Not Enough Air Flow From My Air Compressor

compressor air flow
(Last Updated On: August 3, 2020)

I just purchased a Husky 6 gallon pancake air compressor delivering 2.5 scfm @ 90psi,1.5hp. I tried it out on my 1/2 drive impact gun and I was able to loose lug nuts with no problem, but by the 4 lug the compressor started up again. My impact gun is rated at 4.2cfm at load. I was wondering if this compressor was good match for my impact gun. The compressor manual or box doesn’t specify its cfm. Also I wanted to add a portable air tank as aux tank to expand my storage capacity. I was looking at adding maybe an 11 gallon tank, but I noticed that most tanks say 125psi max, and only found a 5 gallon tank rated at 135psi.My compressor runs at 135 psi. I wanted to know if I could use the 125psi tank or would that be dangerous, and just use the 5 gallon rated at 135psi.This setup which I have will be used occasionally when working on my car (DIY).I’ve asked a great deal, your feedback will be appreciated.

We answer…

Hi Al:

A lot of good questions, and all of them are answered if you want to take the time to wander the website and find the pages that apply to them.

Or…my ebook The Home Compressor will be released end of this week, and it answers all of the questions in one book, making it easier to find the answers.

Any air compressor can run any air tool. With some high demand air tools, the tool  run time will be measured in seconds though, due to the air compressor being too small to supply the high demand tool.

If your need is to do more work with an air tool without waiting for the compressor to catch up, you need a bigger compressor. Or, your small one will work fine, you will just have to wait for the air to catch up.

Adding a tank will help improving your tool run time.

I am surprised that the add-on air tanks you have found are only rated for 125 PSI. Find an industrial compressor shop to find ones with higher pressure rating. You can find them rated for up to 1,000’s of pounds of pressure. If a tank is specced for 125 PSI, do not put 135 PSI in it. You are only asking for trouble.



Hello, I am Bill, the Compressed-Air-Man. I have years of experience in industrial and residential compressed air applications, air compressors and general pneumatics. I created this site to help professionals, students, and DIYers understand and properly implement and maintain compress3ed air systems.


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