Air Compressors

Air compressors are devices that turn power into pressurised air. They can either be stationary or portable.

How do they work?

Air compressors use a gas or electric engine to suck in volumes of air and squeeze it in to a small space This process increases the pressure by making the volume smaller. The air is then stored in a receiver tank and can be used for many applications.

What are air compressors used for?

Domestic uses include: airbrushing, pressure washing, tyre inflating, sand blasting, air blow gun, sanding, paintball gun.

Industrial uses include: power tools, sanding, pneumatic tools, grinding, diving equipment, nail guns, paint workshops.

How to determine which air compressor you need?

You will need to consider your air flow and tank size requirements when deciding which air compressor to buy.

Compressors are measured in two ways, pounds per square inch (PSI) and cubic feet per minute (CFM), these measurements determine the compressors effectiveness. You will need to identify what PSM and CFM your tools or equipment need.

If you are only going to run one tool at one time off the compressor then you will need to look at the tool that has the highest PSI and CFM requirement. If on the other hand you want to run multiple tools from the air compressor you will need to total up the PSI and CFMs of each of the tools

Because the air is stored in a tank, the size of the tank will impact how the compressor works. For tools and equipment that need continuous air a larger tank is better as this will be able to produce enough CFMs. For tools that will be intermittently used a smaller tank is sufficient.

The horsepower is normally between 1.5HP and 6.5HP on an air compressor. Higher ones are available, but these are usually only used in industrial areas.

Single stage or two stage compressors

Single stage air compressors, also known as piston compressors, have one or more cylinder. Each cylinder will pump air into the storage tank.

Two stage air compressors have two cylinders and air is pumped from one cylinder to the other cylinder, cooled, then delivered into the storage tank. These are mainly used where high pressure is needed as they have double the pressure.

Types of compressors

  • Rotary screw compressors
  • Reciprocating air compressors
  • Centrifugal compressors
  • Silent air compressors

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