Best Air Compressors For Impact Wrenches – 2018 Update

So you have your ideal impact wrench for work but miss out another vital part – a suitable air compressor? Most people find themselves in the same situation when their brand-new impact wrench refuses to work with the compressor, because it requires more air than what the compressor can supply!

I understand that we have so many options to select, and most of us fail to comprehend the requirements of both air compressors and impact wrenches. So, if you are looking for an answer, here I am to help.

In this list of the best air compressors for impact wrenches, I will review seven products that I personally believe will give you the best bang for the buck. I’m sure the information and explanation will turn the choosing process to be an enjoyable journey.

Our Top Picks
Best For Light Use
Read our review
Makita MAC5200
  • Size: 5.2 Gallons
  • 6.5 CFM at 90 PSI
  • Max Pressure: 140 PSI
9.4Outstanding Read our review
Ultra Quiet
Read our review
California Air Tools 10020C
  • Size: 10 Gallons
  • 5.3 CFM at 90 PSI
  • Max Pressure: 125 PSI
9.2Outstanding Read our review
My Favorite Choice
Read our review
Industrial Air IL1682066.MN
  • Size: 20 Gallons
  • 5.3 CFM at 90 PSI
  • Max Pressure: 135 PSI
9.8Outstanding Read our review
Read our review
DeWalt DXCMPA1982054
  • Size: 20 Gallons
  • 5.7 CFM at 90 PSI
  • Max Pressure: 155 PSI
8.8Great Read our review
Read our review
Industrial Air ILA4546065
  • Size: 60 Gallons
  • 14 CFM at 90 PSI
  • Max Pressure: 155 PSI
9Outstanding Read our review
Best For Heavy-Duty Pro Users
Read our review
Powermate Vx PLA4708065
  • Size: 80 Gallons
  • 14 CFM at 90 PSI
  • Max Pressure: 155 PSI
9.6Outstanding Read our review
Read our review
Quincy QT-54
  • Size: 60 Gallons
  • 15.4 CFM at 90 PSI
  • Max Pressure: 175 PSI
9Outstanding Read our review

For 1/2 inch impact wrenches

Makita MAC5200 Big Bore 3.0 HP Air Compressor

Makita MAC5200 Big Bore 3.0 HP Air Compressor

Product Specifications

Horse Power3.0
CFM/PSI6.5 CFM at 90 PSI

6.9 CFM at 40 PSI

Max pressure140 PSI
Tank5.2 Gal
Noise Level90 dBA
Weight88 lbs
Pros
  • Perfect all-around choice for impact wrench use
  • Powerful motor and durable pump
  • Highly portable design

Cons
  • A bit costly, but it’s worth the money
  • Solid built but quite heavy

People who prefer powerful air compressors would undoubtedly know about Makita – a famous brand name in the market. Makita is especially well-known for the high-capacity Big Bore series. For ½ inch impact wrenches, the Makita MAC5200 Big Bore is the best option.

I have to mention the powerful 3.0 HP motor first. Most air compressors use aluminum wires or thin copper wires as components of the motors. These two materials reduce the price of the products significantly but at the same time decrease the overall performance. As for Makita MAC5200, the thick copper wire is used to construct its powerful motor, enhancing both durability and performance.

I particularly like the Big Bore Pump. The pump functions thanks to 3 elements: cylinder, piston and joining rod. Makita has skillfully designed the cylinder and piston that allow more air to pass through with less power consumed. The pump is also oil lubricated, so it stays durable for an extended period.

Most impact wrenches would require an air tank of more than just 1 or 2 gallons to maintain their working cycles without having to wait for a refill. The MAC5200 Big Bore offers a tank of 5.2 gallon, which is a standard number for ½ inch impact wrenches to perform.

What’s more, this model is able to produce 6.5 CFM of air volume at 90 PSI of air pressure. The maximum air pressure it can create is up to 140 PSI. These specifications are perfectly matched with impact wrenches’ requirements.

Makita generates moderate noise, producing 90 decibels of noise. Some people consider it a high rating; however, in reality, the machine isn’t too loud. The drawback of this model is probably the price. For intermittent mechanics, investing a big sum of money on what they don’t use regularly may not be a good idea.

If you are on a tight budget, Makita may not be a suitable option. For those who use air compressors quite often and want to possess a robust, powerful motor to run impact wrenches, Makita MAC5200 should be on the buying list.

