You can seriously hurt someone with a Pneumatic Nailer and I would not hesitate to defend my home with one if it came down to it. If you think about it though, it is just air, compressed air. Amazing that air, coupled with a nail and a pump, can be such a powerful force. This all comes about with air compressor the use of an air compressor.
Air compressors come in many shapes, sizes and abilities. The most important factor in choosing an air compressor is to determine the maximum CFM (cubic foot/minute) the tools that you are using require. CFM requirements are tool specific, for example, a paint sprayer or framing nailer will require a much higher CFM than a brad gun or a trim nailer. An air compressor with a larger tank will typically have a higher CFM because basically there is more air available for the tool to use. More specifically, the CFM output is related to the pump size.
It is recommended that you purchase an air compressor with a CFM capacity of 25% greater than what you will need. The durability of the air compressor is directly related to how long the pump has to run to keep your pneumatic tool working. If you use an undersized air compressor for the type of tool that you have and the work that you are doing, you will reduce the life of the air compressor pump.
Here are a few things to consider before you purchase an air compressor:
- Oil-free versus oil lubricated – The oil lubricated air compressors need to be serviced regularly. They are more durable because of this regular servicing and perform better in a non-climate controlled environments such as a garage or when used outdoors in cold weather.
- Noise – Another difference between air compressors is the higher the rpm on the motor, typically, the noisier the compressor will be. Makita makes an air compressor that runs on a slower speed motor. They are the quietest air compressor available and have a capacity of 4.2CFMs. Noise quickly becomes important when you are listening to the pump turn on intermittently in your house.
- Rating CFM output – This difference is due to the location of the Rating Facility. An air compressor that is CFM rated at sea level will not have the same output if you take it up to say, Breckenridge, Colorado at 9,000 feet above sea level.
- Cooling capacity – Makita brand air compressors use cooling fins. These aluminum cooling fins wrap around the copper tube that connects the pump to the tank. The aluminum conducts the heat to the increased surface area that these fins provide, thus keeping your air compressor cooler and increasing its lifespan.
- Air Intake Filters – All air compressors have an intake air filter that must be kept clean or it will reduce the capacity of your pump. The air filters need to be changed regularly depending upon how often you use your air compressor. Follow the instructions on your specific brand to see how often the air filter needs to be changed on your compressor.