Eliminate the guesswork before buying a commercial or medical air compressor with these simple tips:
- Make sure the air compressor you choose is powerful enough to fill your medical or commercial needs.
- Consider an air compressor’s tank capacity, airflow and pressure.
- Determine how air compressors will be used before deciding on the type of model to buy.
Choose an air compressor powerful enough for all your toolsSome air tools, like ventilators, require more air than others so it's important to select an air compressor that is appropriate for medical or commercial purposes. Air compressors are measured by the cubic feet per minute, or CFM, of air they produce. Choose air compressors with a CFM rating 1.5 times higher than that of your most powerful tool. If you plan to run more than one tool off the same air compressor, however, add the CFM ratings of all your tools and multiply by 1.5 to gauge the CFM rating you will need.
Select air compressors that can handle all your projectsWhether you need a medical air compressor or an industrial air compressor, the type you choose depends on how you plan to use it. Portable air compressors can handle small jobs like filling tires or powering a nail gun. For more complex tasks like sanding or grinding, select a larger model that will provide enough air flow and pressure to keep power-hungry tools operating efficiently. Air tank capacity should also be considered.
For smaller commercial or medical jobs, choose air compressors from vendors like Max Tool, that offer a PSI, or pounds per square inch, rating of 125 or 150 PSI and a CFM rating of 6.0. Northern Tool + Equipment offers industrial strength air compressors with higher horsepower for heavier workloads. Check Compressor World for air tanks — an air tank capacity of 30 gallons should be adequate for smaller commercial and medical users, although high performance jobs may require a larger capacity.
Decide on gas or electric, reciprocating or rotary screw air compressor modelsGas-powered air compressors can be used almost anywhere but are more expensive and must be vented when used in enclosed spaces. That makes them impractical for medical, dental and laboratory users. Electric air compressors are a convenient and inexpensive alternative and are ideal for both the medical and commercial buyer who doesn't need the flexibility of off-site use. Reciprocating air compressors, also known as piston-driven compressors, are the least expensive and are adequate for many applications but are not suited for continuous use. Rotary screw air compressors, on the other hand, are workhorses which can run continuously and are well suited for high-demand applications.
Tools USA offers a good selection of air compressors, including rotary screw models. Find gas-powered air compressors at National Tool Warehouse, reciprocating air compressors at Air Power Products Limited. Not sure which type of air compressor you need? Air Compressors Direct offers a simple selection tool to help you find the best one for your needs.
- Know the air-powered tools you will be using and the type of projects you plan to complete before shopping for an air compressor.
- Determine where you will be using the air compressor before deciding on a gas-powered or electric model. Gas-powered air compressors are the most versatile but should be used only in well-ventilated areas while electric models are ideal for commercial, medical, dental and laboratory use.
- Ask for guidance from air compressor suppliers if you are unsure of the type of air compressor you need. Most air compressor suppliers are experts in their field and can easily find a suitable model in your price range.
- Ask air compressor suppliers about their support services and warranties.
- Don't skimp on price. A medical air compressor or commercial air compressor can range from several thousand dollars for a low-end model to more than $100,000 for industrial brands. Higher end air compressors will be more durable and cost-effective over time.
- Before finalizing any deal, calculate the long-term cost of the air compressor acquisition to determine the real cost of your purchase.