California Air Tools 10020C Ultra Quiet Oil-Free and Powerful Air Compressor

California Air Tools 10020C Ultra Quiet Oil-Free and Powerful Air Compressor

Product Specifications

Horse Power2.0
CFM/PSI6.40 CFM at 40 PSI

5.30 CFM at 90 PSI

Max pressure125 PSI
Tank10 Gal
Noise Level70 dBA
Weight82.5 lbs
Pros
  • Ultraquiet
  • Lightweight
  • Reasonable price for a 10 gallon compressor

Cons
  • The motor is not very powerful

California Air Tools is another well-known manufacturer of air compressors. Their line of products is famous for being ultraquiet. The California Air Tools 10020C is one prominent example I want to mention in this review.

This model produces only 70 decibels of noise, providing a perfect working environment for noise conscious mechanics. The next wonderful thing is this is an oil-free air compressor. As you may know, most oil-free compressors are extremely loud and less durable than their oil-lubricated counterparts. This is not the case with the California Air Tools 10020C. Apart from being extremely quiet, the oil-free pump is exceptionally hard-wearing.

The 10020C’s air tank is about 10 gallon, nearly double the Makita MAC5200, maintaining the continuous workflow for an impact wrench to function. Furthermore, this air compressor produces 5.30 CFM of air volume at 90 PSI of air pressure, which is more than enough for ½ inch impact wrenches.

The motor, unfortunately, is only 2.0 HP. It isn’t powerful in my opinion, so it takes time to refill the tank.

This model weights 82.5 lbs, and it is the lightest air compressor in the list.

So if you want to a lightweight, ultraquiet air compressor for occasional uses of ½ inch impact wrenches, I’d strongly recommend the California Air Tools 10020C.

Industrial Air IL1682066.MN 20-Gallon Belt Driven Air Compressor

Industrial Air IL1682066.MN 20-Gallon Belt Driven Air Compressor

Product Specifications

Horse Power1.6 HP
CFM/PSI5.3 CFM at 90 PSI

6.2 CFM at 40 PSI

Max pressure135 PSI
Tank20 Gal
Weight155 Pounds
Pros
  • Handle both light and heavy-duty jobs
  • Can operate several impact wrenches at the same time
  • V-twin cylinder saves energy while enhancing engine performance

Cons
  • The specifications are not impressive

Industrial Air focuses on large-size air compressors. The model IL1682066.MN here has an air tank of 20 gallons. As for ½ inch impact wrenches, 20-gallon air compressors guarantee continuous working time. This also allows users to operate several impact wrenches at the same time.

This model runs on a 1.6 HP motor. Although 1.6 HP is far from compelling, the V-twin cylinder compensates for all. The engine consumes less power while offering plenty of rotation. The maximum pressure it can produce is up to 135 PSI. At 90 PSI of air pressure, it can generate 5.3 CFM of air volume. ½ inch impact wrenches require at least 5 CFM at 90 PSI, so the Industrial Air IL1682066.MN passes the requirement.

Though some people may think these specifications are not impressive at all compared to other air compressors, I can assure you that Industrial Air is entirely reliable and versatile. It can manage both light and heavy-duty jobs, especially suitable for professional uses.

This air compressor weights more than 150 lbs. It features a wheel kit and a handle so that you can transport it to the job site. I also like the vertical air tank, which I believe will take less space than the horizontal ones.

All in all, this Industrial Air IL1682066.MN is a great piece for those who want to run multiple air tools, including impact wrenches, at the same time. Its reliability and portability are the pluses that you should take into consideration.

DeWalt DXCMPA1982054 20-Gallon Portable Air Compressor

DeWalt DXCMPA1982054 20-Gallon Portable Air Compressor

Product Specifications

Horse Power1.9HP
CFM/PSI7.0 CFM at 40 PSI

5.7 CFM at 90 PSI

Max pressure155 PSI
Tank20 Gal
Pros
  • Robust dual voltage motor
  • Handle both light and heavy-duty jobs
  • Transportability

Cons
  • A bit pricey
  • Not suitable for irregular users

Another air compressor matches the requirements of professional uses. DeWalt DXCMPA1982054 offers what you are looking for in an air compressor – reliability, durability, and versatility.

This 20-gallon air compressor provides enough airflow for multiple impact wrenches to function at the same time. At 90 PSI, it generates 5.7 CFM, enough air volume for ½ inch impact wrench to work. The maximum air pressure is about 155 PSI.

This model features a twin-cylinder pump with a coated head and valve plate. These two elements ensure that heat generated during the process will be quickly dispelled. Plus, DeWalt DXCMPA1982054 offers high-flow regulator which providing more rotation for heavy-duty jobs like taking out nuts or bolts.

What’s more, this product uses a dual-voltage motor that allows the same engine to function normally with two different voltages. The tank is designed horizontally, suitable for those who like this type. It also features a wheel kit and a handle for transportability.

