Commercial Air compressors are useful in a variety of ways. If you are a DIYer or a small-business owner who deals with heavy machinery or vehicles, you will require an air compressor for a multitude of tasks.
We offer a range of commercial air compressors ranging from portable units designed for home workshops to heavy-duty devices that are only a step short of industrial air compressors.
Before deciding to purchase one, it’s important to know how they work. An informed decision is the best decision.
Why you might need a Commercial Air Compressor?
Air compressors aren’t just for industrial uses. There are many reasons why you may need a commercial air compressor at home or for your small business.
There are many small home air compressors available. However, they have significant downsides compared to commercial ones. A home air compressor will only power one or two devices. They have strict limits on air pressure. Most of them top out around 100 PSI.
Another issue with the home air compressor is volume. As most of them are small and portable, they do not hold much air at a time. A home air compressor is best if you need it rarely. If you find yourself needing an air compressor on a daily basis, it’s time to upgrade to a higher-grade product.
Commercial Air Compressors are necessary for a lot of DIY work. Automotive repairs need an air compressor. If you own a workshop, it’s a necessary tool to have on hand. If you prefer to mod your own cars or bikes in your garage, you will still want to have one on hand.
Why not electric tools? There are electric equivalents to most tools that run on an air compressor. However, Electric tools are less
What Tools Require an Air Compressor?
A lot of tools require an air compressor to work. If you are still unsure about buying Commercial Air Compressors, then check this list. You may use one or more of these tools regularly in your DIY Home Workshop or for your small business.
Blowers can be used to clear dust buildup in places where it’s hard to reach with other tools.
- Paint Sprayers
Spray painting requires compressed air. The less moisture or particulates there are in the air, the better the coat of paint. Commercial air compressors can produce higher-quality air.
- Pneumatic Drills, Nail Guns, Grinders, Saws
All of these tools operate better via compressed air rather than electricity.
- Impact Wrenches and Hammers
Compressed air can produce a lot of force. This output is necessary for chiseling, hammering and dislodging stuck nuts.
- Tire Pumps
For the best performance, all the tires of a vehicle need to have the same pressure. A high-quality air compressor and pump is the best way to ensure this.
- Gas Cylinders
If you plan to be working with gases in cylinders, Air Compressors are the safest way to store it.
Common Terms used to describe Air Compressors
Before reading further about commercial air compressors, there are several terms that are necessary to know. If you are aware of them, feel free to skip this section. Otherwise, use it as a refresher as it will be useful for describing and understanding air compressors.
- Horsepower, or HP
The basic measure for how much power the air compressor requires. All air compressors get their energy from either an electrical wall socket or a separate gas-burning generator. We offer commercial air compressors covering a wide range of power levels, ranging from 3 HP to 600 HP.
- Air Pressure, or PSI
Air pressure is measured in PSI, which is the abbreviation of Pounds per Square-Inch. This is simply an indicator of how much the air has been compressed.
Having an exact measure of the pressure is important in use cases like filling tires or gas cylinders. A general rule of thumb is that each tool connected to the compressor requires a fixed portion of the pressure. For instance, an air-powered drill requires 90 PSI of pressure to function.
- Flow Rate, or CFM
CFM, sometimes given as Standard CFM or SCFM, is the rate at which air flows. It stands for cubic feet per minute. Like pressure, CFM is a necessary piece of information that will determine what tools can work with the air compressor.
Generally, most of the tools and equipment mentioned work at 3 to 5 CFM. Standard piston-based air compressors go up to 99 CFM generally. The highest-end rotary compressors deliver up to 3044 CFM for industrial purposes.
How do Air Compressors Work?
Before choosing and buying commercial air compressors, it’s important to know how they work. It will allow you to determine the optimal product for your requirements.
There are two primary types of air compressors: Piston-based and Rotary.
Piston Air Compressors
Piston-based Air Compressors are the simplest and most economical type of compressor.
There are two types of Piston-based compressors: single-stage and two-stage. Both of them use the same principle. They utilize a heavy piston to compress and push the air through.
In a single-stage compressor, the air is drawn into the main chamber when the piston moves down. The piston is mounted on a rotary crankshaft and moves back up, forcing the air into a separate chamber where it will be stored until required.
In a two-stage compressor, the air is drawn by a piston moving down, as usual. When the piston moves up, the air is forced into a pipe. In the pipe, the air is cooled and compressed further. It moves into a second chamber with another piston. This piston will force it out when the user needs compressed air.
With two-stage compressors, the air is pushed out with greater force. Heavy-duty piston compressors can push up to 99 CFM of air at 150 PSI.
The common denominator between the two is the tank size. The output of air is irregular, as the tank empties out and has to be refilled. Additionally, piston-based compressors generate more heat, requiring breaks regularly.
