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The air compressor is well known for inflating tires, but it is also used for painting, stripping, stapling and many other uses. For this, when acquiring one, it is very important to start to define your needs, the use that you will make of it. Indeed, there are several types of compressors with different characteristics to take into account depending on the use you plan to make of them.
The air compressor, what is it?
It is a device that is used to use pressurized air to inflate car tires or power various pneumatic tools. The compressor is generally composed of an air tank, a motor (electric or thermal) and a compression unit. It should be noted that on portable models, the air tank, also called the tank, is often absent. In addition, depending on the model, several accessories may be present on the compressor, in particular:
- The pressure switch which restarts the motor as soon as the pressure drops below a certain threshold (generally 4 bars);
- The pressure regulator which is used to regulate the pressure of the compressor;
- The manometer which indicates the tank pressure;
- The safety valve which is used to empty the excess air to preserve the tank;
Why use it?
The air compressor is very useful for both small tasks and professional needs. It is used to inflate, among other things, car tires, your air mattress, your buoys, your air mattress, etc. The compressor can also be connected to a pneumatic tool (hammer, chisel, paint gun, sander, air gun, airbrush, etc.) for various DIY jobs such as drilling a partition, chiseling a wall, painting a wall or bodywork, sanding wood , remove rust, etc.
When purchasing one, you must start by taking stock of your needs, particularly in terms of air volume for all the devices that may be connected to it. This will allow you to have an idea of the engine power to be expected, but also of the capacity of the tank. The latter is expressed in liters per minute, or cubic meters per hour.
Why buy a compressor? To save energy and especially to save time in your work. Thanks to the compressor, you inflate your tires very quickly and the energy saving during your DIY work is also remarkable. Generally speaking, the benefits of using an air compressor vary from model to model.
Just like with the pros, the cons are related to the compressor model you buy. Not all types of compressors are created equal. For this, it is imperative to pay attention to make your choice on a model suitable for the use you plan to make of it.
For example, a portable compressor would quickly show its limits for work in the workshop, due to its low power and sometimes the absence of a tank, or a low capacity tank.
How to choose an air compressor? Selection criteria
As said above, to choose your air compressor, the first thing is to understand your needs, the use you intend to make of it. Once done, here are the main selection criteria:
The type of compressor: there are basically three:
- The portable air compressor for occasional small tasks and DIY. Sometimes, without tank, it is light, easy to transport and offers an average of 1.5 horsepower for 8 bars for the most efficient. There are models operating on the mains (230V) or on a 12V battery.
- The single-cylinder air compressor suitable for heavy domestic work or in professional workshops for medium needs. They are accompanied by an air tank ranging from 25 to 25 L. Their power varies between 1.5 hp to 6.5 hp, allowing up to 40 m3 / h at a pressure of 8 bars.
- The twin-cylinder air compressor which is primarily intended for professionals given its power and large capacity. It is mainly used to supply compressed air networks. With this type of compressor, you easily obtain 40 m3 / h at a pressure of up to 13 bars.
The size of the tank
This is an important criterion insofar as its choice is dictated by the volume of compressed air that you will need in your regular work. For example for small household chores, a 50 L tank is sufficient. On the other hand, for professional use, opt for a much larger tank, that is to say from 100 L.
It is linked to the power of the unit’s compression unit, and to the volume of the air tank. For occasional compressor use, bet on a compressor that offers at least.
It can be either electric or thermal. The first requires an electrical outlet.
Our tips for using it properly
Buying the right compressor is good, but it is still necessary to use it and maintain it well to optimize its use and life. For this you must:
Regularly clean the device’s air filter;
Purge the air tank because of the humidity;
Regularly check the oil level and change the oil on time. *
You can also read : The Importance of Hiring a Licensed Electrician