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Perfect Guide To Buy The Best Air Compressor

Selecting a compressor that is just perfect to meet the needs

The air compressor is considered to be an essential asset that is used in factories, garages and shops. This device can be utilized for operating different types of power tools. However, purchasing an air compressor could actually be big investment. It is for this reason one should be very careful at the time of making the selection.

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Top 5 Best Air Compressors

Compressor Image
Model Name
Horse Power(HP)
Tank Size
Air Flow Capacity
Maximum Weight Capacity
Sound Level
California Air Tools CAT-6310 Ultra Quiet and Oil-Free 1.0 HP 6.3-Gallon Steel Tank Air CompressorCalifornia Air Tools CAT-63101 HP6.3 gal3.8 CFM49 lbs60 dB
Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak, ½ HP Running 1-Gallon CompressorSenco PC10101 HP1 gal1 CFM20 lbs73 dB
Makita MAC700 Big Bore 2.0 HP Air CompressorMakita MAC7002 HP2.6 gal3.8 CFM59.6 lbs80 dB
Bostitch CAP1512-OF 1.2 Gallon Oil Free High Output Trim CompressorBOSTITCH CAP15122 HP1.2 gal2.8 CFM23.5 lbs89 dB
Dewalt D55146 4-1 2 Gallon 200-PSI Hand Carry Compressor with WheelsDEWALT D55146 1.6 HP4.5 gal5.0 CFM83 lbs78 dB

Selection made easy

There are many people who might find the task of selecting the device to be quite challenging. This is because of the presence of different types of compressors ranging from the portable one3s to those that are as sturdy as a rock. The individual has innumerable options to select from. Some of these devices have been designed for being used around the home, while the others have been designed to undertake heavy duty industrial work. Another thing to consider is the amount of noise that is emitted from the compressor. Some tend to be very loud prompting the individual to have adequate ear protection, while some emit very less noise.

Guide for effective buying

The web is full of air compressor buyer guide which can help the person to make the right choice. It is very important to make the right selection to ensure that the individual benefits from it in the long run and makes worthwhile of the investment. The different things that need to be considered at the time of making the choice are as follows:

California Air Tools CAT-6310 Ultra Quiet and Oil-Free 1.0 HP 6.3-Gallon Steel Tank Air CompressorAir volume and speed

The power of the air compressor is basically measured in CFM and PSI. The latter tends to measure air pressure, while the CFM measures volume of air. For the purpose of calculation, the following things are required:

  • Single tool use: The individual needs to mention the CFM and PSI requirements clearly of the most demanded tool. The new compressor is to have:
    • CFM which is around 1.25 times greater
    • PSI which is greater or equal to what has been listed
  • Multi-tool use: The CFM and PSI requirements are to be jot down of the most demanded tools. The new compressor is to have:
    • CFM that is 1.25 times greater than sum of both the tools
    • PSI which is greater or equal that what has been listed on most demanded tools.

Tank Size

The air compressors tank size does affect two things which is the max running time, as well as the max CFM. Every compressor needs to have max CFM clearly listed. In case, the CFM is big, then the tank is definitely big. It is necessary to think on the max running time. With the tank being bigger, the much longer would be the running time of the compressor, without getting refilled. In case, the tool requires air (staplers and nailers) in intermittent bursts, then small take would suffice. But if longer pumping periods is what is being looked at, then there would be a need to look at something that is much larger. It needs to be understood that the capacity of the tank is what decides on the compressor’s weight and so would be the price.

Two stage vs. Single stage

The piston compressors generally are categorizes as single or two stage.

  • The two stage compressors tend to draw inside and compress it initially towards an intermediate pressure. Air present is cooled down and then compressed for the second time to reach its final pressure.
  • The single stage compressor draws air inside and then compressed to final pressure in just a single stroke of the piston.

According to some, the two stage compressors are quite efficient and also less expensive run. Difference between the two is the two stage one has the capability to generate more power. It is the power requirement of the individual that determines the type of compressor that the individual should go for.


It is another aspect that should be looked into. Air compressor is available in the market in portable and stationary form. As the name derives, the portables are very light in weight and can be easily carried from one place to the other, while the stationary one is bolted down. But it needs to be understood that the more portable the compressor becomes, its power starts moving in opposite direction. Hence, one should give a careful thought as to what is to be used and what purpose it would serve before making the selection.

Power source

It is gasoline or electricity that makes these devices to function. Each of the power source is known to come with its own benefits. Understanding them clearly would once again help to make the right selection.Porter Cable CMB15 150 PSI 1.5 Gallon Oil Free Fully Shrouded Compressor

  • Electricity based ones are undoubtedly much cleaner. They can be used indoors at any point of time and at any place. Moreover, they are environment friendly.
  • Gasoline based ones are very much affordable than its electric counterpart. It can be used anywhere outdoors having gas tank nearby, but not indoors.

