Starting a new project? How can a new air compressor help you speed up your project?
Air compressors can clean, paint, and power tools you need to use. While they are versatile, not all compressors perform the same function.
Before you shop, rent, or buy, ask these questions.
- What type of compressor do I want?
- How big is my project?
- What model of air compressor do I need?
- What is the CFM?
- How many gallons of air does my project need?
- What is average horsepower?
- What kind of power source will it need?
- Do the gauges work correctly?
- What attachments will I need to buy?
- What coupler comes with the compressor?
- What is the price of an air compressor?
There are two types of air compressors:
- Rotary Screw
- Piston Compressor
Both have different ways to compress air into the tanks, but they perform the same task. If you’re looking to rent for the long term, you will need to know what kind of compressor you are getting. To learn more, read this article about the types of air compressors
You will not need an industrial-sized air compressor if you are only filling up a small bike tire. Some sales teams may try to make you buy a bigger model, but keep your expectations in check when you shop.
Make sure you budget for a bigger size job if you need to. A smaller compressor will add a lot of time to whatever you are trying to do.
If you have a small jobs like pumping bike tires or filling up air mattresses, you’ll need a portable model. Portable models come in several sub-models, including:
These are portable air compressors specifically designed for inflation tools. Inflators are not intended for bigger jobs. If you attempt to use them for anything else, you will be adding a considerable amount of time to any project.
These can perform the function of inflation, but also help with heavier-duty tools such as nail guns. The tank on a fastener is a bit larger and provides portable short bursts of air when needed in the shop.
3. Home/Auto Maintenance
When you have a job that requires a lot of air, you will need a portable tank that holds no less than 7 gallons. Home or auto maintenance tanks serve this function for your shop tools, allowing you tackle the bigger projects.
Any continuous use tools
Industrial tanks cannot be moved due to their large capacity. These tanks are used for any tools that must be operated at all times. You can find industrial tanks at car manufacturing plants and assembly lines.
Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM) tells you how much air moves through the hose per minute. Too little CFM can extend the project. Too much CFM can ruin a project.
Make sure the CFM is rated at about 90 pounds per square inch (PSI) for your tools. 90 PSI for CFM is an industry standard. However, a manufacturer could put any CFM on the compressor. When you read the CFM on a label, make sure it tells you the rating against 90 pounds.
The correct amount of CFM will be read with a delivered SCFM rating. The CFM may read either delivered or displaced. Displaced could present a false number, giving you a bad compressor.
There are two CFM’s you need to know. The one displayed is the SCFM, or the Standard CFM rating. This is the effectiveness of the compressor at sea level at 68 degrees Fahrenheit and with no humidity. CFM rarely operates at this precise level, though.
The number you need is the ACFM, or the Actual CFM. The seller or manufacturer should be able to tell you the Actual CFM of the unit. If they cannot, they may not know the unit as well as they should, which means you need to find a more trustworthy company.
To get the required amount of air for your project, your compressor needs a lot of gallons of cubic pressure in your tank. If you have a sanding project, you’re going to need a lot more compressed air than what is required to inflate your tires.
The longer you have to run your tools, the bigger the tank you’ll need.
HP, or horsepower, is the amount of work done. A lot of people place too much emphasis on the HP, but horsepower is still critical to know. The amount of HP will affect how much pressure will be coming out of your tool each minute.
Inspecting the label of a compressor will tell you the peak horsepower of the unit. The average number shows you the true horsepower of the compressor.
Before you leave the shop, make sure every gauge works. If you have a faulty gauge, you could end up doing a lot more maintenance than you expected.
You will need to check two gauges on your unit:
- Tank capacity – The amount of air your tank holds.
- Regulator – The amount of air the hose can push out.
Check the pressure gauge and make sure the readings correspond with the capacity on the label. If you have a tank that says it puts out 125 psi, make sure that the compressor turns off at 125 psi. Anything more or less will give you problems.
Your air compressor will not come with a lot of attachments, but they will still be necessary. Some needed attachments you’ll have to buy include:
- Air filter
The air you take into the compressor has a lot of dirt, moisture, and general impurities. An air filter gives you the clean air you will need for your project.
The plugs will come as either male or female. Male plugs have small ribbed protrusions on the outside, whereas female plugs have ridges on the inside.
If a plug is too small for a filter you want to buy, you will need an adapter fitting.
- Coupler for your air compressor’s hose
The coupler joins a hose with the air compressor via a small plug, giving you the power you need. You simply slide the plug in, which locks into place due to pin mechanisms on the inside of the coupler.
The seal is strong enough to hold the plug in place, but loose enough to let the plug slide around as needed within the slot.
There are three different types of couplers:
The industrial coupler will take in industrial plugs, which can be identified by a narrow protrusion. The protrusion sticks out no more than 3 mm and circles around the plug.
An automotive coupler will have a square attachment to take in a square plug.
This coupler will fit either automotive or industrial plugs.
If you do not match the right coupler with the right plug, you cannot use the compressor.
It depends on what you need. When you are looking to rent or buy, the price can vary. If you’d like to find out a bit more about pricing plans, talk with Washing Equipment of Texas. We can work with you to find out the best price for you and see what model might best suit your needs.
Have other buying tips?
Let us know. We want to help you out and give other clients like you the best information possible. Contact us today for more information and tips about air compressors.