Impact wrenches have a million uses around the home, but you need a compressor to run them. There are many compressor brands, and they have different tank sizes and output varying pressures, so it’s natural to have questions about which is the best for running an impact wrench.
We’ve chosen ten different air compressors to review for you to help you find the best one for impact wrenches. We’ll tell you what we did and didn’t like about each one and any special features it includes. We’ve also included a short buyer’s guide where we take a close look at the air compressor to see how it works So you know what to look for while you shop.
Join us while we take a look at tank size, maximum PSI, weight, portability, and more to help you make an informed purchase.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2021
|Best Overall||Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor||
|Best Value||PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor||
|Premium Choice||Eagle Silent Series 5000 Air Compressor||
|BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor||
|CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor||
These are the ten brands of air compressors for impact wrenches we’re going to review for you.
The 10 Best Air Compressors for Impact Wrenches
1. Campbell Hausfeld FP209499AV Air Compressor – Best Overall
The Campbell Hausfeld FP209499AV Air Compressor is our pick for the best overall air compressor for impact wrenches. It features an oil-less pump for low maintenance operation and large easy to read gauges make it easy to know exactly how much pressure your machine is creating at all times. It delivers 90 pounds per square (PSI) inch of pressure, and the 3-gallon tank stores enough air to tighten most bolts without recharging. It also comes with a ten-piece accessory kit that includes a coil hose, blow gun, inflation needle, and fittings.
We loved this air compressor and used it with our impact wrenches and many other tools, and it never let us down. The only downside we experienced is that it is quite loud (90 dBA @ 3 feet!) – in fact, it’s the loudest on this list, by far.
2. PORTER-CABLE C2002 Air Compressor – Best Value
The PORTER-CABLE C2002 Air Compressor is our pick as the best air compressor for impact wrenches for the money. It features a 6-gallon tank that can store plenty of air for most small and medium-sized jobs. You can store up to 150 PSI in the tank, and it delivers 2.6 cubic feet per minute (CFM) at 90 PSI out of the hose. It has two easy to read gauges that tell you how much pressure remains in the tank as well as how much is in the line. A handy shroud covers the gauges and other important parts to protect them from the weather during downtime. Two regulated air couplers allow two people to use the machine at the same time.
The downside to the PORTER-CABLE C2002 is that it’s very loud and puts out strong enough vibrations to move out of place while you are using it. The instructions are also quite hard to follow because it’s a large foldout instead of a book.
3. Eagle EA-5000 Silent Series 5000 Air Compressor – Premium Choice
The Eagle EA-5000 Silent Series 5000 Air Compressor is our premium choice air compressor for impact wrenches. It features quiet operation due to its low RPM motor design. It also has a low amp draw when you turn it on, and the oil-free double piston pump never needs maintenance. It delivers 6.1-CFM at 90-PSI, but you can adjust it for other outputs as well. The 5.5-gallon tank stores plenty of air for most small and medium-size jobs, and the drain valve is easy to use when you finish working and need to empty the machine.
The biggest downside to the Eagle EA-5000 is that the power cord is extremely short, so you might need an extension cord. It’s also a little bit heavier than many of the other models on this list.
4. BOSTITCH BTFP02012 Pancake Air Compressor
The BOSTITCH BTFP02012 Pancake Air Compressor features a six-gallon tank. Its high-efficiency motor delivers 2.6 CFM at 90 PSI, and it’s easier to start in cold weather. Two couplers allow two people to use the compressor simultaneously, and the oil-free pump requires very little maintenance.
Unfortunately, there are several downsides to the BOSTITCH. It’s very loud (78.5 dBA) and quite heavy to move around (31 pounds), and the tank fills very slowly and requires several minutes to get usable pressure. It’s just as difficult to remove air from the machine because the knurled knob doesn’t work as well, so it’s a long process.
5. CRAFTSMAN CMEC6150K Air Compressor
The CRAFTSMAN CMEC6150K Air Compressor Features a six-gallon tank and an engine designed for cold weather starting and quick recovery time. It puts out 2.6 CFM at 90 PSI continuously, and the tank can store up to 150 PSI. The oil-free pump requires no maintenance and extends the life of the motor.
