Best Air Compressors for Framing Crews (2021 Round-up)

| Last Updated: March 6, 2021

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To make the best of your framing gun, you’ll need to pick the right air compressor. Clueless on how to select a quality air compressor for framing crew?

Read on, and you’ll learn about all the details that count!

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Hoping to cut right to the chase? Below are the best air compressors for framing crews:

  1. DeWalt DWFP55126
  2. Senco PC1010
  3. Makita MAC5200

Comparison Chart of the Best Air Compressors for Framing Crews


Our Rating


DeWalt DWFP55126

  • 1 HP, 165 PSI
  • 6 gallons
  • 120 V

Senco PC1010

  • 1/2 HP, 125 PSI
  • 1 gallon
  • 115 V

Makita MAC5200

  • 3 HP, 140 PSI
  • 5.2 gallons
  • 120 V

Bostitch BTFP3KIT

  • 0.8 HP, 150 PSI
  • 6 gallons
  • 120 V

Craftsman CMEC6150K

  • 0.8 HP, 150 PIS
  • 6 gallons
  • 120 V

What Makes an Air Compressor Great for a Framing Crew? 

Some air compressors are better for framing than others. It all depends on whether they meet the requirements of the chosen air tool or not. The operator’s experience level can also make a huge difference. 

The power output, the airflow rate, and the tank size matter the most in terms of specs. They will directly impact the efficiency of the framing nailer. This tool requires, on average, an airflow rate of 2.6 CFM @ 90 PSI, with its average operating PSI between 100 and 130. 

Any air compressor that can facilitate smooth operation around the above parameters should do a decent job. Still, the best portable air compressor for a framing nailer would, ideally, support a 4 CFM from a tank of 4 to 6 gallons. 

Aiming for small framing projects around the house? A unit with a 1 HP motor and a 6-gallon tank could be enough. Whereas for contractor-grade projects, you’ll need a massive motor around 2.5 HP.

What Size Air Compressor for Framing Crew? 

Tank size recommendations vary depending on the job site scenarios. Knowing where you’ll be using the tools should help you make a more appropriate choice. 

What Size Air Compressor For Framing Nailer?

  • For semi-professional jobs performed indoor, a unit with a tank of 2-4 gallons will be enough.
  • For more serious, outdoor projects where you’ll be using just one nailer, a 4-6-gallon tank is a much better option.
  • Finally, if you’ll need to run at least 2 nail guns simultaneously, make sure you pick something within the 6-10-gallon size range.

Review of the Best Air Compressors for Framing Crews 

Following this overview, you’ll probably want more focused information. So, coming up next, we’ve put under scrutiny the best air compressors you can get specifically for framing crews. Here’s what to expect from these top units:

Best Overall:
DeWalt DWFP55126


  • Features high-flow regulator
  • Facilitates extended tool run time
  • Lightweight and easy to carry around
  • Efficient motor that works well in any weather
  • Equipped with an oil-free, maintenance-free pump


  • Warranty of only 1-year
  • Occasional reliability issues reported

Our Review:

By far, the best possible choice for a framing crew air compressor is this DWFP55126 from DeWalt. Small and compact, weighing as little as 30 lbs, it is highly portable and ready to deliver a maximum PSI of 165.

The pump supports an airflow of 2.6 SCFM @ 90 PSI and 3.7 SCFM @ 40 PSI. So, the combination of 4 CFM on a 6-gallon tank, in a portable air compressor, shows that this tool easily meets the requirements of a framing nailer.

To top it off, the high-efficiency motor will prove reliable even in cold weather, facilitating an easy startup. It works well with an extension cord, too. And it will make a great choice for a tool that needs to be moved around a construction site.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

This 6-gallon air compressor from DeWalt has an outstanding power output of 165 maximum PSI. It is designed to maximize the performances of a framing nailer, with its high-flow regulator and couplers. All while its 75.5 dBa noise level will ensure a quiet work setting compared to many other similar units.

Best for the Money:
Senco PC1010


  • Easy to carry around
  • Takes little storage space
  • Facilitates a quiet operation
  • Ideal choice for any home repair job and quick framing
  • Ideal choice for any home repair job and quick framing


  • Tank requires some time to fill up
  • Under-the-handle switch is not that easy to access

Our Review:

Here’s your best air compressor for framing crew, money-wise! Senco’s PC1010 is powered by a 1/2 HP motor and carries a tiny 1-gallon tank, weighing, in total, as little as 20 lbs. Ultra-light yet capable of firing up to 12 nails while cycling for up to 30 seconds, it simply works excellent for what it was intended.

