An air compressor is a great tool to have at home; it can not only inflate your tires and basketballs, but can also be used to power certain tools that make jobs around the house much easier. When you shop for air compressors, you will notice a large array of choices, from small and lightweight models to heavy-duty units. Consider some quick tips that will help you to determine the best choice for you.
1. Electric versus gas-powered compressors
An electric air compressor is typically very lightweight and easy to use and to maintain, and gives you just enough power for most household uses. However, it does have the drawback of needing to be plugged into an outlet. If you have a shed or workshop in your backyard without any power supply and you want to run your air compressor, you will need some good extension cords and will need to be mindful of their use.
While gas-powered air compressors are portable and may offer more power, they can also require more maintenance. As with any other gas-powered motor, you'll need to check the oil levels and clean the small components regularly. Gas also emits fumes that can be hazardous to your health, so you should only use the compressor in a well-ventilated area. If you want to use the compressor in your garage in the middle of winter, this can mean having those fumes build up and in turn, your breathing and your health both suffer.
2. Note the power you need
It's not good to pay for an air compressor that has more power than you need. To ensure that you don't get an air compressor that is stronger than what you'll need for household use, check the tools you'll be using with the compressor and note their needed cubic feet per minute of air, or CFM. This refers to how much compressed air they need in order to operate.
Most tools at home such as nail guns and inflation tools will use less than 2 CFM, and will only require a very small and portable compressor. Powerful wrenches may require a 5 CFM rating, and this will often mean a larger compressor with a heavier tank.
Before you assume what you need for your compressor, check your tools and be sure you opt for the lightest air compressor you need, or err on the side of caution by choosing just one size larger. There is usually no reason to invest in a heavy-duty industrial air compressor for home use.
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