Best Air Compressors for Sandblasting (2021 Round-up Review)

Cody
| Last Updated: January 30, 2021

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Like most tasks involving an air compressor, it can get confusing when looking for what suits best; sandblasting is no different.

We've included some essential information in the article below on finding the best air compressor for sandblasting. 

Hoping to cut right to the chase? Below are the best air compcressors for sandblasting:

  1. Industrial Air IV7538075
  2. DeWalt DXCMV5048055
  3. Ingersoll-Rand SS5L5

Comparison Chart of the Best Air Compressors for Sandblasting

Product

Main Features

Price

Industrial Air IV7538075

  • Up to 21.2 CFM
  • Motor has voltage protection
  • Integrated control panel

DeWalt DXCMV5048055

  • Can run multiple tools
  • Factory oil comes pre-installed
  • Runs cooler than most pumps

Ingersoll-Rand SS5L5

  • Best for the Money
  • 130 PSI
  • Automatic pressure switch

Northstar 459382

  • Editor's Pick
  • V-style keeps it cool
  • Made of cast iron

BelAire 318VL

  • Honorable Mention
  • Tank drain and discharge valve
  • Start-stop pressure control switch

What Makes an Air Compressor Great for Sandblasting? 

There are many benefits to using an air compressor for sandblasting; we've highlighted a couple below to explain why it's an excellent method. 

They Are Efficient 

Air compressors always get the job done quicker than actual manual work. If you're going to use an air compressor for sandblasting, you'll be getting the job done in half the time and with even better quality.

Being Eco-friendly 

Sandblasting with an air compressor is also a far more eco-friendly way to strip paint or metal. It's even better if you're using an electric, oil-free air compressor for the job. 

Sandblasting Air Compressor Requirements

There are a few requirements to run a sandblaster with your air compressor. Firstly, your compressor will need to provide the necessary CFM and PSI of a sandblaster. You should also think about the tank size; you'll need a continuous flow of highly pressurized air to get the job done efficiently. 

What Size Air Compressor for Sandblasting? 

Sizing of the nozzle, tank, and CFM is important when shopping for sandblasting air compressors. 

Nozzle Size 

When sandblasting large items like sheet metal, you should go for a wide nozzle such as ½ inch. However, if you're looking for something more precise, a ⅛ inch or 3/16 inch would work well. 

Tank Size

Sandblasting will require large amounts of pressurized air; you also don't want to be refilled every few minutes. Most experts would recommend that you use a 60-gallon tank or more for sandblasting. 

What CFM For Sandblasting?

CFM is another important area that shouldn't be overlooked. When sandblasting, you'd preferably have as much as possible. If you're using a ⅛ inch nozzle, 20 CFM would be suitable; a larger ½ inch would need 338 CFM. 

Review of the Best Recommended Air Compressors for Sandblasting

Now that we've told you what to look for before buying, it's time to recommend some of our favorites currently available. 

Best Overall:
Industrial Air IV7538075

PROS

  • The vertical design means it's easily stored
  • Modern pump design helps keep the compressor cool
  • Provides you with plenty of airflows to get the job done
  • A two-stage system means that it can create higher PSI levels

CONS

  • Can only use a ⅛ nozzle 

Our Review

The 80-gallon air compressor provides the necessary air supply and continuous flow that you'd need for a sandblaster. You'd see this compressor mainly used in garages or body-shops as the vertical design can be easily stored without taking up much space; you won't be moving it around much as it weighs over 600lbs. 

The two-stage system will provide up to 175 PSI and 20 CFM; this is perfect for operating a very precise ⅛ nozzle. However, it will struggle with anything larger than that. Overheating isn't much of a problem either, as the modern pump is designed to cool the product down. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out? 

The patented cooling system is a unique feature. After continuous use, which is common with sandblasting tasks, you'd quickly start to heat the compressor up. A problem in the long-run as this damages the device. The cooling system helps prolong your air compressor lifespan. 

Runner-up:
DeWalt DXCMV5048055

PROS

  • The oil tank is already filled with synthetic oil
  • The motor is protected from thermal overload
  • Overheating isn't much of an issue as it's oil-lubricated
  • 80-gallons is plenty to provide a suitable continuous airflow

CONS

  • Might be playing catchup with the sandblaster

Our Review

Another 80-gallon tank, really suitable for the task at hand as this will provide a decent continuous airflow. The compressor is oiled, which means overheating is limited as the oil will cool the air down efficiently. You'll also be happy to know it's already filled with synthetic oil straight from the factory. 

The thermal overload feature is a useful bonus as this protects from voltage fluctuations that would normally damage the compressor. The only downside is that the 17 CFM might be working hard to keep up with the sandblaster needs, which usually requires a minimum of 20 CFM.  

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The thermal overload function is what sets this compressor apart from the rest. A common problem is rapid voltage fluctuations, and if your compressor can't be protected against this, you can expect some serious damage—a definite huge bonus for this compressor. 

Best for the Money:
Ingersoll-Rand SS5L5

PROS

  • Thermal overload protection
  • Over 5000 hours of continuous use
  • 60-gallons provides enough airflow for sandblasting
  • The synthetic lubricant lasts 2000 hours before changing

CONS

  • Will only efficiently operate a ⅛ nozzle

Our Review

Good value for money air compressor, this device will last for over 5000 hours of continuous use and 2000 hours before a lubricant change is needed. Therefore the maintenance on this is relatively low, even during continuous use. 60-gallons are suitable to operate a sandblaster providing enough airflow to work at a quality level. 

