Air compressor knowledge

How to Choose an Air Compressor


There are three basic categories of air compressors: For the house or garage; on a construction or other job site; in a mechanical or industrial shop. The place you plan to use your air compressor will help determine the size and type of air compressor you need.

Around the house or garage, you may only need an inflator, or a portable air compressor. Obviously, a simple inflator is used to inflate things such as sporting goods and toys. But inflators are very slow. For faster inflation or running small air tools, such as nailers or air brushes, a portable air compressor is advised.

For a construction or other job site, a more larger air compressor might be needed to power multiple nailers, spray guns, sanders or other tools. A good rule of thumb is to purchase a compressor that has a higher cubic feet per minute (CFPM) of airflow than the tool you plan to use. For instance, a spray gun needs about 4 CFPM of airflow to operate properly so your air compressor must produce at least this much air. You may also decide that you want a truck mounted, contractor grade, air compressor so air power is always handy, no matter how many job sites you have.

At a shop or industrial setting, a stationary, large capacity air compressor is what may be needed. There are numerous models and types of industrial air compressors including single stage, multi-stage, pancake, twin stack, wheelbarrow and rotary screw, to name just a few. Usually this size air compressor is large and is centrally located so it can power many air tools and a variety of machinery.

Durability may also be important depending upon how often you use the air compressor. There are models that are specifically made for limited,occasional, frequent or constant use. Air tank sizes also vary widely, from tankless inflators to 120 gallon air tanks. You can also choose from electric or gas powered air compressors. Brand new air compressors can be quite expensive, as prices can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to many thousands of dollars. Reconditioned models can be found at many major manufacturers at very reasonable prices and come with limited guarantees.