Carpentry applications range from cabinetmaking and trim to rough applications like framing.

Each Application requires the use of many different tools that require a specific air compressor to run them.

A good rule of thumb is to find the highest CFM @ 90 PSI that you can afford. A ½” nailer requires 5 CFM @ 90 PSI and a ¾” requires 7 CFM @ 90 PSI. 

Based on our research, we determined that the Makita MAC5200 Big Bore 3 HP Air Compressor is the best air compressor for trim work. It has enough CFM to run two nailers at the same time and is relatively quiet for indoor work. On the other hand, Dewalt CXCMLA is the best air compressor for framing work. 

Whether you are a DIY carpenter or a professional carpenter, you will like the other choices we listed below.

Top Air Compressors For Carpentry (Portable)

ProductCFM @ 90 PSIHPDecibelsWeight
Makita MAC52006.5 SCFM3 HP9075 Pounds
DEWALT D5510405.7 CFM1.9 HP78190 Pounds
California Air Tools 10020C5.3 CFM2.0 HP7082.5 Pounds
Stealth 20-Gallon5 CFM1.8 HP68121.4 Pounds
Craftsman Air Compressor 10-Gallons4 CFM1.8 HP8763.1 Pounds

 1. Makita MAC5200 Big Bore 3 HP Air Compressor – Best for Trim Work

Makita is a well-known name in the carpentry field. They make power tools, air compressors such as this one, and more. This particular air compressor has a unique design, making it simpler to transport around the job site.


The Makita air compressor packs quite the punch for such a small unit. It has a 3 HP motor that has the capabilities of producing 6.5 CFM @ 90 PSI and 6.9 CFM @ 40 PSI out of the 5.2-gallon tank.

It has a maximum PSI of 140. It’s more than enough for two nailers. This is ideal for running a framing gun with ease. This is industrial power at a price you can afford. 


This air compressor has been constructed with a roll cage for added protection for those harsh job sites. It has an oil-lubricated pump and a considerable filter for increased air intake.

There’s also a Big Bore ™ cylinder and piston that are manufactured for longevity. All of these features combined mean you are getting a machine with ultra-durability. 


  • Built-in storage compartment
  • High CFM
  • Can run two nailers at once
  • Durable
  • Quiet operation
  • Easily portable


  • Complaints of careless shipping


Lastly, the Makita compressor is unbelievably portable. There are two large wheels on the back as well as a tall handle that allows you to take the compressor wherever you need it to go.

It weighs around 75 pounds, however, It’s not the lightest piece of equipment, but the wheels allow it to glide nicely. 

Makita MAC5200 3.0 HP* Big Bore™ Air Compressor

$389.00  in stock
10 new from $389.00
as of July 5, 2022 1:23 pm

2. California Air Tools 10020C

California Air Tools compressors are known for being some of the quietest and coolest. They’re also packed full of features as well as convenience, versatility, and power. Here’s what else the California Air Tools 10020C has to offer: 

Generous CFM & Power

The CAT 10020C can put out 5.3 CFM @ 90 PSI & 6.40 CFM @ 40 PSI with a maximum PSI of 125. This is all done with the help of the 2.0 HP 4-pole motor. It only draws 14 Amps, making sure no breakers are tripped during operation or startup.

The generous 10-gallon steel air tank allows for more air storage for longer operation. From empty to full, it takes just 120 seconds to fill and from 95 PSI to 125 PSI it only takes 25 seconds.


This particular air compressor is quieter than comparable ones on the market. It spins at a relatively low RMP, only 1680 to be exact. This leads to quieter operation. It puts out just 70 Decibels of sound. When a compressor reaches 80 Decibels, it recommends the use of earplugs to avoid damage. 


  • Quieter
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Durable
  • Optimal CFM output
  • Quick recovery


  • May leak after a while

Portable & Easy to Use

Thie CAT weighs just 82.5 pounds, making it lightweight for its size. The wheels at the bottom of the compressor allow it to move freely and without hassle. The padded handle at the top of the machine makes it easier to transport throughout the job site. 

Additionally, there are convenient controls for ease of use as well as gauges for pressure and air output monitoring. It also has an easy start valve for less starting amperage. 