The thermal overload is a huge bonus, especially during voltage fluctuations, as this could save the compressor from unnecessary damage. The lone issue is that the 20 CFM will only operate a ⅛ nozzle and struggle to go any higher. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The standout feature here is this air compressor's ability to provide such high-quality while keeping the price far cheaper than competitor brands. You'll be able to sandblast without a real issue using this air compressor. 

Good value for money air compressor, this device will last for over 5000 hours of continuous use and 2000 hours before a lubricant change is needed. Therefore the maintenance on this is relatively low, even during continuous use. 60-gallons are suitable to operate a sandblaster providing enough airflow to work at a quality level. 

The thermal overload is a huge bonus, especially during voltage fluctuations, as this could save the compressor from unnecessary damage. The lone issue is that the 20 CFM will only operate a ⅛ nozzle and struggle to go any higher. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The standout feature here is this air compressor's ability to provide such high-quality while keeping the price far cheaper than competitor brands. You'll be able to sandblast without a real issue using this air compressor. 

Editor's Pick:
Northstar 459382

PROS

  • Features low-vibration technology
  • Durable cast-iron material prolongs its lifespan
  • Cooling technology helps limit the chance of overheating
  • The 25 CFM is capable of operating a 1/8 and possibly a 3/16 nozzle

CONS

  • 30-gallon tank means more regular refilling

Our Review

The bare minimum ⅛ inch nozzle should be available to use by any air compressor. However, this compressor could even stretch to a wider 3/16 inch nozzle. As you know, compressors can get quite loud and even shake around; the low-vibration technology on this compressor significantly decreases any vibrational damage that could be possible. 

The cast-iron casing will also help limit the damage and prolong the lifespan as it's an extremely durable material. Patented cooling technology is also included; this will help decrease the likelihood of any overheating. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The ability for the user to utilize both ⅛ and 3/16 inch nozzles is a huge benefit. If a project requires a wider sandblast, then it's possible by using this compressor. If you're blasting a metal sheet, you're going to want something wide to get the job done quickly enough. 

Honorable Mention:
BelAire 318VL

PROS

  • Provides a maximum of 100PSI
  • Will operate a ⅛ and 3/16 inch nozzle
  • The vertical design allows for simple storage solutions
  • 80-gallon tank provides plenty of airflow for sandblasting

CONS

  • Vibrates quite excessively

Our Review

The 80-gallon air compressor will provide you with plenty of suitable airflows to operate a high-quality sandblaster. The 25 CFM can operate a ⅛ inch nozzle with no issue; another bonus is that it can be pushed to use a 3/16 inch nozzle, which gives you a wider blast radius. 

The maximum working pressure of 100 PSI meets the needs of most modern sandblasters; you'll have no issue here. The only real problem with this compressor is the vibrations can become quite irritating as it causes the compressor to get louder. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The option of using a ⅛ and 3/16 inch nozzle is a huge benefit for the user. This gives them more flexibility in terms of how wide they want the sandblasting radius. The wider the radius, the faster you can strip large pieces of metal. 

Can Any Air Compressor Be Used for Sandblasting?  

It's possible, but not recommended. You should be using a compressor with at least a 60-gallon tank and a minimum CFM ability of 20. Anything below these recommendations, you will soon see the quality slip, the further away you get from these minimum recommendations.

Anything below 20 CFM, you'll not be able to get the same radius coverage from your nozzle. The same goes for anything below 60-gallons; you'll be draining and refilling the tank more often than necessary. 

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

Cautious Considerations to Keep in Mind 

There are always things to consider and keep in mind before buying an air compressor. Below are some of our top considerations. 

  • Don't Push Your Compressor Too Much - If you have a 20 CFM air compressor, but you want to use a ½ inch nozzle, you're about 300 CFM out. Don't try to push your compressor to its limit; just buy a compressor that can operate a ½ nozzle. Think of it as a long-term investment.

  • Try to Find Ways To Limit Overheating - A big issue of using air compressors for sandblasting is that they quickly get to dangerous overheating levels. You're best buying an oiled compressor with a decent cooling system to limit the risk of overheating. 

Conclusion

We've given you the information, we've given you the recommendations. Now, it's your turn to go out and find what air compressor suits your sandblasting needs. The bigger the tank, the better; the same goes for CFM. That's all you need to know, really. 

People Also Ask

We've compiled and answered some of the most commonly asked questions below. We understand that you'll probably have some more questions; we hope this helps. 

How Long Will An Air Compressor Last While Sandblasting?

It depends on a few variables, PSI, CFM, and the size of the tank. A 60-gallon tank carrying out a sandblast could last continuously between 30-60 minutes. However, if you want more precise information for a particular brand, the manufacturer's manual will tell you. 

Will These Air Compressors Sandblast Anything? 

Yes. The most common use for a sandblaster is to strip paint or strip metal down. Depending on the nozzle size and pressure you get from the compressor, you should be able to sandblast almost anything you put in front of these air compressors. 

What Air Compressor Attachments Will I Need For Sandblasting?

You can usually buy sandblasting kits with everything you need off Amazon or eBay. The attachments needed include a sand hose, metal probe, adjustable sand intake, sandblast head, multiple nozzle sizes (if the compressor is compatible with them), and sand. Safety goggles are also essential.

Cody

My name is Cody and I've been a writer for Tool Tango for quite some time now. I've always had a knack for building things with my hands and creative writing, so being able to combine the two has been great. I love being able to give back to the DIY-community, while also learning a thing or two along the way. When I'm not writing, I enjoy watching Netflix with my girlfriend, fishing, and working in the shop.