An air compressor is a machine that uses air compression to power pneumatic tools such as impact wrenches, staplers, spray-painting machines and many other tools. An air compressor unit can be used around the house for simple do-it-yourself tasks such as inflating tires or in a construction site for heavy-duty work. The type of compressor to be used is determined by the scope of the task at hand. Due to the huge number of applications, air compressors come in different sizes and have various capacities. Please read on to find all you need to know about air compressors.
How does an air compressor work?
An air compressor is made up of two main parts, the piston and the cylinder. The motor is powered by either electricity or gasoline and it forces air into the storage tank thus pressurizing it. The continued powering of the piston forces more air into the tank and further increases the pressure within the cylinder. However, once the pressure reaches the maximum point for the particular unit, the compressor stops running. The air compressor is ready to be used and you can use it for a given amount of time until the pressure within the tank is reduced. Once this happens, you then need to power the unit again to compress more air and increase the pressure.
Heavy-duty tasks require an air compressor with two pistons. The two-stage compressor has one piston compressing the air and pushing it through a valve to the second piston which compresses the air further before delivering it to the tank. Such a unit is built to deliver higher pounds per square inch (PSI) and can be used to drive powerful tools. The benefit of such a powerful air compressor is that it can run a number of different tools at the same time.
Types of air compressors
Pancake type – As the name suggests, this type of air compressor has a round and flat storage to minimize on space. It thus means that you can be able to use and store the air compressor beneath your working table after use. The design of the unit also gives it stability.
Twin stack compressors – These compressors have two cylindrical tanks that are placed horizontally. These air compressors have a higher capacity and do not take up too much space as a result of their design.
Wheelbarrow type compressors – This type of compressors are common in garages and construction sites. They have two horizontal cylindrical tanks. They are preferred because of their high capacity and mobility.
Hot dog type – This type of compressor has a long single tank and a horizontal design.
How to choose the best air compressor for your needs
The choice of air compressor will depend on the type of work you have available. If you need a unit for domestic use, a single tank unit will suffice. This unit is ideal for small tasks such as inflating tires. This type of unit is cheap and easy to maintain. Should you need a unit to power your tools, then you can go for a medium-sized unit. If you are a contractor and need a unit to be used all the time, then a heavy-duty compressor is what you need.