The price tag of this product, unfortunately, isn’t budget-friendly at all. Those irregular users who wouldn’t want to run on several impact wrenches at the same time will not consider this a good investment.

I think the DeWalt DXCMPA1982054 is a product of value especially when you consider its capability to work with different impact wrenches at the same time. No need to question its versatility and durability, if you want to have an industrial air compressor for both light and heavy-duty jobs, this product is your go-to one.

For 3/4 inch impact wrenches & other heavy-duty tasks

Industrial Air ILA4546065 60-Gallon Hi-Flo Single Stage Cast Iron Three Cylinder Air Compressor

Industrial Air ILA4546065 60-Gallon Hi-Flo Single Stage Cast Iron Three Cylinder Air Compressor

Product Specifications

Horse Power4.7 HP
CFM/PSI14 CFM at 90 PSI

16.1 CFM at 40 PSI

Max pressure155 PSI
Tank60 Gal
Voltage208/240 Volts
Weight250 lbs
Pros
  • Big 60-gallon air tank
  • High CFM/PSI rate for ¾ inch wrenches
  • Robust motor

Cons
  • 50% duty cycle can cause interruption

¾ inch impact wrenches require much more than the ½ inch counterparts, especially when it comes to the air volume and air tank. If you are looking for a suitable air compressor for heavy-duty air tools, nothing is better than the Industrial Air ILA4546065.

In order to function, a ¾ inch wrench needs at least 7 CFM of air volume at 90 PSI. Most small-size air compressors can’t meet this requirement; therefore, you need to get a bigger one. The Industrial Air ILA4546065 offers a double amount of air volume at 90 PSI – 14 CFM for any wrenches to work. Plus, this product uses an air tank of 60 gallons. A big air tank plus enormous air volume allows this model to handle any heavy-duty tasks.

The Industrial Air ILA4546065 features a powerful motor of 4.7 HP for any pneumatic air tools. It is cast-ironed; therefore, it is durable. I also like the simple design and vertical shape.

The shortcoming of this piece is probably the fact that it delivers 50% duty cycle. That means you will experience interruptions during working period. I recommend you to wait for the machine to stabilize before resuming the working process, otherwise it will hurt the compressors, making it less durable.

The Industrial Air ILA4546065 is a good investment for those who handle many heavy-duty tasks and use ¾ impact wrenches.

Powermate Vx PLA4708065 80-Gallon Electric Air Compressor

Powermate Vx PLA4708065 80-Gallon Electric Air Compressor

Product Specifications

Horse Power4.7
CFM/PSI14 CFM at 90 PSI

16 CFM at 40 PSI

Max pressure155 PSi
Tank80 Gal
Weight354 lbs
Pros
  • Robust 4.7 HP motor
  • Durable pump
  • Big 80-gallon air tank
  • Very quiet

Cons
  • No wheels for transportation

You want an air compressor with an ultimate capacity to handle heavy-duty tasks? Take a look at this Powermate Vx PLA4708065.

This product features a 4.7 HP robust motor. It guarantees exceptional power for industrial requirements. The engine operates at a very moderate RPM, which creates less heat for the unit. Plus, the pump is extremely durable.

When it comes to size, the Powermate Vx PLA4708065 is top-notch. This model offers an 80-gallon air tank for anyone who wants to operate multiple air tools or work with tough jobs. It delivers 14 CFM of air volume at 90 PSI and can generate 155 PSI of maximum pressure. For ¾ inch wrenches, these specifications are more than enough.

What’s more, this air compressor doesn’t create too much noise compared to other industrial air compressors. It is well designed with numerous features to extend the durability of the product.

What I don’t like about the Powermate Vx PLA4708065 is that you have to attach it to the ground. This air compressor doesn’t include a wheel kit, so it may not be a good option for those who have a fixed workshop or garage.

The Powermate Vx PLA4708065 is a great buy for those who want to handle heavy-duty operations. With its robust motor, large air tank and high capacity, I believe that this compressor will be an excellent companion for your ¾ impact wrench.

Quincy QT-54 Splash Lubricated Reciprocating Air Compressor

Quincy QT-54 Splash Lubricated Reciprocating Air Compressor

Product Specifications

Horse Power5 HP
CFM/PSI15.4 CFM at 90 PSI

15.2 CFM at 175 PSI

Max pressure175 PSI
Tank60 Gal
Stage2
Tank Fill Time6 ½ minutes
Pros
  • Two-stage air compressor that can generate large air volume at a maximum pressure
  • 100% duty cycle guarantees continuous working time
  • Features extremely durable components

Cons
  • Tank fill time is quite long
  • A bit pricey but worth the money

The Quincy QT-54 Splash is the last product I want to introduce in this list. It has even more power than the two above to handle ¾ inch wrenches and other heavy tasks.

