How do I Choose the Best Home Air Compressor?

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  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 04 October 2019
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When choosing a home air compressor, it's important to consider size, power requirements, typical uses and frequency of use. Defining the main uses of the compressor is the most crucial of all. The home that has a frequently used workshop will likely require a more substantial home air compressor than a home with less frequent demand for air power.

Once the use of the home air compressor has been established, the next step is to decide on the power requirements of the compressor. Smaller compressors can be plugged into the wall outlet since they operate on the typical home electrical current. This type of home air compressor is typically mobile and can be used to air tires and power small air tools for a minimal job. Larger air compressors typically need to be wired into a power source by a skilled electrician. This type of home air compressor is usually a stationary model capable of powering tools in a small-to-large home workshop.


The air capacity of the compressor is also a very important requirement to consider. For the smaller shop that will use the compressor to air tires and complete small projects, a small reserve or air tank is all that is needed. Conversely, a larger compressor that is slated for use in a busy home wood shop would be better-suited with a large air reserve capacity. Tools, such as air sanders, use a large quantity of air to operate over a sustained period. Compressors with large motors and dual-stage compressors are typically needed to keep up with the demand for air in this type of setting.

Another factor to consider in choosing the correct home air compressor is frequency of use. For the shop that is going to be operating air tools on a regular basis, a heavy-duty cast-iron compressor pump will usually offer years of service if properly maintained. The compressor that will see only occasional use will not need the heavy-duty pump and can typically satisfy any need with a standard-duty pump. If price is a deciding factor, the direct-drive air compressors are less expensive than the belt-drive units as a rule. Hardware and home improvement stores along with farm supply stores typically offer a variety of sizes of home air compressors.


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