Is 100 PSI Enough for an Air Compressor?

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When you plan on getting an air compressor, one of the questions you would get from a seller is how much PSI you want. Most of the time, they would recommend you to get 100 PSI. in this article, I will tell you what is PSI and is 100 PSI enough for an air compressor.

Is 100 PSI Enough for an Air Compressor?

Yes, 100 PSI is enough for an air compressor for general use only. If you’re planning to do heavy tasks, you might need more than 100 PSI. for context, a portable compressor runs around 70 to 90 PSI.

Some tools require a specific amount of PSI to work, so you also have to consider what you’ll be using it for. If you’re planning to buy one, make sure you know what applications you’ll use most of the time.

An orange compressor near a black and yellow toolbox on top of a red metal floor

What Pressure Is Best for an Air Compressor?

Air compressors generally operate between 90 to 100 PSI. you would only need 100 more PSI 3/in things like scuba diving and paintball which aren’t home applications. Most hand tools operate below 100 PSI, so it’s safe to assume that 100 PSI is the best one.

However, other factors, such as portability, quality, and set up, are also important. You shouldn’t get a 100 PSI compressor just because it is. For example, you want an air compressor for spray painting or paint jobs, so you should prioritize portability so you can reach hard-to-reach spots.

Other Factors to Choose for Air Compressor Aside from PSI

  • CFM – predicts how fast and effective the compressor will be in filling tires
  • Tank Size – the larger your tank, the more time you can do your applications. It will also affect how long it will take to fill inflatables.
  • Loudness – is an optional factor and matters if you want the compressor to run quietly, especially if you don’t have a soundproof work area at home.
  • Portability – your compressor won’t be staying in one place because you can use it for different applications. Hence, you’ll have to move it around if you want to use it, for example, to paint walls or the fence.
  • Oil-free – oil-free compressors require less maintenance allowing you to save time and cost.

Applications You Can Do at 100 PSI

To give you more information, here are some typical applications and how much PSI you would need to do it properly:


For cutting, you use the cut-off tool for cutting metal sheets. It’s widely used for industrial and auto maintenance. You would rarely be using this unless you are doing it for business since it’s cheaper to buy the right metal sheet than to cut them yourself.

Cutting generally requires 90 PSI to operate. You may need more if you plan to do it for long periods of time.


Drilling is a common application used in compressors. Compressors are used because they can penetrate metal and rock compared to electric-powered drills, which can only penetrate the wood.

Air-powered drills are also generally stable, so they are preferred by people with shaky hands. You only need 90 PSI to operate a pneumatic drill.

A yellow and black air compressor with an orange tube placed on top of a black asphalt


Sanding is an exhausting job to do if you do it manually. Thankfully, I have air pneumatic tools now to do it for me. Compressor sanding is great for metal woodwork. Dual sanders generally require 90 PSI for proper operations.

Frame Nailing

Frame nailing works like a gun wherein the nails are loaded like bullets, so you won’t have to pick one every time you hammer them in. You need a pneumatic nail gun to properly do frame nailing. You will need 90 PSI to work a framing nailer.


Painting is a common task when it comes to home renovation. Using pneumatic tools for it produces a better and more consistent paint job compared to doing it by hand. Much like most tasks, you will require 90 PSI to do it.

Related Questions

Is Higher PSI Better for Air Compressors?

Higher PSI is better for air compressors if you want to operate air tools for much longer. The higher the PSI, the more air you can store in the tank. This allows you to operate the compressor for much longer.

What Size Air Compressor Do I Need to Work on Cars?

You would need around 100 to 130 PSI with a 5 to 30 HP air compressor for powering pneumatic tools related to cars. You also need to have about an 80 to 240-gallon air tank to accommodate the heavy workload.

What Is a Good PSI for an Air Compressor?

If you cannot afford to get a 100 or 110 PSI, you can settle with a 70 to 90 PSI air compressor. Most air tools are rated between 70 to 90 PSI, so you should be okay with it. Although 100 would be the sweet spot for that extra power.


100 PSI is more than enough to work with most air tools. You can do things such as sanding, cutting, painting, and nailing with ease.