If you are a DIY enthusiast, i.e. doing your own car maintenance, spray painting, sandblasting or deep cleaning then you may be thinking of using an air compressor.
Tools being the operative word when it comes to using an air compressor make sure you look for one with an easy quick connecting hose to get the job done.
Also remember where and how you need to use it, if you are outside and away from a power source then go for gas.
Consider the bigger picture, what is the most demanding task you anticipate and then look for the power you need.
If you have ever used compressed air on a small gadget you will know how effective it is at cleaning, you can even clean the garage out with an air compressor but don’t forget your goggles!
Air compressor driven tools for carpentry is a breeze, so long as you have the right tools and connections.
With an air compressor you can use a pneumatic nailer which is faster and more cost effective than a battery operated nailer, lighter to use as well.
Smooth effects for your spray painting jobs are achievable with an air compressor, no more aching arms!
Changing the oil filter, tight nuts and bolts a thing of the past with your air compressor with an attached ratchet and socket will take minutes instead of hours. No more sweating under the bonnet, cool as a cucumber you can DIY car maintenance.
A small air compressor is ideal for blowing up the air mattress for guests, keeping your car or bicycle tires pumped and balloons at party time!
As with any gadget you need to consider sizing, both in terms of its dimensions (where you gonna put it?) and power.
Pancake petite size, no it is not for cooking although there is probably a way! These little ones can be easily stored away in a small apartment still have a multitude of uses but no good for the big car jobs.
The tank will probably be indicated in gallons, a small tank for short sharp bursts of air is fine, if you are spray painting you will need a larger tank.
Gas or electric is something you need to consider, if you are planning outdoor jobs gas is great. If you are indoors and have plenty of electrical sockets then you can plug it in. Gas power is portable as well.
Larger units tend to need oil, smaller, lightweight compressors do not need to be oiled hence they are cleaner and more for indoor light use.
PSI = Pounds per square inch
PSI is important for measuring car tire pressure but more importantly is the CFM which is the cubic feet per minute.
CFM is the amount of air a compressor is capable of delivering in cubic feet per minute. The CFM and PSI are relative to each other.
When you are shopping for an air compressor you will need one with a slightly higher CFM than the maximum task you want to use it for, for example one of the heavier jobs would be dual sanding needing up to 13 CFM, so you would need 15 CFM.
Will you need 1 and half horses or more than 6 horses to power up. Horsepower is that simple and so easy to understand. So the more horses, or horsepower the more PSI that the motor can produce the more heavy the load it can take on.
Standard cubic feet per minute is just another term you may come across and just refers to the relationship between PSI and CFM.
How much CFM?
A brad nailer for small DIY jobs use only .03 CFM, start sanding and you are looking at 9 CFM for orbital sanding and even more for dual sanding, up to 13 CFM. So there is a big difference even in carpentry use.
So there is no need to make a mountain out of a molehill, just check out AirCompressorSpy for lots more information on air compressors.
Make do and mend or throw away!
If you have a good imagination you can probably think of many more uses for your air compressor.
Perhaps your kids do want new gadgets all the time but most will be very happy to have a resprayed bike, you can even take the pedals off in seconds and turn it into a new balance bike!
You can’t throw the rooms in your home out with the garbage, but you can get that wallpaper off in a trice and have a stylish new paint job done in a few hours as opposed to a few days.