Our problem with the CRAFTSMAN CMEC6150K was that the instructions were not very helpful and left many questions unanswered. We also found it extremely loud, and the hose was almost laughably small.
6. Senco PC1010 Air Compressor
The Senco PC1010 Air Compressor is a lightweight air compressor that also runs very quiet. We had no problem using this model in a small room. Its tiny size can fit almost anywhere, and its aluminum body is durable while remaining lightweight. It feels like a high-quality tool and puts out 1.4 CFM at 90 PSI.
However, the Senco PC1010 suffers because it only has a one-gallon tank. The small tank size does not allow the unit to store enough air for anything but the smallest of jobs. Basketballs and bike tires will be fine, but automobile tires and impact wrenches may push the tool too hard. In some cases, you may need to pause midway to allow the compressor to cool.
7. California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S Air Compressor
The California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S Air Compressor Is one of the quietest air compressors on this list, and its oil-free pump helps it work better in cold weather. It can build up to 120 PSI maximum pressure, and it has a low amp draw, so it won’t dim the lights every time it starts up. It also has several safety features, including thermal overload protection.
The downside to California Air Tools is that it only puts out about 1.2 CFM at 90 PSI, which might not be enough for your impact wrench. Its small one-gallon tank is only good for small jobs like basketballs and bike tires, and it puts out strong vibrations while it’s running, which could cause it to walk across the floor. It has suction cups instead of proper feet, and the flimsy plastic regulator knob is easy to break.
8. Makita MAC5200 Big Bore 3.0 HP Air Compressor
The Makita MAC5200 Big Bore 3.0 HP Air Compressor is a powerful compressor that puts out 6.5 CFM at 90 PSI using its powerful 3-horsepower motor, which should be enough to power your impact wrench. It’s cast iron soul cylinder is extremely durable and ready for years of hard use. The folding handles make it easier to store in the rugged wheels provide stability and portability. The industrial-strength air filter keeps contaminants from entering the motor, and the built-in storage compartment lets you keep everything with you while you work.
The downside to the is it a little higher maintenance than several of the other models because it’s not oil-free, so you will need to Keep an eye on the levels and add oil from time to time. The oil in the engine also makes it a lot harder to start in cold weather, and at 75 pounds, this is one of the heavier air compressors on this list.
9. DEWALT DCC2560T1 FLEXVOLT MAX Air Compressor
The DEWALT DCC2560T1 FLEXVOLT MAX Air Compressor is created by a company well known for making powerful and durable tools. It’s a USA-made battery-powered compressor that features a brushless motor that increases output, uses less power, and extends battery life. The 2.5-gallon tank allows you to store enough air for smaller jobs, and it comes with the battery and charger.
The downside to the DEWALT DCC2560T1 is that it only puts out 1.2 CFM at 90 PSI, which may not be enough to power your impact wrench for very long. It takes several minutes to fill, and recovery time is also slow. Every now and then, we would also notice a brief smell of burning electronics.
10. NorthStar Single-Stage Portable Electric Air Compressor
The NorthStar Single-Stage Portable Electric Air Compressor features a 20-gallon tank capacity and can deliver 5.0 CFM at 90 PSI. There are two cylinders for holding air, and it can hold up to 135 PSI. It includes smooth-rolling solid tires that won’t go flat and use smooth and use long-life ball bearings. We found it to be a well-built tool that holds air for several days.
The biggest downside to the is that the regulator is ¼-inch and is too small to put out enough pressure to run an impact wrench. We upgraded to a ⅜-inch regulator and got much better performance from the machine, which made the impact wrench work much better. However, this is an expensive machine to require modifications, and there are other problems with it as well. The drain valve is in a place that makes it’s difficult to remove all of the condensation from the tank, and it’s a bit top-heavy and could easily trip over.
Let’s take a look at some important things to consider before you purchase a compressor for an impact wrench.
CFM, or cubic feet per minute, Is the measure of how much air the machine can move per minute. This number will affect the recovery rate of the device, and it tells us how much air comes out of the hose. The impact wrench is an intermittent air tool because it uses the air in short bursts. Intermittent air means you don’t need as much CFM as a continuous running machine like an air gun. However, impact wrenches will need a certain amount of air to drive the bolts, and if it’s more than the machine can supply, it will drain the tank. If the CFM isn’t sufficient to keep the tank full, you will need to take frequent breaks to allow it to catch up.
