Best Air Compressor For A Finish Nailer

The best air compressor for a finish nailer is usually a pancake compressor.

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

As far as nail guns used for trim & molding type activities go – like finish, brad and pin nailers, they don’t use a significant volume of air per nail shot – hence, the smaller sized compressor.

The good thing about buying a pancake air compressor is they are small and portable enough to be used for other useful activities like filling your car tires.

Let’s have a look at the best air compressor for 15 & 16 gauge finish nailers …


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Top Rated Air Compressor For Finish Nailer

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


Best Air Compressor For Finish Nailer: Reviews

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

View On Amazon

What Makes This Air Compressor Good For A Finish Nailer?

  • Affordable, and can be used for other tasks like pumping your car tires
  • CFM specifications are 2.6 SCFM @ 90 psi – will be enough for most finish nailers
  • 150 psi max capacity
  • 6 gallon total air tank capacity
  • Has water drain valve and rubber feet
  • 120V motor starts easily in cold weather
  • Has an oil-free pump
  • Has a shroud, handle and console for protecting components, carrying and to wrap cords
  • Has two regulated, factory installed air couplers for two connections at a time
  • Weighs only 30 lbs – easy to transport
  • 0.8 horspower/10 Amps
  • 1 year limited warranty
  • Comes with a 13 piece accessory kit including 25 foot long x 1/4″ diameter PVC air hose with coupler and plug assembled, tire chuck with plug, blow gun with plug, tire gauge, blow gun with OSHA saftety nozzle, rubber tip and three inflator adaptors.


What Are Some Potential Improvements?

  • Some people might find this compressor noisy for it’s size as it’s 82 decibels – make sure you have a pair of earplugs or ear muffs if you plan on using it for an extended period


What Else Might You Need With This Compressor?


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 Finish Nailer: Buyer’s Guide & FAQ

What Is A Finish Nailer?

A finish nailer is most commonly a nail gun that shoots 15 or 16 gauge (gauge refers to nail thickness – the lower, the thicker the nail) finish nails.

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


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 Finish Nailer, And Why?

A smaller air compressor like a pancake compressor is usually fine for a finish nailer.

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

To look at it a bit deeper, let’s use a common finish nailer as an example – the Hitachi NT65MA4 15 gauge finish 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 Hitachi 15 gauge, it tells us it’s specs are

70-120 PSI

Owner’s manual says 0.045ft³/cycle of air at 100 PSI


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.


Finish 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 Finish 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 nail gun included.


Best Air Compressor For Finish Nailer: Resources





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