As long as you’re aware of its technical limitations and take it for what it is, you won’t help but feel surprised by how it performs, how silent it is, and how well it holds the air. Consider it for basic home improvement and renovation jobs, but also for your framing tasks!

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The lightest and most portable air compressor you’ll come around, this model from Senco happens to make a great, budget-friendly option for framing crew. Built with low-weight and portability in mind, it still delivers good power, and it is even quieter than our best-overall selection from above!

Best Air Compressor for Framing Nailer:
Makita MAC5200


  • Built for job site portability
  • Low-profile design with folding handle
  • Dependable motor that enhances productivity
  • Solid, cast-iron pump keeps up with the motor
  • Oil lubrication reduces wear and facilitates cooling


  • A bit expensive
  • Oiled pump requires maintenance

Our Review:

With this air compressor from Makita, you get the best power output specifically for framing nailers. The 3 HP motor and the oiled cast iron pump engineered with big bore cylinder can hit 140 maximum PSI, while keeping an airflow of 6.5 CFM at 90 PSI.

Durable and effective, designed for enhanced performances and portability, this tool also shows impressive attention to detail in its design elements. It comes with a built-in storage compartment and air hose wrap. Not to mention that its handle will fold, for easier storage.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

If you want the best possible air compressor to pair with a demanding framing nailer, consider this oil-lubricated model from Makita. It can work with two nailers at once, and it allows straightforward operation. It even comes with oil sight glass and a handy oil drain – everything it takes for you to work less when it comes to its proper maintenance.

Best Air Compressor Combo Kit:
Bostitch BTFP3KIT


  • More than decent, 6-gallon tank capacity
  • Allows simultaneous operation of two air tools
  • Compact design for easy transport and storage
  • Provides reliable performance for an affordable price tag
  • You’re getting extra value from the tools included in the kit


  • Not an oil-lubed pump
  • Warranty limited to just one year

Our Review:

Buying the best air compressor for framing crew without some reliable air tools won’t make much of a difference. Luckily, with this 3-piece combo kit from Bostitch, you’re getting both a reliable air compressor and the air tools you need to get started in a jiff.

As a cordless air compressor with a 1 HP motor, it can reach a maximum PSI of 150, with 2.6 SCFM @ 90 PSI. The pump is oil-free, so it doesn’t require daily maintenance. This, of course, is helpful for the less tech-savvy operators. And the high-flow regulator is there to ensure optimal framing tool performances.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

This Bostitch 6-gallon pancake air compressor combo kit with brad nailer, straight finish nailer, and a heavy-duty crown stapler will give you outstanding value for a moderate price tag. What’s more, the manufacturer is well-known for its fastening tools, which means you’re making a great choice for framing, too.

Hold up, are you interested in other topics related to air compressors? If so, these brand reviews might be something to check out: 

Best Portable Air Compressor for Framing:
Craftsman CMEC6150K


  • Lightweight and highly portable
  • Fits a wide range of applications
  • Good price for the value it provides
  • Lots of accessories in the package
  • Powerful motor with an easy start on cold weather


  • Only 1-year limited warranty
  • Not ideal for heavy-duty professional work

Our Review:

If portability is what matters most to you, consider Craftsman’s 6-gallon pancake air compressor for your next framing project. It comes with a generous accessory kit, while matching pretty much all the other air compressors for framing crew we’ve reviewed above!

It comes with an oil-free pump that won’t make you stress out about maintenance. The maximum PSI it can reach is 150. And the airflow at 90 PSI is 2.6. Ready to start in any weather conditions, it is convenient to move around the job site. While not a model to wow you, it will certainly not disappoint you, either!

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

This air compressor for framing comes from Craftsman, a brand known for the great value it provides. And with the 13 pieces included in its accessory kit, that reputation easily confirms. So, it gives you lots of flexibility, with a tank nicely-sized at 6 gallons, and weighing just a little over 30 lbs. Power you can rely on, in a compressor you can easily carry around!