Impact wrenches don’t need nearly as much CFM as other tools, but they require more than a nail gun. While you could probably get away with around 1 CFM for small jobs like changing a tire, we recommend purchasing the highest number you can to make sure you have enough air to complete the job.
As the impact wrench works, the tank will lose air, and the pump will replace that air based on its CFM rate. If you use the air faster than your compressor can replace it, you will need to take a break to let it recharge. If you use your impact wrench a lot or the compressor is not very strong, we recommend a larger tank. Most of the tanks on our list are under five gallons, perfect for small and medium-size jobs. If you have an automotive shop or use your tool regularly, you’ll want to look for something above ten gallons.
While the CFM and tank size are the most important things to look at when choosing an air compressor for impact wrenches, there are several other things to consider, as well.
To make it easier to compare, we listed the CFM at 90 PSI in each of our reviews. However, some machines will let you adjust the PSI available from the hose, and this may be a feature you desire if you will use your compressor for other tools. You make adjustments through a regulator, and you want to make sure your model has a durable regulator you can change.
While an impact wrench isn’t something you typically drag around the house. If you plan on using your compressor with other tools, like a brad nailer, you may consider how heavy the unit is before you purchase it. Many of the units on this list have wheels, but that’s not always the case.
When finished, you always want to release the pressure from the tank to protect the seals. However, there’s nothing more frustrating than when the tank keeps losing air while you’re working. We recommend checking reviews to see how long the tank holds air and purchase a unit that can stay pressurized overnight.
Many people don’t consider the drain valve until after they’ve purchased the unit. However, condensation can build up and cause water to settle at the bottom of the tank, and a good drain valve is important to remove that water before it causes rust and corrosion. We recommend checking that the drain valve is on or near the bottom of the tank and is easy to use.
More buying guides like this:
- Best Cordless Impact Wrenches of 2020 – Top Picks & Reviews
- Our favorite air compressors for the money: a close look
- Which portable air compressor gives the most value for the money?
When choosing an air compressor for impact wrenches, we recommend our top choice for most people. The Campbell Hausfeld FP209499AV Air Compressor comes with a ten-piece accessory kit that has everything you need to get started. It has a big enough tank and provides enough pressure to get you through most small to medium-sized jobs. If you need something stronger, we recommend our premium choice. The Eagle EA-5000 Silent Series 5000 Air Compressor costs a bit more, but it’s extremely powerful and has a larger tank.
We hope you enjoyed reading over these reviews and found them helpful. If you have learned something new from our buyer’s guide, please share these air compressors for impact wrenches on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured Imaged Credit: Amazon
Pete has been working in the trades since high school, where he first developed a passion for woodworking. Over the years, he has developed a keen interest in a wide variety of DIY projects around the home. Fascinated by all sort of tools, Pete loves reading and writing about all the latest gadgets and accessories that hit the market. His other interests include astronomy, hiking, and fishing.
As the founder of House Grail, David’s primary goal is to help consumers make educated decisions about DIY projects at home, in the garage, and in the garden.
- 1 A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2021
- 2 The 10 Best Air Compressors for Impact Wrenches
- 2.1 1. Campbell Hausfeld FP209499AV Air Compressor – Best Overall
- 2.2 2. PORTER-CABLE C2002 Air Compressor – Best Value
- 2.3 3. Eagle EA-5000 Silent Series 5000 Air Compressor – Premium Choice
- 2.4 4. BOSTITCH BTFP02012 Pancake Air Compressor
- 2.5 5. CRAFTSMAN CMEC6150K Air Compressor
- 2.6 6. Senco PC1010 Air Compressor
- 2.7 7. California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S Air Compressor
- 2.8 8. Makita MAC5200 Big Bore 3.0 HP Air Compressor
- 2.9 9. DEWALT DCC2560T1 FLEXVOLT MAX Air Compressor
- 2.10 10. NorthStar Single-Stage Portable Electric Air Compressor
- 3 Buyer’s Guide
- 4 Conclusion