Sanding is a tedious process that requires a combination of factors: a reliable air hose, a durable sander and perhaps most importantly, a high functioning air compressor to provide the ideal pressurized air for a high-level pneumatic performance.
We will review three of the best air compressors suitable for the sanding process to afford users the most comfort and convenience possible in their trial of patience within the workshop.
Primarily, when using a sander, it is important to pick the right air compressor based on the sanding tool needs.
A standard orbital sander is a massive air consumer, requiring an output of around 5-6 CFM (cubic feet per minute) at 90 PSI for an ideal pressure flow even when labels tell you otherwise, or a huge pressurized air tank capable of providing the immense quantity of air for your work needs.
Advantages of Air Compressors and Air Tools
You will find with an air compressor that they are much more powerful than other more traditional electric tools you may have stashed out in the garage. They deliver much higher torque and a higher RPM so you can get any job done a lot faster.
The air tools you can use with your air compressor are also versatile and very interchangeable; they are also a safe alternative to other sources. They have a longer lifespan than other electric tools and have less weight when compared to other comparable tools.
Choosing an Air Compressor
When choosing your air compressor, you need to determine where you will use it and what your power requirements are. Portable compressors, for example, offer you more flexibility. To get started using your air tools, you will need to make sure to find a good air compressor to run the tools more efficiently.
Sandblasters require constant air so you will want to choose an air compressor for sandblasting that has a bigger tank to allow much more airflow. For smaller tools and sanders, you can get away with a small air compressor.
The ideal PSI for a sandblaster is 90 PSI. The numbers below are based on the average CFM @ 90 PSI.
|Air Tool||Average CFM||Operating PSI|
What Is an Air Belt Sander?
An air belt sander is a type of sander that you can with your air compressor to help smooth and contour materials. It is easy to use and control and is lightweight and handheld.
Before using your air belt sander, you need to make sure you wear the proper protective gear, including goggles, gloves, and earplugs. You then connect the air belt sander to your air compressor. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a small air compressor either. Usually, any size will work; you just need to understand how to use it properly.
Before starting, you should also make sure that the air filter and regulator are in place since this is what the sander considers the dust extraction component. When using the sander, you press lightly over the area you need to sand. You will find that sanding this way offers you much more power and gets the job done a lot faster than you would with manual sanding.
What Is a Pneumatic Sander?
A pneumatic sander is a smaller, handheld power tool for sanding that is often much lighter than an electric sander and this is because there is no motor. Also, because there is no motor, a pneumatic sander has a much quieter operation and can run for a lot longer than its electric counterparts.
To use a pneumatic sander, you will need a decent size air compressor. The smaller air compressors will just continuously cycle because the tank is much too small for the amount of pressurized air you need to get the job done. One of the biggest disadvantages to using this power tool, however, is that there is no connector for the dust. So, it is lacking proper dust collection and could end up making a mess.
Now that we know a little more about air compressors, air sanders, and pneumatic tools, let us look at the air compressors that match up with the demands of these formidable sanding tools. The following are a few air compressor reviews for air sanding:
The air compressor has an output rate of 5.3 CFM at 90 PSI and 6.4 CFM at 40 PSI, which meets the requirement suitable for sanding needs.
Machine parts offer a low sound level of 70 decibels. The compressor produces the least noise among the three models.
The durable metal-clad compressor provides the option of manual or auto drain systems that users may choose at their convenience and runs at 2 horsepower.
With a massive 10-gallon tank, the duty cycle of the California Air Tools 10020C has the capacity to go for 3000 hours as opposed to the usual 500 plus hours in similar air compressor models. These machines are designed to last, no more nagging repair woes!
Being oil-free compressors in its construct means that these models may be used under any weather conditions without concern over temperature issues (cold starts).
- Quiet motor operation, reduced noise pollution, no earplugs required
- Ease of movement, the tank is hooked up to a wheelbase to provide portability
- High-performance duty cycle for maximized pressuring needs
- Long lasting air pumping lifetime hours
- Oil-free, free from weather factors
- Easy start valve with low amp requirement
- The manual drain pipes are difficult to access
- Noise reduction is minimal, far from the quality assurance of the company
Why We Recommend the California Air Tools 10020C
Considering that the unit includes a 10-gallon pressurized tank, the attached wheels provide portability uncommon to its size.
Lugging around a mammoth compressor is made easy. A low amp startup also wins our attention, wasting no time in starting up your pressurizing process.
The California Air Tools 10020C is available here on Amazon:
DeWalt has been a popular household brand for power tool equipment since 1924. Thus, it does not come as a surprise that it delivers quite a winning solution to sanding needs with its D55146 model.
Air pumping is provided at 5.2CFM at 90 PSI, and the machine comes equipped with wheels and handles for portability though the item itself is light. Pneumatic wheels offer quick portability around the workshop if required.
- Provides a good power CFM at 90 PSI for sanding needs
- Extreme portability
- Low capacity (4.5 gallon) tank, which stores little pressurized air at any one time
Here is why we recommend the DeWalt D55146 Air Compressor
Go for the set if you decide on an air compressor that provides no bulk and offers the pressure required for your sanding needs.
However, pay heed to the limited capacity of the model, which does not give much concession to air storage.
The DeWalt D55146 Air Compressor can be found on Amazon here:
The first thing we should get out of the way is the hefty price tag hooked to the item. Bearing in mind that despite its portability, the 60-gallon tank is more suited for industrial needs than the confines of a home workshop. The PXCMLC3706056 costs more than double the price of the two other competing compressors on our list.
Hence to the casual hobbyist, this product may seem a bit of an overkill for their sanding needs.
The model has a strong 3.7 horsepower that ramps up a 13.4 CFM at 40 PSI and a staggering 11.5 CFM at 90 PSI.
An on/off pressure switch allows ease of use. Included with the superior air compressor is synthetic oil that offers extended usage and product performance.
- Superior efficiency (way surpassing the ideal running specs of air pressure compressors that power sanding tools)
- Large air storage capacity
- Excellent customer service available through a toll-free hotline
- Very heavy, the item is best bolted to the ground to prevent slipping accidents
- Requires high power supply to run, estimated at 220 volts
Why do we recommend the Porter Cable PXCMLC3706056?
The model is certainly a heavy-duty provider of pressurized air pressure for your sanding needs thanks to its massive tank capacity of 60 gallons and impressive CFM output.
You may proceed with your sanding jobs through the hours without fear of your air supply ever running out.
The Porter Cable PXCMLC3706056 is for sale on Amazon at:
Our Finest Pick
And the winner is… Porter Cable PXCMLC3706056 Air Compressor.
Despite its unwieldy size and exorbitant price, we feel that sanding is serious business, and for that, we need the best power tools that are available.
The Porter Cable provides all the specs (high horsepower, large air storage, and great CFM) required to fulfill the high demands of an orbital sander, which is one of the most efficient pneumatic sanding tools for your projects.
However, for users on a lower budget, the other two products in our review are more suitable but prepare to face some trouble with the pressure supply if you opt to use a high-end sanding tool since they generally require high compressor functions.