A trim air compressor is often needed by professionals because it’s not easy to carry around a heavy air compressor just for a nailer. These types of compressors are made smaller but have fast and efficient motors.
They have faster recovery times, so there’s less downtime. They’re also useful to people who need a compressor for at-home projects or activities like inflating or cleaning debris.
To choose the best trim air compressor, you’ll need to make sure it matches your tools. This shouldn’t get too difficult because most nailers don’t require high PSI and CFM.
Top Trim Air Compressors
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6 Best Trim Air Compressors:
1. BOSTITCH 120 PSI 1.2 Gallon Trim Air Compressor
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The Bostitch CAP1512 is a compactable trim air compressor. We consider it the best air compressor for trim carpentry. It only weighs 23.5lbs and has a handle on the top for easy transport.
The compressor has a roll cage design that protects all the parts of the compressor from any damage. When you take your compressor to high-stress environments, you won’t need to worry about breaking.
The Bostitch has a 1.2-gallon tank that isn’t the largest, but it still packs a powerful punch. The oil-free pump can run up to 150 PSI to run your tools simultaneously. It takes only 50 seconds to reach 150 PSI.
The motor runs at 1.5 HP and peaks at 2 HP. It only uses 12 amps to start up. This means it can run on an extension cord, unlike most compressors that need a direct outlet. You won’t have to worry about tripping any breakers either.
It has built-in overload protection that stops the motor from overheating. When it detects too much heat, it shuts the motor down and restarts when cool.
The compressor has a LED on/off switch to eliminate low-pressure misfires. It even has an integrated cord wrap for improved portability. The trim compressor runs at 2.8 SCFM at 90 PSI and 3.7 CFM at 40 PSI.
- Can run multiple air power tools simultaneously
- Portable with a handle, lightweight, and roll-cage design
- On-board storage for tools and hoses
- Fills and recovers quickly
- Tank bleeder and the ball valve is conveniently placed
- Has a duty rating of 50%
- You need to use caution when disconnecting the air line if it has pressure still in the tank
- It vibrates a lot when securely placed and could move around
2. Grip-Rite GR152CM 1.5HP 2 Gallon Twin Tank Trim Air Compressor
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The Grip-Rite trim air compressor was once rated number one for performance. It can handle any light-to-medium projects like light roofing, framing, or trim work. It has a lower handle to carry the unit from one job site to the next.
While most air compressors can only be used outdoors because of their loudness, this one can be used indoors at 75dB.
The compressor comes with an oil-free pump that doesn’t require maintenance and you don’t need to worry about oil spills while on site. The pump takes only 50 seconds to fill and has ten seconds of recovery time.
The pump has a 4,000-hour life expectancy, which is longer than more oil-free compressors. The motor only draws eight amps to run, so you can use it on an outlet or extension cord.
It has a ¼-inch quick-connect coupler, discharge adjustment, and a gauge to fine-tune the air that goes into your tools.
The trim compressor has an easy turn drain valve to remove any moisture in the tank to prevent internal damage. It has a 2 HP peak and a 2.6 CFM at 90 PSI.
- 50 seconds pump up and ten seconds recovery
- No maintenance required
- Runs quiet enough to use indoors
- Has a tray on top to place tools or screws while working
- Low vibration/doesn’t move around when running
- Lightweight and compact
- Moisture builds in the tank if you don’t drain it frequently
- Cycles frequently
3. Senco PC1010 1/2- Horsepower 1-Gallon Matte Finish Portable Trim Air Compressor
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The Senco trim air compressor features a quiet run. Most trim compressors run with loud noises to the point you can barely use them inside without complaints. This compressor runs at only 68dB.
That’s hardly louder than a conversation! It features a 1 HP motor, 1-gallon tank, and delivers a 0.7 CFM at 90 PSI with a max 125 PSI. The compressor delivers 20 to 44 drives per minute.
This powers most of your small projects. The compressor doesn’t weigh much at only 20lbs. The transport to other job sites is easy and doesn’t take much effort.
