Below are our recommendations for the 4 best air compressors for impact wrenches on the market:
Eagle EA-5000 Silent Series 5000 Air Compressor
- Eagle EA-5000 Silent Series 5000 Air Compressor 125 psi MAX Side Stack with wheels, Blue, 5 gallon
- Price: $449.00
- Price as of 09/19/2020 13:35 PDT(more info)
The Eagle EA-5000 Silent Series is pretty much perfect for driving a ½” impact air wrench. This particular compressor is also highly portable, which makes things more convenient for being able to easily maneuver around whatever you’re working on.
This compressor produces 5CFM at 90PSI (see full specs), which is more than enough to drive an impact wrench and let you tear off or tighten those tough bolts. The only issue is that it’s a little bit expensive for a portable compressor but most people will find that its ease-of-use outweighs the higher price.
DEWALT 4-1/2-Gallon 200-PSI Hand Carry Air Compressor
- DEWALT Air Compressor, 225-PSI Max, Hand Carry with Wheels, 4-1/2 Gallon (D55146)
- Price: $416.99
- Price as of 09/19/2020 08:25 PDT(more info)
DeWalt’s reputation as one of the leading producers of tools isn’t strained when it comes to their D55146 compressor. This 4.5 gallon machine produces enough air to keep things going, 5CFM at 90PSI, and the large tank means that you can still pull bolts in rapid succession.
On top of that, it’s easily portable and the price is just about right for the average home DIYer. In addition, it runs pretty quietly, producing only 78 dBa, which is under the threshold for hearing damage although not quiet by any means. For the average at-home user, this is likely the best air compressor for impact wrenches.
Makita MAC5200 Big Bore 3.0 HP Air Compressor
- Makita MAC5200 Big Bore 3.0 HP Air Compressor
- Price: $399.41
- Price as of 09/19/2020 05:08 PDT(more info)
Makita’s MAC5200 is exactly what you’re looking for when it comes time for a portable compressor to push bigger drivers like ¾”. It pushes 6.5CFM at 90PSI which makes it the most powerful compressor on our list by a decent amount. And all of it is powered by an awesome 3 horsepower motor.
On top of that, the durability is top notch, and while it’s a little bit heavy, it’s also easily portable thanks to the wheels and the folding handle makes it easy to store. This is the best option for those who are looking to use truly powerful tools, and the portability just adds to how awesome it is.
NorthStar Belt Drive Single Stage Portable Air Compressor – 2 HP
- NorthStar Single-Stage Portable Electric Air Compressor - 2 HP, 20-Gallon Vertical, 5.0 CFM
- Price: $549.99 ($0.17 / oz)
- Price as of 09/19/2020 13:35 PDT(more info)
NorthStar produces this awesome 2HP, 20 gallon compressor. While it’s a bit massive for those who are working at home, it’s shop-portable and the larger tank will let you use your impact wrench pretty much all day without having to worry about waiting for things to recharge.
While it might be a bit much for the average home user, the 5.0CFM at 90PSI rating and huge tank (see full specs) makes it perfect for those who are pulling and pushing bolts all day without rest. If you never want to have to worry about waiting for your compressor to recharge with your impact wrench, then the investment here is pretty small compared to the value you’ll get.
Picking out the Best Air Compressor for Impact Wrenches
Air compressors aren’t really as complex as some people think they are. Indeed, once you know the metrics you’re looking for, you’ll be able to pick one that’ll work pretty easily.
The metric you’re looking for, by the way, is a minimum of 4.0CFM at 90PSI for a ½” impact wrench and a minimum of 5.0CFM at 90PSI for ¾”. The rest is mostly up to personal preference, but we checked for the following qualities before recommending them to you.
While you can get an impressive, on paper, compressor from a place like Harbor Freight for a super low cost, there’s one problem: compressors are under a lot of stress and cheap ones break down quickly.
This means that buying a name brand compressor is pretty much the way to go when you’re planning on using things for a long time. Indeed, you’ll probably end up saving money since you can rely on it instead of having to repair or replace your tool on a regular basis.
For an impact wrench, the air capacity of a compressor isn’t super important with one exception: in tire shops and brake shops it’s not uncommon for a compressor to have to be used on a near constant basis.
While 4 or 5 gallons of air will let you pull a tire or two before a recharge, when it comes to pulling everything you’re going to want something on the order of 15 gallons or more.
We have a tendency to use our impact wrenches all around the garage or shop. Since there’s only a limited amount of line associated with your tool, chances are you’re going to have to reposition your compressor at least once in a while.
This means that the weight of the compressor and how easy it is to cart around are huge when it comes down to it.
This means, for most people, that unless you have a shop you’re going to want something with a smaller capacity to keep the weight down.
It also means that wheels and handles are pretty much essential to making sure that you’re able to get things where they need to go.
How much you’re willing to spend on your compressor depends largely on how much you’re going to be using it. It’s worth it to spend a few extra dollars if you’re going to be using your compressor nearly every day.
On the other hand, if you’re just a weekend warrior you might want to save a little bit and invest in a wider range of tools.
We hope that we’ve helped you find the best air compressor for impact wrenches. We know it can be frustrating when you’re looking for that perfect tool but with a little bit of thought you can make sure that you have exactly what you need and that it lasts for years to come. Good luck!
Founder of Mechanicalcaveman.com, Beau is an unrepentant tool enthusiast and, sporting deadlift-callused hands and incongruously a beer belly, all-around macho guy. When he doesn’t know re tools, he consults with his handyman and car-repairman buds to give you well-reasoned and cutting-edge info. Email him.