Important Features of an Air Compressor

Important Features of an Air Compressor

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An air compressor is a very useful tool. For the most part, it is used to power various tools and pieces of machinery. For instance, a nail gun is one tool that is powered by an air compressor. However, you can use them for many other things as well, and this includes inflating car and bike tires. 

When you go to buy an air compressor, there are some important features that you should look for. Always remember to look for the main features of an air compressor before making a purchase.

The 4 Most Important Features of an Air Compressor

There are 4 main features which every buyer needs to take a closer look at before buying an air compressor. Looking at these features will ensure that you get the right air compressor for the job at hand.

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Perhaps the No. 1 feature to look for when purchasing an air compressor is how much power it has. This is very important to keep in mind as different sizes of tools and applications will require different power levels. If you have too much power, you might overload the tools in question, and if you don’t have enough power in the air compressor motor, the tools will never work right in the first place.

For instance, small tools like a nail gun will usually do fine with a horsepower rating anywhere between 1.5 and 6.5 HP. However, larger industrial-grade tools will need much more power than that. Therefore, before you buy the air compressor, be sure to check how much power the tool or item in questions needs to work properly.


Another very important thing to look for when buying an air compressor is how big it is. Simply put, a very large application is going to need a large tank of air, and smaller applications will not need a tank that is nearly as big.

You can use a very small air compressor for a large tool, but the result will be that the tool receives enough air pressure to work for a very short period of time before the air compressor needs to take more time to build up pressure. On that same note, if you have a tank that is too large, it is just overkill and you will end up spending too much money on a huge unit, when you really only needed something small.


The next vital purchasing factor to keep an eye on before you buy any air compressor is the CFM rating. CFM stands for cubic feet per minute, and how much CFM your compressor is rated for is going to make a big difference. The CFM actually refers to the specific amount of air being delivered to the air powered tool. Generally speaking, the more CFM your air compressor can muster, the better off you are, as you will be able to use the machine for a wider variety of purposes.

An air compressor with a high maximum CFM can be adjusted and turned down to be used for smaller tools, but this does not work the other way around. If the air compressor in question does not produce as much CFM as your tool needs, the tool is not going to work right, or maybe not work at all.

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The other really important thing that you should look for before making a purchase is how portable the air compressor in question is. For instance, if you are only using it to power some kind of home appliance or pressure washer, then something that is not very portable will be just fine. However, if you are a handyman, or maybe something like a roofer, you will need a more portable unit. If you are always moving from one jobsite to another, and moving around a lot on the jobsite, you will need an air compressor that can move with you.

Generally speaking, this means having an air compressor that has large wheels and tires, preferably inflatable, but they can also be solid tires. You will also want a handle for easy pulling. With that being said, all air compressors are fairly heavy, so the weight is not the first thing you should look for in terms of portability.


There we have it – the 4 most important features to look for when buying an air compressor. To recap, these features are power, CFM, size, and portability.

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