An Air compressor is one tool that can power all the other pneumatic tools in your workshop- be it an air drill, impact wrench, or even a paint sprayer. If you already have this all-rounder tool in your workshop, you know how diverse its use can be. And if you don’t have one, you will never understand what you are missing out on when it comes to bringing efficiency to your work.

If you want to upgrade or even buy a new air compressor for your business, let us tell you, finding the right one that suits your needs, won’t be an easy task. There are several configurations and settings to consider that you will be bewildered when visiting the local hardware store to buy one. To ease your quest, we have come up with a comprehensive list of all factors you need to know before buying an air compressor. Read on before you dash to the store.

Air Compressor Size

Air compressors come in many sizes to make them compatible with their purpose. This flexibility of size makes it popular for both household and commercial use. To determine the size of an air compressor, first, you need to make sure you have a definite purpose for this appliance. There are three broad categories of air compressor that you can buy-

Industrial Grade Air Compressor

Industrial grade is excellent when you need constant air pressure for a prolonged period. Manufacturing and construction works can not be imagined without an industrial-grade air compressor. This type of compressor utilizes various technologies- rotary screw, piston, variable speed, or rotary vane. You can visit ACE Group for more detail about industrial grade air compressors.

Professional-Grade Air Compressor

Professional-grade air compressors are the happy middle between industrial and consumer-grade air compressors. They provide more pressure for powering multiple tools at once. They can use rotary screw technology for maximum power. Professional grade compressors are suitable for a regular automobile shop.

Consumer-Grade Air Compressor

Consumer-grade air compressors are more suitable for household or DIY use; because they are small and portable. From inflating your car tier to building a deck for your house; everything’s a breeze when you have an air compressor. However, these piston-powered air compressors don’t provide continuous pressure or airflow.

Power Source

Air compressors either use electricity, diesel, or gas for power. While electric run air compressors are more sustainable, they are not suitable for outdoor use. If you want a continuous power supply for your electric air compressor you need to couple it with a generator. A generator can also save your power tools from breaking down if there is a fluctuation in the main electricity supply.

Air Pressure

The output pressure of an air compressor is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI).  The ideal PSI of your air compressor should be higher than the maximum requirement of your power tools. For instance, if you have a blowgun that uses 90 PSI, your air compressor should be capable of delivering 90 PSI air pressure.


CFM stands for cubic feet per minute; it measures the shift in air volume for every minute. For a 50 CFM air compressor, 50 cubic feet of air is moving every minute. PSI and CFM are interdependent variables. While the CFM measures volume, PSI measures the pressure. The more pressure you apply the less volume you get.

This principle is also valid for air compressors. To get the optimum output you need a proper balance between CFM and PSI. For this reason, you need to consider both the air pressure, volume, and their compatibility with your power tools when you buy an air compressor.


Unlike other machinery, the tank in an air compressor is not associated with fuel. The tank stores pressurized air that are going to power your tools. For small household work that doesn’t require you to have constant air pressure, a large size tank is not necessary.

However, sanding or grinding or home construction works requires continuous air pressure, and you need a larger tank for these types of works. The tank size of an air compressor is measured in gallons. To get the most out of your air compressor, find the maximum size tank you can get that also complies with the requirement of pressure (PSI) and volume (CFM).


A portable air compressor has a wheel installed with it. However, portability might translate into less power for air compressors. Portable air compressors are suitable for tasks that need a short burst of air, such as using a nail gun for a kitchen renovation. If you want the occasional portability of an electric air compressor you can use a long extension cord for the power.

However, using an extension cord can reduce its effectiveness. You can incorporate a long air hose to get the advantage of portability instead of using an extension cord for power.


An air compressor can be a major investment for your business; especially if you are going for an industrial-grade air compressor. For a basic oil-less air compressor you might have to spend around £80 to £100. An industrial-grade air compressor can cost from £2000 to £10000.

Buying additional parts such as hoses and nozzles will add to the cost even more. To get the right air compressor, you should find the perfect balance between your budget and PSI, CFM requirement.

Long Term Service

Air compressors can be a lifetime investment if you maintain them properly. While you are buying an air compressor make sure you consider the running and servicing cost. Gas run air compressors can turn out to be fuel guzzlers and more prone to breakdown. If you consider the long term operating cost, an electric air compressor can be more suitable for you.

The Bottom Line

Consider an air compressor as a producer of compressed air; just like electricity or fuel, it can power various pneumatic tools. From that perspective, an air compressor is a must-have tool for your business; especially if you are running an automobile business or any other workshop. An air compressor can also have many unconventional uses like removing dust from your worktop or stoking the fire in your grill. However, consider the primary purpose of an air compressor when you are buying one. If you know about the tools you are going to power with it, finding the right capacity air compressor won’t be as hard.

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