The most asked question of air compressor users is portable vs. stationary air compressors, which one is the best? The answer to this question varies from user to user on the basis of some criteria.
They are the area of application, the budget of the user, recommendations of the power tools. To select the best stationary air compressor or portable pancake air compressor what you need to do is focusing on the project that you want to run.
Of course, you needn’t a 50 gallon air compressor for inflating a tire or to fill up a pool. But, by a portable pancake air compressor, you cannot paint your car or cannot do the nailing project. For this reason, you need to know the air compressors buying guide. In this article, we are giving you the best guideline for selecting the right air compressor. So let’s get started.
- 0.1 Air Compressors: At a Glance:
- 0.2 Preconditions of Selecting an Air Compressor:
- 1 Portable vs. Stationary Air Compressors:
- 1.1 Features of Portable Air Compressors:
- 1.2 Commonly Used Portable Air Compressors:
- 1.3 Features of Stationary Air Compressors:
- 1.4 Portable vs. Stationary: Which is the Best Air Compressor?
- 1.5 Frequently Asked Questions:
- 1.5.1 Question: Portable or stationary which air compressor is the best choice?
- 1.5.2 Question: What is the required voltage for running an air compressor?
- 1.5.3 Question: How can I add oil to my air compressor?
- 1.5.4 Question: What are the benefits of using air compressors instead of other power sources?
- 2 The Closer:
Air Compressors: At a Glance:
The air compressor has taken a very important part in our daily lives. A recent survey shows that about 80% of industrial and personal business sectors directly or indirectly depend on the compressed air of air compressors. Before going to the depth of the article let’s see what an air compressor is.
Figure: Mini Pancake Air Compressor
Air compressor is a pneumatic device. It sucks the atmospheric air inside. Then the volume of air decreases as a result of high pressure. This pressurized air contains a huge amount of potential energy. And by this air you can run all types of pneumatic tools like sanders, grinders, air hammers, nailing guns, tire inflators, etc.
Figure: A 30 Gallons Portable Air Compressor
In a simple word, an air compressor does many tasks with the help of compressed air. If you want to run these tools with individual power sources they will take a huge time and workforce. So an air compressor not only saves your time but also saves your wallet.
Figure: Stationary Air Compressor
Preconditions of Selecting an Air Compressor:
You have already realized the necessity of an air compressor in your daily tasks. Now the question is that how can you select the right air compressor for your pneumatic project. There are some key factors which determine the efficiency of an air compressor. Before buying an air compressor you need to know:
- Air Pressure (PSI)
- The volume of air (CFM)
- Standard Volume of Air (SCFM)
- Tank Size of the Compressor
Air Pressure (PSI):
- As an air compressor supplies compressed air so the rate of air pressure is the most crucial factor. The Air pressure of an air compressor is expressed with the term PSI that is the pounds per square inch. The PSI (the pounds per square inch) of an air compressor refers that how much air pressure the compressor can generate per square inch.
- Every air tools need a specific level of air pressure to run. For example, a paint gun runs at 90 PSI. But a nail gun requires 120 PSI air pressure to drive the nails into any surface. Can you guess what the PSI of a paintball gun is? You will be surprised to know that a paintball gun needs 3000-4500 PSI air pressure to move.
- So your air compressor must fulfill the PSI of the required tool. If you want to fill a paintball tank with a single-stage air compressor then the system will not run. The reason is that a single-stage air compressor can generate the largest of 150 PSI air pressure.
The Volume of Air (CFM):
Along with the PSI, another important term for air compressors is CFM. CFM (the cubic feet per minute) expresses the measurement of air volume.
Now the question is how can you find out the required CFM as well as PSI of the air tools? You will glad to know that on the body of every air tool CFM and PSI are pre-leveled.
CFM rating is related to the flow of air. Some air tools need higher CFM. For example, a paint gun needs 14 to 18 CFM at 90 PSI. On the other, for inflating a tire your air compressor only needs 1 CFM at 90 to 120PSI air pressure.
SCFM is the standard cubic feet per minute. In most cases, the air volume is influenced by atmospheric factors. Such factors are temperature, external pressure, and humidity. SCFM expresses the corrected CFM rating according to the atmosphere.
Try to focus on the SCFM rating of the air tools before selecting an air compressor. The more the SCFM rating is the more efficiently your air compressor can run the tools.
