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Choosing the Right Air Compressor

When choosing the right air compressor, you have to know what job you are going to need it for. As far as air compressors go, they can power a variety of work – from inflating tires to operating a nail gun.

Here are some air compressor characteristics that you should consider when choosing the right one to use:


You have decide the amount of power needed for your air tool. Power can be measured in several types of units – the most useful is the cubic feet per minute (CFM). More common household air tools require 0-5 CFM, while larger air tools may need 10 CFM or more. The air compressor you would choose actually depends on the type or air tool you will be using.

Tank Size

An air compressor tank could be compared to the air tank used in SCUBA diving. If you are going to use the air compressor for a longer period of time, then the larger tank you will need. Air tools used for a shorter period of time (air hammers, impact wrenches, etc.) do not require large tanks as opposed to those used for a longer period of time (grinders, sanders, spray guns, etc.).

Pump Type

There are two main types of pumps to choose from: direct-drive pump and a belt-driven pump. The former is lightweight and it is designed to last for 500 hours, while the latter lasts three times longer and requires an oil change every now and then. For house projects, the direct-drive pump is a better choice.

Vertical and Horizontal Air Compressors

A vertical compressor is usually stationary and it takes less storage room while a horizontal air compressor is more portable. The horizontal air compressor can be easily moved from one position to another. Choosing a style depends on what you needs are and the projects you will be working on.

Electrical and Gasoline Air Compressors

Another main thing to decide on is whether you want an electric-driven engine or a gasoline-driven engine. Natural gas air compressors are proven to be reliable, cost-effective and you will be able to reduce electric energy consumption. However, electrical air compressors can also be a better option when you are using the air compressor in an enclosed area and fumes are intolerable.

Once you’ve decided on which air compressor is best for you, remember to keep your air compressor in running order. You must clean the tank daily and the air filter weekly.

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