Being an air tool, an impact wrench also needs an air compressor to make itself work. Since there are different sizes of impact wrenches available in the market, anyone might be baffled by what size air compressor do I need for impact wrench. Well, if you’re also looking for the answer, read on—
Basically, a pneumatic impact wrench needs a high CFM configuration & a large tank size for smooth operation. For a ¼ inch impact wrench needs 2-3 CFM at 90 PSI where a ½ inch impact wrench needs 5-6 CFM configuration in the air compressor. A minimum of 10 gallon tank size is required for small to medium sized impact wrench.
What Size Air Compressor Do I Need For Impact Wrench
You do need a suitable air compressor to run a pneumatic impact wrench, but not all air compressors are compatible for running it, let alone different sizes. It’s not that they won’t run with an inappropriately sized air compressor, interrupted action & inadequate power will make the process a failure. You need to have a proper CFM & PSI configuration for using your impact wrench perfectly.
As you know, different sizes of impact wrenches are available to work with different sizes of lug nuts and bolts. Larger impact wrenches will obviously need a bigger air compressor & vice versa. Still, you need to know the range of minimum configuration of the air compressor that you should ensure to get a smooth action from the impact wrench.
So let’s see what size air compressor would be suitable for your air compressor—
Air Compressor Size For ¼ Inch Impact Wrench
An ¼ inch lug nut is easy to loosen or tighten even with a lug nut wrench, so you can tell it doesn’t require a powerful air compressor. An air compressor with a configuration of 2 to 3 CFM at 90 PSI will work just fine with an ¼ inch impact wrench. You can even manage to work with a 1.5 CFM air compressor, but we recommend getting a 2 CFM one for a better outcome.
About the tank size, an ¼ inch impact wrench should work fine with a 6 to 8 gallon air compressor. Impact wrenches usually need a high tank capacity to work smoothly, but an ¼ inch size impact wrench is pretty manageable with a medium tank capacity.
If you already have an air compressor with adequate CFM & PSI configuration but a low tank capacity of 3 to 4 gallons, it’s not going to work. So you may have to dump your beginner air compressor & get a larger air compressor instead.
Air Compressor Size For ⅜ Inch Impact Wrench
Just like ¼ inch impact wrench, any medium sized air compressor should work for ⅜ inch impact wrench. But the configuration should be a little higher than before. In the case of a ⅜ inch impact wrench, the expected configuration will be 3 to 4 CFM at 90 PSI.
About the tank size, an impact wrench of this size will work smoothly with a 10 gallon air compressor. A 10 gallon air compressor is likely to provide more airflow than a 6 gallon air compressor. So you should be looking for a slightly larger tank size in your air compressor.
Air Compressor Size For ½ Inch Impact Wrench
A half inch impact wrench will definitely require a higher configuration on the air compressor, and that is 5 to 6 CFM at 90 to 100 PSI. In order to achieve a CFM this high, your air compressor must have a tank size of at least 15 gallons.
You can still manage to run your ½ inch impact wrench with a 3.5 to 4 CFM configuration. But we recommend getting the 5 CFM one for the perfect balance & smooth operation.
Air Compressor Size For ¾ Inch Impact Wrench
As the impact wrench size is getting larger, the air compressor size should be getting bigger too. Just like that, a ¾ inch impact wrench should be hooked up with an air compressor with 7 to 8 CFM at 90-100 PSI configuration.
To keep your ¾ inch impact wrench on consistent action, you should find an air compressor with at least a 20 gallon tank. Larger lug nuts require more power, and a 20 gallon air compressor can provide the right amount of airflow to facilitate the pressure.
Air Compressor Size For 1 Inch Impact Wrench
Finally, for a 1 inch impact wrench, you may need to get a professional-grade air compressor, which should have a configuration of 10-12 CFM at 100-125 PSI. To provide this much airflow, a tank size of 30 gallons would be pretty appropriate.
There are also larger impact wrenches for working with larger nuts & bolts. Larger vehicles have larger lug nuts & bolts, ranging from 1½ inches to 2½ inches. So you’ll need an industry-grade impact wrench to work with those.
Similarly, these impact wrenches will require bigger air compressors. Only professionals work with such a large impact wrench & air compressor. If you are only to work with regular sized vehicles, you won’t need a large impact wrench as well as an air compressor. Plus they’re pretty expensive to buy, so rely on the professionals for such large-scale tasks.
So there you go, a guide on what size air compressor do I need for impact wrench. I hope this post will help you build the perfect impact wrench setup. Ignite the inner mechanic in yourself & be the perfect garage tinkerer with the right companion. Happy tinkering!