California Air Tools 10020C Ultra Quiet Oil-Free and Powerful Air Compressor, 2 HP

 in stock
6 new from $462.00
2 used from $364.98
Free shipping
as of July 5, 2022 1:23 pm

3. Stealth 20-Gallon Ultra Quiet Air Compressor – Quietest Air Compressor

The Stealth air compressors are well-known for being quiet and powerful. This one is no different! It has plenty of features that make this piece of equipment powerful, versatile, and quiet. Let’s check it out: 

Ultra Quiet & Long Lasting

The Stealth air compressor is unbelievably quiet for its size. It puts out just 68 Decibels of noise. It is 80% quieter than comparable compressors and it’s also long-lasting.

It has a life cycle of more than 1,000 hours, lasting 3 times longer than standard induction motors. This can save you more money in the long run. 


This compressor has a powerful 1.8 HP oil-free motor. It has a peak PSI of 150 and 6 CFM @ 40 PSi and 5 CFM @ 90 PSI. It can run an angle grinder, impact wrenches, air hammers, chisel, sander, and more.

It takes just 70 seconds to fill the 20-gallon tank. This allows you to work longer without the compressor needing to refill. 


  • Sturdy construction
  • Portable
  • Quiet operation
  • Optimal CFM
  • Quick recovery


  • Manual drain valve

Easy to Use

Lastly, the Stealth compressor is easy to use and start. It has a low voltage start and can easily be turned on in cold weather. It features 8-inch rubber reinforced wheels for easy portability throughout the site.

All of the controls are in one convenient location and can be easily used and seen for proper compressor pressure observation. 

Stealth 20 Gallon Ultra Quiet Air Compressor,1.8 HP Oil-Free Peak 150 PSI 68 Decibel Air Compressor, 6CFM @ 40 PSI 5 CFM @ 90 PSI Long Life Electric Air Compressor Wheel for Garage, Jobsite SAQ-12018

 in stock
3 new from $319.00
Free shipping
as of July 5, 2022 1:23 pm

4. Craftsman Air Compressor 10-Gallons – Best Budget Air Compressor

Last up is the Craftsman 10-Gallon air compressor. This handy wheelbarrow compressor has a high CFM rating, it’s powerful and versatile. It’s a more affordable brand, so if you’re on a budget, this would be ideal for you. Here’s what else it has to offer: 


The Craftsman air compressor has a large 10-gallon tank. It can put out 5 CFM @ 40 PSI and 4 CFM @ 90 PSI with a maximum PSI of 175. It is powered by a hefty 1.8 HP oil-free motor that maximizes tool performance. 

Safe & Easy To Use

This compressor is fairly easy to use and safe to boot. It has an automatic tank pressure safety valve and it automatically maintains the tank’s internal air pressure. There are two gauges, one for tank pressure measurement and another for tool pressure measurement. Additionally, you will find a quick coupler to attach pneumatic tools to. 


  • Lightweight & Portable
  • Minimal maintenance
  • Generous CFM
  • Durable


  • Complaints of arriving damaged

Durable & Portable

Lastly, this compressor is quite durable and portable as well. It features an oil-free and pump-free motor for minimal maintenance. It allows for better tool operation and low costs.

There are two rugged wheels attached to it as well as a handle for optimal transportation. It only weighs 63.1 pounds making it simple to move. 

Craftsman HARD Air Compressor, 10 Gallon 1.8 HP 175 PSI, 4.0CFM@90PSI, Oil Free and Maintenance Free, Portable with Large Wheels, Model: CMXECXA0201041

$329.97  in stock
as of July 5, 2022 1:23 pm

5. DEWALT D551040 Air Compressor – Best Compressor For Pneumatic Brad Nailer

When applying trim to cabinets, doors, windows, or more, the DEWALT air compressor is an ideal choice. It may be only 1-gallon, but it’s lightweight and can be carried easily from location to location.

Not to mention, the small tank means that it fills quicker than larger tanks, giving you nearly endless airflow. Here’s what else it has to offer: 

High Performance 

This compressor has a high-performance operation and makes it easy to simplify jobs. It can power most, if not all of your power tools for construction or household applications.

It comes equipped with a 2.6 amp motor that allows 0.75 CFM @ 90 PSI with a maximum PSI of 135. It only takes 0.5 CFM to operate a brad nailer, so this is a great choice for a compressor. 


  • Quiet operation
  • Lightweight & Portable
  • Durable
  • One-hand quick connect


  • Doesn’t come with a hose
  • Complaints of leaks


The DEWALT D551040 is exceptionally durable. It has a unique design that ensures long life. It is constructed with a roll cage and a complete-protection frame. It allows the compressor to be shielded from damage and routine wear and tear. Additionally, there’s a wrap-around control panel that covers the frame for even more protection. 

