An air compressor typically draws between 15 and 20 amps, depending on the size of the unit. Air compressors are rated by horsepower (hp), with the most common being 1 to 5 hp. The amperage will vary depending on the specific model and usage. Larger air compressors may draw up to 30 amps.
When using an air compressor, it is important to use the correct size circuit breaker. A general rule of thumb is that the breaker should be twice the amperage of the draw. For example, a 20-amp air compressor would require a 40-amp breaker. If the wrong size breaker is used, it may not trip in the event of an overload and this could cause damage to the compressor or start a fire.
It is also important to remember that an air compressor will draw more amps when it first starts up as it builds pressure. Once the desired pressure is reached, the amperage will drop back down. This is why it is important to have a higher rated breaker than what is typically required.
If you have any questions about the amperage draw of your air compressor, or what size breaker to use, please consult an experienced electrician.