Introduction To Air Compressor Reviews - Why should you read it?
Whether for shop or home use, air compressors have become a vital piece of machinery needed to operate a number of tools. The optimal performance of a tool depends on the quality of the air compressor used in its ability to provide adequate air supply. Certain jobs will require more air pressure than others and that may require a more powerful compressor.
A ½ horsepower compressor may supply enough air for airbrushing but may lack power to fulfil automotive needs like filling tires.
Types of Air Compressors
There are a number of air compressors and these vary based on design and principle of the machine. Differences in their make-up are also meant to serve a range of purposes. Here are a few common types mostly mentioned in air compressor reviews and forums.
1. Reciprocating or Piston Compressors
The most commonly used type, these are considered as positive displacement compressors which works by filling a chamber with air to reduce internal volume. Mostly giving off fractional to high pressure, this device operates much like an internal combustion engine in reverse.
Pros: While relatively cheap, this type of compressor is also easily maintained because of its simple design and easily replaceable parts. Reciprocating or piston compressors are also employable under high pressure and produce a lot of power. Models on the market display a power range from 1 HP up to 30 HP.
Cons: Apart from being very noisy when operating, the maintenance of these compressors are also quite pricey. Other downsides include high oil content in air pipings which can cause costly maintenance problems. Also, they are not designed to run at full capacity every time they are used.
2. Rotary Screw Compressors
Made up of two helical screws or rotors turning in opposite directions, the system compresses the air internally leaving very little space between the screws. As air is sucked from end, pressurized air is released on the other end. Rotary screw compressors come in oil-injected and oil-free types.
Pros: Relatively quieter than piston types, these compressors are also very energy efficient and can produce a large amount of compressed air in low end temperatures. They are very powerful and are mostly employed for industrial use.
Cons: The possibility of rust is high from internal water condensation so minimal air use is required on a daily or weekly basis. Because its design is a bit more complex than piston-type compressors, it will need regular maintenance.
3. Rotary Sliding Vane Compressors
Another positive displacement compressor, these achieve the compression needed once the air volume is at its peak at the intake valves and at its lowest at its exhaust valves. Made up of a rotor, a stator and 8 blades, it requires the revolution of the rotor to squeeze air. The intake valves also need to be injected with oil to lubricate the internal machinery and cool the air.
Pros: The components of this simple designed compressor are easily installed. And for its affordability, its maintenance cost is also relatively low. With very few moving segments that can withstand dirty environments, this compressor is very durable.
Cons: Since it is an oil-injected compressor, maintenance demands that the oil is separated from the air before the latter is moved to the air system. There is also the danger of the oil being carried over after operations, as well as reported difficulty with pressures over 200 psi.
4. Centrifugal Compressors
Unlike the first three, the centrifugal type is not considered as a positive displacement compressor. It utilizes a process called dynamic compression where high speed spinning impellers accelerate the air while diffusers decelerate the air. Intercoolers are present to cool the air in between cycles as well as to eliminate condensation which can cause impeller erosion.
Pros: Centrifugal compressors are specialized for high pressures up to 1200 psi and are meant for plant and industrial use. Even with a typical power of up to 500 HP, these machines do not need any special foundations. They are also designed to provide lubricant-free air.
Cons: Because of its specialized system, centrifugal compressors are costly machines. Engaging in high rotational speeds, these will demand specific maintenance conditions that encompass the special bearings, sophisticated vibration and clearance monitoring.
Advantages of Air Compressors in Your Home
Personal air compressors can be used for a variety of activities both for hobby-work and even for necessity. There are a few good reasons for owning the best air compressor as mentioned in a number of air compressor reviews.
• They outdo manual power
Air compressors can go up to 500 HP for industrial use, but most compact designs usually have ½ HP to 1 HP which provides adequate pressurized air to tools that work best with the device including drills and airbrushes.
• They are versatile
Whether you need compressed air for hobbies like airbrushing or DIY repair work, an air compressor is a necessity and will definitely hasten the job. Of course, choose a more powerful compressor if the work you intend to do is much more demanding.
• They are durable
Compact air compressors have a simple design and are low maintenance machines. However, oil injection types will need to separate the oil and air before the air enters the intake system. Oil-free types, although simpler to operate are also more costly.
• They are diverse
The market has such diversified choices that you’ll easily find the compressor to get the job done. Newer releases have noiseless models in various horse powers which allows for indoor use.
• They are portable
The best thing with compact air compressors is their size and weight. They can be stored in the trunk of your car or in your garage closet, and be taken out only when you need them. Compressors increase in size depending on the power they can generate. Portable compressors are usually in between ½ to 1 HP.
Even after reading air compressor reviews online, there are still a few questions you’ll need to ask yourself before purchasing the right type of compressor to suit your needs.
1. What will I use the compressor for?
This is a vital question in determining the specifications of the best air compressor for you. Ask yourself whether you need an air compressor for home or shop use. Also, you’ll need to decide whether or not you plan to carry it around or have it stationary in an area.
