Best Air Compressor For A Brad Nailer

The best air compressor for a brad nailer is usually a smaller portable air compressor.

Pancake compressors are small air compressors that are usually portable, and around 3-6 gallons in size.

Brad nailers use minimal amount of air per nail fired, compared to another air tool like say an air hammer that has high air consumption requirements.

The good thing about buying a pancake air compressor is they useful for other common activities like filling your car tires.

Let’s have a look at the best air compressor for 18 gauge brad nailers …


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Top Rated Air Compressor For Brad Nailer

Best Air Compressor For Brad Nailer – PORTER-CABLE C2002-WK Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor Kit (on Amazon)


Best Air Compressor For Brad Nailer: Reviews

PORTER-CABLE C2002-WK Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor with 13-Piece Accessory Kit

This is the same pancake compressor we reviewed in the guide for air compressors for finish nailers.

Head over to that article if you want to read about:

  • The pancake compressor specs
  • Good points about the compressor
  • How the compressor could be better
  • What else is needed with the air compressor – read this guide on brad nailers if you don’t have a brad nail gun yet.


Where To Check Out This Pancake Compressor?

View the PORTER-CABLE C2002-WK Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor Kit on Amazon


Best Air Compressor For Brad Nailer: Buyer’s Guide & FAQ

What Is A Brad Nailer?

A brad nailer is most commonly a nail gun that shoots 18 gauge (gauge refers to nail thickness – the lower, the thicker the nail) brads, or brad nails.

Brad nails fit in between finish and pin nails in terms of thickness and profile – and they may or may not come with a head on the nail.

Brad nailers, like finish and pin nailers, are used for finishing type activities like fixing trim, molding, baseboards and woodwork like cabinetry tasks.

Some tradesmen say a brad nailer is their most flexible and most used finishing type air nailer.


What Is An Air Compressor?

An air compressor is a tank used to power air tools, like air nail guns.


What Type Of Air Compressor Is Used For A Brad Nailer, And Why?

A smaller air compressor like a pancake compressor is usually suitable for a brad nailer.

The reason for this is that driving a brad nail does not use a lot of air.

To look at it a bit deeper, let’s use a common brad nailer as an example – the WEN 6172 18 gauge brad nailer.

Probably the two essential pieces of information you want to get from a finish nailer owner’s manual when you purchase is PSI, and CFM (air volume used per minute).

For the WEN 18 gauge, it tells us it’s specs are:

60–100 PSI Operating Pressure

1.8 CFM


With an air compressor, you want to look at the CFM/SCFM to make sure it matches up.

With the above PORTER CABLE compressor, it does 2.6 SCFM at 90 psi – which meets the requirements.

There are other factors you can look at for an air compressor like tank size and horsepower to name a few, but to simplify it, the above factors are quite key.


Brad Nailer Air Compressor Bits & Accessories

Sometimes bits are included, and sometimes not. Common accessories you’ll need are:

An air hose

Outlet attachments




Air pressure gauges

For oil compressors, you usually get compressor oil included too


Features To Look For In An Air Compressor For A Brad Nailer

As mentioned above, CFM and PSI are important. Other factors you might look at are


Air capacity/tank size


What accessories are included

Whether the compressor is oil free, or not

What sort of outlets and valves it has


Check if the coupler and plug are factory installed or whether you have to install them yourself


You also want to take into account what else you will be using the compressor for.

If you are using it for tools like an air chisel for example, they use a lot more air, so you should consider a bigger compressor.

NOTE: some air compressors come with a brad nail gun included.


Best Air Compressor For Brad Nailer: Resources





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