How Many Watts Does An Air Compressor Use – How To Measure Watts in 2023

How many watts does an air compressor use

Many people ask this question:

How Many Watts Does An Air Compressor Use?

When you start looking to purchase a compressor, you will see different air compressors of different brands. Each will have a label indicating its power and energy consumption. Typically it is written in amps or watts. Air compressors come in different sizes, shapes, and capacities, and it isn’t easy to calculate the required wattage and amperage of air compressor.

A small air compressor of 2 horsepower (HP) that uses around 15 amp only will consume around 1,650 watts. Similarly, if a compressor of 2 horsepower (HP) uses 15 amp, its upgraded model of 220 volts will consume around 3,300 watts.

The smaller the compressor, the less wattage and amperage it will require.

So it is essential to know the actual consumption of your air compressor, especially if you are going to use it on a generator or for commercial purposes. So you can calculate the estimated fuel cost accordingly.

How to convert Watts into HP?
As you know, 1 HP (Horsepower) is equal to 746 watts.
Divide your Air compressor’s watts with 746. You will get the HP of your compressor.

How many Watts per hour will be required for my air compressor?

There is a simple formula to calculate this. If you divide watts by estimated running hours, you can get the watts required for every hour.

How many amps do a small air compressor consumes?

The required amount of watts vary on various factors. Usually, domestic air compressor for home garage are likely to consume minimal horsepower (HP) for normal-usage.

Small air compressor runs on 0.5 HP to 1 HP, with wattage running up to 1,500 watts.

Nowadays, a small air compressor uses a lightweight cigarette lighter style plug. Therefore, a maximum of 20 to 30 Amps current draw is estimated for a small DC 12V air compressor.

But keep in mind, every air compressor consumes more wattage on starting.

For example, a compressor with a running wattage of around 500 watts is likely to consume 1,000 watts starting up.

So always consider it while calculating your wattage consumption or fuel cost if running on a generator.

How many watts are consumed by a small air compressor?

In a small air compressor, the required watts vary on various factors. But usually, a small air compressor requires around 190 watts.

In a small air compressor, a piston is pushed back and forth by a small motor. This motor uses around 180 to 200 watts forces the compressed air into the tank reservoir.

The motor will stop automatically once the tank is filled with compressed air.

How Many Watts Does An Air Compressor Use? (See This Chart)

Household & OfficeRunning WattageStarting Wattage
Air Compressor, 1/2 HP10002000
Air Compressor, 1 HP15004500
Air Compressor, 1 – 1/2 HP22006000
Air Compressor, 2 HP28007700

How to save the power consumption of air compressor?

One should always search for ways to cut down fuel expenses by reducing energy consumption.

When using air compressors for commercial purposes, energy is the most expensive component in the total cost of compressed air production.

An interesting fact is, over the lifespan of a compressor, the consumed energy costs many times more than the purchased price of the compressor.

In short, keep an eye on energy saving; it will save you money!

Below, we will discuss reducing energy consumption when using your air compressor:

Regular maintenance of your air compressor

Use air compressor on less pressure

Drain your air compressor regularly

Switch air compressor off when, not in use

Regular maintenance of your air compressor:

Your air compressor requires regular maintenance and care like every other tool.

Don’t ignore the regular maintenance of your air compressor. Ignoring maintenance costs more.

Over time, your air compressor will start having internal issues, resulting in leaks in washers or fixings.

Any slight leakage of air or pressure will result in wasted energy consumption.

Therefore, regular maintenance and checking of your air compressor’s internal fixings and seals will increase your air compressor’s life and save energy consumption to a great extent.

Air compressor with proper maintenance cuts energy costs around 1% and helps prevent breakdowns that result in downtime and production loss.

Use air compressor on less pressure

Remember a simple formula:

More pressure = more energy consumption.
Less pressure = less energy consumption.

So if you are using your air compressor for work that you can manage with low pressure, always go for it.

You will see a drastic change in your energy consumption.

Drain your air compressor regularly:

Make sure your drain valve is working perfectly.

Please turn off your compressor and let it cool down for a few minutes. Now unscrew the drain valve of the air compressor.

What is a drain valve?

It usually is a ¼ inch round brass fitting. You will find it under the belly of your air compressor tank. (as shown in the image below)


Open this water release valve by turning it in an anti-clockwise direction. You can turn the valve with a pair of pliers. You will hear a sudden sound of releasing pressurized air stored in the tank.

Wait until all the condensation and pressurized air bleed out. Once you are sure that all air is drained, now firmly turn back the water-release valve in a clockwise direction to close it back.

Normal drainage of the air compressor is vital for smooth performance and reducing energy consumption.

Switch air compressor off when not in use:

This point seems very obvious on listening. But sometimes we forget to switch off air compressors, and later complain about the high energy consumption of our air compressors.

Always turn off your air compressor as soon as its work is done.

Not only will it reduce energy consumption, but it also increases the life of your air compressor.


Before you purchase and set up a new air compressor for your home or commercial use, it is crucial to know how many watts does an air compressor use, and also the estimated required wattage and amperage for your air compressor.

Once purchased, keep proper maintenance of your air compressor as discussed above to reduce energy consumption.

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