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Thread: Should I use a 1/4 inch or a 3/8 inch hose?

  1. #1

    Should I use a 1/4 inch or a 3/8 inch hose?

    Hello,

    My new Porter-Cable FN250C 16 gauge finish nailer came with a 1/4 inch connector, and it seems to be working fine with a 1/4 inch hose, but I know that many of you probably use a 3/8 inch hose for nail guns. I’m wondering whether it would work even better with a 3/8 hose.

    The user manual that came with the nail gun doesn’t mention anything about using a 3/8 inch hose, BUT when I go online to Porter-Cable and look at the manual for the model FN250B (the previous version of this gun), it says the following:

    The tool is equipped with a 1/4" male “quick connector”. A 3/8" male “quick connector” is available from Porter-Cable and may be used in situations where a 1/4" supply line is not available. A 3/8" supply line (and fittings) are required for maximum tool performance.

    Based on this, it seems to suggest that using a 3/8 inch hose would provide the best performance.

    What’s your opinion? Would I be better off with a 3/8 inch setup? Would I shoot more nails between compressor recycles? Could I damage the compressor with a 3/8 inch hose? Does it matter which size hose I use?

    Thanks,
    Louis

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Toronto Ontario
    Posts
    6,468
    Quote Originally Posted by Louis Brandt View Post
    Hello,

    My new Porter-Cable FN250C 16 gauge finish nailer came with a 1/4 inch connector, and it seems to be working fine with a 1/4 inch hose, but I know that many of you probably use a 3/8 inch hose for nail guns. I’m wondering whether it would work even better with a 3/8 hose.

    The user manual that came with the nail gun doesn’t mention anything about using a 3/8 inch hose, BUT when I go online to Porter-Cable and look at the manual for the model FN250B (the previous version of this gun), it says the following:

    The tool is equipped with a 1/4" male “quick connector”. A 3/8" male “quick connector” is available from Porter-Cable and may be used in situations where a 1/4" supply line is not available. A 3/8" supply line (and fittings) are required for maximum tool performance.

    Based on this, it seems to suggest that using a 3/8 inch hose would provide the best performance.

    What’s your opinion? Would I be better off with a 3/8 inch setup? Would I shoot more nails between compressor recycles? Could I damage the compressor with a 3/8 inch hose? Does it matter which size hose I use?

    Thanks,
    Louis
    Hi Louis, the nailer isn't large enough to require a 3/8" hose.

    The hose size has nothing to do with compressor cycling, that's related to much air volume the nailer uses for every stroke.

    Changing hose size cannot damage your compressor.

    Regards, Rod.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    2,850
    "What’s your opinion? Would I be better off with a 3/8 inch setup? Would I shoot more nails between compressor recycles? Could I damage the compressor with a 3/8 inch hose? Does it matter which size hose I use?"
    The reason that one would want a large sized hose for certain types of air tools has to do with mass flow rate. For a given pressure differential (whatever's in the compressor tank and zero at the air tool's exhaust), the larger the hose, the higher the airflow.

    For something like a nail gun, this typically has no effect on the force that is applied to a given nailing stroke. The diameter of the cylinder in the gun that applies the force to the nail head and the static air pressure determines this force.

    However, what a larger hose will do is to allow the gun to come back to the ultimate static pressure in the system faster. So theoretically, one could use more cycles per minute from the gun with a 3/8" hose and connectors than one could with a 1/4" hose.

    This might matter if you're nailing down T&G flooring, but generally doesn't matter in a furniture shop.

    There are other air-powered tools where the flowrate is critical to the tool's performance - among them, spray guns and power sanders and grinders.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Streator. Il
    Posts
    175
    Stay with the 1/4 hose. Most brad nailer's only use 4 or 5 cubic inches of air per firing. and that is stored in the handle. the hose just refills the air chamber so you can shoot another brad. My one brad nailer will shoot 1 1/2 brads with the air shut off at the connector only tools that has a air motor (Drills /grinders) or spray guns needs a larger volume of air. That is one reason I never understood the specs on some nailer's that it uses 3.5 cfm's It all depends on how fast you are shooting the brads.
    Happy Sawdust
    Dale

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