Compressors & Air Tools

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Buying guide

Choosing Your Compressor and Air Tools        


It is challenging to choose the best air compressor and air tools from the wide varieties in the market today. The key to choosing the perfect compressor is to match the unit to the job demands. Stationary compressors are good in providing high volume of air needed to power automotive and production tools. On the other hand, portable compressors are convenient for home and job sites.

Air tools are also called pneumatic tools. They include air grinders, air nail guns, air paint sprayers, and more. Air tools are time and energy saving devices.

This guide is designed to help you get the best air compressor that is worth your money from the market. Read it keenly.

There are three basic types of compressors in the market.


Reciprocating compressors


They increase the pressure of air by reducing their volume. They have a piston within a cylinder that helps in compressing the air.

 reciprocating compressors

Rotary screw compressors


Consists of two rotors in a casing where the rotors compress the air internally. They have no valves. These units are cooled using oil.

They are easy to maintain and easy to operate and have a high volume output over a long time.

 rotary screw compressors

Centrifugal compressor


This is a dynamic compressor. Its operation depends on the transfer of energy from a rotating impeller to the air.

 centrifugal compressor

What to consider when buying air compressor and air toolscompressors and air tools


In your choice of air compressor, consider the following factors.


Air compressors fall under two categories. There are portable air compressors and stationary ones.

The portable air compressors are light and can be carried around easily. They are of different shapes and sizes. The larger air compressors are fitted with wheels and this makes movement from job site to another easier.


For lighter jobs like inflating tires, consider getting a light weight and oil-free air compressors. For high demanding jobs like powering a frame gun, consider purchasing a more powerful air compressor. You may consider buying a wheelbarrow compressor for such a more demanding job. It has a big gallon tank that provides enough air flow and it is easy to move it around. If you would like to purchase a portable air compressor to help you work in your garage, consider buying a space saving compressor that has wheels. A 20-30 gallon tank air compressor can work well for you.


Stationary compressors are good for garages and workshops. They are bolted into fixed positions. They can be wired directly to electric circuits or connected to gasoline tanks. They have 60-80 gallon tanks and 5-10 HP motors.

For a garage, consider purchasing stationary air compressors as they make use of different types of air tools that are less expensive and provider higher performance than equivalent electric air tools.


Tank size


Tanks come in different sizes. The size of a tank is rated in gallons. The largest size is 80 gallons and the smallest is 1 gallon.

If you are using air tools that need high air volume, consider buying a large tank. Small to medium sized tanks can be ideal for tools that require low volume of air like finish nailers.


Pump type


When purchasing air compressor and air tools, remember different pump designs influence the performance of your compressor.

A two-stage compressor is good for high demand work. It has two cylinders or more. The second stage cylinder which increases the tank pressure to about 175psi gets air from   tank. This ensures that air tools can run for a long time.


A single-stage compressor has a single or more cylinders. It gives out compressed air at the same output pressure even with more than one cylinder.

Moving parts of oil lubricated compressors do not wear excessively. This oil should be monitored and changed from time to time to avoid premature failure.


Source of power


When purchasing a compressor and air tools, keep in mind that you need adequate and continuous power supply. Compressors are powered by either gasoline or electricity.

The electric air compressors are good for indoor use as they don’t emit fumes. They can run on a standard household voltage of about 120v while compressors with 2 or more motors may require 240v.

If you are a builder or a remodeler, consider buying a gas-powered compressor. They have high output and can be moved easily in your job site. Ensure your work place is well ventilated as these compressors emit fumes.


Performance ratings


Before committing to pay for a compressor, consider the delivery capability of the compressor. It is measured in standard cubic feet per minute. Also, get to know the required air flow for optimal operation.

Examine the SCFM of all the tools you intend to buy this helps you to know the lowest compressor SCFM you need in your operations.


Additional features and safety


Ensure additional features like air-cooling system and roll cage are available in the compressor you intend to buy. Thermal overload switch is an important feature you should look for in a compressor. It shuts off the compressor automatically when it overheats

Electric or gasoline powered pneumatic tools and compressors are dangerous if mishandled. When buying such items, ensure clear guidelines on safety are given. A list of protective garments is given. Instructions on how to operate the tools should also be clearly stated.


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