The use of air compressors is diverse, ranging from spray painting to abrasive blasting, and almost every sector makes use of them. The more common uses of these compressors include divers who need an air compressor tank to go on deep diving. But different compressors do different things, which is why you'll need the best air compressor for sandblasting that is suited for abrasive blasting because it too requires some specifications.
What is Sandblasting?
Sandblasting, also known as abrasive blasting, is one of the more common uses of an air compressor. Sandblasting is the process where you utilize compressed air to zap fine abrasive contents such as sand onto a workpiece to remove paint, rust, oil and grease stains, scales formed by heat treatment, etc. The power of the compressed air pressure quickly cleans, smoothens out, and even shapes various surfaces.
However, as pointed out, just because it's a common use of air compressors doesn’t mean that every air compressor is best suited for the job. When specifically looking at sandblasting, the size of an air compressor will depend on 3 factors: the sandblaster nozzle size, PSI (Air pressure), and CFM (air volume).
With that in mind, let's dive into the different air compressors for sandblasting that are best suited for the job.
Best Air Compressor for Sandblasting
1. PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor, 6-Gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free (C2002)
- 150 psi max tank pressure of the portable air compressor allows...
- 2.6 SCFM @ 90 psi of the electric air compressor allows for quick...
- 6 gal Pancake style tank of the PORTER-CABLE air compressor is...
- Low Amp 120V motor of the 6 gallon air compressor starts easily...
- Durable oil-free pump for long life and no maintenance
For over a century now, Porter-Cable has been reliably making powerful tools in their relentless pursuit of better technology for their customers. With the PORTER-CABLE air compressor, you get an air compressor sandblaster with the power, compactness, and convenience required for the best air compressor for sandblasting.
Its pancake shape and rubber feet make it stable, but the highlight of this pancake-shaped compressor is not just the convenience in its size, but the fact that it's also designed to provide 150 PSI that makes it the perfect sandblaster. Furthermore, this also indicates that it has more air capacity in its tank, which means it will go longer and can be used for a bigger job.
With 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI, this air compressor has enough CFM capacity that is ideal for sandblasters. Also, it only weighs approximately 30 lbs in a compact size that makes it easy to store away. Finally, at 120V, it has the power to even cold start during winter and keep running whenever you need it.
Another aspect that you'll most likely love about this compressor is that it doesn't require oiling or any form of maintenance, so it’s always ready for use.
- Pressure at 150 PSI
- Weighs 30 lbs.
- Pancake tank design
- Volume at 2.6 SFCM at 90 PSI
- Low Amp 120V motor
- Cord wrap
- 2 factory-installed regulated air couplers
2. DEWALT DXCMV5048055 Two-Stage Cast Iron Air Compressor, 80-Gal.
- The DEWALT 2 stage air compressor is built with a 5-HP TOPS motor...
- The integrated control panel has a tank and pressure gauge and 2...
- This compressor delivers plenty of air to run multiple tools at...
- The thermal overload protection system motor protects the motor...
- This air compressor comes from the factory with synthetic blended...
This is an industrial-grade 80 gallons tank size, a 2-stage electric air compressor that is an excellent complement to your workspace. It comes with a piston system and proprietary pump that increases the compression efficiency.
It is heavy-duty and one of the best air compressors for sandblasting designed to provide an industrial output while still running several tools simultaneously. In addition, it comes in a cast-iron structure that ensures unrivaled long-term durability. The machine also comes with a 5-horsepower motor with a low RPM and a thermal overload safety feature that considerably extends its durability.
The LOW-RPM helps protect the entire structure from voltage variations while removing the need to use a magnetic starter. As well, the compressor’s pump is effectively designed to dissipate heat, while the unit’s in-built belt guard also keeps it from overheating during long hours of use. Its 80-gallon tank comes with a top pressure of 175 PSI, and owing to its oil lubrication maintenance mechanism, it has a long lifespan.
The blast tank only takes a few minutes to fill, and since the motor starts as the pressure decreases below 135 PSI, it also rarely runs out of air. Overall, many consumers appreciate its flexibility, durability, blast capacity, and how easy it is to use this industrial blast air compressor. In light of all of this, this air compressor admirably performs well.
- Pre and mounted magnetic power starter
- Working horsepower of 10.0 and can operate in 3 phases
- Industry-grade 230 Volt motor that produces 35.0 CFM at 100 PSI and 33.6 CFM at 175 PSI
3. Quincy QT-54 Air Compressor Splash Lubricated Reciprocating, 230 Volt, 1 Phase, 60-Gallon Vertical
- Industrial-duty US-made Baldor motor
- Capacitor start motor with built-in thermal overload
- Less than 5 PPM oil carry-over (blow-by) rating
- 145-175 working PSI
- Pump RPM: 1310
The Quincy QT-54 Splash is the next best choice. It’s small in size but comes with an industrial-duty Baldor motor with a 5 HP power output that is more than enough for such a small air compressor. In addition, the compressor has attained a 30,000-hour pump life rating, while the fuel tank size comes with a 60 gallons capacity. This, therefore, means that you can get a lot more done in such a short time, which can be particularly helpful if you have a lot of orders.
Despite having a compact size, the downside is that it's not a portable air compressor since it comes with mounts at the base that should be used to install it in a fixed position. But overall, you also get a fairly priced system that is reliable and capable enough to be used in different engineering processes that require the best air compressors.
