Advice on compressors
1. What will you be using the compressor for?
A compressor sucks air in and compresses it in order to deliver it under high pressure, so you can use it to power various kinds of air tools. The most important question when choosing a compressor, then, is what kinds of tools you want to use. Not every compressor is suitable for powering any type of air tool. Based on specifications like net air yield, suction capacity, maximum air pressure, and tank size, we estimate what kinds of pneumatic tools a compressor is suitable for. That way, you'll know whether you can only use it to inflate tires, which doesn't take a very powerful compressor, or whether you can use it to spray paint as well, which requires a lot of power and long-lasting constant airflow for a good result.
2. How long at a time will you be using the compressor?
When using an air compressor very intensely, for example by using a certain air tool for an extended period of time, your compressor should have a large tank size. The larger the tank, the longer it will take for it to dip below a minimum pressure value, after which the motor will switch on to refill the tank. For some uses, such as spray painting, it's important to have constant pressure. If the tank is small (for example, 5 or 6 liters), you'll notice the pressure decreasing after a while. This means the compressor lacks the energy needed to power the air tool. In the case of spray painting, this could result in uneven painting performance, since the compressor will provide less and less pressure. A small tank, on the other hand, does increase the appliance's mobility.
3. Oil-free or oil-lubricated?
You can choose from both oil-free and oil-lubricated compressors. Oil-free compressors have the advantage of being easy to maintain and emitting oil-free air. This is important for certain spraying conditions and sensitive technology. Oil-lubricated compressors require more maintenance. For example, you'll need to keep it well lubricated, by changing the oil now and then. Apart from that, you'll risk the compressor leaking oil when being transported. The advantages of oil-lubricated compressors include being more silent and generally more long-lasting than oil-free compressors.
4. What else to keep in mind?
Apart from the choices listed above, there's a few other things you could take into account when choosing a compressor. For example, you could look at the suction capacity. The higher the suction capacity (in liters per minute), the faster the tank refills itself so it keeps providing air. Additionally, there are a few things that indicate how powerful a compressor is. The more powerful the compressor, the more kinds of air tools you can power with it and the more smoothly they'll work. You can tell the compressor's power from its net air yield. The higher this value, the more powerful the compressor.
5. Don't forget the accessories
As mentioned before, a compressor or air compressor by itself is useless, so you'll always need a number of accessories to get started. The most important being, of course, the air tools. For example, if you want to be able to inflate your car tire, you'll need a pistol grip tire inflator. If you want to spray paint, you'll need a paint sprayer and to change tires, you'll need an impact wrench to loosen the wheel nuts. Beside the compressor and the right air tools, you'll need an air hose to connect the compressor and the air tool. In addition, purchasing compressor oil is recommended for the maintenance of oil-lubricated compressors and that of air tools.