Portable air compressors vary in size and power level. A few different types are available, depending on the way you will be using it. Check the power requirements of your tools, and the recomended psi for your tires, and purchase a model that is sufficient to run your strongest tool. Always choose slightly more power than you think you will need to be sure it will be enough for every job.
Regardless of the type you purchase, it’s important to follow the proper safety precautions. Always wear safety goggles when operating equipment to protect your eyes. Wear protective clothing, such as long sleeves and long pants. Proper footwear, such as work boots or strong sneakers is important for protecting your feet.
Types of Portable Air Compressors
Portable rotary screw compressors are the most commonly used air compressor. These range from 65 to 1600 cubic feet per minute. The pressure ratings vary from 100 to 350 PSI. The one you will need depends on the tools you will use. Contractors often use 185 CFM. These are strong enough to power two tools at a time. These are good for lighter and heavy duty jobs.
Truck mounted compressors can be mounted in the bed or under the hood. Under hood models are good for space saving. These use the engine of your truck for power, making them low maintenance. The downside of this is that the truck must be running to power the compressor.
Deck mounted compressors are mounted in the bed of the truck. They can be taken out and left at the job site until the job is finished. These have their own engine, so they don’t rely on your vehicle for power. They do need regular maintenance on the engine and will need fuel to power the engine.
Some compressors are electrically powered and others run on gasoline. The air is stored in the holding tank on both types. The tools are attached with a hose. The gauges on the compressor indicate the pressure, which is regulated with a valve.
Major Brands of Air Compressors
Quincy makes an excellent line of air compressor systems. Their rotary screw compressors vary from 10 to 350 horse power. These machines are reliable, durable and quiet. A wide variety is available from smaller tank models to larger, stationery cabinet styles.
Husky air compressors are generally made for home use. The 1.75 gallon tank has 135 PSI power and is good for running tools, such as sprayers, nailing guns and also is useful for insulation. They are convenient and easy to transport with a telescope handle. This model has an oil free pump for easy maintenance.
The four gallon Husky model has 125 PSI power for running small tools and spraying. This model can also be used to inflate tires and other recreational items. This model is great for the homeowner or small woodworking shop.