If you are in the market for an air compressor, after doing a bit of research, you will discover that there is more than one type of air compressor available. There are a lot of things to consider when choosing the best air compressor for you, but knowing what types of compressors are available is a good first step. Here are the basic types that are available, ranging from light weight to heavy duty.
Hand Carry Portable Air Compressor - though features will obviously vary, these machines are generally lightweight and compact since they are designed to be hand carried. These are generally single stage compressors with an oil lubricated pump. A good cast iron cylinder will extend the pump life. A heavy duty steel tank and frame is also desirable, and anti-vibration feet. A pressure relief safety valve is a must and you want to be able to manually drain the air from the tank when you are done. These small units are perfect around the home, whether you get an electric or a gas one. Though, if you are using it for a lot of indoor work, electric would be preferable.
Wheeled Portable Air Compressor - these compressors are also portable, but being bigger, are usually too heavy to carry around, so they are on a base with wheels. A wheeled compressor will normally have a larger tank and operate at a higher psi output than a hand carried compressor. Typically there are two wheels on the back and base legs on the front with a handle. You just lift up the front and pull the air compressor along behind you. You can get these heavy duty machines with either single or two stage pumps, though the two stage is more common in this style since it is good for higher pressures than a single stage compressor. These machines are really good for using around a construction site, or for the rental industry where a lot of continual demand of different sorts is placed upon the compressor.
Stationary Mounted Air Compressor - these can either be mounted on a preexisting tank, or can be purchased already mounted on a steel tank. These come in a whole range of sizes, both the pump and tank size can vary, and are obviously designed to be used where they do not need to be portable. Securing them to the floor or other surface is often a good idea. These are really good in a shop, you just need a long hose and a selection of tools, and you are good to go.
Service Vehicle Air Compressor - these are compressors that are mounted in the back of a vehicle, they are heavy duty for larger jobs, designed for industrial use. Usually available with single or two stage pumps, they should have be belt driven with a larger fly wheel, this helps it to cool quicker and to start up easier. A constant run control is also really nice to have on one of these units. One of these is only needed if you are in an industry that travels and requires an air compressor, such as carpet cleaning.
These are the basic types of air compressors available, though there are also specialty compressors, such as climate control and fire sprinkler compressors. But for home use, a hand carry or wheeled air compressor usually works best. If you need a compressor for regular use in a business, then a stationary or service vehicle air compressor may be what you need. This is just a fist step in deciding what air compressor will work best for you, there are other considerations to take into account before making a final decision.
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