How Many Watts Does an Air Compressor Use?

An air compressor, or gas compressor, is one of the most valuable devices to convert the stored power of pressurized air into potential energy. It is extensively used in construction, woodwork, painting, household, and industrial work. To choose the appropriate air compressor for your work, you need to have some prior knowledge, like how many watts does an air compressor use.  The following article will elaborate on this topic.

How many watts does an air compressor use?

How many watts does an air compressor use?

Consumption of power depends on the types of air compressors. There are two types of power consumption rates. The air compressors need a required amount of energy to get started. This will be the starting wattage. Next, there is running wattage. This is comparatively lesser than the starting wattage. The air compressors need a steady amount of wattage to keep them running. 

The air compressor’s label typically provides information like amperage and required voltage. If the power consumption in the watts unit is not explicitly offered there, you can calculate it independently.

Follow these easy steps to identify the power consumption of an air compressor. 

Get the specifications of the air compressor 

Look for the values of voltage and amperage in the manual of the air compressor. 

For example, let’s assume a 1 horsepower air compressor having one motor takes up 20 amps at 240 volts.

Determine the running wattage.

Now you need to multiply the value of amperage by the voltage weight to get the running wattage. In this case, your total electric power will be the product of 20 amps and 240 volts. That is 4800 watts.

Calculate the starting wattage 

You need to multiply the running wattage by three to get the starting wattage. Generally, a motor needs almost three times more energy to get started compared to the energy needed while it is operating.  For the above example, the starting wattage will be 4800 watts ✘, 3 equals to 14400 watts.

Choose the perfect generator 

Considering the value of starting wattage, you need to choose a generator that can handle the air compressor’s starting power. For 14400 watts of starting power, you can select a 14400-watt generator to start and run your air compressor successfully. 

In this way, you can calculate the amount of watts an air compressor use.

Power Consumption of air compressor based on size

Power Consumption of air compressor based on size

For small-sized air compressor

These are portable air compressors commonly used in recreational and household work. The power consumption rate of these small air compressors is around 1500 watts. These are used for pumping, inflating tires and airbrushing, etc. 

For medium-sized air compressor 

These are heavier air compressors used for industrial works like powering nail guns, paint guns, etc. They consume around 3000 to 5000 watts of power through electricity or gas diesel engines. 

For sizeable-sized air compressor 

These are used in the construction and manufacturing industry. They are not portable, relatively fixed in a position for their heavy weight. These types of air compressors use around 7500 watts of power. 

Watts usage of horsepower (HP) compressors

For ½ HP air compressor 

This is a tiny air compressor. It needs beginning power of 2000 watts. Then it will require 1000 watts of power to run the compressor. Creative projects and home renovations can be done with this air compressor. 

For 1 HP air compressor 

The beginning power consumption rate is 4500 watts. That means these air compressors need 4500 to start. Then it will need 1500 watts to run. These can be used in repair projects.

For a 1.5 HP air compressor 

The running wattage for a 1.5 horsepower compressor is 2200 watts. Six thousand watts is required as starting wattage for this air compressor. 

For 2 HP air compressor 

This 2-horsepower compressor needs 7770 watts to start the compressor. The running power is 2800 wattage.

The efficiency of an air compressor

Generally, air compressors are electrically enabled. You can calculate the power consumption rate in watts as a product of amperage and volts. However, sometimes voltage output may vary due to the change in utilized energy rate, amount of squeezed air, etc. These factors can be some limitations for getting maximum efficiency out of an air compressor.

Final Words

This article provided relevant information on how many watts does an air compressor uses. Hopefully, you have gained insight into this specific issue. Also, you will be able to utilize the details of the power consumption of air compressors based on your need. 

Read more: How To Increase CFM On Air Compressor

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How many watts does a 6-gallon air compressor use?

The amount of amperage needed for this air compressor is 15 amps. It also requires 120 volts of voltage. As the starting wattage, you will need 5400 watts of power. Then you will need 1800 running watts to operate this 6-gallon air compressor. 

How many watts does a pancake air compressor need?

This type of air compressor pulls almost 750 to 1500 watts. Considering its size and weight, a pancake air compressor will work efficiently between this range. You can opt-out to oil-free pumps that use lesser energy and are much more effective. 

Does an air compressor consume a lot of electricity? 

Air compressors are electrically enabled. They get power from electricity. The air compressor producer uses a low-power motor to ensure the minimum amount of electricity and a low power consumption rate. Sometimes they use different measurements to identify the electricity utilization rate. The label on the air compressor provides this necessary information in watt, ampere, or milliampere.

What kind of generator is needed to operate a 1 HP Compressor? 

An A/C compressor needs three times more wattage to get started. So, a 1 HP compressor will need 3 kW for creation and a 4 kW generator. This 4 kW generator will draw almost 16 amps. In this way, it will work efficiently. 

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Samuel H. Murphy is DIY expert and Interior Designer. He is also a part time content writer of Capische. He lives in Warren city, Michigan. He test tools like drill, saw, sander, air compressor etc and helps readers to find out the best tools.

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