Choosing an Air compressor for a woodworking Shop


Generally, every workshop is never complete without an air compressor. An air compressor refers to a machine that is used to compress air in a bid to power the tools that one is using.

In a wood workshop, the main tools that are powered include the air chisels, paint sprayers, air hammers, among others. These tools are used to make perfect wooden finishes, and if they are not powered enough, then the possibility of getting a wrong end product is high.

Still, the air compressors can be used to pump an inflated tire or sports equipment.

Depending on the size of the wood workshop, some factors ought to be put into consideration while choosing a perfect Below are essential tips that can act as a guide in choosing one.

The type of an Air compressor

There are numerous air compressors, and first users can be left with more questions than answers as they try to figure out the one that fits the best. It is easy to get in a dilemma and buy an air compressor that is not right for the job you intend to work on.

There is, therefore, need to research on the best and available ones in the market, review a number of the buying guides and make a final decision.

A wood workshop may not demand very heavy powered air compressors as those used in the industries.

One can consider choosing from the list of the best 30-gallon air compressors in this article. This is because they are popular in the industries and have great reviews for those who have used them previously.

Again, they are standard sized air compressors that can be used at home, and besides, they are portable enough.

The variety of colors, style can also be choices to make while buying these types of air compressors.

Among the best 30 gallon air compressors include;

  • DeWalt DXCMH1393075 Two Stage
  • Northstar 459382 Gas-Powered.
  • Industrial Air ILA 188354 Compressor
  • DeWalt DXCMLA1683066 Single Stage.

Understand CFM

It’s always important to check on the cube feet per minute, which gives the buyer an idea of the speed at which the air compressor can power the tools.

Therefore, it is crucial to consider the CFM rating as you take into account the tools in the workshop.

Ensure that the compressor can produce enough power. For instance, for a chisel, you will only need a CFM rating of 4, which is sufficient enough to power it. This is contrary to an item like a Circular saw 8-inch which requires more CFM rating of about 12.

So, before choosing the air compressor, evaluate the available tools in the workshop, and make a decision based on them.

Source of Power

There are three primary sources of power, mainly;

  • Gas-powered
  • Electricity
  • Gasoline,

It depends on the use and the output expected. Research for one that will perfectly fit the need. For example, gas-powered air compressors are more efficient while operating heavy machines.

A wood workshop does not necessarily have to have a heavy powered machine.

Gasoline or electricity will work effectively.

Another good thing with gasoline air compressors is that they can be used away from the workstation.

It also works perfect in a place where electricity is not available. The only limitation is the emitting of exhaust fumes which are not healthy to breathe.

However, most compressors are flexible to wood workshops for tools such as a nail gun.

Noise Levels

Most of the machines are prone to making noise while being operated. Depending on the level of noise that an air compressor produces, it’s critical to wear protective gear for the sake of the ears.

Some of the noise of the compressor goes up to 87 decibels and others 60 decibels. This means that the 87 decibels are noisier four ties than the 60 decibels ones and as such, the more need to protect you while using it.

Tank Size

Depending on the air that is required when the tool is in use, it’s essential to consider the tank size.

A large tank holds more air, and the air compressor can be used for a more extended period. As such, if one is working outside the workshop for most of the times, it’s worth considering buying a machine with a large tank size.

This is opposed to a home wood workshop that is only used for light duties, such as air hammers and filling g inflated tires.

Most of the woodworking shops use small tanks, and they still serve the purpose.

Space and Portability

It’s important to consider the space the air compressor is using. In the event that the workshop is small, then go for one that will not consume the entire space.

On the other hand, if the carpenter’s work involves moving around with the compressor, then it’s essential to buy a lightweight one.

They are all available in the market. Besides portability, the shape will also matter. For instance, a slim machine will be comfortable to move along with as compared to a wide one. Others have wheels and handle to push, which make work more comfortable while walking around.

If on the other hand, it’s not portable enough, consider buying a longer hose to aid in reaching out to where the tool to be powered is. This can only make things more comfortable and more convenient.


Safety precautions

As it is for all machines used in workshops, an air compressor is not an exemption. There is a need to ensure safety at all times while in the workshop. This taken into consideration, the below factors must be taken into account when safety measures are concerned.

Additional accessories are available

These include gloves, googles, and earplugs to wear while operating the machine.

The instructions manual to give precaution in the usage such as using the recommended power.

  • One should never use a generator instead of electricity. It will be the best avenue to break down the machine.
  • The Voltage should be sufficient enough as you plug in the socket for use.


Whereas all these could aid in choosing a good air compressor for a woodworking shop, the bottom line lies on the end-user. However, these are critical factors that one can never go long if they are put into consideration.

Besides, there are other specifications, such as:

  • Thermal overload switch- An automatic switch works best by turning itself off when an air compressor overheats.
  • There ought to be a cooling system which aids in extending the motor life.
  • To protect the compressor from the job site, consider having a roll cage.
  • Finally, it’s essential to go for compressors that have a certification badge.

It will add confidence that one will get quality output and service that you could never regret having one.

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