The 5 Different Types of Air Compressors
Air compressors are a key component of construction sites as they are a power source for common tools. Air compressors help power tools such as nail guns, spray guns and wrenches. Smaller air compressors are commonly used for these tools whereas large compressors are much more powerful and are often used commercially. These machines come in a range of sizes and the one you use will depend on the size of your project.
Understanding the functions of each type of air compressor is important so that you can select the appropriate compressor for your project. Hire too big of an air compressor and it will be more expensive than necessary.
Types of Air Compressors
- Rotary Screw Compressor
- Natural Gas Compressor
- Oil Free Compressor
- Electric Air Compressor
- Multi-Stage Air Compressor
Rotary Screw Compressor
This machine uses two internal rotors to compress air. Rotary screw compressors are equipped with an internal cooling system which means that they never overheat and can be used for long periods. The cooling is done through an oil or water system. The air is compressed through two rotors spinning at high speeds next to each other. You can hire rotary screw compressors that have anywhere from 5 to 500 horsepower. The highest PSI available is usually around 150 PSI.
Rotary screw compressors generally don’t require much maintenance, which means they are great a great piece of machinery for the small scale worker who only needs to operate basic tools daily. If you need a no-frills and reliable air compressor, then the rotary screw compressor is likely a good fit for you.
Natural Gas Air Compressor
This type of compressor is usually found in large scale industrial settings such as petroleum refineries and factories. If you are conscious of your energy usage and are looking to reduce costs, then a natural gas air compressor may be suitable. They operate on natural gas and operate more efficiently than diesel or electrically powered air compressors.
Because natural gas air compressors only operate on gas, they are highly portable and therefore appropriate for the outdoors where a power outlet may not be nearby. Natural gas air compressors also produce only tiny amounts of carbon monoxide, so they are more suited to being used indoors than diesel-fuelled compressors.
Oil-Free Air Compressor
Oil-free air compressors are most commonly required in environments where oil contamination is a huge risk. This is usually in food manufacturing where oil in the air can affect the safety of edible goods. As oil-free air compressors do not require oil changes and filter maintenance like oil powered air compressors, they are usually cheaper to maintain.
Oil-free air compressors are usually noisier than oil air compressors, which is something to consider if you are working in a residential setting.
Electric Air Compressor
If you’ve got plenty of electrical access points on your worksite, then electrical air compressors may be the best option for you. They are especially good for neighbourhood worksites as they produce very little noise compared to other types of air compressors. They also do not produce any fumes, meaning they can be safely used indoors. Electric air compressors are usually more portable than natural gas compressors as they do not require any fuel storage.
Electric air compressors also come with their disadvantages too. They consume lots of power and this can become especially expensive with the current price of electricity. Also, if you aren’t near any power outlets, the use of extension cords can be a messy look and potential hazard at your worksite.
Multi-Stage Air Compressor
Multi-stage air compressors, as you can guess, compresses air in multiple stages, and allows for cooling between the stages. They are mainly used by large manufacturers due to their significant power. They also have a longer lifespan than some other models of air compressors because they produce less heat. This means there is less wear and tear on the internal components of the compressor.