What Size Air Compressor Do I Need For Sandblasting – Easy Guide 2023

To get the best performance from your sandblaster, ensure the proper selection of an air compressor for sandblasting job. Many people asked me what size air compressor do I need for sandblasting? In this article, we will cover all the topics to help you choose the right size air compressor for sandblasting.

What Size Air Compressor Do I Need For Sandblasting

What Size Air Compressor Do I Need For Sandblasting

To get the best performance from your sandblaster, ensure the proper selection of air compressor for sandblasting job. 

What is Sandblasting?

Sandblasting is a surface cleaning process in which solid abrasive particles are sprayed on a surface with very high pressure compressed air with the help of an air compressor or a sandblasting machine.

This process includes sand particles or dry silica abrasive particles called abrasive blasting.

The abrasive particles are sprayed on the surface with such high pressure that it looks like a blast. That is why it is called sandblasting.

As soon as these abrasive sand particles hit the surface with pressure, it clears the surface from any contaminants with ease.

Factors To Consider For Sandblasting

To get the best performance from your sandblaster, ensure the proper selection of air compressor for sandblasting job. 

Before choosing an air compressor for sandblasting, always consider two main things.

  • CFM
  • PSI

CFM (cubic feet per minute):

CFM indicates the compressor’s flow rate, at which an air compressor can move the volume of air in a minute. The higher the CFM, the more air it can provide. Thus, they will be able to run more extensive applications.

PSI (pounds per square inch):

PSI indicates the amount of pressure generated by the compressor. PSI measures the pressure of pneumatic and hydraulic pressure.

The size of your sandblaster and its nozzle determines the required size of the air compressor.

Always consider both these numbers to ensure that your air compressor and sandblaster work together efficiently.

A portable air compressor can also be used for sandblasting.

An average air compressor between 10 CFM – 20 CFM, with 100 PSI will be sufficient for smaller sandblasting tasks.

An air compressor between 20 CFM – 30 CFM with 100 PSI is suitable for larger sandblasting tasks.

Large industrial sandblasting jobs require an air compressor with 50 CFM – 100 CFM and maximum possible PSI.

How Much Pressure Do I Need To Sandblast?

When doing sandblasting with an air compressor, PSI is the most crucial aspect to keep in mind.

A higher PSI air compressor means faster cleaning through sandblasting cabinet.

If you plan to buy an air compressor to do sandblasting more often, we will recommend an air compressor with higher PSI.

You may find a higher PSI air compressor expensive, but you will find it worthy in the long run because of the time saved.

We will recommend a tank with a minimum of 100 PSI. It will give you perfect efficiency and performance.

If your PSI pressure is half of the required PSI, completing your sandblasting process will take four times more.

Which Nozzle Size Do I Need For Sandblasting

Before choosing a nozzle size, always make sure both CFM and PSI are compatible with each other to do the required sandblasting project.

If your nozzle is old and worn out, you will have more PSI to maintain the required air pressure to do the sandblasting task.

Your nozzle opening should be a minimum of 3 times the size of the grit. The larger nozzle you choose, the more air with higher air pressure will be required to do the sandblasting.

What Size Blast Nozzle Is Normally Used?

The size of the nozzle determines the blast pattern. Going one size up with the nozzle will increase the blast size by 10%.

For sandblasting on the larger surface without detailing, choose a larger nozzle.

If you want to blast on a smaller precise area, choose a smaller nozzle, giving a smaller blast pattern.

Also, check the chart given below:

Use This Chart Below To Find Your Nozzle Bore Size:

Nozzle SizeOrifice(m.m)
#2 Nozzle1/8”3.2 mm
#3 Nozzle3/16”4.8 mm
#4 Nozzle1/4”6.35 mm
#5 Nozzle5/16”8 mm
#6 Nozzle3/8”9.5 mm
#7 Nozzle7/16”11.1 mm
#8 Nozzle1/2”12.7 mm
#10 Nozzle5/8”16 mm
#12 Nozzle3/4”19 mm

Minimum Nozzle Bore Size For Different Blasting Grits:

GritMinimum nozzle bore size
16/20, 12401/4″

What Is Sandblasting Used For?

The sandblasting process has been widely used for over a hundred years to achieve many tasks easily and efficiently.

Sandblasting removes paint and residue from the oxidation of the surface. And make sure the surface is clear and even before starting the new paint process.

Avoiding sandblasting can result in an uneven surface, affecting the quality of new paint and peeling easily.

Sandblasting can also remove any unwanted layers of hardened dust and smooth the surface.

Sandblasting is very popular for removing rust from metal objects.

Sandblasting can also change the condition of the metallic surface by removing casting marks or scratches.

What Are the Benefits of Sand Blasting?

When it comes to surface preparation, sandblasting is the more efficient way than hand sanding through sandpaper. Hand sanding can take up to 3 times more time and effort than sandblasting.

Sandblasting is more thorough, does the work in lesser time, and offers better quality for surface preparation.

Another benefit of sandblasting is that it is very cheap compared to other alternative methods.

The abrasive material used in this process is relatively cheap. And sometimes, if it was not used on a rough or rusty surface, it can also be reused, making it more cost-effective.

Moreover, the labor and time required in sandblasting are less than manual hand sanding through sandpaper.

Safety Measures To Follow While Sand Blasting:

Before starting the sandblasting process, always ensure safety measures to prevent unwanted incidents.

Sandblasting involves heavy air pressure, and when the abrasive particles are sprayed on the surface with a burst, it can be dangerous if proper safety measures are not taken.

Therefore, always wear full protective clothing, including safety goggles, dust masks, long pants, long sleeve shirts, and long boots. 


After reading this article, we hope that your earlier question: what size air compressor do I need for sandblasting, is now answered in detail. And you will be able to choose the suitable air compressor to get the best performance to do your sandblasting project.

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