It’s made of aluminum that helps make it weigh less and provides for a stronger construction of the tank. The aluminum also withstands the elements like rain and snow.
You won’t have to worry about rust or corrosion. For a small compressor, it has a quick recovery time.
The Senco only requires four amps to start-up and comes CSA certified for safety and durability. The safety release valve allows you to relieve the pressure to stop excess buildup.
It even includes a pressure/motor switch to maintain the pressure lower than the preset cut-in pressure. The air intake filter is removable and washable, unlike other models.
- Lightweight and compact for easy transport and storage
- Well-made and feels high-quality
- Runs quiet enough to hold a conversation
- Includes a ¼-inch coil air hose
- Dual-pressure gauge for monitoring power
- Fast recovery time
- Won’t power heavy-duty tools like an impact wrench
- The switch is under the handle, which makes it an awkward spot
4. DEWALT DWFP55130 200-PSI Max Trim Air Compressor
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The DeWalt DWFP55130 trim air compressor supports trim nailers at 15, 16, and 18. for one or two user operations. Compared to most compressors, it runs at a quiet 71.5dB. It’s not much louder than a conversation and can be used indoors and outdoors.
The design of the trim compressor has a lightweight and compact make. The compressor operates in either the vertical or horizontal position, which makes it easy to work in small spaces.
The pump requires around two minutes to fill at startup, but recovery time only takes about 30 seconds once it’s running. The compressor runs at 50% duty-cycle, so you will only have 30 minutes of continuous use each hour.
The thermal overload protector stops the motor from overheating. The safety pressure valve pops out when pressure needs to be relieved. It has a roll-cage and control panel that protects the key components of the compressor.
This makes it great for tough working conditions. The compressor has a ball valve drain for quick train draining and a high-flow regulator for better performance.
It also has a convenient cord wrap for easy storage. The compressor runs at 3.0 SCFM at 90 PSI with a max PSI of 200.
- Can operate in the horizontal or vertical position
- Portable and lightweight with a roll-cage design
- Runs quiet enough to use indoors
- Recovers quickly
- Dual-quick couplers that support two nailers
- Starts up with only 12 amps to reduce breaker tripping
- Slow to build up pressure initially
- Runtime of longer than five minutes in a short period may shorten the life expectancy
5. BOSTITCH Air Compressor Combo Kit
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The Bostitch BFTP1KIT trim air compressor features an 18 gauge brad nailer gun from 5/8-inch to two-inch. The added accessory is unlike most other compressors. It doesn’t have the quietest operation at 78.5dB, so you will have to wear ear protection to operate it.
However, the trim compressor makes up for it in other ways. The motor of the compressor easily starts up in any weather condition and can run with an extension cord because of the low 15 amps.
The compressor won’t move around from vibration because it has rubber tips on the three feet.
The pump of the compressor is oil-free and doesn’t require any maintenance. You also won’t have to worry about your working conditions like uneven ground.
The compressor doesn’t weigh much and has a large top handle, so it makes it much easier to transport to your job sites. The control panel features a tank pressure gauge, regulator, safety valve, and two quick-connect outlets.
This allows you to run more than one pneumatic tool simultaneously. The compressor also comes with a PVC air hose with fittings. The Bostitch compressor runs a 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI.
- 25 second recovery time
- Easy to read dials on the control panel
- Convenient cord wrap
- 50-75% duty-cycle
- Fills entire tank in only two and a half minutes
- Includes 18-gauge brad nailer and 100-brads magazine capacity
- Standard drain cock is small to hold and awkward to turn
- Will need to run by extension cord most of the time/only has a 5ft power cord
6. Makita AC001 Compact Air Compressor
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The Makita AC001 trim air compressor was designed for indoor use. It provides 125 PSI with the motor but keeps the noise level at only 72dB. The noise levels allow you to work indoors or in smaller spaces without disturbing others.