2. What tools will I need the compressor for?
Smaller tools like airbrushes can suffice from a tiny compressor with as much as half a horse power in their motors. However, more powerful pneumatic tools such as nail guns, sprayers and sand blasters require constant airflow, thus; the need for an air compressor with a higher CFM or Cubic Feet per Meter.
3. How frequent will I be using the air compressor?
As mentioned above, the CFM is a vital factor in choosing the best air compressor to suit your needs. Remember that each tool will demand an amount of CFM while it is the air compressor’s job to provide that amount.
As a general rule, the CFM output of the air compressor must be more than the tool’s requirements. The more tools you use and the more frequent of use, the more CFM must be provided by the compressor.
This 1-Horsepower Peak, ½ HP Running, 1 Gallon Compressor is perfect for small jobs like remodelling and airbrushing. At only 20 pounds, this compact compressor is easily stored and transferred from site to site.
Without any need for oil, the compressor’s air pressure is also completely adjustable at a maximum of 120 psi. With a pump up time of 141 seconds, the Senco PC1010 requires a recovery time of 42 seconds. Senco PC1010 Air Compressor
Pros: Negative air compressor reviews with this product is close to none mostly because those who have purchased this type of compressor are home owners satisfied with its performance. Apart from supplying adequate compressed air to smaller tools, the Senco PC1010 is also very quiet, thus; perfect for indoor use. Its light weight and portability is also a great plus considering its affordability.
Cons: For ½ HP running, air compressor reviews best recommend this product for personal use or small carpentry jobs. Otherwise the pumping time may take too long considering that it will need to recover 42 seconds per cycle. Running at 4 amps at 115 volts, inflating all four tires of your vehicle may take over an hour.
Also, the compressor is not compatible with high powered tools like spray guns and heavy duty nail guns. There is only one hose adapter which could be a minor setback. A few trim carpenters prefer two hose adapters on their units (myself included although as non-carpenter) because it hastens small home repairs.
Weighing in at only 23.5 pounds, this 1.2 Gallon Oil-Free High Output Trim Compressor is both portable and lightweight. With a powerful little 2 HP (peak) and 1.5 (HP) motor, the Bostitch CAP1512 draws at 12 amps which allows easy start-up and has the same power as a 6-gallon compressor.
Providing 2.3 CFM at 90 psi and a maximum of 150 psi, the device takes about 45 seconds to charge from zero to its maximum capacity. Despite its powerful delivery, the Bostitch CAP1512 also operates quietly.
Pros: Portability and power in one machine has proven to be a winning combination with this particular model. Its running HP of 1.5 can match larger compressors and take on more tools like framing nail guns and recover from a cycle fairly quickly.
Another notable feature is its ergonomic design. Large knobs, readable labels and a nifty roll cage to protect the gauges from possible jobsite damage.
Cons: Unfortunately, a number of air compressor reviews have given much flak to the Bostitch CAP1512. A number of defective products have been reported by buyers. Some particular examples are non-stop running motors, internal leaks and rusted fittings.
However, these are just 13% of the customers on Amazon. Other concerns include the questionable durability of the plastic housing and the easily deteriorating rubber feet that can damage wooden floors.
This Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor comes with a 13-Piece Accessory Kit and doesn’t require maintenance. Weighing at 30 pounds, the device is fairly light to carry around. Running at 2.6 SCFM at 90 psi allows quick recovery time and a maximum of 150 psi allows for more air storage and longer tool run time. Its low amp and 120 volt motor provides easy start-up even in cold environments.
PORTER-CABLE C2002-WK Air Compressor The 13-Piece Accessory Kit includes a 25’’ x ¼’’ PVC air hose with a factory assembled coupler and plug, a tire chuck with its respective plug, a tire gauge, a blow gun with its respective plug, a blow gun with its respective OSHA safety nozzle, rubber tip and three inflation adapters.
Pros: Easy to carry around, this pancake compressor also comes with a covering to protect critical parts. Its 6-gallon tank and 150 psi max capacity is ideal for pneumatic tools that require a constant amount of air such as framers and fasteners.
Air compressor reviews from actual users have pointed out its advantageous shape without the existence of pointed corners. Also, the compressor conveniently includes two gauges, one indicating reserved air pressure in the tank, and the second indicating air pressure at the outlet.
Cons: The biggest downside to the compressor is its necessity to be broken in prior to actual operations. Unfortunately, this is not mentioned whatsoever in the user manual and instructions.
Air compressor reviews written by actual owners of this best air compressor have elaborated on how to break in the product. Also, as a pancake compressor, it produces around 82 decibels of sound which is pretty loud especially for indoor use.
The tips above should supplement advice from air compressor reviews and guide you towards the compressor best suited for your needs. Do take time to analyse the jobs you mean to use your compressor for. Whether it’s for home improvement projects, trim carpentry or automotive repair, each will require a specific type of compressor. Consider also the recovery time and power of your machine as these are the major determining factors in your purchase.
Air compressor reviews should also help you nit-pick the qualities you are looking for in the best air compressor for you. And please don’t forget to read more of our amazing articles: “best air compressor“; “best portable air compressor” and “best small air compressor“. Enjoy!