With the large variety of air compressors available to buy, there is one for almost any residential or commercial use that you need it for. The smallest compressors made are used for airbrushing anything from nails to model vehicles or to aerate decorative fish tanks, to large industrial-sized compressors used to run multiple pneumatic tools and machinery at a construction site.
You may need a compressor for one use or multiple uses so these factors need to be taken into consideration as well. You also need to make sure that you have the electrical capability for the compressor you want, as not all will run on normal residential outlet voltage. You also want to consider any accessories you may want to use to make sure that the compressor is capable of running them. Basically you can break down residential compressor size into three simple sizes of small, medium and large. Depending on what you plan on using it for and the amount of use it will be getting can determine which air compressor is right for your needs.
Small air compressors are usually made for use with small airbrush guns and fish tanks. These are usually very small volume, low pressure compressors for small household uses. If you build model vehicles, they can be much easier to use and produce a better end result than using spray cans or brushes. They are also used by nail artists to do airbrushing on nails in salons. The most common small air compressor that most people are used to is the ones that are used to aerate decorative fish tanks. These are the only purpose for them. Small compressors for use in airbrushing applications can be purchased online or at most retail department stores and hobby or craft stores. Small compressors for use in fish tanks are sometimes available at retail department stores and at pet stores.
Medium size air compressors are designed for a number of household uses. Most are not powerful enough to run pneumatic tools, but they are useful for a number of other applications around the house.
Conventional air compressors are used in several different applications:
- To supply high-pressure clean air to fill gas cylinders
- To supply moderate-pressure clean air to a submerged surface supplied diver
- To supply moderate-pressure clean air for driving some office and school building pneumatic HVAC control system valves
- To supply a large amount of moderate-pressure air to power pneumatic tools
- For filling tires
- To produce large volumes of moderate pressure air for macroscopic industrial processes (such as oxidation for petroleum coking or cement plant bag house purge systems).
Consumer Grade Air Compressors
Consumer-grade air compressors are made for smaller air needs around the house. If you need to inflate sporting goods, toys and tires and not much more, this is the right grade for you. Consumer compressors can do more than just inflate things though. They can run air tools without large air needs, such as brad guns and staplers.
However, if you want to run big tools or multiple ones at the same time, you’ll need to get a more powerful compressor.
Contractor Grade Air Compressors
Contractor-grade air compressors are built to withstand the rigors of a job-site. Designed with building professionals in mind, these are portable, either hand-carry, on a wheeled cart or attached to a vehicle.
Contractor-grade compressors can be utilized for a myriad of purposes, but are primarily used to power nail-guns and roadside repair tools. If you’re constantly running multiple air tools and have very large air demands, look to commercial-grade compressors.
Commercial Air Compressors
If you need a steady supply of compressed air day-in, day-out, commercial-grade air compressors are perfect for you. These heavy-duty compressors feature the most advanced technology and the best performance.
Commercial air compressors are found in auto-body shops, manufacturing facilities and for extreme applications such as powering roller coasters and machinery on oil rigs.
The price tags on commercial-grade compressors reflect the high-quality and performance, necessitated by the most demanding compressed air needs.