The compressor was made to easily transport from job site to job site. It only weighs 23lbs. It also has a grip handle at the top for comfortable carrying.
For workers that must work in tight spaces or don’t want a bulky compressor for their home, the Makita AC001 doesn’t take up much space.
The compressor doesn’t require oil, which makes it maintenance-free, and you won’t have to worry about working on uneven ground or oil spills.
The trim compressor draws low amps at only eight to lessen the chance of tripped breakers and you can use it with an extension cord. The lever handle ball valve releases the air from the tank with ease and quickly.
Durability is no worry because of the roll-cage design. It fully protects the motor and pump in case the air should tip over or fall. The compressor runs 0.45 CFM at 90 PSI and 0.58 CFM at 40 PSI.
- Durable build with a roll-cage
- Universal brass coupler
- Runs quiet at 72dB
- Lightweight and compact
- Easy to read pressure gauges
- Low amp draw
- Takes time to build pressure
- Costs more than most compressors of the same size and ones that have additional features/accessories
What to Consider Before Buying A Trim Aircompressor
Before you buy a trim air compressor, you’ll want to consider these seven factors.
PSI is how much force the compressor can shoot out. Each tool will require a different PSI, so check your manual. Most trim compressors will provide at least 90 PSI up to 130 PSI. Some offer more depending on the type.
CFM ratings are probably the most important factor on the list. CFM measures how much air is moved within one minute. The greater the CFM, the more air that’s moved.
This is beneficial for heavier air-powered tools like paint sprayers. A trim air compressor usually provides less than 1 CFM, so don’t get shocked when you see that in a description. Generally, you want 1.25 times more CFM at the PSI of your tool.
Portability is important to any air compressor, especially when you need to transport it to different job sites. The last thing you want is a huge, heavy compressor that takes multiple people to move around.
Some carpenters that work independently don’t have the extra set of hands to help them move a compressor around.
You also must take the shape into account. If you need to work in tight spaces or odd positions, you’ll need a trim air compressor that can easily fit.
Recovery time is a very big factor. Recovery time refers to the time it takes to fill the take back up with air. Most compressors have a small tank but efficient motors. Many trim air compressors only take ten to 30 seconds of recovery time.
The shorter the recovery time, the less time you’ll have to wait before you start work again. Bigger compressors usually have a longer downtime.
Most compressors for trim work come small. A trim air compressor has many sensitive components that need to have protection from damage. Your workstations will most likely take place in rough or incomplete areas.
This puts the trim air compressor at risk for damage. It’s important to find a trim compressor that’s made durable. For example, you might want an aluminum body or a roll-cage design.
Tank size matters. Most trim compressors don’t have large capacities. Tank sizes indicate how long it takes to fill it from empty to full. The larger the tank, the longer you can use the tank.
The drawback with a larger tank is that it takes longer to refill. You’ll want a smaller trim air compressor tank because they generally have better recycle times.
You may not feel this aspect matters much if the compressor gets the job done. However, it’s more important than you think. For example, imagine you buy a trim compressor, and it runs loudly.
You might not be able to run it in your house because it disturbs others. It might be so loud that your neighbors complain about it when you use it.
This can quickly become a problem if you need to use the trim air compressor frequently. You also don’t want a compressor too noisy because it can affect your hearing.
Some compressors will require you to wear ear protection the entire time you work. If you don’t care about wearing ear protection or have neighbors complain about the sound, then you can ignore this factor.
What Size Air Compressor for Trim Work?
Most carpenters will own a much larger air compressor than the ones needed just for trim work. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does make it more difficult to take to job sites because they’re often so large and heavy.
It will also have a long recovery time, which means less time working and more time standing around.
If you plan to only complete trim work for certain days, you might want to invest in a smaller trim air compressor. A smaller compressor has the advantage of quicker recovery times, doesn’t take much space, and it’s easy to transport.
You need your compressor’s CFM and PSI ratings to match. Tools and compressors will have this listed. When it comes to trim work, brad trimmers tend to be the ones people choose for light trim work.