The tank size of an air compressor refers that how much air can be stored in the tank. It is expressed in gallons. The bigger the air tank is, the more efficient the compressor is.
You cannot expect continuous airflow from a tiny air tank like 8 gallons or 10 gallons. For running sanders, grinders, or paint guns you need an air compressor with at least 30 gallons air tank. Since these air tools need continuous airflow to run smoothly.
A bigger air tank means a bigger size along with higher capacity. So a medium-size air compressor with 30 gallons air tank is enough for any home garage.
Portability is another factor that you need to consider before selecting an air compressor. Portable air compressors have wheels to carry from one place to another.
If you want to carry the compressor from one project to another then the compressor must be portable. Again with a portable air compressor, you can help your neighbors or friends in their need.
Portable vs. Stationary Air Compressors:
- We have already seen that portable air compressors are easily moveable. On the other hand, stationary air compressors are fixed in a specific place. As these air compressors are heavyweight as well as large in size. Along with that, stationary air compressors are powerful than portable air compressors.
- Most often people think that portable air compressors are tiny in size and weak in capacity. But portable air compressors are not tiny at all. They have a huge variety of portable models with larger air tanks. Even these air compressors have powerful motors up to 6.5 HP (horsepower).
- Some prominent brands like Porter Cable or Husky provide you some models with 30 or 40 gallons air tanks. These air compressors are portable. They have moveable rubber-made wheels and flexible handles. So they are suitable for home appliances and garage work.
- Stationary air compressors are designed for heavy duties. Most stationary air compressors are rotary, centrifugal, or piston type. These powerful machines are perfect for medium to large industries. Such as chemical plants, gas turbines, medicine industries, dying industries, etc.
Features of Portable Air Compressors:
Easy to Carry:
Portable air compressors are very supportive for personal use. There are some tiny models of pancake air compressors. They are very lightweight (not more than 8 lbs.) So you can carry them anywhere you need. Even you can carry these air compressors on your bicycle also.
The medium size piston air compressors with an air tank of 20 to 50 gallons are also provided wheels. Though they are heavier you can easily transport them carrying by the handle.
Most portable air compressors are the piston type. Some are single-stage and some are two-stage. Single-stage air compressors have the largest 150 PSI. But from a two-stage portable air compressor, you can get a maximum of 175 PSI.
The horsepower range of a portable air compressor is 1.5 to 6.5. So by a medium-size two-stage air compressor, you can run almost all the power tools like sanders, nail guns, air hammers, grinders, etc. of your garage. Even you can perfectly paint your car with a 2 stage 40 gallons air compressor. Just click what size air compressor for painting to select the right air compressor for the paint job.
Pancake air compressors are the best for small household tasks like cleaning jobs as well as inflating any toys or flat tires. You can easily carry a pancake air compressor with you whenever and wherever you want.
Commonly Used Portable Air Compressors:
- As we have already seen a portable air compressor is enough for the home garage. Now the question is which portable air compressors are best.
- At present days you can see a number of prominent brands are producing portable air compressors. Their main focus is customer satisfaction. You can compare the features of different brands and models. Just search on the internet clicking by the name of the required model. Then select the air compressor which can meet the need of your project.
- According to me Porter Cable and Husky provide attractive features for their portable models. You can visit their showroom or online to select the best air compressor for your personal area.
Features of Stationary Air Compressors:
Stationary air compressors are large in size and capacity. The tank size of these air compressors is usually 50 gallons to 10000 gallons. So it’s not possible to move a stationary air compressor from one place to another. For this reason, these air compressors are kept in a specific place to run the pneumatic tools.
Improved CFM Rating:
Stationary air compressors can produce an enormous quantity of air at a single time. So the CFM rating of these air compressors is higher than portable air compressors.
Even if these machines have more horsepower. They are capable of achieving higher PSI within a very short time. So there is no chance of wastage of time after switching on the compressor.
As the main feature of a stationary air compressor is a larger tank, these air compressors are capable to store a huge amount of compressed air. As a result, you can get a continuous flow of air from a stationary air compressor.
Some tools like paint guns, impact wrenches, professional nailing guns need continuous airflow. To run such air tools there is no other alternative than a stationary air compressor.
