How Many Amps Does An Air Compressor Use?

In the working of any air compressor, its amount of amperages plays an important role. Every air compressor can operate on multiple amps. Before selecting any compressor, you must know about its amps consumption rate. Besides, choose the appropriate size breaker as well as the size of wire for a particular compressor. No one will want to spoil their precious compressor and overload their circuit. That is the most fundamental reason for breaker fall. On the off chance that you comprehend the specific means of working a compressor, you can work it in a superior manner.

Amps of an air compressor can be affected by different factors.

  • Voltage: It defines how many amps your air compressor will consume. If it functions on high voltage, it will utilize higher amperes.
  • Pressure: Similar to voltage, more tremendous pressure causes the usage of a high number of amps.
  • Size: It considers a vital factor that determines the amps usage. Small-size compressor consumes a low number of amps while larger compressor uses more. For example, pancake versions may require 7.5 amps to 10 amps, while 12-volt portable compressors may have amperage parameters of 10 amps to 30 amps.

A home air compressor that uses up to 15 amps (2.4 hp) is perfect. The portable cigarette plug air compressor is a typical example. In an alternative case, you will need a specific 20-amp or 30-amp breaker to power a standard air compressor if it draws 20 to 30 amps.

Here we will talk about different sizes of compressors and how many amperes they can draw.

Portable or 12-Volt Compressors:

It is famous as a portable air compressor and has an amperage range of 10-30 amps. These small-size compressors work best for filling the tires of automobiles. You can either connect it directly to batteries or a cigarette lighter plug. These compressors tend to pull the 10-18 amps. The portable compressor is best to keep inflating the tyers of all vehicles; even it can handle the trucks.

Pancake Compressors:

Home builders frequently use the pancake air compressor. These are lightweight and easily holdable in hands. They tend to draw low amperage to prevent the overloading of home circuits. These often require 10 amps to operate correctly, especially those that run at 2hp. However, these are available in different varieties according to voltage requirements and have variable amps ratings. For example, the Campbell Hausfeld air compressor will draw 7.5 amps at 120 volts, while the Porter Cable will pull 10 amps at the same voltage.

60-Gallon Compressors:

These powerful compressors can pull higher amounts of amps and demand special wiring for supplying up to 220 volts. The ability to draw amperage power depends on its variable. Its best example is Ingersoll Rand which can pull 21.5 amps and 5 hp. So, it can produce much higher energy.

Check the Amperage draw on a compressor

Reading the Amp draw before buying any air compressor is necessary. You must be knowledgeable about what you will buy for your place. If you mistakenly purchased the compressor with more power than your home circuit, you will end up with a waste of money. You can examine the notice given by manufacturers for its users. Each compressor manufacturer publishes a note in the form of a chart or a graph. The same amperage draw has been shown in this chart, according to its various working conditions.

To understand this chart, you must know little about temperature (evaporating and condensing) and voltage directed to that specific compressor.

Create absolute breaker sizing

If the compressor is built at 240 volts, it will have the capacity to consume 23.23 amps while working. But, you cannot size a breaker up to this amount at home. Numerous factors influence the breaker size. Firstly, most motors utilize more power during startup than during operation. Your breakers will trip at the beginning if you neglect to consider control. The second factor is its voltage and circuit. You can overheat your compressor if you do not adequately protect the circuit. Other factors include slow blow fuse, inappropriate extension cords, and proper wire size.

The wire used to connect the compressor and the supply has come in various sizes and versions. These versions depend on the horsepower of the unit and other features. If you install an accurate wire, then it will lead to avoiding the dripping of voltage at its startup. Generally, wire size is given in the guide, but if for some reason you can’t find that, you can follow the size shown below. But this size guide is only safe for the distance of 50 feet. If your reach is more, try to contact a technician near you. The size given in the table is for a hp of 3 to 10.


What size breaker do you need for a 15 amps compressor?

You will need a 12-wire and a 20-A breaker. But the circuits with 20A capacity are permitted to operate a maximum of 15A. 

What generator size is best for running a compressor?

An air compressor with 15 amps will require a slow blow 120-volt circuit for effective operation. It would be best if you planned for the power usage of the air compressor to be between 1800 and 2000 watts while turning it on the first time. So, a 2500-watt generator would be recommended.

What would be the reason for excessive air compressor amperage draw?

There might be a fault in a capacitor that causes your air compressor to use more amperage from the circuit than usual. Another reason could be overloading caused by any worn components like impaired bearings. 

Final Thoughts

Understanding the amperages of an air compressor before buying would be helpful while purchasing one for you. Knowing about every type of compressor will make it easy to select for you. Most importantly, do not neglect the other factors too. This article is a comprehensive guide for selecting and setting up an air compressor. 

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