Air Compressor Buying Guide

Air Compressor Buying Guide

There are many sizes and styles of air compressors, each of them ideal for different applications. Choosing the right one for your classroom comes down to three important factors, with a few other considerations. This guide explains what you need to know to make an informed decision.

Air Pressure

Pounds per square inch (PSI) determines how much compressed air will be produced. The tools you use will state how many PSI they can handle at their maximum. However, when making a purchasing decision, a good rule is to have 35-50% more than the required maximum for the tool. Since the pressure drops as it is used, this ensures you’ll have consistent pressure throughout use.

Air Flow

Cubic feet per minute (CFM) determines the volume of air provided to the tool, which affects the tool’s performance and efficiency. If using high-demand tools, you’ll want an air compressor with a higher CFM rating. A lower rating will cause the compressor to run more frequently which wears it out faster and shortens the pump life.

Tank Size

Gallons are used to measure the amount of air that can be stored in the tank. A larger tank holds more compressed air to be ready for the tool and the motor won’t need to run as often. Smaller tanks will need to work harder to keep up with high-demand tools.

Noise Level

Noise is always a major consideration in classrooms. Although shop classes are usually located apart from core curriculum classes, it’s still important to maintain a reasonable level of noise.

When it comes to choosing an air compressor, an oil-less one is likely to make more noise because the piston will be smaller and run faster than an oil-lubricated one. For a quieter option, one with a low RPM rating or belt-driven motor will be less noisy.

Power Supply

An air compressor can be powered in two ways: electric or gas. Most electric air compressors can be plugged into a common 110V outlet, as long as the circuit breaker is rated high enough to carry the load. Larger compressors should have a dedicated 20 amp circuit.

Gas air compressors are great for places where electricity is not always available, but they’re usually larger and can be more difficult to transport. The fumes and noise produced are mitigated in outdoor environments, but can be dangerous indoors. You must also take extreme caution since gas is highly flammable.

Tools You’ll Be Using

The tools that are commonly used in your classroom will be a major factor in which size air compressor you choose. If it’s just the occasional tacking job or to clear dust particles from a saw, a smaller pancake style will be fine. If you plan to show students how to use a nailer, blow gun, drill, or impact wrench, you’ll want something a bit larger. This could also be used to power a spray finisher or sander for short periods of time. For more intense applications of sanding or spraying, a compressor with a higher CFM will be needed for these high-demand tools.

Buying Air Compressors for Schools

We have a wide variety of air compressors for sale from the top brands including Campbell Hausfeld, DeWalt, Eagle, and more. You’ll find many styles to choose from to suit your classroom’s specific needs. Buy online today or contact us with any questions. Our customer service team will be happy to help you find exactly what you need.