For a basic brad nailer, it won’t require much out of your compressor. Generally, you will need an air compressor that can output 1 CFM at 60 PSI. Most one to two-gallon tank compressors provides enough power to run a brad nailer.
You will need to go slightly larger if you plan to use framing nailers or finishing nailers, but it won’t be a huge jump.
Why Do you Need a Trim Air Compressor?
You will need an air compressor if you’re a construction worker, carpenter, or a big fan of DIY projects. Trim work refers to baseboards, crown molding, any other type of molding, and millwork.
People that frequently need to install this or simply need to use a nail gun will want a trim air compressor.
These types of compressors are preferred by works because of how lightweight, durable, and portable they are. You can easily take them to your job sites without struggling to find a way to transport them.
Keep in mind if you plan to run pneumatic tools like an impact wrench or plasma cutter, a trim air compressor won’t handle it. However, these compressors can recover much faster than larger compressors. It won’t have as much downtime to refill.
Non-workers that have these types of air compressors generally use them to power small tools for at-home projects. Some people even use them to inflate bicycle tires, pool devices, clean debris, or inflate toys like basketballs.
You can use these small compressors for almost anything around the home. Whatever your reason for buying a trim compressor, it will surely help you with your home or work needs.
How to Use an Air Compressor for Trim Work?
You know how to work an air compressor, but how do you use it for trim work? Is there any difference? Do you need to be a professional?
Find out all you need to know with this handy step-by-step guide to using your air compressor for trim work. Spoiler alert! You don’t need to be a professional to operate, but some knowledge does help with the operation.
Step 1: Choose the Right Compressor
The first step to using an air compressor for trim work requires you to choose the correct one!
You need one that matches the CFM and PSI to your power tools otherwise, the tools won’t power. You want to choose the correct tank size, portability, and so on. You don’t want to waste money on a compressor you can’t use.
Step 2: Attach Your Tool/Components
You’ve got your air compressor, now what? You’ll need to hook up your air power tool.
Some compressors come with hoses or connectors to attach the power tools to.
Step 3: Build Up Pressure
Turn on the air compressor. The compressor will need to build up the air before you can use it.
Step 4: Use Your Tool
When the air builds up, you can begin to use your tool. Push down on the nailer or pull the trigger. Many compressors will have a regulator that lets you choose the right air pressure.
A good tip to check if you have the pressure set too high is to see how far the nails go into the wood. If they’re coming through the other side and you don’t want them to, adjust the pressure back.
Step 5: Recovery
Let the air compressor recover. This may take between ten seconds to one minute.
The more you use the nailer attached to the compressor, the compressor’s pressure will drop. When the pressure gets low enough, the compressor will recover to raise to that max pressure again.
Step 6: Release the Air
Release the air from the compressor. Ensure the pressure is fully released before you detach the hose and tool.
Releasing the air from the tank to avoid moisture buildup and rust. It also makes taking the components off easy and safe. You don’t want a nail gun to the face!
Step 7: Storage
Store your tools and compressor.
Some compressors might have a storage area, but others will require you to put the tool away.
Air compressors aren’t created equal. The ones I have reviewed here considered the best for the design, portability, and functionality. Trim compressors provide carpenters and construction workers with a better option than a larger compressor.
Unlike larger compressors, you don’t need help to lug it around or wait around for the compressor to recover its air pressure. It fits in smaller spaces and sometimes can rotate to fit in the spot you need. They’re usually much quieter too and you won’t need ear protection or disturb others.
With the wide range of air compressors out there, you’ll likely find the one that best suits what you need. It’s obvious to see that the BOSTITCH 120 PSI 1.2 Gallon is the best trim air compressor.
The trim air compressor has an LED on/off switch to eliminate low-pressure misfires, an onboard storage pocket for tools, and an integrated cord wrap. It also has an integrated control panel with a roll-cage design that protects the gauges from job site damage.
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