5/51 rating

House renovation and trimming jobs are numerous and essential. To streamline and facilitate them, ensuring DIY jobs safety, select the best air compressor for nail gun, lightweight and perfectly portable, but still durable and reliable.

Quite naturally, a 1-6-gallon capacity unit is not sufficient for powering sanders, sprayers or impact wrenches. A larger and higher-pressure compressor would be necessary for these projects. However, the different output units can be recognized as the best air compressor for roofing, framing or brad nailing tasks solving. Thus, I have tested 4 reliable units, highlighting their pros and cons, distinctive features and characteristics. Each of them is preferable in terms of power, durability, portability or affordability. I hope, this article helps you to select a well-suited, long-lasting, efficient product.

The 4 Best Air Compressors for Nail Guns

Makita AC001: The Best Air Compressor Overall

Makita AC001

The unit is definitely the most compact and lightweight of all products reviewed herewith. It is suitable for cabinetry, DIY and trim projects. Equipped with 1-gallon tank, 1/6-HP motor, the compressor produces 0.45CFM @ 90 PSI that is sufficient for brad and finishing tools.

Due to the compact, roll cage design, the unit is extremely handy and portable. It requires less maintenance than the large devices thanks to oil-less motor type. Meanwhile, it produces up to 125 PSI, is virtually noiseless and suitable for interior use. Additionally, it is equipped with reliable, cast iron key parts and protective roll cage. Due to the unique Makita piston construction, it is fast, durable and efficient.

Therefore, I recommend the product as the best air compressor for brad nailer, preferable for homeowners and occasional renovation or house trimming jobs. It is congenial for inflating bike tires and some finishing or cleaning projects. Additionally, the compressor is successfully used by amateur carpenters for occasional jobs.


  • compact
  • lightweight
  • low-maintenance
  • adjustable
  • quiet (72dBA)
  • affordable
  • good for interior use


  • not suitable for heavy-duty applications like car painting
  • good only for infrequent use
  • it takes several minutes to refill
  • wimpy to inflate a car tire
  • runs out of air soon

California Air Tools 2010A: The Quietest, Compact Compressor for Indoor Use

California Air Tools 2010A

The compressors promoted under California Air Tools brand are famous as the quiet and lightweight ones. Producing only about 56 dB, the 2010A unit, equipped with 2-gallon tank, 1-HP motor is perfectly lightweight, requiring no regular maintenance. The hotdog-style tank is aluminum, while the pump is oil-free, great for multiple applications and uses, especially for light-duty ones. It is handy, cost-efficient and eco-friendly.

1.1 CFM @ 90 PSI, pressure up to 120 PSI make the compressor appropriate for multiple DIY, low-performance projects. I call it the best air compressor for finishing nailer, as it is powerful enough for the application. Additionally, the item is affordable, and, therefore, popular and top-rated.

Weighing only 33.2 pounds, coming with 3000-hour life pump, the compressor is preferable for household and occasional use, at home, or in university labs. It is essential for amateur woodworkers and homeowners, perfectly matched with light nail guns, as well as used for blowing out or cleaning dirt, inflating bike tires. When it goes about the roofing or framing applications, it is helpful for occasional, short-time projects, only.


  • ultra-quiet
  • well-built
  • rust-free, eco-friendly tank
  • affordable
  • low-maintenance
  • lightweight
  • great finish
  • fast to recover (13 sec)
  • rubber feet that damper vibration


  • common regulator and valve issues
  • not sufficient for energy-consuming tools
  • the filter is not included
  • not good for daily use and car painting, bolts screwing, truck tires inflating applications

California Air Tools CAT4620AC: The Best Air Compressor for Framing Nailer

California Air Tools CAT4620AC

The unit is nearly the same quiet as the previous item. It produces only up to 70 dB that is pretty good for the devices. The pump is an oil-free, 3000-hours life, the tanks are dual, aluminum, lightweight and rust-free. Therefore, the compressor is durable, portable and user-friendly.

