How to Choose the Right PSI for Your Nail Gun

One of the most important factors in choosing the right air compressor for your nail gun is understanding what PSI (pounds per square inch) you need.

The required PSI varies depending on the type of job or project you’re undertaking.

In this article, we’ll give you a rundown of the different types of projects and what PSI they require so that you can make an informed decision when choosing an air compressor for your needs.

Types of Projects and Their Required PSI

There are a few different types of projects that might require the use of a nail gun, each with their own specific PSI requirements. We’ve listed some common examples below

Do-it-yourself (DIY) projects around the house

These projects generally require a lower PSI, around 40 to 60 PSI. Examples might include putting up shelving, picture frames, or light molding.

Interior trim work

This type of project requires slightly more power, around 70 to 120 PSI. You’ll likely be working with thicker lumber and materials here, so a higher PSI is necessary to get the job done right.

 Exterior trim work

For this type of project, you’ll need an air compressor with an even higher PSI, around 120 to 150 PSI. This is because you’ll generally be working with thicker lumber and tougher materials than you would for interior trim work.

 Roofing work

Roofing work requires the highest amount of power, between 150 and 200 PSI. This is due to the fact that roofing nails are larger and other types of nails used in other projects. They also need to be able to penetrate through tougher materials like asphalt shingles.

Now that we’ve gone over some of the different types of projects and the corresponding required PSIs, let’s take a look at how to choose the right air compressor based on those needs.

Selecting an Air Compressor Based on Project Type and Required PSI

As we mentioned before, the required PSI will vary depending on the type of project you’re working on. That means that it’s important to select an air compressor that can generate enough power (measured in CFM, or cubic feet per minute) for the specific project you’re working on.

For example, if you’re working on a DIY project around your home, you won’t need an especially powerful air compressor; one that generates 3 CFM at 90 psi will suffice. However, if you’re working on exterior trimming or roofing, you’ll need a much more powerful unit; something like an 8 CFM unit at 175 psi would do nicely.


Choosing the right pressure setting for your nail gun is crucial to ensuring that your project turns out looking great. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you should have no trouble figuring out what PSI setting is right for your needs.

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