Oil free vs. Oiled

The compressors can be further categorized into two segments. The difference between them is that the oiled ones do require oil to be changed from time to time. The other differences are as follows:

  • It is a fact that the compressors that are oil free are much lighter and cheaper. But, the backdraw is that they tend to lose lubrication over a period of time and break down.
  • The oil compressors relatively are much heavier and expensive. If taken care of, they can last for several decades and save on a good amount of money.

Noise levels

These devices are noisy machines. The model type is said to affect greatly the decibels that one has to deal with. Nowadays, there are available compressors which have x decibels, which means reduced noise, something wonderful for the indoors.

Air tools: Why to use them?

There are many who tend to make their purchase based on the price. They do not actually look into the device, compare them to check what each model stands for or the benefits that they offer. Since, every model comes with its own functioning and benefits, it is very much for the person to have a proper look at it, before making the final decision to purchase. Air tools are undoubtedly much superior to the electric based ones.

Reasons to use air tools instead of electric tools

Some of the reasons are as follows:

  • Affordable: Price is one of the main factors that most people tend to go for. It has been noticed that air tools are very much affordable and it is easy for any person to avail impact wrenches and nail guns without having spend a fortune on it. At the same time, money is also saved on electricity. In short air tools would mean lower energy bills.
  • Powerful: There are many, who would be required to make heavy use of the tools. According to the experts, air tools are very powerful. They can be converted into kinetic energy from electric energy. This does effectively result in greater torque levels and to get more revolutions/second. The person has to spend very less time on the job and enjoy increased efficiency.
  • Smaller and lighter: Since the best air compressor would not require electricity, it would mean, it will not come with any motor fitting. It does help the tool to be lighter, smaller and portable. People having small garage can find it very much convenient. About ten units can be easily fit into the space without making it congested, which otherwise would fit just three electrical tools.
  • Durable: The air tools not having any motor would also have very less moving parts. Hence, there are very less chances of it getting broken down, which automatically increases its efficiency and lower down on the maintenance part. Also, it is quite safe to be handled and less accident prone.
  • Much safer: These tools are quite safe and unlike the electric counterpart, the user does not have to fear of shocks, when wet. At the same time, there are also no chances of the house burning down, in case there is an electrical short circuit if it is plugged wrong. It can be used in rain and there are no safety related issues created from it, which is what makes it very much popular.

Understanding the type of accessories that would be required

Most beginners tend to ask this question, since they are not aware of the type of accessories that would be required by them. It is necessary to know them so that the compressor can be used to the maximum extent and to derive optimum work from it. Checking out the air compressor reviews that are put up by experienced users can help the person to determine the answer to this question.

Some accessories and their function

  • Second hose: Almost every compressor is said to come with hose. However, over a period of time, it needs to be replaced. It is necessary to get a specific strength hose for power some tools. The commonly available materials are PVC, nylon and rubber. Understanding what these are made of, their durability, cost and use can help the person to select the right one.
  • Hose Reel: This device helps to coil the hose and put it in proper place. Most of them have wheels and handle for easy usage. The other features that could be present include the following like locks found at specific intervals, buttons to reel the hose with just a click. Purchasing the right hose definitely would increase the compressor’s portability.
  • Roll Cage: This device wraps enclosing the compressor tank to protect it from being punctured. If there is a plan to use it on a construction site, then the purchase would be a wise one, otherwise, it is not required.
  • Adapters: An adapter would be required if the hose or tool is incompatible with the compressor. These are available in female or male form and are not at all interchangeable. If it is to be used on a regular basis, then one should go for Quick connectors, while Anodized fittings tend to last longer. The former can be removed and cleaned with great ease.
  • Filters: It is another essential thing that needs to be replaced after the compressor has been used for more than 6 months. The clogged filter would add much strain to motor. Besides reducing power, it would also damage it. A good filter is likely to protect the air tool from any type of chemical, gas and oil.Porter Cable C2002-WK Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor with 13-Piece Accessory Kit


For getting hold of the perfect air compressor that suits all the requirements is not that easy like it sounds. There is a genuine need to know several answers before the person is in a position to select the right compressor. The above tips do help the person to be educated about air compressor, its functions, its different accessories and its benefits. Understanding these in details is very much necessary for the person, so that he is well informed as to why there is a need to purchase this device and which one would perfectly fit the budget and the specific requirements. Poorly chosen compressors would only end up as a bad investment. If the person is still confused about the type of device to purchase, it would be better to consult someone who has prior experience in this domain. There are also many websites that have qualified and knowledgeable representatives, who would be more than eager to help the person to find out the one that would meet all his needs and increase his work efficiency.

Questions like power, voltage present in the region, where the user intends to make use of the compressor, the budget in hand, fluctuations of voltage if any, if the compressor needs to be diesel driven or petrol driven, etc. needs to be enquired. Only then can the person take a well informed decision that would lead him towards buying the best air compressor that is available in the market.

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