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CFM Requirements For Automotive Repair Air Compressors
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CFM Requirements For Automotive Repair Air Compressors

Lets face it choosing the best air compressor for automotive repair can be a bit confusing with all the different makes, models and brands that are on the market today.

Within this article we will help you to clear some of that confusion by offering you a few guidelines and specifications as to what types of compressors it takes to operate your automotive air tools.

The best air compressor for automotive work is going to depend on several different factors:

• What will it be used for? Automotive business or automotive hobby?

• How often will you be using it? Daily or occasional?

• What types of air tools will you be running? Standard auto repair tools or body shop tools?

• Do you need a portable or stationary? For mobile automotive service.

• How much are you willing to spend! A good quality compressor doesn't come cheap but if you follow what we will discuss in this article you will be better informed with the knowledge you need to make the best economical decision for your needs.

If you intend on purchasing a commercial grade air compressor for your automotive business it is highly recommended that you select a compressor manufacturer that is a member of the Compressed Air and Gas Institute. The CAGI is an organization that verifies product performance & specifications that participating manufacturers publish on their products as a service to end users of compressed air system equipment which will help to insure you are getting what you are paying for.

List of manufacturers that are members of the CAGI:

• Atlas Copco


• CompAir

• FS Curtis

• Gardner Denver

• Kaeser

• Quincy

• Sullair

• Ingersoll Rand

An ideal set up for the occasional DIY home use automotive mechanic would be a portable 30 gallon, single stage, 5 cfm, belt driven compressor. The 30 gallon mobile air compressor is typically powered by a 2 hp 110v motor that can be plugged into any standard (US) electrical outlet. A 5 cfm rating is capable of operating just about any pneumatic powered automotive air tool you can hook up to it on a single air line.

For the busy work from home professional mechanic a 60 gallon single stage, 100% continuous duty cycle air compressor that has a rating of 10 to 18 cfm will be enough to operate your most demanding air tools. Just be sure you have the proper electrical connection wired up, the typical 60 gallon requires a 220v service connection.

For a commercial auto repair business the best type of compressed air system is going to have to be at a minimum a 60 gallon 2 stage 14 cfm air compressor for a small repair shop operating with just a couple techs or an 80 gallon two stage 24 cfm air compressor operating with 3 or more mechanics.

An air compressor is an investment in your business, and should last you 20 years or more with proper maintenance, so keep in mind you get what you pay for. Choosing an air compressor that is to small for your needs and you will know it immediately.

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