How to Use a Nail Gun With an Air Compressor

How to Use a Nail Gun With an Air Compressor

From installing moldings to creating picture frames, combining an air compressor with a pneumatic nail gun opens up tons of options for both pros and DIY enthusiasts. Since air-powered nail guns are more affordable than battery-operated ones, most people will use them with their air compressors and unlock various possibilities.

But for this, you must know how to use a nail gun with an air compressor. The process includes selecting the right nail gun, finding the appropriate air compressor size, and following the safety requirements for a safe and beneficial application.

So, let’s get with it without wasting much time.

How to Setup and Use a Nail Gun With an Air Compressor

When you use an air compressor with the nail gun, you will need an air hose to setup the entire system. Also, you will need to know what size air compressor for nail gun is suitable.

Step 1: Choosing the right air compressor


Pancake Air Compressor

Air compressors can be gas or electric-powered. While working at home for small DIY and repair works, electric air compressors are preferable for many reasons. Firstly, they won’t emit any gas and fume. Secondly, these are less noisy, which is suitable for residential space.

Also, you have to fix the air compressor size for your nail guns. The size of the compressor will depend on the type of nail gun you will use and the type of your work. For instances-

  • For DIY works and small nailing works, use 1-6 gallons of tank size for the compressor.
  • You may choose 2-6 gallons of air compressor tank size for outdoor nailing works with a framing nail gun.
  • You will need a large air compressor from 6 to 10 gallons or above if you want to use two nail guns simultaneously.

Step 2: Choosing the right nailer

Now, depending on your work, you have to choose the right nail gun type as well. You can pick from these main types of nail guns-

  • Framing nailers: It is a heavy-duty nailer with up 15 to 16 gauge nail handling capacity. You will see its most common uses in large construction and workshop for framing wood. It is usable for fencing, making decks, siding, and sheathing purposes.
  • Brad nailers: You can choose these nail guns for working with tiny objects. It suits working with decorative trim, picture frames, crown moulding and other thin cuts of wood. Most common Brad nailers are usually capable of handling 18 gauge nails.
  • Finish nailers: With nails from 14 to 16 gauges, finish nail guns can work with wood, plastic, cement, or any other surface. You can use it with an air compressor to fix any furniture shortly.
  • Roofing nailer: Used widely by professionals, roofing nail guns are built to work on roofs. It can be pneumatic, spring-loaded, and solenoid depending on its manufacturing process. It is a specific nailer that works only on roofs.
  • Staple gun: The staple nail guns work with stapes to drive them through the different materials. You can use it with upholstery, for carpentry, and attaching carpet properly with floor or other frames.

Step 4: Ensure proper safety

Now that you are all set to work with your nail gun and air compressor, you must ensure the proper safety requirements. It is crucial since the air compressor is often a tricky device to operate. At a minimum, you must wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from any flying objects. Also, wear gloves for added safety.

Many professionals wear a hard hat to protect their heads too. Next, check the electric outlet and compressor wiring and ensure that there’s no chance of sparks. If you sense any chance of sparks while working, you better abort the process.

Lastly, you must not attempt to clean the compressor and nail gun right after and during the work since both machines will be heated and may cause scalding effects on the skin.

Step 5: Connecting two devices

Nailer with air compressor

Now, you have to attach the nail gun with the air compressor. If you use an existing air compressor, you can connect the nail gun directly with it using the air hose. However, if you are using a new compressor, you can follow these steps-

  • Assemble the air compressor following the guidelines on the user manual.
  • After that, fix the wheel and rubber couplers properly. You will need to use a pair of pliers for it.
  • Once fixed, you have to fasten the rubber coupler accurately in its right location.
  • Find the open end of the previously chosen air hose. Then, connect the nail gun with it.
  • When the two machines are connected properly, you will find the entire wiring a sturdy and rigid one. It is a sign that the attachment is done properly.

Next, fill up the air compressor with the required oil and lubricator as per the user manual.

Step 6: Start and finish off the work

After turning on the compressor, wait for a few moments to allow the air to build up the essential pressure inside the compressor tank. The recommended pressure for a small compressor for DIY works is roughly around 100-110PSI.

Determine how deep you would like to drive the nail. Then, control the PSI accordingly. However, make sure you don’t push the air compressor to its PSI limit while working. It may damage the compressor. Also, opt for a slightly higher pressure to drive the nail completely into the surface compared to a half or quarter-sunken nail.

When you have driven the nail through the surface, slowly reduce the air pressure of the compressor. Then turn it off. Wait for a few moments to allow both machines to cool off. Then, open the safety valve of the compressor. It will help to release any remaining air pressure.

Finally, disconnect the setup and clean them before storing the nail gun and compressor for future use.

Final Words

Using an air compressor with nail guns isn’t a complicated task by any means. This guideline on should remove any cloud of doubt in your mind if you have any. The key is to select the right compressor and nail gun depending on your project requirements.

Also, always follow the proper safety measures for these machines to avoid any unwanted mishaps since both are electric devices. It is crucial for your safety and working procedure.