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Buying an Air Compressor

Air compressors have existed for more than 100 years and have had countless uses ever since. One reason they are so popular is the safety, cleanliness, flexibility and convenience of air as a resource.

Before you buy a compressor, make sure you understand its uses so it can actually serve your purpose for getting it. A compressor that is too small will have you wasting valuable time. If it’s too large, you’ll waste valuable resources.

You must remember that the cost of a compressor is not entirely dictated by its upfront price; it must be weighed against the life of the unit. Cheap units are made to be disposable, just like lighters.
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Moreover, when you choose an air compressor to buy, ask the following questions:

1.) What is the highest operating pressure required?
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This will tell you whether you need a Single Stage or a Two Stage compressor.

2.) What is the maximum CFM usage required?

Add up all of the air tools that must be used simultaneously. If you’re looking at the compressor, add around 30% to the CFM number that has been determined. This will provide good buffer against unknown or unusual compressor usage. It’s not right to just add up all the air tools used in a single work day because this will lead to an inflated CFM number, which will require you to buy an overly big compressor.

3.) Must the machine be portable or fixed?

Decide whether the unit must be stationary or movable around the work site or facility. This will you determine the other factors like weight and size. With higher volumes and pressures, you will need a unit that is heavier and bigger, considering that horsepower requirements, electrical components, etc. should be larger in order to accommodate increases.

4.) What type of drive system is required – will it be electric motor or gasoline engine?

When you know the environment where the compressor is to be in, you can tell the required type of drive system. If there is permanent supply of electrical power, then an electric motor will be preferable because it will turn out to be cheaper to buy, run and maintain. Otherwise, you should opt for a gasoline engine driven compressor. They will give you the best in terms of portability and flexibility.

5.) What is the required receiver tank size?

Typically measured in gallons, the compressor tank’s size has to be determined based on the overall usage type. If the compressor will be used in quick concentrated bursts, then you can choose a small tank. If the unit will be used for long periods of usage, then get a bigger tank.