What are the Best Air Compressors for Sandblasting?


Air compressors for sandblasters require a very large amount of air to push the medium.  Some blasters use sand while others use glass beads which are blasted at a target.

The volume for air that is put forth is called standard cubic feet per minute (SCFM).  This specific amount is a match between the equipment and the air compressor.  This number is often found in the user manual of specific equipment.  When you find this number you need to multiple it by 1.5 and this will give you the minimum SCFM’s necessary.

Compressors are available in oil and oil free versions.  Since sandblasting requires so much power you want to look for a unit that is an oil version because it is better for this specific type of work.  The oil is used for lubrication.  Oiled machines last longer and suffer less wear and tear.  This is because the oil keeps the internal parts cooler.  Because of the type of use an oil-free compressor would become damaged quickly.

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Remember sandblasting requires lots of power and you should always use an air compressor with at least a 2 horsepower motor.  The more horsepower the less stress on the internal workings of an air compressor when it comes to this type of work.  So higher horsepower longer life for the unit.

Sandblasting is usually done on site, like sandblasting of walls and even done in residential units at time.  Portable compressors are preferable to stationary ones because of this.  Portable units usually have wheels.  You will also want to have a sturdy handle so it holds up longer.

Sandblasting can also involve blasting indoor work like vehicles prep or outdoor like working on a wall.  Indoor work involves electrical power source.  If you are working outdoors you can opt for a gas powered unit that could not be used inside because of the risk of fumes.

What to look at when buying an air compressor for sandblasting

When looking at an air compressors for sandblasting you want to take a few things into account.  The main three things are air volume, lubrication type and horsepower.  You also want to take into consideration if you want to be able to move this around the jobsite so portability will also need to be taken into account.  You always need to take into consideration power source.  Is this going to be used inside or outside and is there electrical availability?

My top six choices of air compressors for sandblasting

Using the above guidelines I have come up with six fairly good choices for air compressors.

Ingersoll-Rand SS3F2-GM Garage Mate Oiled Wheeled Single Hot Dog Compressor

We all know this is a brand to trust.  They are one of the top brands in air compressors and air tools as well as other tools.  This one features a cast iron tank.  The tank is horizontal and holds 30 gallons.  This is a very portable unit.  This unit works in a home, garage, or shop and is good for either professional use or the serious do-it-yourselfer.  This unit is an excellent choice for sandblasting.  This is a very reliable unit.  The warranty is for two years.  This has a max of 135 PSI.  This unit weighs about 185 pounds.

– NorthStar Belt Drive Single-Stage Portable Air Compressor

This is a two horsepower air compressor.  This unit has a dual voltage induction motor.  This has a 2-cylinder cast iron single-stage pump.  This unit is a great unit to help avoid moisture build up because of the copper usage.  There are ball bearings on both sides of the crankshaft which ensures smooth running and durability.  This item weighs 207 pounds.  This unit is tough enough for commercial use.  This is an excellent choice for sandblasting.  This is an oil lubricated unit.  The noise decibels on this are 80.  The is a wonderful choice.

California Air Tools CAT-263DLH Steel Tank Oil-Lubricated Air Compressor

This unit has a powerful 2.0 horsepower motor.  This unit also has a direct drive pump which makes it very efficient.  It has a 6.3 horizontal steel tank.  This is a portable unit.  This is a very easy unit to store because of its size so when not in use it won’t sustain damage.  As we talked about before because of the oil-lubrication it will last a long time and take less damage. This unit is fairly light weight weighing in at only 52 pounds.  This unit is foreign being imported in from China.  This is a corded electric unit.  This unit has a max PSI of 125 and is an 85 decibel unit.  The warranty is for a year on this unit.  One nice thing is the unit fills from empty to full in only 125 seconds.  Be aware this unit does not come with a hose.  A fairly good unit.

Industrial Air Contractor CTA5090412 Direct Drive Pontoon Air Compressor with Honda Engine

The Honda engine alone makes this well worth the price.  We all know Honda means quality.  This is a low maintenance unit and the one draw back is it is not an oil unit.  However it does have a two piece cooling system which helps prolong the life of the unit.  This is a 5 horsepower unit.  It has a max PSI of 155.  This is a highly portable unit and is only a bit over 76 pounds.  This unit is only good for outside use since it is gas powered.  This unit has a two year warranty.  The tanks on this unit are aluminum.  Though this would not be my first choice it would also not be my last choice.  The horsepower alone makes this a worth while unit.

Makita MAC5200 Big Bore 3.0 HP Air Compressor

This is a highly portable unit with a folding handle and very easy to store when not in use.  This unit has a built in storage compartment for accessories, not many can boast this.  This unit also has an air hose wrap not a common feature and can store up to 50 feet of 3/8 inch hose with the handle folded or not folded.  This is a cast iron pump unit.  This unit is known for its fast recovery time.  This is an oil-lubricated unit with an oil glass viewer.  The cylinders are made of cast iron and durable.  This unit also has an automotive like air filter which prolongs its life.  This unit also has a roll cage like construction.  This unit keeps moisture down meaning longer life.  This has an electrical cord and weighs about 105 pounds.  The is a best in class engineered unit.  This unit has 140 maximum PSI.    This is an excellent unit.

Jenny Compressors G9HGA-8P Tank Gas Powered Single Stage Wheeled Portable Compressor

This unit also boasts a Honda engine which as I said before means quality.  This unit has a cast iron cylinder which means it will hold up to lots of wear and tear.  This is a belt driven unit with a large fly wheel which means easy start up and faster cooling.  The belt has a guard on it.  This unit has a range of 145-175 PSI.  Because this is a two stage unit it cools more efficiently which means longer life.  The unit weighs 278 pounds and has a one year warranty.  This is an oil lubricated unit with an oil sight glass.  This unit comes equipped with lift handles.  This unit has anit-vibration feet.  Jenny compressors are great.


I hope this helps you find that perfect air compressor for your sandblasting needs.  Keep in mind that minimum 2 horsepower is needed and oil is preferred.  Keep in mind usage and where you plan on using it indoor vs. outdoor this will help you pick a power source.  Happy hunting.

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