Piston-based air compressors are best suited for home and small-business applications where it does not have to run continuously. They are not as expensive as rotary compressors and generally cost less electricity or gas to run. Our Kaeser piston commercial air compressors go up to 30 HP.
Rotary Air Compressors
Rotary air compressors are more expensive than piston-based ones. However, they have advantages in other directions.
In a rotary air compressor, the air is drawn into a chamber. The air is then trapped inside and the rotation forces into a smaller volume, compressing it. Some rotary air compressors utilize a wheel with adjustable spoke lengths to compress the air. Others squeeze the air inside two screws rotating in opposite directions.
As the rotating part of the machine can theoretically keep spinning as long as it has power, they are best for continuous applications. However, there are disadvantages to these air compressors as well.
Initially, the costs of installing a rotary compressor may be lower. However, running the compressor continuously and maintaining it over time can cause costs to pile up. If you do not require a steady, continuous supply of air at all times, a piston-based air compressor is more suitable.
Choosing and Buying the Best Air Compressor
Now that you know the two main types of air compressors, the rest of this guide will cover buying requirements. Simply knowing the difference between the two is not enough to make an informed purchase. There are additional factors, such as noise, cleanliness, thermals and power source. Each of them has a significant impact.
Like all heavy-duty machinery, air compressors are noisy. If you are planning to run the compressor at home or on a busy street, then be careful of the volume. It will disrupt other people and can even be dangerous.
A 40-decibel commercial air compressor is the quietest. The actual sound is comparable to that of background noise in a city, though the compressor will obviously be noticeable if you are near it.
Louder compressors go up to 60 decibels. At this point, the compressor is notably loud. It will drown out any nearby conversation. It is still safe to run anywhere.
At 80 decibels, a heavy-duty air compressor will require acoustic shielding. This level of volume is comparable to other heavy-duty machinery and loud vehicles. Exposure for more than 6-8 hours can cause ear damage. Loud air compressors should be operated for short periods of time or with heavy noise insulation.
For most home and commercial uses, a 40 or 60-decibel air compressor will be suitable. There are also silent air compressors available that include built-in sound dampening to become as quiet as possible.
To reduce the noise disturbance caused by an air compressor, there are a few things you could do:
- Purchase a separate soundproof enclosure for the compressor. Alternatively, you could build your own by using dampening foam. Just make sure that this does not affect the thermals or any gas exhausts.
- Operate it at a distance from inhabited areas or from your workspace. Placing the compressor in a separate building is a good idea.
- Ensure that the compressor is fully lubricated and maintained. A lack of maintenance could cause a compressor to make more noise than it should.
Managing the thermals is important to the long-term stability of an air compressor.
According to physics, air particles will speed up when they have less space to move around in. Higher speed means higher energy, which in turn means a higher temperature. That means compressing air causes it to warm up and heat up the machine.
Additionally, the moving parts of an air compressor such as the rotary wheel, screws and Pistons are all airtight. As they move, they rub against each other and generate heat due to friction.
There are some steps you can take to manage the thermals. One step would be to build a dedicated cooling assembly. This is not really necessary outside of industrial use cases. Simply using it in an open area with plenty of air circulation is enough. Keeping the internals thoroughly lubricated also helps reduce friction and reduce heat generation.
Compressors are usually powered in two different ways: electricity and gas.
Electric-powered compressors will usually work if you plug them into an outlet in your home. Keep in mind the voltage requirements. A 110-120V outlet can only power a low-end compressor, up to 2-4 HP. A 220-240V outlet will power a slightly more powerful compressor.
As most homes here are 110-120V, it is best to get a generator to power bigger air compressors. Alternatively, you could set up a converter to get up to 240V.
A gas generator is louder, noisier and exhausts fumes. Despite those downsides, it is the best way to power a higher-end commercial air compressor.
In this case, cleanliness refers to the quality of the air.
All air compressors require lubricants. There are several different types of lubricants. Many of them are oil-based. Particles of this oil can get into the air stream, causing the compressed air to contain impurities.
Whether or not this is a problem depends on how you use it. If you use it for painting or for packing food, medicines and other perishables, then even a tiny amount of oil can be very dangerous. On the other hand, for filling up tires or operating equipment, some oil does not matter at all.
Oil is the best lubricant for running a silent and cool compressor. If you replace it with a different lubricant to keep the air purer, be careful of acoustics and thermals.
Buying commercial air compressors is a delicate affair. As some compressors can get expensive, you don’t want to make a decision you regret. By now, you should be aware of the caveats of different types of air compressors and how to deal with them.
A full list of all the air compressor products we offer can be found on our site.