This product features a 60-gallon tank size for continuous use. It can generate the maximum 175 PSI of air pressure, which is the highest rating in this list. At 90 PSI the air volume Quincy creates is 15.4 CFM. These specifications are powerful, especially when you consider the capacity to work with numerous heavy-duty air tools and tough jobs.

It features a 5.0 HP motor for complete performance. There is a built-in thermal alert to protect the engine from being heat overloading.

You may also notice that this two-stage air compressor can even generate a significant amount of air volume of 15.2 CFM at 175 PSI. The Quincy QT-54 can work correctly within a range of 140 to 175 PSI. It also has 100% duty cycle for continuous use.

This air compressor is also famous for its durability. The pump has an extended lifespan, working up to 30,000 hours before replacement. Plus, regardless of the powerful motor, this piece functions quietly, generating little vibration.

So far, the only thing I don’t like about this product is that it requires a bit of an investment. However, given all the features and capability, it’s hard not to put it in the must-have list.

The Quincy QT-54 Splash is an ideal air compressor for heavy-duty tasks. It features all the needed necessities for ¾ inch wrenches and other air tools to function continuously. If you are looking for an air compressor with ultimate reliability and durability, this is it.

FAQs:

How much air pressure does it take to operate impact wrench?

One needs to consider a lot of factors when it comes to the most suitable air compressor for impact wrenches. The most critical twos are air pressure and air volume.

So how much air pressure does a wrench require? The answer is you need to have an air compressor that generates at least 90 PSI of air pressure. That is just the underlying rating; if you want your wrench to function better, get a model with high ending pressure.

Many air compressors have top pressure of 100 PSI, but if you want to handle powerful impact wrenches or other heavy air tools, this rating needs to be higher. As you can see in the list, the best air compressors for wrenches should produce at least 125 PSI of maximum air pressure so that the air tools can function well.

The CFM rating is also an important indication of a suitable air compressor. Each air tool requires different air volume for functioning. In case of impact wrenches, the ½ inch requires at least 5 CFM of air volume at 90 PSI of air pressure. The ¾ inch asks for a rating of 7 CFM at 90 PSI. An air compressor fails to meet this requirement will not be able to work with impact wrenches.

In case you want to operate several air tools and impact wrenches at the same time, the CFM and PSI also need to match. In the list, I choose air compressor with a maximum air pressure of at least 150 PSI and air volume of at least 14 CFM for ¾ inch wrenches. Having generous PSI and CFM ratings allow you to operate several tools at the same time and assure the overall performance of them.

What size air compressor do I need for an impact wrench?

The tank size is another thing you need to consider when shopping for the right air compressors. How big should a product be so that it can sustain heavy workload with impact wrenches?

As you can see, your impact wrench can fully function once there is enough air to maintain its performance. Some manufacturers equip their products with smart add-ons so that the air compressors will notice when the air falls short and start sucking air automatically.

However, it is just annoying to stop your task and wait for the tank to refill. I suggest you choose an air tank of at least 5 gallons for small size impact wrenches like the ½ inch ones. If you only run air tools intermittently, 5-gallon air tanks are more than enough.

For more significant air tools, considering air compressor with at least 20 gallons. If you want to run multiple wrenches or work continuously, it is better to get a bigger size air tank.

What is the difference between SCFM and CFM?

Air compressors often come in various shapes, sizes and motors, and configurations. Most of the time when I look at the product specifications, the first thing I notice is the CFM, and it is also the most basic assessment for a suitable air compressor.

CFM stands for Cubic Feet per Minute, used to measure the air flow at a specific air pressure one compressor can generate. Though CFM is a vital guideline, it doesn’t tell the whole truth about the capacity of air compressors. This is because CFM doesn’t factor in the heat and friction that would cause lost flow. In this case, you should look at the ACFM or actual CFM for better comprehension of the measuring air flow.

SCFM stands for standard Cubic Feet per Minute. Typically SCFM evaluates the ACFM and then creates a set of standards on which both science and the industry agree. This standard covers temperature, humidity, and pressure. SCFM can vary from place to place.

In short, CFM refers to the amount of air flow that one particular air compressor can generate, while SCFM implies the standardization that generic manufacturers have to follow when producing their machines.

Verdict

Impact wrenches and other heavy-duty air tools require well-built air compressors. When you shop for one, don’t forget to list down the CFM, PSI, and air tanks as the three most important factors to evaluate suitable compressors. In this list of best air compressors for impact wrenches, I have listed down all the most excellent products you can find on the market. I do hope that you would find a right one after reading this list.

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