Air Tool Consumption Guide

How much air does your air tool need?

Every air tool requires a different amount of air. The average air consumption of each tool is usually stated as X CFM, where X is the required number of cubic feet per minute at a given pressure.

But if you’re trying to work out how much air power you need from your air compressor, it’s not always easy to work out what each tool requires (especially if you long ago lost the box and instructions).

Our Air Tool Consumption Guide gives you the typical requirements of common air tools. These are averages, so please use them as a guide, nothing more*.

It’s also important to remember that pressure, power supply, the number of tools/users at any one time and system leaks can all affect compressor consumption. To be certain about the capacity of your air compressor, talk to us.

Algar Air Air Tool Consumption Guide

Angle grinder (4")18-2570-90
Angle grinder (7")25-3570-90
Drill (3/8")570-90
Drill (1/2")1270-90
Impact wrench (1/2")4-670-90
Impact wrench (3/4")970-90
Impact wrench (1")1470-90
Lift (2 ton)5-8130-150
Nail gun2-8.570-120
Plasma cutter6-860-100
Ratchet wrench (1/2")2-570-90
Rivet gun1.5-370-90
Sandblaster (gun)8-12100
Sandblaster (cabinet)10-4050-100
Sandblaster (dual action)10-2070-90
Spray gun (low pressure)1.5-420-40
Spray gun (standard)7-1450-60
Spray gun (high pressure)14-2070-90
Staple gun0.3-1070-120
Tyre changer4-6150
Tyre inflator2-4150-230
Underbody coating gun4100

*Please note: Algar Air is not liable for any purchasing decisions taken as a result of using this guide. Please talk to us to ensure your air compressor is suitable for your needs.

How to calculate how much air power you need

  • Add the CFMs of all the air tools you’ll be using at the same time
  • Multiply this total by 1.2 to give yourself at least 20% extra capacity for you to add extra tools. If you expect to add several new tools, all of which will be in use together, x1.5 to be on the safe side. If you’re comparing air compressors, you’ll need to convert the CFM to SCFM (standard cubic feet per minute) to ensure you’re comparing like with like
  • Find the highest PSI required by any of your tools. Your air compressor will need to be able to deliver this
  • Multiply the total CFM x5. This is the ideal air receiver size in gallons

Get Help

Once you know how much air capacity you need, you’ll need to find the right air compressor for you. Yet there’s still more to consider, from the type of compressor to the required power, ducting, filtration and more.

For help in making the right choice for your business,
Call us on
0114 243 2347 or

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