Sizing an Air Compressor for Sandblasting in 2024 – Detailed Guide

Sandblasting is a common activity that requires the use of an air compressor. However, sizing an air compressor for sandblasting can be quite tricky. For some people, it is complex and confusing. Well, no more! With this detailed guide on sandblasting, step-by-step compressor sizing, and nozzle sizing, there would hardly be any questions left. Are you ready to size the air compressor for sandblasting with minimal ease? Dive in!

Why Are Sand Blasters Used?

Sand blasters are used at high pressure by employing the use of air compressor air. They are used to thoroughly clean and rip off the paint surface or rust developed. They are normally used on metal surfaces. The job is significantly simplified through the use of sandblaster. However, to ensure the right efficiency and exceptional results, you are required to go for the best-suited air compressor. That is no more an issue as we are here to assist you so that you make the right selection.

All about Compressor Sizing

There are two important factors that you need to consider for sandblasting. These are CFM and PSI. More details about these two metrics are laid out below.


CFM stands for cubic feet per minute. This represents the volume of the air that is supplied by the air compressor in 60 seconds. When we have to consider the CFM in terms of sandblasting, we need to make sure that an air compressor has a CFM of no less than 10 units. This can range from 10-20 CFM. This is adequate for smaller sandblasting activities. When it comes to heavy-duty sandblasting activities, the compressor should at least supply 18CFM. This will guarantee a better and more efficient experience. When it comes to industrial-based tasks, the CFM value surges to 50-100 units.


This is an abbreviation of pounds per square inch. This represents how much pressure your air compressor generates. The volume of the tank, on the other hand, is representative of how long wills the air compressor be able to produce the air. In order to determine the psi rating, you need to work out a few things. This includes the activities you will be doing using the air compressor as well as the working hours of those activities.

In case, you notice a large psi rating, that indicates faster cleaning. This will significantly save time while contributing a lot to cleaning. One downside to this is the cost consideration but the additional cost is accounted for by the reduced time. In order to ensure the right efficiency, you should use no lower than a 100 psi rating. Reducing the pressure of blasting will cause twice a decrease in the time taken for cleaning. Therefore, it is undesirable. For optimal performance and superior efficiency, you have to consider CFM as well as PSI rating simultaneously.

What Sizes of Nozzles Will I Need?

The three most important considerations for sandblasting include CFM, PSI and lastly, the nozzle size. We are sure by now you must have figured out CFM as well as the PSI ratings. Now is the time for looking for nozzle sizing as three of these factors work together to guarantee quality results. A large millimeter nozzle will cause the pressure to increase. In addition to that, it will allow more air to be pumped as well which your sandblasting will demand.

For instance, if your nozzle is at 50 psi, it will cause a lower CFM rating which is around 10 units. On the other hand, if we increase it to 100 psi, the CFM rating will enhance to 20 units.

In addition to that, the blast pattern is to be taken care of and it is greatly affected by nozzle size. Choosing one size bigger can contribute to a 10 percent increase in the blast size. Blasting is usually done on small, compact areas. If that is the case, you will be requiring a small blast size. If you need to be careful about the blast pattern and want it to be precise, go for the nozzle measuring 3/16 or 1/16 inches.

However, if you are looking for quick work and you do not have area considerations, a larger nozzle size is advised. In such a case, you should consider getting nozzles having diameters ⅜ inches. This can go up to half an inch for even better and more efficient results.

Nozzles wearing out is another important factor that should be given due attention to. For such nozzles to ensure the target pressure, they’ll require extra air. Projects which demand a higher PSI rating need to be performed with a compressor that is greater in size. These all things should be duly considered to ensure correct sandblasting.

Safety Considerations

Sandblasting is not an easy task and therefore you need to be very careful with it. Using the air compressor for the sandblasting activities also requires great care and you should not let go of that. We suggest going through the manual or the guide provided by the manufacturer to ensure your safety and protection. Along with that, you are advised to wear clothes which rightly protect you. Further, do not forget a dust mask together with safety goggles.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How many CFM does a sandblaster need?

A sand blaster requires a compressor that guarantees high CFM. To get you an estimate, you will require at least 10 CFM air compressors to accomplish smaller sandblasting activities.

  1. How much pressure do you need for sandblasting?

The minimum pressure which you require for sandblasting is 50 psi.

  1. Can you sandblast with a pressure washer?

Yes, one can sandblast using a pressure washer. However, the minimum pressure condition surges to 3000 psi when you use a pressure washer.

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