If you want to buy an air compressor for your workshop or garage, there are some things to consider. Not every air compressor will work for every situation, so knowing what you need or determining that is essential.
The size of the air compressor you are considering can be critical. If you have a small space to put a compressor in, there are some compact units that you can consider, but you also need to determine if those smaller compressors will produce the amount of pressure you need as well.
The rating for an air compressor is typically expressed in PSI (pounds per square inch of pressure) or CFM (cubic feet per minute). The differences here can be significant, depending on what you will use the air compressor for.
In some situations, the tool you are using doesn't need high pressure, but it requires a lot of airflow. For that situation, an air compressor with a high CFM is a better choice than a compressor with high PSI ratings. Tools like an airbrush or paint gun need a lot of airflow but not a lot of pressure, whereas tools like air impact drivers rely on pressure to work correctly.
Portability and Flexibility
Another thing to consider is whether or not you will need to move the compressor around. In cases where portability is important, you may want to look for an air compressor with wheels on it so you can roll it around and use it outside or even take it to a job or a friend's garage to help with some repairs.
Most portable air compressors run on 110v current, so they can plug into any standard house receptacle, but be careful about using long extension cords. The cord can add resistance and cause a voltage drop that can affect the performance of the compressor.
It is better to plug the compressor directly into the wall outlet and run longer air hoses than to use long cords. Air pressure drops are not common with long hose runs but if you are concerned about it, make sure you are using high-quality hoses with your air compressor to avoid any problem.
Permanent Air Compressor Installation
If you need a large air compressor in your shop that is going to power many different tools, you may want to look at large compressors that can be installed in the space and then install hard airlines throughout the shop. Steel pipe, copper, and even some PVC can be used to plumb your compressor in and make it much easier to use in many parts of the shop.