What Type Of Air Compressor Should I Get?

April 23rd, 2010

This is one of the most common questions we get. Customers opening an auto shop, or facility of any kind that requires an air compressor often don’t have any idea on what type or size of air compressor to get.

First, you need to determine if your application requires a gas powered or electric powered compressor.  If you are mounting a compressor to a service vehicle or using it in a remote location, where power isn’t available, then a gas powered model is in order. Most auto shops will use an electric Air Compressor.

When determining what size to get, the most important factor to consider is what size shop do you have? How many bays are you operating? Will thay all be operating at the same time? The rule of thumb is to add up the CFM (cubic feet per minute) requirements of all of the tools that you will be powering at any given time and then get a compressor that will supply more air than that. The owner’s manual of the tools should indicate the CFM requiement for the tools and at what PSI they need to operate at.

Most commercial shops will require a two stage compressor of at least 7.5 HP with an 80 gallon tank. Some will require a larger compressor, some smaller shops can get by with a five HP two stage model. In a typical three bay shop, the air requirement will typically require about 20 to 28 cfm at 100 to 175 psi.

We will continue with more posts about the differences between the different types of air compressors, (ie: reciprocating and rotary screw)  so keep an eye out.

Electric Air Compressor


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