What Are Some of the Specs for an Air Compressor?


Quick Answer

Some air compressor specs include the compressor's capacity, pressure, tank size and type. Capacity is the amount of air a compressor can pump out; it is expressed in cubic feet per minute, or CFM. Pressure describes the pressure the air compressor uses, and most compressors operate at between 7 and 30 bar. Air compressors come in two main types: reciprocating and rotary screw compressors.

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What Are Some of the Specs for an Air Compressor?
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Full Answer

A user finds the necessary capacity by adding up the air requirements of all the compressed air tools she intends to use at one time. A user should only purchase a compressor that supplies just above the minimum capacity the tools require. While a compressor with a very small capacity cannot operate a large number of tools, a compressor with too much capacity for a given application may be a waste of money.

Like capacity, compressed air tools require a certain amount of pressure. However, unlike capacity requirements, pressure requirements are not cumulative for multiple tools. Therefore, a user can operate as many tools using 7 bar as she wants, as long as the compressor has adequate capacity.

Reciprocating compressors are available in both high and low-pressure variants, but these compressors always have relatively low capacity. Rotary screw compressors are always low pressure, but they typically have much higher capacity than reciprocating models.

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