Air Compressors Buying Guide
Air compressors can be used for more than just pumping up tires. In fact, these versatile tools can power nail guns, spray guns, wrenches, and many other tools. Our buying guide will help you select the right one for your needs.
Why You Need an Air Compressor
Air compressors can pretty much do it all, from inflating balls and tires to powering high-consumption tools. With a selection of various types and capacities, there's one out there for you to make everyday tasks easier and more efficient.
Types of Air Compressors
Pick the right type for the tools you'll use and the jobs to be done. Air compressors come in different capacities and knowing which one suits your needs will help you select the right one.
Power: Horsepower ratings are a measure of the horsepower (HP) the compressor motor produces. Compressor motors generally range from 1.5 HP to 6.5 HP, with more powerful units are available for industrial applications. Usually higher horsepower motors yield greater psi and are capable of carrying a heavier workload.
Power Supply: Electric-powered compressors are the most common and are easy to use in any area with a ready electrical supply. Gas-powered air compressors are a good choice for areas where electricity is limited or unavailable.
Note: Don't use gas-powered compressors in confined or unventilated areas.
Design: Compressors come in a variety of styles — pancake, hotdog, vertical, horizontal, truck-mounted, wheelbarrow, and twin-stack. Pancake style tanks are most stable because their round, flat storage tanks are mounted on the bottom of the unit.
Maintenance: Oil-free compressors have sealed bearings and require less maintenance than oil-lubricated compressors, and have plenty of power for most noncommercial uses. Oil-lubricated compressors require the user to change the oil regularly. Most industrial compressors are oil-lubricated.
Tip: Consult the owner’s manual for specific oil-changing intervals.
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