Portable & Quiet

This compressor weighs a mere 24-pounds and only stands at 9-inches tall. It’s ideal for those who want a compressor that can be moved easily while nailing trim. There’s also a convenient one-hand quick connect that can be used for all pneumatic tools. 

The compressor is also rather quiet. It only measures 69 Decibels when on, making it one of the quietest compressors on the list. 

DEWALT Air Compressor, 135-PSI Max, 1 Gallon (D55140) , Yellow

$157.82  in stock
9 new from $155.99
2 used from $137.57
Free shipping
as of July 5, 2022 1:23 pm

6. DEWALT CXCMLA1983054 30-Gallon Portable Air Compressor – Most Reliable Air Compressor

DEWALT is another name that is well-known to the carpentry industry. You can easily recognize them based on their yellow color and black lettering.

Their tools and air compressors are durable, reliable, and generally affordable. This particular compressor is no different than the tools. Let’s take a look at what it has to offer. 

High CFM Rating

The DEWALT 30-gallon air compressor can put out 7.0 CFM @ 40 PSI and 5.7 CFM @ 90 PSI with 1.9 RHP. It has a maximum PSI of 155, making it the ideal compressor for optimal tool performance. The 30 gallon ASME vertical tank is more than enough storage for pneumatic tools used by carpenters. 

Efficient & Reliable

This compressor is built with a cast iron, twin cylinder pump that has an aluminum head and valve plate. This ensures quicker heat dissipation. There is also a high flow regulator that puts out 20% more torque for the removal of nuts and bolts. Lastly, the 1.9 HP dual voltage induction motor brings high performance for smooth operation. 


  • Large tank
  • High CFM rating
  • Portable
  • Durable
  • Dual voltage motor


  • No considerable cons

Easy to Operate & Portable

The DEWALT compressor is easy to operate. There are on-board controls that allow you to access the high flow regulator quickly as well as the tank and tool pressure gauges.

There’s an on/off switch for easy operation and a quick connect air outlet. At the bottom of the unit are two pneumatic wheels for easy mobility in addition to the convenient handle. It’s heavy, weighing 190 pounds. 

DEWALT DXCMLA1983054 30-Gallon Portable Air Compressor

$1,099.00  in stock
4 new from $1,099.00
as of July 5, 2022 1:23 pm

Air Compressor Requirements For Framing Nailer

Makita MAC5200 3.0 HP Big Bore Air Compressor

Pneumatic tools, such as framing nailers, require the use of air to run. It’s crucial to understand what PSI and CFM mean when it comes to running a framing nailer. If there isn’t adequate CFM or PSI, you won’t get the most from your pneumatic tools. You should also consider tank volume. 


CFM is how much cubic feet per minute of airflow that a compressor can supply. Most pneumatic tools require a minimum of 5 CFM, but it can vary. You may find that a pneumatic staple gun requires only 0.3 CFM, but a framing nailer requires a minimum of 2.2 CFM.

If you are using a tool that requires continuous air volume, then a higher CFM is needed. You can figure out how much CFM is needed for a tool by multiplying the required CFM by 1 ½. 

Tank Volume

How long do you plan on running the tool? How many tools are you using at once? Tank volume will determine how long the compressor will give you air before the motor turns on and re-pressurizes the tank.

The more continuous air pressure needed, the bigger the tank needs to be. You can find air compressors that hold 1-80 gallons of air, but 5 gallons seems to be the average for a framing nailer.

Wheelbarrow Air Compressor vs Pancake Air Compressor

When searching for a new air compressor some may question whether or not a wheelbarrow or pancake compressor is better than the other. They are different shapes, different weights, and have different features. So which one is better?


A wheelbarrow air compressor, better known as a hotdog compressor, is popular among hobbyists because it can efficiently run smaller pneumatic tools such as staplers and airbrushes.

These compressors have bigger air tanks than pancake compressors and they have handles on them for easier transportation. Additionally, they may be oil-less and have no belts, which means there’s minimal maintenance required. Unfortunately, they tend to be loud. 


Pancake compressors are small. They aren’t a good option for those who are looking to run larger tools. They are generally only 1 gallon in size and very lightweight. They can be easily stores because of their small stature.

They may also oil-free and have no belts, requiring minimal maintenance. They’re best for filling tires, sports balls, and other items, but lack the power for air tools and larger jobs. These are also noisy because they are oil-free. 

In Conclusion 

We hope you enjoyed our guide, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to share them with us.