Air compressors are essential items for any good mechanic or technician. Whether you are using one for a job or for a hobby, you should always use a safe and reliable one.
This article discusses the things you should look for when buying a compressor. When you follow these tips, you will surely find yourself with a compressor that works the way it should without putting you or anyone else in any danger.
Air compressors come in two types: actual industrial strength ones and hobbyist ones that you should avoid. A good air compressor will have a power of 5 HP. However, if you are not careful, you will be fooled into buying a compressor that has an actual horsepower of 2 labeled as one with a horsepower of 5.
Look at the label and see what the electrical requirements are. A good industrial strength compressor will not run on a home wall plug. It will need a 220-volt line from which it will draw 24 amperes.
If you see an air compressor’s label saying that it will run on a wall plug and that it needs a 110-volt line from where it’ll draw 15 amperes, then it’s a hobbyist compressor with an actual horsepower of 2. Do not buy this.
Another note, the price of these compressors will likely be half of an actually powerful one. But remember the old saying, “You buy cheap, you get cheap.” So don’t think you’re making a good decision on buying the cheaper option; think of it as a good investment and get the more expensive one.
If you are still a bit apprehensive about the price, then consider buying a second-hand one, or renting one from a store. You can also be on the lookout for a sale, as there are many sites on the net where you can get good air compressors for sale 24 x 7.
The PSI stands for pressure per square inch, and a good air compressor will have a PSI of 90. However, there’s something called shut-off pressure. This is what allows the machine to have an effective PSI of 90.
In order to achieve this, most machines build-up to this pressure in two stages. The first being 90 and then the second having a higher PSI of 175.
Non-industrial strength compressors will have a PSI of 125 to 135. This may seem like it’ll get the job done, but you have to consider that much of the power will be lost to the friction in the hose and the coupler. As such, the resulting PSI will be much lower.
The amount of air volume that the machine will produce is measured in cubic feet per minute or CFM. A good air compressor will produce a CFM of 3 to 4.
Just as is the case with horsepower, these are also exaggerated. Though if you stick to buying more expensive ones and look at the electrical requirements, you’ll be sure that you’re getting a good one.
It may seem counterintuitive to what we have been saying all this time, but the size of the tank that’s attached to an air compressor doesn’t matter.
The tank that comes with an air compressor doesn’t actually produce any air; it just stores it. As such, you need to look at the other components more than the size of the tank itself. A smaller tank is also easier to store and move around, and therein lies its best advantage.
There are two types of drives when it comes to compressors: direct drive and belt drive.
As the name suggests, direct-drive compressors are connected to the motor shaft. They spin at the same speed that the motor spins.
Both types of these drives can be good; what needs to be seen is the price and other measures of quality to ensure that you are getting a good product.
Usually, these drives are lubricated by oil, or they run with non-oil based lubrication.
As a general rule if you are going to be carrying around the machine or don’t need a high air volume, then you can go for direct drive non-oil lubricated compressors. For the other way around, you can easily go for belt drive and oil-based lubricants.
Duty cycle means the time the machine can stay on during a span of 10 minutes. As the machine needs to be turned off for cooling every ten minutes, the cycle is measured with 10-minute intervals.
What the percentage of duty cycle of the machine essentially tells you is how long the machine can run and how much time it requires to be cooled off before it can be used again.
For example, a duty cycle of 50% means the machine will run for 5 minutes and needs to be cooled for 5 minutes. If you have a duty cycle of 65%, then the machine can run for 6.5 minutes and only needs 3.5 minutes to cool off.
As such, always look for a machine with a higher than 50% duty cycle.
Any machine that requires a large amount of energy needs to be handled with care. We hope by seeing the above information you choose a machine that will last a long time and require less upkeep, but most of all will provide you with a safe working environment.
Always remember that no machine is worth buying cheap if you are going to be paying for your peace of mind and safety in return. Always make an informed purchase, keeping in mind that your money and health are at stake. After all, what good is a powerful machine if you won’t be around to use it?