Suitable for Domestic& Industrial Application:
Stationary air compressors are heavy-duty air compressors. You can find 6 Horsepower to 100 Horsepower compressors available in the market. These models are mainly for industrial use. They have also some models for garage use. So anyone who needs continuous flow can have a stationary air compressor within a limited budget.
Whatever the type is, positive or dynamic displacement; all types of air compressors can be stationary. As we have already known that the axial, centrifugal, or rotary air compressors are mostly used in medium to large industries like gas turbines, the medicine industry, chemical plants, and so on.
Again the piston air compressors are garage as well as personal using air compressors. So stationary air compressors are not only for industrial areas but also for home applications.
If you are a plumber or garage owner then a 60 gallons Quincy air compressor is the best for you. By plumbing the air compressor system you can run several air tools at a time. Don’t know the method of plumbing? Then click how to plumb an air compressor to set up the plumbing diagram of your garage.
Another feature of a stationary air compressor is low noise. Most air compressors create approximately 90 dB of noise. But when you use a plumbing system then the noise reduces to 70 dB. Do you know why?
Just because in this system the air compressor is kept in a separate chamber. Usually, the chambers are soundproof. As a result, loud noise cannot reach the workstation.
Again most stationary air compressors have belt drives. Belt drive air compressors vibrate less than direct drive air compressors. The result is a quieter working atmosphere.
Some Examples of Stationary Air Compressors:
The stationary air compressors are powerful air compressors. This powerful machine is used in large chemical plants, gas turbines, the medicine industry, cold storage, and so on.
Some prominent brands of stationary air compressors are:
These brands provide huge varieties of all types of stationary air compressors with updated features. Their features have already melted the heart of the users. You can buy these air compressors from Amazon also. Click how much an air compressor costs to find out the latest price of air compressors.
Portable vs. Stationary: Which is the Best Air Compressor?
We have already seen the features of both portable and stationary air compressors. Now the question is what air compressor you should select for your project.
- My suggestion is just to focus on your projects. Select the right air compressor according to the need of your air tools.
- If you need to do small home tasks like dusting or inflating then a pancake air compressor is awesome. You can easily carry it wherever and whenever you need it.
- For nailing or running impact tools a medium size 30 gallons portable air compressor is enough. As for the nailing job you need to transfer the compressor from one place to another.
- Again if your focus is doing a paint job then select such an air compressor that has a large air tank (at least 40 gallons). And Husky provides some portable air compressors with a 40 to 50 gallons air tank.
- However, if you want to run a series of air tools in your home garage then a stationary air compressor is the best solution for you. From a larger air tank, you will get continuous airflow. So you can easily set a number of air tools by plumbing with the compressor.
- And if your working area is a medium to large garage or industry then take the stationary one. This powerful machine will ensure efficiency along with durability.
Tips of Maintenance:
After selecting the right air compressor based on the project your next duty is to maintain the compressor. The lifespan of any device mainly depends on proper maintenance.
- Check the oil level in a routine way if your compressor is oiled
- Clean the compressor frequently with lubricants to prevent rust
- Keep the compressor in a dry place
- Always plug the compressor in the grounded outlet. Never plug into an extension cord.
- Focus on the required voltage of the compressor
- Drain the compressor after every use so that air pressure and moisture can get released
- By using an air filter you can get rid of the moisture problem
- Always wear safety glasses while working with compressed air
Frequently Asked Questions:
Question: Portable or stationary which air compressor is the best choice?
Answer: One cannot directly say that a portable compressor is the best or a stationary compressor is the finest. The place of application should be the greatest determiner of your choice.
Question: What is the required voltage for running an air compressor?
Answer: Most air compressors run with 110 Volt power. However, the powerful air compressors need 220 Volt to run.
Question: How can I add oil to my air compressor?
Answer: Oiled air compressors need oil or lubricant to run the motor. There is a valve for adding oil. You can add oil to the compressor by opening the valve.
Question: What are the benefits of using air compressors instead of other power sources?
Answer: Using compressed air will reduce your energy cost. You can run many air tools at the same time by plumbing. Along with that, compressed air ensures work efficiency.
The air compressors are like magical lamps. With the help of compressed air, we can easily do our daily tasks within a very short time.
After going through the article you have already known the pros and cons of portable vs. stationary air compressors. Now it’s your turn to select a portable or stationary air compressor. Don’t forget to ensure safety measures as compressed air can make a serious injury if you are not careful while working.