5 Best Air Compressor (For Sandblasting) – Reviews

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top air compressor for sandblasting

Learning to sandblast as a beginner can be like learning to make a furniture:

To get started, you need more equipment than you might have thought.

Like an air compressor.

Fortunately, there are a ton of good resources out there to help you get started (like this one!)

Here's five of the best air compressors for sandblasting that we’ve found.

Then you’ll be ready to blast that rust or paint right off any surface.

Air Compressor

PSI

Air Capacity (Gallon)

Our Thoughts

Price

MAKITA MAC2400

130

4.2

Best overall

BOSTITIC BTFP02012


150

6

Best for the money

DEWALT D55146

225

4-1/2

Best portable

PUMA PK6060V 

135

60

Best for industrial sandblasting

SENCO PC1010

120

1

Best for hobbyist

What do I have to know before buying an air compressor for sandblasting?

If you want to sandblast anything, you need an air compressor, period! 

The air compressor provides the force necessary to push your sandblasting media out of a hose and onto your workpiece.

There are a few things to know about them, but the first and most important is the CFM.

CFM or SCFM stands for Standard Cubic Feet per Minute.

It’s a measure of how much air the compressor can put out per minute. This leads us to our first key:

Make sure your compressor will meet the needs of your sandblaster.

If you get this right, you’ve won half the battle. If your compressor is too weak for your sandblaster, then it simply will not push the media out of the blaster.

Here’s an example: this portable sandblaster requires a “minimum of 3.5 CFM at 50PSI”.

That means the compressor needs to put out at least 3.5 Cubic Feet per Minute when it’s working at 50PSI--PSI being the measure for the pressure in the tank (Pounds per Square Inch)

Nozzles affect CFM:

Your sandblasting nozzle will affect how much CFM you need to produce.

Basically, the bigger the nozzle, the more CFM and PSI you’ll need. 

Bigger nozzles are generally used with coarser media for bigger jobs and vice versa.

For the most part, the air compressors we recommend will be for more casual users, working on smaller-scale projects.

The rest is up to you...

Once you’ve figured out what CFM you need for your specific sandblasting job, the rest is really up to preference.

Compressors come in all shapes and sizes.

For bigger jobs, you’ll probably want a compressor with a bigger tank.

The bigger the tank, the longer the compressor can output air before cycling. 

We’ve got compressors on this list that range from 1 gallon tanks to 60 gallon tanks.

But enough of the boring stuff--let’s see the compressors!

Also check out:

The Best Sandblaster In 2019

Best Sandblasting Cabinets

5 BEST AIR COMPRESSOR FOR SANDBLASTING - REVIEWS 

1. Makita MAC2400 - Best Overall

Right of the bat we have Makita MAC2400. 

Balance is key in all things...

...and the Makita has it. It’s got a full 4.2 gallon tank, 2.5 horsepower, and can put out just over 4 CFM and up to 130 PSI.

That’s a good all around balance on all counts. 

For most casual sandblasting, I don’t think I would need much more than this.

Especially when using a smaller nozzle in a cabinet, for instance. 

Oil lubricated pump is a double edged sword...

Personally, I like oil-lubricated pumps.

It means more maintenance and moving parts on the whole, but lubrication increases pump life and reduces wear.

That’s not all:

Oil lubrication means that the pump can run at a lower RPM, making the machine less noisy.

This particular Makita is usually around 79dB. Not the quietest on the list, but definitely not the loudest.

Check for leaks:

A few people reported that this compressor came to them leaking oil, or that the tank was damaged in some way.

This seems to be a rare thing, but be wary either way.

If the box is stained from the outside and it looks like oil, you’ll have to send it back. 

A perfect combination of power, cost, and size:

The Makita hits all the “just right” boxes for the casual user. It is powerful but not industrial, big enough to get the job done without taking up too much space.

  • Good PSI and CFM
  • Goldilocks tank isn’t too big or too small.
  • Oil-lubricated tank ensures longevity.
  • Oil tank may be busted.

2. Bostitch BTFP02012 - Best For The Money 





For us, the Makita MAC2400 comes out on top:

The stats: 4.2 gallon tank, 4.2CFM at 90PSI, 2.5hp, 77lbs. This compressor is made to suit a wide variety of needs.

It’s true that the PUMA tends to have better stats when it comes to CFM, tank size, and horsepower.

But we’ve got the casual user in mind here, and think that the PUMA is just a bit too big and too expensive.

But if you’ve got the money and the space, give it some serious consideration.

The honorable mentions:

The Dewalt also gives the Makita a run for its money, and would surely be a contender.

On paper, the two are pretty darn similar. 

That being said, the Dewalt’s construction and materials seem a bit sketchier than the Makita, and we’re not sure if that’s a gamble we want to make. 

Unfortunately, the Bostitch and Senco compressors don’t really offer anything better than their competitors.

The Senco does win on lightweight, portability, and cuteness, but is weak in other areas.

Icon credit: Air Compressor by Smalllike from the Noun Project

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