Meanwhile, equipped with 4.6-gallon tanks altogether, 2-HP motor, it produces 5.3 CFM @ 90 PCI. Its max pressure is 125 psi, sufficient for all nailing jobs. The unit is evidently the most powerful of all compressors reviewed herewith, versatile and capacious.

The compressor is not the cheapest, but it’s very popular, being quite efficient, versatile and suitable for diverse household, carpeting and renovation projects. Additionally, rotating at 1680 RPM speed, it is long-lasting and efficient.


  • ultra-quiet
  • cold start is enabled
  • easy to maintain
  • powerful
  • lightweight, rust-free, aluminum dual-tank design
  • fast to refill the tank
  • great performance
  • attractive finish
  • sufficient for filling tires and even for occasional, oil spraying tasks


  • common control panel, connector, gauge issues
  • the real noise level according to the tests is about 78 dB
  • not the most robust
  • a bit expensive
  • still not suitable for heavy-duty, air-consuming tools and everyday use

Hitachi KNT50 AB: A Powerful, High-Capacity, Versatile Small Air Compressor

Hitachi KNT50 AB

The unit is promoted as the best-suited for brad nailing tools. Meanwhile, 6-gallon tank, 2.8 CFI @ 90 PSI air flow, max 150 PSI makes it quite efficient to power various nail guns, even the heavy-duty ones.

The compressor is initially designed for cabinetry and finishing projects, but its power and airflow is sufficient for furniture building and trim fastening applications. So, I can recommend it as the best air compressor for framing tasks completing, especially for light-duty ones.

The unit is oil-lubricated, so it requires maintenance. Due to pancake design, it’s handy and steady. Additionally, weighing only 47 pounds, it’s more lightweight than the previous, aluminum-tank product. The compressor is as designed for powering several nailers simultaneously. It is supplied in a kit with a brad nailer. The safety glasses, lubricant, a hose with fittings are included.


  • reliable
  • top-quality
  • powerful
  • lightweight
  • suitable for framing and furniture building applications
  • not expensive
  • compact and stable
  • easy-to-carry
  • accurate on wooden surfaces and baseboards
  • suitable for small drills


  • requires maintenance
  • not sufficient for sprayer guns, sanders, impact wrenches
  • common nail jam issues
  • some plastic parts are available
  • not recommended to contractors for everyday use

Buyers Guide

The compressor, purchased to power a nail gun, is a small one. Quite naturally, it’s not powerful enough for air-consuming, heavy-duty tools. 1-6 gallons of air are sufficient for short-time, DIY works. But the tank capacity commonly determines only the filling time.

The airflow commonly varies from 0.45 to 2.8 CFM. High-output devices are better, as they are efficient and high-performance. Meanwhile, high pressure means that small units perform like the larger ones that are more powerful and capacious. Thus, the best air compressor for framing nailer is to produce not less than 120-150 PSI. Finishing and brad tools are easier to power, as they are less consuming.

The compressors are pretty good for small wood and finishing projects like trimming, boarding, etc. Due to handy regulators, the pressure can be changed to 80 or 100 PSI, following the wood density. Lower PSI is preferable when the wood is soft-textured and the nails are going too far, for continuous operation. Otherwise, turn the pressure up to streamline nailing. However, which compressor is preferable for the certain needs?


The best air compressor for nail gun is selected according to the nailer’s type. The tools designed for roofing and framing are air-consuming. To power them, pick out 3-6-gallon items that produce not less than 125 PSI, 2 CFM units, at least. Smaller compressors are sufficient for small, brad and finishing tools.

Additional options are also important. Lightweight and less maintenance (oil-free) units are handy and convenient for homeowners and DIY carpenters. Low noise level is amazing for indoor use. However, don’t forget to check the regulators’ and valves’ positions, the motor origin, as it determines the compressor’s durability and usability. Thus, I hope, having got complete and detailed information, you pick out the suitable compressor that is capacious enough to power available tools and meet your carpeting, woodworking or framing needs completely.