Advantages of Investing in a Quality Air Compressor for Framing 

With so many options at hand, it only makes sense to ask yourself why pay more for a particular compressor. In a nutshell, investing in a quality unit for your framing projects will help you avoid the headaches of under-powered work. Some of the best advantages?

The Power Output You Need

With the right power output, you can be sure that the compressor will allow the framing crew to work at full capacity, with minimal interruptions. There’s nothing worse than an air compressor that empties its tank in a snap and takes longer than you’d want to refill.

Easy To Sync CFM Levels

Your air compressor supports a certain CFM, while your framing crew requires a certain CFM. Making these two to match, especially if you want to use two of them at the same time, is essential. Luckily, the top models come with just enough CFM for your framing crews, sparing you from delays, stalling, or malfunctions in operation.

Note: If you need help figuring out your CFM levels, check out our air compressor CFM calculator!

Enhanced Portability

Finally, yet importantly, you want your air compressor to be easily maneuverable. A decent weight and an ergonomic handle can make a huge difference when it comes to carrying your tools around the job site. And the quality air compressors we’ve reviewed above do pay attention to these details.

Types of Air Compressors for Framing 

One way to navigate through the clutter of the market is to keep a few main categories in mind. When you know exactly what types of air compressors are best for framing, you can skip the rest. Here’s what you should be looking into.

What Kind Of Air Compressor For Nail Gun?

For a nail gun, you want a portable air compressor of a decent size, with the right CFM and HP. Focus on a model that falls in as many of the following categories as possible:

Portable Air Compressors

There are stationary and portable air compressors available for sale. The stationary models are not portable for very specific reasons: they are huge and ready to deliver humongous amounts of compressed air. You don’t need that for a nail gun! Focus on the models designed with portability in mind!

Small-Sized Air Compressors

A nail gun can work more than decently with an air compressor that has a tank of around 6 gallons, or 10 gallons tops. Yes, these fall within the small range because the largest out there can have well above 60 gallons!

So, for indoor operation without too many demands, 2-4 gallons will work, while for outdoor jobs with 2 nail guns at once, aim for 6 to 10 gallons.

Consumer-Grade Air Compressors

As shown above, a nail gun will need an average of 2 CFM @ 90 PSI. For the actual operation, anything from 100 to 130 PSI is good. This is something you can easily get from a quality consumer-grade air compressor.

Looking for the commercial-grade models will give you extra resources, but those are not necessarily the resources you actually need for your framing crew!


To draw a conclusion, the secret in picking the best air compressor for framing crew is to know the average CFM requirements of your tools. With those specs in mind, you should be able to find an air compressor that delivers for the intended job.

It’s easy to go for tools that overdeliver, but you also risk picking something far from ideal, if you don’t do your research first. Luckily, if you’ve made it this far, you already have all the information you need to make the best possible choice.

People Also Ask

A few thoughts still on your mind? We have a feeling you’re wondering about the following general details:

How Much Is An Air Compressor?

Given that air compressors for framing crew typically fall within certain categories spec-wise, the prices vary from around $100 to almost $400. However, on average, for $200 you can get a 6-gallon air compressor for framing crew AND some handy accessories in the package!

What Is An Air Compressor Good For Outside Of Nail Guns?

An air compressor is good for any pneumatic tool. Because it creates and moves pressurized air in an easy and safe way, it can power a wide range of tools: blow guns, air hammers, impact wrenches or drivers, tire inflators, ratchets, paint spray guns, orbital sanders, and more.

How Heavy Are These Air Compressors?

Depending on their tank size, air compressors can weigh between 30 lbs (for a compact, highly-portable 6-gallon pancake air compressor) to 70 lbs (for a larger, 8 to 10-gallon air compressor).

How Do I Ensure My Air Compressor Stays In Good Shape?

Keeping an air compressor in good shape will depend on its requirements. The smaller models, like the ones suitable for framing crew, have lately been designed with oil-free pumps. This means you don’t need to check, change or refill the oil and that there are no belts and pulleys to tinker with.

However, regardless if you have an oil-free or an oil-lubed air compressor, it is essential that you read its user manual and follow the directions provided in there. You should also make yourself a habit of regularly tightening its nuts and bolts, inspect the hoses, clean the intake valves, change the air filter, and drain the condensate from the tank.