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Step 3
Home Snowmaking Air Compressors

Minimum Requirements

Your air compressor needs to be able to pump enough enough to turn water into snow. Look for the CFM (flow: cubic feet per minute) and PSI (pressure: pounds per square inch) ratings on any air compressor to see if they'll work. The minimum you'll need is about 4-5cfm @ 40psi.

Stark, 3.5 HP - 10 Gallon

Quality: 7/10     Price: $209

This style of compressor has been used by dozens, if not hundreds, of home snowmaking enthusiasts all over the country. They work hard, run great, and at around $200 (or less, they are frequently on sale) the price is pretty reasonable.

Full details:
3.5 HP, 10 Gallon, Portable Air Compressor

Cambpell Hausfeld, 1.3 HP - 8 Gallon

Quality: 7/10     Price: $229

Slightly less volume than the first option, this compressor is built with a little higher quality and slightly better overall design. If you want your compressor to last a bit longer, this might be a good option.

Full details:
1.3 HP, 8 Gallon, Portable Air Compressor

NorthStar Belt Drive Single-Stage Portable Air Compressor

Quality: 8/10     Price: $649

This is a solid, heavy duty compressor that can not only crank out plenty of air, it can do so quieter and longer than most compressors out there. Still not the high-end contractor grade, but a good choice for the serious snowmaker.

Full details:
Campbell Hausfeld VS5006 15 Amp 2 Horsepower 20 Gallon Oiled

Borrow vs Renting vs Buying

Air compressors can be expensive, but I think you'd be shocked to find out how many of your neighbors have one sitting idle in their garage. We always recommend that you borrow an air compressor to get started. If you're serious about making snow, here are a few options you can buy at a reasonable price. Renting from places like Home Depot is also an affordable option if you only are going to make snow a time or two each year.

Got a compressor? Step 4: What kind of pressure washer is required »