If you are considering buying an air compressor, then you probably already have some tools that you wish to use with it. Different tools require different amounts of air and also different air pressure to operate effectively.Check what pressure your existing are tools will work at, and how much air they need, before you buy your air compressor. If you were doing it the other way around and buying the air compressor first, then check the tools will be compatible with your air compressor.

Buying an air compressor is fairly complex so you should take some advice. Things like choosing your source of power are decisions that you need to make before you buy an air compressor. If you need some guidance on topics like this, then this article is very helpful as is the entire site.

How do Air Compressors Work?

An air compressor powers different types of tools by creating pressurised air.The air compressor is powered via electric or gas and then it pressurizes the air.In order to pressurize the air, it sucks air in before compressing it within a small space. The air comes out under force and this air is measured in pounds per square inch or PSI.

Stationary or portable?

Before you decide on the type of air compressor you wish to buy, you need to decide where you are going to use it. If your air compressor is going to remain in one place, you could look at buying a stationary compressor. Although it is called a stationary compressor, it can even be mounted in a vehicle. If you were offering a mobile service of some sort, then a stationary compressor mounted in a vehicle could be a good choice. If you are going to be only using your air compressor around the house, then a portable compressor may be a good choice.

Power supply for your Air Compressor

If you will always be using your air compressor where you have a consistent electrical supply than an electric model is probably your best choice. However, note that you should not use an air compressor with a long extension cord nor should you power it by using a generator. Bear in mind that rather than extending the electrical supply, you could always use a longer air hose to reach your working area. If you don’t wish to buy an electric compressor then the other option is to buy a gas model.

What will you use it for?

This is really one of the first questions you should ask yourself before buying a new air compressor. You need to consider where you will be using your hair compressor. Will you need it to be portable as you will be moving it to different locations? In this case, a wheeled compressor would be your better choice. Just bear in mind that generally, portable units are less powerful than stationary units.

Size of the tank

The amount of air available is crucial to different tools. Any tool that uses air continually like a sander will need a large tank. A tool that uses air intermittently like a nail gun will not need such a big tank. Consider your usage before you choose the size of your air compressor. If the tank is too small the air compressor will run hotter, use more power and burn out quickly.

If your compressor is too small you will waste a lot of time waiting for the pressure to build up. A compressor that’s too large will cost you more to run and you won’t be using its full capability.


Air tools have a CFM rating, so you need to check this to ensure you get a suitable air compressor. Tools require different levels of air and a good guide is to look at the highest CFM requirement tool that you have and increase it by 30-50%.

If you will only be using your air compressor to inflate vehicle tyres and the like, you will not need such a powerful air compressor as if you have your own workshop and want to power your tools. Don’t think that bigger is necessarily better but make sure that you buy the air compressor that will fulfil your needs.