- Industry heavy-duty 5 HP motor
- 30,000-hour pump life
- Motor with an in-built thermal overload starting with a capacitor
- 60 gallons tank capacity
4. Industrial Air IH9929910 10 HP Two-Stage Air Compressor, 120 gallon
- Patented pump design provides a cooler running pump and improved...
- Industrial performance delivers maximum CFM @ 175 PSI, providing...
- Equipped with Pre-Wired and mounted magnetic starter
- Extended tank drain valve, ball valve, and vibration isolators...
- Made in the USA
Industrial Air compressor for sandblasting gives you a powerful air compressor with a proprietary pump system to increase its performance and output strength. At 90 PSI, it produces 35 CFM, and at a maximum CFM of 175 PSI, it produces 33.6 CFM.
The pistons of the compressor are well designed for maximum strength that also allows it to control several pneumatic tools simultaneously. The Industrial Air sand blast compressor has a 10-HP motor and a mounted starter to give you a quick and simple operation. At the same time, the asymmetrical cooling fins and metal belt guard efficiently cool it by 60 degrees F.
Included is an expanded tank drain valve and vibration isolators to this 120-gallon air compressor that is perfectly ideal for industrial applications. For optimum performance and pump life, use pumps with a proprietary specification for these air compressors. Lastly, it comes with a 2-year factory whole product warranty.
- 120 gallons air compressor
- 10-HP motor
- At 90 PSI, it produces 35 CFM, and at a maximum CFM of 175 PSI, it produces 33.6 CFM.
- Asymmetrical cooling fins and metal belt guard
- Well designed pistons
5. Makita MAC2400 Air Compressor Industrial Type
- 1 of Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor
- 1 of ColorConnex Coupler & Plug Kit (14 Piece), Industrial Type...
Another air compressor with a powerful 2.5hp 4-pole motor has the capacity to produce air pressure at a rate of 4.2 CFM at 90 PSI, making it perfectly suitable for every work. This air compressor for sandblasting has a pump that is oil-lubricated to ensures it can run hotter and last much longer. The pump only operates at 1730 rpm, producing only 79 decibels, making it such a quiet machine.
It is almost entirely made of cast iron with its Big Bore cylinder that's also made of cast iron for stability while releasing air pressure and increased durability, making it one of the best air compressors for sandblasting. These Big Bore cylinders and pistons compress more air for a more consistent air pressure flow and faster recovery time.
However, the downside of this air compressor is that the motor does consume a staggering amount of electricity, but thanks to its Big Bore design, it does this without waking up the whole neighborhood. It also comes with an oil sight glass that also alerts you when the oil volume of this oil-lubricated design goes down, making its maintenance even easier.
- Powerful 2.5hp 4-pole motor
- 4.2 CFM at 90 PSI
- Big Bore cylinder design
- Operates at 1730 rpm, producing only 79 decibels
- Oil sight glass alert
- Pump with Big Bore cylinder and piston
- Automotive-grade air filter
- Dual-quick connect outlet
Buying Guide for the Best Air Compressor for Sandblasting
If you've used an air compressor before, or are familiar with how it works, then no doubt you know what CFM rating refers to and why it's crucial. The CFM is one of the most important technical things you'll have to keep in mind as you evaluate what air compressor you want you to get. Sandblasting works best when you are using an air compressor with a fairly high CFM rating output.
Air compressors will vary wildly in this metric. Some air compressors will hover around the 3-5 CFM range. These are good enough for some activities such as nailing; however, for sandblasting, you'll want a sandblasting air compressor with a minimum of 10 CFM. Ideally, you'll find ones that go up to 20 CFM.
Overall, sandblasting is highly intense, so using an air compressor with a high CFM is vital.
B) Nozzle Size
The CFM rating will also depend on the diameter of the nozzle's orifice. The larger the nozzle hole diameter, the more the volume of air and air pressure capacity needed.
C) Electric or Gas
Like most power tools in the market, you will have to choose whether you want to go with a gas-powered air compressor sandblaster or an electric model. Electric air compressors have their advantages, including the cost and the convenience they come with, which include; no need to buy gas, no fumes, and relatively lower maintenance costs involved.
On the other hand, gas air compressors are generally a much better option when you need portable sandblasting. These gas air compressors are pricier, but they also come with a lot more power in the form of a higher CFM, PSI, and horsepower.
Frequently Asked Questions on the Best Air Compressor for Sandblasting
1. What air compressor size will I need for sandblasting?
For small sandblasting jobs that use a #2 nozzle (1/8-inch), you will need an air compressor to give a blasting pressure of 20 CFM at 100 PSI. Bigger sandblasting jobs with a #4 nozzle (1/4-inch) will require blasting pressure that's at least 80 CFM at 100 PSI. Lastly, heavy-duty sandblasting jobs that use a #6 nozzle or more will need at least 175 CFM and above at 90 PSI.
2. What is the difference between SCFM and CFM?
CFM in full is Cubic Feet per Minute, whereas SCFM in full is Standard Cubic Feet per Minute. CFM is calculated at a higher pressure than SCFM, making the air volume smaller and, therefore, always a smaller number than the SCFM.
3. How do you combine 2 air compressors?
To connect 2 compressors, simply plug each airline into each air compressor's coupler and then connect the 2 airlines using a Tee. Of course, these 2 airlines can also be shortened depending on personal preference.