling tires , blow gun and even used it to run a framing nail gun. Had to go slow with the framing nail gun because of the small volume of air in the tank. Comes in handy, better than running 100'-0 of hose from the shop where I have a 60 gallon compressor.
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post #14 of 17 Old 07-08-2020, 11:02 AM
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Pretty much any compressor with a tank will work a brad nailer. We use a Senco 1/2 hp-1 gal on the job when we only need to drive a brad nailer or stapler. Super light and quiet but the only thing it's really good for is a brad nailer and filling small tires since "recovery" time is really slow.
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post #15 of 17 Old 07-09-2020, 07:39 PM
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My brad 16ga nailer says 120 psi max, which is fine with my pancake Rigid compressor.
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post #16 of 17 Old 07-09-2020, 09:26 PM
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I have a 6 gallon pancake compressor that will do brads all day long for what it’s worth. It is a little bit noisy as others have noted but doesn’t hardly come on unless I’m doing a whole lot of brads. For a lot of spray or a big boy nail gun I would definitely want something bigger though.

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post #17 of 17 Old 07-10-2020, 11:09 AM
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Requirement for air tools. Tank size is not important as long as the compressor meets the required cfm and psi for the tool in question. Hose size also matters... use 3/8" up to 100 feet.
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