We Know: How to Buy an Air Compressor
Choosing an Air Compressor
Before buying an air compressor, you may want to decide on some of the features beforehand.
There are many air compressors on the market today, and most of them are designed for specific
purposes. For instance, one that is made for use with an airbrush is probably not strong enough
to simultaneously power several nail guns. Conversely, you probably do not want an air compressor
larger than you need because it will consume more electricity or gasoline. Ask yourself these
- Do I want a gas or an electric powered air compressor? Gasoline models are used out of doors,
and are good when an electrical power source is not available or is inconvenient. The downside to
gas powered models is that they are noisier than electrical units, and they emit fumes.
- Should I get a portable or non-portable air compressor? This is a convenience versus need
issue. If you need more power than a portable can offer, you are stuck with a larger air compressor.
If you will be moving the air compressor often, but still need more power, you may have to consider
getting more than one machine.
- How much air pressure do I need? Most air compressors are adjustable, but they operate
within a range. Make a list of what you will be using the air
compressor for, and make sure the model you want can handle those jobs. Large job sites may have several machines running for different purposes in various
locations, whereas a hobbyist may only need one small machine.
- Will I blow a circuit breaker? Electric models draw a certain number of amps, but
like many appliances, they draw even more amps at startup. When companies specify a machine's
running current, it does not take into affect peak current. Think about where you will be using
the air compressor and if the machine you choose is likely to blow a circuit.
- How much air do I need? Consider for how long you will be using the machine each time
and how often you do or do not want the compressor to kick in. This should guide you in the size
and number of air tanks that you need.