Different Types of Air Compressors

Choosing the correct air compressor is crucial for every project

In the past, construction sites and workshops used a central power source. This source powered the tools, but the power source had to be moved around the site. Although the method for this power source has changed, shops still need a way to operate their tools. Today’s construction sites and workshops often rely on the energy produced by the air compressor for their power tools and equipment. Air compressors are vital in a variety of industries, including construction and manufacturing.

Importance of Air Compressors

You may see an air compressor at a gas station, in a home workshop, or in a major manufacturing facility. Air compressors come in different shapes and sizes. You can choose the style of air compressor that fits with the job you need it to handle. For example, smaller air compressors can power nail guns, wrenches, and spray guns. Massive air compressors are used in commercial and industrial settings. You can rent an air compressor for times when you need to save money instead of buying one.

Benefits of Air Compressors

An air compressor allows you to more easily power your tools. Instead of needing a handful of tools, each with its own power source, you can use air power for each tool as needed. A single motor in the compressor converts electrical energy to kinetic energy. This energy powers tools on a job site or in a workshop.

You can use lightweight tools that are easier to transport since they don’t have heavy motors. Since the motor in a power tool tends to wear out the fastest, using the energy from an air compressor can prolong the life of your tools.

How an Air Compressor Works

You’ll find two main types of air compressors. The first uses rotating impellers to produce pressure. The second is called a positive-displacement compressor. This type is more common in residential and commercial applications. As the compressor runs, the amount of pressure goes up as the size of the space containing the air gets smaller.

The operation is similar to the way an internal combustion engine works. It has a crankshaft, a piston, a valve head, a connecting rod, and a cylinder. The crankshaft moves due to the energy from a gas engine or electric motor. When the piston moves down, this movement creates a vacuum. The air moves above the open valve and fills in the space. Then the piston moves down to compress the air. This movement moves the air to the tank. Each stroke allows more pressure to build up into the tank for use.

Rotary Screw Compressors

Rotary screw compressors range in power from 5 horsepower up to 350 horsepower. The more powerful units can put out up to 1,500 cubic feet per minute (ACFM).

Portable Air Compressors

If you transport your air compressor between sites, a portable unit is a good option. Small, lightweight units can still deliver power, but in a compact package. Certain units can be plugged into a car’s power adapter for an airbrush painting tool or tire inflation tool.

Reciprocating Air Compressors

A reciprocating air compressor has more moving parts that can produce more power. These parts are lubricated for smoother movement. This type is different from rotary compressors in the way that the parts move. Try one of each to get a feel for the differences. You may prefer how one delivers power over the movement of the other.

Multi-Stage Air Compressors

Air compressors come in single-stage, two-state, and multi-stage configurations. This classification is based on the airflow and pressure levels. When you need more power, the multi-stage compressor is what you need. In a commercial or industrial setting, multi-stage compressors can power multiple tools at once.

Oil-Free Air Compressors

In clean environments, using oil-powered air compressors can create a problem. The fumes may contaminate the air, which could result in damage to products or manufacturing processes. With an oil-free air compressor, the risk is reduced. Certain products meet the regulations for air purity in clean manufacturing facilities.

Natural Gas Air Compressors

In certain industrial settings, a natural gas compressor works well for powering tools and equipment. Examples include chemical processing plants, petroleum refineries, and manufacturing facilities. These units run on natural gas instead of diesel or electricity. Natural gas air compressors often operate more efficiently than other options. If efficiency and energy savings are your main goals, a natural gas unit may be a better option.

Rent the air compressor you need, when you need it. When you rent the necessary tools and equipment from BigRentz, you can save money on purchases.