Will a 6 Gallon Air Compressor Run an Impact Wrench? [Answered!]

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A 6-gallon air compressor might run an impact wrench, but is it ideal? The same question can be applied to pancake air compressors because most of them are also 6 gallons.

Continue reading to find out more.

An impact wrench is a highly powered mechanical tool. It requires a lot of energy to operate efficiently. An overwhelming number of impact wrenches on the market are pneumatic. There are battery-powered impact wrenches too, but those aren’t very powerful.

To operate a pneumatic impact wrench, you need a suitable air compressor with enough tank size or capacity.

If the tank size or the power is too low, you won’t get the desired result from your impact wrench tool.

Will a 6 Gallon Air Compressor Run an Impact Wrench

Will a 6-gallon Air Compressor Run an Impact Wrench?

A 6-gallon air compressor will run an impact wrench. However, the size of the impact wrench matters significantly. However, keep in mind that the size and capacity of a 6 gallon air compressor may not suffice when you need to use it for a larger impact wrench. In that case, you may need to switch to a larger capacity air compressor.

Most impact wrenches on the market are above 1/2 inch, and those require over 5 CFM. 6-gallon air compressors typically provide around 2 CFM. This means you have to fill the tank at least twice its size, needing more time and lessening productivity.

What Size Air Compressor Do You Need to Use for an Impact Wrench?

To answer this question, you must consider your impact wrench and the CFM it needs to run effectively. Multiply your impact wrench-required CFM by 6 to get the size you need.

For instance, if your impact wrench requires 10 CFM, then

A 10 X 6 = 60 L (liter) air compressor would be needed.

Divide by 3.785 to get the size in gallons.

60/3.785 = 15.8 gallons This means for a 10 CFM impact wrench, you need at least a 16-gallon air compressor to power it effectively.

Considerations in Choosing The Right Air Compressor Size for Your Impact Wrench

It can get confusing to pick the right air compressor for your impact wrench. So here are a few considerations:

Project or Job Size

Before picking an air compressor, consider the type and size of the project you plan to undertake. For larger projects, you should get a larger air compressor.

As a rule of thumb, the larger the project, the larger the air compressor tanks you should consider. Examples of projects that need large air compressors are construction or vehicle assembly. On the other hand, smaller projects could be loosening a tire bolt.

Impact Wrench Size

As suggested earlier, the size of your impact wrench affects your choice of air compressor. You will not get any value from using a 6-gallon air compressor on a 20 CFM impact wrench. The result could be damaging. Always consider the size or capacity of your impact wrench.

Space Requirement

Whether in your workshop or outside, air compressors require a substantial amount of space for safety reasons. The larger the air compressor, the larger the space required. If you don’t have the space and your impact wrench doesn’t require a lot of power, consider getting a decent sized air compressor.

All of these considerations keep in mind, we choose the Craftsman 6 gallon Pancake Air Compressor to run an impact wrench.

What can 6-gallon Air compressors Be Used for?

6-gallon air compressors are versatile and typically used for tasks around the home. They are low-capacity air compressors that are safe and suitable for air-powered home tools. If you are a DIYer, you are familiar with these tools and their uses. Tasks such as changing and inflating tires, nailing, and blowing dust and debris are all made easy with air compressors.

Here are some of the tools you can use the 6-gallon air compressor for and their uses:

  • Air blowers
  • Nail guns
  • Air drills
  • Blowguns
  • Die grinders
  • Cut off tool
  • Tire inflator
  • Low capacity impact wrench (e.g., 1/4 inches)

For more details watch the following video.

6-Gallon Air Compressors Specifications

There are a few terms (CFM, PSI, HP) you should be aware of when choosing a 6 gallon air compressor.

CFM (Cubic Feet Per Minute)

This indicates the amount of air an air compressor can generate at a certain pressure level. It is the measurement of the flow rate of the air compressor. For a 6-gallon Air compressor, the average CFM is usually around 2.6. Depending on the brand, you could get a lower or higher CFM, but it is not typically very high.

Read More: Does tank size affect CFM?

PSI (Pound Per Square Inch)

The term describes the maximum amount of force an air compressor can produce. For an average 6-gallon air compressor, the PSI can range from 120 to 150. You would be hard pressed to find a 6-gallon air compressor that eclipses 160 PSI.

HP (Horsepower)

Although not as crucial as the CFM and PSI, it is still a relevant criterion. Recent air compressors come with lower horsepower, but they still do the same work. The HP value tells you the energy required to power your air compressor or device. Air compressors with lower horsepower help save energy.

Which is The Smallest Air Compressor for My Impact Wrench?

There are smaller air compressors, some as low as 0.5 gallons. The lowest impact wrench is the 1/4 inch impact wrench which requires about 1 or 1.5 CFM.

Most low-capacity or low-duty impact wrench requires at least a 6-gallon air compressor to function correctly. However, consider getting a lower air compressor if your impact wrench requires less than 2.6CFM or 90 PSI.

How to Determine How Much Air flow Your Impact Wrench Requires?

Whatever air compressor you are getting should be able to supply the impact wrench with its minimum required CFM and PSI.

As a rule of thumb, to determine what air flow is suitable for an impact wrench, multiply the CFM of your impact wrench by 1.5.


Will a 3-gallon Air Compressor Run an Impact Wrench?

The answer is most likely no. The lowest impact wrench is a 1/4 inch, requiring at least 1.5 CFM. This means you wouldn’t do much with a 3 gallon air compressor because they do not produce this level of CFM.

Read also: Will a 3 Gallon Air Compressor Fill a Car Tire?

How Much Air Pressure Does an Impact Wrench Need?

This information is usually supplied by the manufacturer. Check the manufacturer’s manual or the sticker on the impact wrench to find out. Typically, around 70 to 90 PSI is required.


6-gallon air compressors are quite popular and can handle most DIY tasks in your home. These air compressors can also power the impact wrench recommended for home use. However, always consider the manufacturer’s guide when operating your impact wrench.

In this article, we have discussed pairing your impact wrench with a suitable air compressor in finer detail. Here are our final recommendations:

  • If you are buying an air compressor for home use, make sure to get a 6 gallon size. It would power most, if not all, of your home tools.
  • Always buy the recommended impact wrench for home use.
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