Who would have thought that there are so many things to know about air compressors? We needed to get one for our Home Building Charity Group but none of us had any expertise on the matter and so we were a little bit frustrated because we weren’t sure what to buy. Here is what we learned, and we hope that this information helps someone else in the same situation:
1) What Type of Air Compressor Do We Need?
There are two types of air compressors. There is a very common single piston air compressor and a two stage compressor with two pistons. The first one will work for most anything one needs around a house or a shop. The dual piston air compressor is more for commercial use and we decided our needs would be served with a single piston air compressor. We weren’t planning on servicing two tools at once and didn’t feel the need to spend the extra money.
2) There are some different types (sizes) of air compressors, what one do I need?
- a) Stationary compressors which can be stored in one spot and have more air than others
- b) Portable, compact air compressors that don’t store as much, but can be handy
- c) Pancake compressors are designed to fit underneath and they are more portable and take less space
- d) Hot dog compressors are- well- in the shape of a hot dog or cylinder
- e) Twin-stack compressors have two cylinders and hold more air
- f) Wheelbarrow tanks have two cylinders and wheels for more portability
After researching the different kinds of air compressors, we decided that we wanted a Wheelbarrow compressor because we wanted something that would work for more than one home, something portable, and something that is mobile and easy to move. It’s on wheels and we can put it in our cars and go to different houses within the charity.
3) Electric or Gas Air Compressor?
We had to think a lot about this because electric compressors have a cord of course, but gas air compressors have to be filled with gas. While it’s more convenient to be able to not have the compressor tethered to a cord, we decided that we would go with a compressor with a 120V electric power instead of the one that takes gas. The electrical compressors are far more popular, and we were going to be mainly using the compressor in the garage so it turned out that it was easier for us and we didn’t want to worry about getting gas when we wanted to use the compressor. Plugging it in anywhere was much more appealing to our organization than having to worry about gas for the compressor.
4) Different tools used with Air Compressors
We wanted the air compressor to fuel our power air tools, which is of course, the main function of an air compressor. Our charity group uses several different air tools. We use ratchets and paint sprayers the most, but we also use the air compressor for some of our rotary tools as well. We had to learn which tools used specific air volume, and we had to choose an air compressor which was compatible with the tools we use. Be sure to ask whomever you are buying your compressor from about what air volume you’ll need for which tools you have. They are not all the same and you don’t want to make a mistake. We purchased the air compressor with out tool specifications in mind. There is no use purchasing a compressor if it’s not going to work with your tools.
5) Things To Look For To Make Things Easier
Here are some simple things to look for when buying a compressor that may help make things a bit less confusing and bit more simple:
1) Try to buy a compressor that doesn’t require oil. Oil makes a mess and if it’s not needed, don’t get one.
2) We did take our first compressor back because it had a direct drive system, and the pump driven system was way less loud than the direct drive system. The sound it made was almost unbearable- so the pump driven system is much more quiet and easier to deal with.
3) If you get a compressor with thermal protection it will stop the motor from getting too hot and overloading
4) Any compressor you can get with extra tools and accessories is always great, because some of the extra stuff is pretty neat and you may be able to use it.
The reason we chose the air compressor for our home building charity group was because of it’s portability, it’s capacity for air, it’s proclivity to be more silent than others, and because of some of the fun gadgets that were included in the package. The most important reason of course, was that it had the proper air capacity for the air tools we wanted to use. Be sure to check things out if you are purchasing an air compressor, and hopefully this article has given you some valuable information when you are choosing your unit. Good luck!
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