The Best Air Compressor Size For Chainsaw Cleaning And Maintenance

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What size air compressor is best for working on chainsaws and other light tasks around the workshop?

It’s best to get the biggest one you can justify, though there is such a thing as too big for cleaning saws and airing up tires.

Some people find a 6 gal/20 L air compressor like this one on Amazon is totally fine if all you want to do is clean saws. This unit has 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI and can run for shorter periods of time.

The CAT 20 Gal air compressor with 125 PSI is a bit bigger while still being portable. It rates 5.30 CFM at 90 PSI.

What Size Air Compressor For Cleaning Chainsaws?

Air compressor for chainsaws
A pancake-style air compressor for cleaning chainsaws

CFM stands for Cubic Feet per Minute.

This is a measurement of the volumetric flow rate of compressed air that an air compressor can produce. It refers to the amount of air that can be delivered by the compressor in a minute – an important specification to consider when selecting an air compressor for a particular application.

The CFM rating of an air compressor will depend on factors such as the horsepower of the motor, the size of the tank, and the efficiency of the compressor’s pump. A higher CFM rating typically means that the compressor can deliver more air and can power larger pneumatic tools or operate more air-intensive equipment.

If you are wanting to use tools with an air compressor, like a spray gun or air grinder, you’ll want something with a higher CFM rating. If it’s solely for cleaning chainsaws and other tools, you don’t need much.

Other Things To Keep In Mind

chainsaw air compressor size
This Bostitch Air Compressor is also suitable

Here are some comments from around the web that might help you determine what size air compressor you should get.

James said: 

I’ve got a 24l one due to needing something small, it’s a quiet one which is a massive plus for working late at night and not deafening yourself. It’s big enough for what I need but if you can go for the biggest you can.

Quinn said:

I personally have a 60 gallon piped into another 60 gallon tank in the back of garage for extra air. CFMs is a big factor depending on what you be using for tools down the road.

John said:

I have a big one in my shop, which is totally unnecessary for cleaning saws and airing up tires. So in my saw shop, I have one of these. It’s got plenty of pressure for blowing out saws and airing up tires.

Emoryt shared some brand insight:

Senco, Rolair, or California Air Tools. Those are reliable brands that I use at home and for work. 6 gal or bigger for cleaning saws.

Other shorter insights on air compressor size:

  • Get something lightweight that you don’t mind dragging around. Bostitch makes a lightweight pancake for about $100. Been using mine for years.
  • Bigger the better really. At least 10 CFM if you are doing a lot of blowing off, and 40 liters minimum of tank for the same reason.
  • Always go bigger… if, of course, you can afford it. You’ll need it for something bigger in the future.
  • I have a silent one, 10L does a great job and it’s quieter than a vacuum cleaner.
  • You want one that puts about 125 PSI.

It’s always a good idea to clean your saw before storing it over winter or during a period when it’s not going to be used.

Let us know if you have any questions or comments down below!


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