Air Compressor Buying Guide

Last Updated: February 16, 2021

An air compressor carries out many functions, including inflating a tier and operating a nail gun. They’re used for many applications both at home and at a workshop. They compress the air forcing it into a storage tank. It typically converts power into energy, which is in the form of compressed air.

For the compressors to work well, you need to get one suitable for what you need it for. That means there’re features you must consider when choosing your compressor. Let’s take a look at this detailed buying guide.

The Horsepower of the Compressor (HP)

Air compressors come with horsepower ranging from 1.5 and 6.5 HP. This indicates the power output that the engine or motor can generate. This horsepower range is suitable for small and medium-size applications. If you’re getting a compressor for industrial uses, you need to look for one with a large HP. If you’re getting a gas engine compressor, the HP rating will be different from the electric-powered one. Also, watch out for exaggerated horsepower as some manufacturers exaggerate to sell more.

Tank Size

Another thing you should never overlook is the compressor tank size. The tank is where the generated air is stored. A small tank is suitable for low-duty operations such as operating a nail gun. If you’re going to work for an extended period, you need a tank that will store enough air for a long time. The general rule is that the larger the tank, the longer your compressor will run. It’s worth investing in a larger tank if you want to complete the job without taking unnecessary breaks.

The Type of Air Compressors

You’ll meet different varieties of air compressors in the market. Others come with one cylinder, while others come with more. Each one of these cylinders ensures the air enters the tank.

Compressors with at least two cylinders are called two-staged. The air passes through one cylinder into the next one before entering the tank. The first cylinder moves the air through a cooling tube, which then goes to a second cylinder at a 90 PSI before finally ending up in the tank at 175 PSI. The two-stage compressors are perfect for those who need high pressure.

If your applications don’t necessarily need high pressure, you can work well with a single-stage compressor. But both compressors come in perfect quality; hence none is superior to the other. Only the pressure need differs. Industrial users prefer two-stage compressors because they need high-pressure air. The remaining applications can still work well with single-stage compressors as long as it’s of high quality.

The CFM Requirement

The CFM means the required airflow. It’s the measure of the volumetric flow in cubic feet per meter (CFM). Many suppliers or manufacturers give this information on their websites. The CFM can change with the PSI of your compressor. Sometimes the CFM is measured according to the speed and size of the pump. Pay more attention to the CFM rating of 90 PSI. This is the perfect pressure necessary for running different tools either at home or the workshop. You should also know that manufacturers and suppliers can exaggerate the CFM rating. Check out for 3-4 CFM at 90 PSI.

Other things you should never overlook when buying your air compressor include;

Bottom Line

Buying an air compressor is a big investment that you should never take lightly. Do your research before making a purchase decision and ensure you only get the best device. Also, consider the applications you’re going to use for the compressor before making your decision. If you’re completely clueless about the things to look for, consult an expert to help you through the buying process.

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