Air Compressor Questions

Air Compressor Questions

Posted by Pressure Pump Solutions Ltd. on 2nd Nov 2021

What Air Compressors Do?

The choice of air compressor systems is quite daunting, as many types and models are available to the customer. So, which one do you choose? Ask yourself a few key questions first.

What is the application?
Air compressors are used for a wide and varied range of jobs — from inflating tyres to powering tools to running an entire factory. The type of application will decide the type of air compressor you need. For example:

Portable air compressors are well-suited for one-person operating air tools, from an airbrush to a nail gun.

Single-stage air compressors, you will typically find this type of compressor working in carpentry shops and vehicle repair, car valeting and maintenance facilities, and many other small businesses throughout the UK.

Two-stage air compressors can generally be seen in multi-bay garage workshops, tyre repair facilities, light commercial shops, and industrial locations.

Rotary screw air compressors are built to supply compressed air on demand to a busy environment.

What air tools will you be using?

Some air tools, also known as pneumatic tools, such as nailing and stapling guns, grinders, drills, jackhammers, chipping hammers, riveting guns, sanders, and wrenches, require substantially more air than other tools.

This is always measured by standard cubic feet per minute of air (scfm). There are various steps you can take to select the right air compressor based on your tools.

To begin with, find the tool that requires the most significant amount of air per (scfm) and multiply that number by 1.5.

Following this tip will give the compressor some room for future expansion or heavier tool use. Alternatively, if you will be running more than one tool at a time, add together the scfm requirements for each tool, then multiply that number by 1.5.

Next, make sure the compressor chosen offers cubic feet per minute (cfm) output equal to or greater than the requirement of the equation in step one.

For example, if the tools you plan to use individually are:

an impact wrench with a five scfm rating,

a ratchet with a four scfm rating

and a dual-action sander with a nine scfm rating

Then the air compressor must have a cfm rating of 13.5 or more. The dual-action sander has the highest score requirement, and nine scfm multiplied by 1.5 is 13.5 cfm.

Plan to use all three of those tools at the same time. The compressor must have a cfm rating of 27 or more — a rating reached by adding together the scfm requirements of the three tools (18) and multiplying that number by 1.5.

CFM and SCFM

What does Cubic feet per minute (CFM) mean?
It's the air compressor's flow rate, or the amount of air that the compressor can produce at a given pressure level. Typically, air compressors with higher CFM ratings can supply more air, ideal for more extensive applications/situations.

What is the Standard Cubic Feet per Minute (SCFM)? 
it is a gas or air flow rate through a compressor at standard temperature and pressure conditions?

Decide how Often Will you use the Air Compressor?
If you plan to use an air compressor regularly, like several times a week, then select one with a 50/50 duty cycle, such as portable cast iron or contractor compressor.

Try to select an air compressor with a higher duty cycle for daily commercial or industrial use, such as high-performance cast iron, single-stage, two-stage, or rotary screw compressors.

Be aware that air tools requiring more significant air consumption will require a larger air compressor to run appropriately. This should be taken into consideration above all else.

What type of power is available?
Portable compressors typically run on 115-volt, 15-amp circuits. Stationary, single-stage compressors and some large portable compressors use 230-volt, single-phase power. Two-stage air compressors that are ten hp and larger use three-phase power only. In comparison, five hp and 7.5 hp two-stage compressors are available for single-phase and three-phase power. If no electrical power is available, a gas air compressor is needed.

Do you have plans for future expansion?
Suppose there are plans to expand your business or operation soon, and these plans will need more air. In that case, it's less expensive to buy up to the next larger air compressor now than to buy a second compressor in the future.

Use these tips to explore our wide variety of air compressor options to find one that that's right for you.

What air compressor will I need for spray painting?

What air compressor is best for painting?

We all like to do our bit and recycle whenever we can. When considering replacing your old kitchen units with brand new ones, you may wish to consider re-painting them instead; it could save you quite a considerable amount of money and effectively reduce the excess waste from your business or household.

An ideal machine for this task is a silent air compressor that provides an air displacement of 4 cubic feet per minute (CFM) or 120 litres per minute at 100 PSI and is ideal for airbrush spraying and DIY and home use.

The cubic feet per minute defines the air compressor's flow rate or the amount of air that a compressor can produce at a given pressure level. However, compressors with a higher CFM rating can supply more air, making them more appropriate for more significant applications/situations.

What air compressor for spray painting?

What air compressor for a nail gun?

What air compressor for sandblasting?
For smaller sandblasting jobs, an air compressor with a flow rate of 10CFM – 20CFM is ideal.

What air compressor do I need to paint a car?

What air compressor do I need?