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Will a 3-Gallon Air Compressor Run an Impact Wrench? Know the Truth!

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Selecting an air compressor for your impact wrench is easier than you think. You only need to select your compressor with higher CFM, HP, and PSI features than your impact wrench. 

But, some people out there have small air compressors (mostly 3 gallons), and they want to run impact wrenches with them. That’s why many people have asked, “Will a 3-Gallon Air Compressor Run an Impact Wrench?. Well, It’s time to answer it! 

Without further ado, we’ll go further in this article so that you can get a detailed answer. 

Will a 3-Gallon Air Compressor Run an Impact Wrench

What Size Air Compressor do I Need for the Impact Wrench?

PSI Requirements (Air Pressure)

PSI requirements of the impact wrench are mostly 90-100 PSI which can efficiently work. So, for the compressor, you need at least 120-140 PSI, then it will be great to work. Make sure to have PSI more than your impact wrench. 

CFM Requirements (Air Volume)

Depending on the CFM requirement of your impact wrench, you should decide on your compressor’s CFM. Your compressor should be atleast 5-10 CFM or 15-20 CFM for professional use. 


The second most important factor should be higher so you can easily use your impact wrench. At least 5-8 or 5-10 HP is enough to continuously run your impact wrench with the compressor. 

Tank Size

It depends on your impact-wrenching working time for professional and continuous use. Then you should choose more than a 30-40-Gallon tank. Otherwise, a compressor with 6-10 Gallon will be enough for occasional usage. 

Impact Sizes (And Requirements of Each Size)

⅜-Inch Impact Wrench

A ⅜-inch wrench needs power and a compressor with more CFM, which can efficiently work with an impact wrench. An air compressor with 2-3 CFM can work, specifically for a 3/8 -a inch wrench. You should buy at least 3-4 CFM compressors with an 8-gallon tank. It needs 90-100 PSI, so your compressor must be able to provide 120-PSI. 

½-Inch Impact Wrench

It is the most common impact wrench. An air compressor with 4 CFM will work with a ½-inch wrench but recommended CFM is at least 5-6. Because of this CFM wrench can work quickly and continuously with an 8-10 Gallon tank depending on your needs. The PSI of your compressor should be at least 120 PSI. 

1-Inch Impact Wrench

This 1-inch impact wrench is uncommon and not used all the time. If you have, you must need it for high power use, and this wrench needs a lot of power to work. So, you must look for at least a 10-CFM compressor with at least 12-150 PSI. 

Will a 3 Gallon Air Compressor Run an Impact Wrench? 

This one is the most common air compressor and ideal for many purposes but impact wrench? NO. It is not ideal for it. You cannot use it for an impact wrench because it is small and will be suitable for small projects and tools. But I will still need rest. 

Will a 3-Gallon Air Compressor Run an Impact Wrench

What is a Battery Powered Impact Wrench? 

A battery-powered tool, the internal hammer is powered by compressed air. It is designed to lose or tight the bolts. It has a lot of power for changing tires and is used for tightening and loosening its lug nuts. They are cordless and lightweight, which makes them portable and compact. 

It mostly has two shapes inline (screwdriver shape) and pistol-grip (handgun) shape. But you can only use bigger sockets, and they can also work on 18-20 volts.

Air Compressor Vs. Battery Powered Impact Wrench

Weight Difference

Air compressors have different weights depending on their features: the larger the tank, the more it is heavier. Although, few portable air compressors are lightweight: only 30-40 LBS. An impact wrench is cordless and has only 2-3 pounds. (being light, less fatiguing, speedy, and portable). 

Power Difference

The battery-powered impact wrench is quick but does not last long and drains quickly. The compressor-based compressed air system works longer and is great for heavy work. 

Price Difference

With a battery-powered air compressor, you need an air compressor, hose, and reel, which makes it expensive. At the same time, air compressors are of different price ranges depending on the feature and your requirements (they are both expensive and cheap). 


The maintenance of a battery-powered impact wrench is easy peasy, and you do not need to worry about wear and tear. While an air compressor needs care, even if it is not regular, they need it. 

Best Air Compressor for Impact Wrench

The following are some of the best air compressors available on the market, with all the features required to run an impact wrench. We have listed them so you can easily search for a good compressor. 

We’ve reviewed each air compressor in a separate blog post.

Take a look: Best Air Compressor For an Impact Wrench – Top 12 Picks Reviewed!

Other Applications Where a 3 Gallon Air Compressor can be used?

A 3-Gallon compressor is a small compressor, but it is still ideal for many pneumatic tools:

  • Inflation tires of bikes, and bicycles. 
  • Inflation of toys and sports tools. 
  • You can easily use a nail gun and a staple gun with it. 
  • It can be used for DIY projects
  • Nailing and framing. 

Read More: What Can a 3 Gallon Air Compressor Do? 8 Major Applications!

How Long Do 3-Gallon Air Compressors Last?

As it is a small compressor, it cannot run continuously. So you just need to give it a rest of around 2-3 minutes after every use. The 3-Gallon compressor can only last for 20-25 minutes maximum. 

Can a pancake air compressor run an impact wrench?

Yes, you can easily use a pancake compressor for an impact wrench. Specifically, the Bostitch pancake air compressor because of its fewer decibels ( only 78.5) and 2.6 SCFM. It works on a 90-100 PSI rating. This compressor can be the ideal choice to power and will work quietly.


After reading this article, you must have understood if you have a question: will a 3-gallon air compressor run an impact wrench? The simple answer is NO. It is because it is a tiny air compressor, and the air compressor must at least need to be 6-Gallon and 4 CFM to work with an impact wrench. 

Whatever you choose will depend on your budget, requirements, and frequency of use. The compressor size also depends on the feature and specification of your chosen impact wrench. Choose wisely!!. 


Will a 2-gallon air compressor run an impact wrench?

In simple words, NO. The 2-Gallon capacity compressor is tiny for impact wrench, and it will not be able to run. Even a 3-Gallon compressor has only 0.5 CFM mostly, and an impact wrench needs at least 2-3 CFM to run properly. 

Will a 4-gallon air compressor run an impact wrench?  

No, the smallest size suitable for an impact wrench can be a 6-Gallon compressor. It is because you will have to wait again and again until it builds up its pressure again. Because this will not last long. 

Will a 6-gallon air compressor run an impact wrench?

The smallest size compressor which can handle an impact wrench is the 6-Gallon compressor. It will only work for one wheel, and you will have to wait. For occasional users, it is okay to use it. 

Will an 8-gallon air compressor run an impact wrench?

Yes, an 8-Gallon compressor can handle an impact wrench. You can use it for your house’s purposes, and this 8-Gallon compressor is not for professional use. 

Will a 10-gallon air compressor run an impact wrench?

A 10-Gallon compressor can efficiently run an impact wrench and handle it easily. You just need to ensure your work requirements are not more than their capacity.      

Will a 30-gallon air compressor run an impact wrench?

An impact wrench is a heavy-duty tool and needs power. Regarding Gallon capacity, yes, a 30-Gallon tank compressor would be perfect for impact wrench because of its capacity, but it should be atleast 5-10 CFM rating.

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We’re a team of engineers, contractors, technicians, and woodworking experts who use power tools daily and share fact-based information, tips, and recommendations. At thetoolgeeks.com, we debunk myths about power tools and share methods to use them effectively.

The Tool Geeks Team

We're a team of engineers, contractors, technicians, and woodworking experts who use power tools daily and share fact-based information, tips, and recommendations. At thetoolgeeks.com, we debunk myths about power tools and share methods to use them effectively.

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