How Many Watts Does an Air Compressor Use

Air compressors are highly useful equipment whether you’re working on a personal project or a professional one. However, for durability and reliability, it is required to know all the smallest details about the tool, especially how many watts does an air compressor use, as it falls under the basic step of using it.

How Many Watts does an Air Compressor Use

Although figuring the wattage isn’t that much of a hassle, most people don’t pay enough attention to it, resulting in a shorter lifespan of the tool. In this blog, we’ll be knowing more about the wattage of an air compressor.

Air Compressor Wattage

Typically, you can find the air compressor wattage within the manual instructions. It has specified the starting as well as the running watts as both of them are quite different. By knowing it you can either designate an energy source like a generator to it or correct your power supply.

As you know that both starting and running watts are different, your air compressor requires three to five times more watts to start than to run. Every air compressor will be different in that matter, some will need thrice as much power, others will need twice, that’s why you should note each of them individually. Also, have a look at how to adjust the air compressor pressure regulator.

How to Convert Air Compressor Metrics to Watt

Most generators measure their energy supply in watts, thus you’ll need to measure different values depending on the required size and power consumption in watts as well.

The electric compressors won’t exceed any further than 2 HP that are easily operable with 110-120 volts power supply that you have at your home. However, the larger air compressors that run on more than 2 HP need the power supply of 220-234 volts. Check out how to wire 220 air compressor.

How to Convert Air Compressor Metrics to Watt

It concludes that compressors with higher horsepower need more voltage thus you need to equip a more powerful generator to boost it.

Once you’re done determining the voltage, you will be needing to find the ampere ratio which would also be listed in the manual. The reason behind it is that watt is the product of amperage and voltage i.e the strength of electric current and electric potential so this combination generates watt.

Calculating the Wattage of Your Air Compressor

There are some quick and easy steps to measure and calculate the watt capacity of an air compressor that are mentioned below:

Calculating the Wattage of Your Air Compressor
  • Initially, start by measuring the volt capacity and amperage of your company which should be taken individually from the manual. 
  • After that you need to multiply the voltage by the ampere ratio for determining the running watt capacity.
  • Next, you need to measured running wattage and multiply it by 3 for calculating the starting watt capacity
  • The motor needs extra boost to start the power thus you need to use the generator having starting wattage for smooth flow.


As we have reached the end of this blog, here are some of the most frequently asked questions listed below:

What exact amount of watts is required to run an air compressor?

Every air compressor has different wattage capacity to run on, thus it is prescribed in the manual by the manufacturer. You can find the exact amount of watt that needs to start and further run the air compressor smoothly.

If you can’t somehow find the watt ratio in the manual then you can measure it by multiplying the voltages and amperage of the compressor. To start the compressor, you’ll be needed thrice the amount to boost.

Can a 2000 watt generator start an air compressor?

Generally, 2000 watt generators are great for running small air compressors having minimal features and used for smaller air tools. These air compressors can be around ¼ horsepower.

However, if you want to switch to a bigger option then the capacity of a 2000 watt generator won’t be enough as a much bigger boost is required to start the compressor.

How many watts is a small air compressor?

Even in the smaller category, there are air compressors ranging from ½ to ¼ horsepower. So, if we look at the smallest i.e ½ then you’ll be needing 2000 watts to get it started and 1000 watts for smoothly running all the operations without any breakage. These types of smaller compressors are the best for casual home improvement projects.


The watts required for running an air compressor can vary from one compressor to another. The reason behind it is the manufacturing circumstances, the machinery equipped in it, and the size of the compressor. Thus, it is very important to know the exact wattage needed by your air compressor to power.

Another interesting aspect of the air compressor is that it requires 3 times more energy to power than to run smoothly which is why it is necessary to use a relatively bigger energy source than to run.

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