Many people rely on air compressors to do their work, at home as well as in an industrial or commercial setting. Therefore choosing the right type of air compressor can make all the difference, but with so many different types of compressor on the market, how are you supposed to know which one is right for you and your work?
What You Want To Run
Air compression is used in a very wide variety of different industries, from aerospace to scuba diving to steel production. This has an impact on what kind of air compressor you need. Consumer use compressors are usually single tank, oil less or oil free models and are modestly priced. They are suitable for household tasks such as inflating tires and sports equipment, as well as occasionally powering pneumatic tools. However, if you regularly use pneumatic tools this will not be sufficient. Professional use industrial air compressors are suitable for those who use a number of pneumatic tools frequently. They have a higher horse power rating, usually have larger tanks, are more powerful and are therefore more expensive.
Where You Want To Run It
Air compressors can vary wildly in size and portability, so you need to think about whether you’ll need to be able to move it easily or it is fine remaining static. Most non-stationary compressors are considered portable, even though a pancake model can be 10lbs, and a wheelbarrow compressor can be 60lbs. Stationary compressors are best for those who work in the same place such as workshops and garages. If you plan on purchasing an electric compressor then you will need a power outlet nearby that is capable of running it. If you go for a more portable air compressor make sure you don’t sacrifice performance for portability and ensure that they are able to power your tools sufficiently.
Types of Compressors
Electric- Ideal for indoor tasks, they run on standard household voltage and don’t emit fumes.
Gas Powered- Requiring gas to run, this type of compressor emits fumes so should be used outdoors on-site.
Oil-less/Oil-free- Doesn’t need the addition of oil to run, it is a low maintenance option. It is louder and tends to have a shorter life than other compressors. This type of compressor is less expensive and is ideal for small or medium jobs.
Pancake or Hotdog- This is the smallest model so is best for occasional household jobs.
Wheelbarrow- This compressor has wheels and handles, like a wheel barrow, to aid portability.
Single/Twin Tank- Whether a compressor has one or two tanks doesn’t make a significant difference to the performance, but twin tanks have a lower centre of gravity, making them easier to transport. When choosing a tank, go for the largest practical tank you can afford and cope with.
One/Two Stage- One stage compressors have one piston that compresses air and transfers it to the tank. They are less efficient and are used for lighter duty work.