Buying Guide for Air Compressors

Air compressors can be used for more than pumping up tires. In fact, these versatile tools can power nail guns, spray guns, wrenches and many other tools. When shopping for air compressors, you ’ll come across two basic types.

Types Of Compressors:

  • Compact
  • Compact Compressor
  • Piston-Type Compressor
  • Piston-Type Compressor

  • Piston-Type Compressors have tanks that store compressed air. The motor shuts off when the pressure in the tank reaches a specified level. As air is depleted from the tank, the pressure inside drops, and the motor restarts to build the pressure back up. The pressure settings are adjustable according to the operator’s requirements. There are two kinds of piston compressors:

  • Single-Stage Compressors have one piston that compresses and delivers air to the storage tank. The single-stage system is normally found on light-duty compressors with a maximum rating below 150 pounds of pressure per square inch (psi). Single-stage compressors are adequate for most home users.

  • Two Stage Compressors have two pistons that compress and deliver air to the storage tank. The first piston compresses the air and pushes it through a check valve to the second piston. The second piston further compresses the air and delivers it to the storage tank. The two-stage system is usually found on commercial heavy-duty compressors with maximum ratings above 150 psi. Two-stage compressors are good choices for continuous use or shop environments.

  • Compact Air Compressors are the smallest and lightest compressors available. These compressors don't have storage tanks, so they must run continuously to supply air. Compact compressors power caulk guns, glue guns, small spray guns, and can inflate sports equipment and tires.

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