I need to do several days of outdoor work with a nail gun (framing/roofing a shed) in freezing temperatures this fall. I have an inexpensive oil-free 6 gallon Rigid compressor for the job. I can bring it indoors overnight, but will I have any issues using it in ~25 degree weather during the day?

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    Just a comment because I've never used one. But a quick look at the manual has no mention of operating temperature, just about overheating (which should be less of a problem in cold weather). My hunch is as long as it doesn't get wet (which you wouldn't want anyway) 25F is no big deal. Nov 18, 2022 at 15:59
  • I mean, one sees plenty of construction going on in the cold…
    – Jon Custer
    Nov 18, 2022 at 16:09
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    When it's cold the compressor will draw more amps. If you're using an extension cord that makes it worse. If you've used it before without issue then if you bring it in overnight you should be fine. Nov 18, 2022 at 20:29
  • The danger is that moisture will condense inside the unit. But this depends on a number of different factors.
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 18, 2022 at 22:51

3 Answers 3


Warning: speculation from first principles:

Compressing air produces a lot of heat, so I suspect the compressor would be fine if it starts at all, which it should. If there's a lot of humidity in the line and you don't have an air dryer, there might be an issue at the tools, for the reverse reason.

And again, if there's enough humidity to cause serious build-up of water in the tank that might eventually be an issue if it freezes and can't be drained until the tank warms back up.

But in most places winter air tends to be relatively dry anyway ..

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    I would not worry about it. Humidity should not be a problem, and less of a problem then when using in warmer weather. Cold air does not hold as much moisture as warm air. I pump air to my fish pond 24/7 and when it got maybe 10 to zero the underground line froze from moisture. I changed it so it would use outside air and no problems since. It gets well below zero F here.
    – Gil
    Nov 18, 2022 at 18:08
  • The tools, +1. A cheap compressor is fine, but you'd better have good hoses; the rubber ones, not that plastic crap that never really relaxes from its own coil, and certainly doesn't at 25 degrees.
    – Mazura
    Nov 19, 2022 at 22:39

Compressors vary, but my experience is that some compressors really don't like the cold. Storing warm overnight is good. Leaving it in the sun during the day probably helps. Running it regularly during the day (ie, drain/refill) might help. Definitely don't use an extension cord for power. Use extension hoses if you need distance. Yours is oil free, so I won't suggest an oil change, but for posterity, that might help others.


There should be no problem using that compressor in 25 degree weather. Let it run for a few minutes after start up to let it get up to operating temperature. It's air cooled so it will probably run better than it would at 90 degrees since it has a high temp reset cutout. Since the air could be more humid, you might have to drain the condensate more frequently than normal and remember to drain it at night in case to forget to bring it indoors.

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    Actually air likely less humid. Cold air can't hold as much water as hot air. That's why people add humidifiers to run during heating season - moderate humidity cold air gets heated up and then feels super dry. Nov 18, 2022 at 18:06
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    @manassehkatz-Moving2Codidact Right you are. That's why I said "could". Just something to be aware of since the OP's using it in abnormal conditions, moving it indoor to outdoors, etc.
    – JACK
    Nov 18, 2022 at 18:22
  • As long as it's actively being used and cycles occasionally, you should be fine. Like others have said, compressing air tends to create heat which would prevent freezing. Bringing it indoors at night would prevent freezing of the condensate....still probably a good idea to drain it every morning before starting work. Nov 18, 2022 at 19:11
  • Cold air holds less air than hot air, so it might take longer to get up to pressure, but that's probably not a bad thing as it will help keep it warm.
    – dandavis
    Nov 18, 2022 at 19:47

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