How to Choose the Right Size Air Compressor Video


Trying to determine what air compressor to use can be a little confusing–the types and sizes of air compressors are almost as varied as the tools they power. While there are many things to consider, two important factors are what tools the air compressor will power, and where the air compressor will be used.

Air compressors are measured by the maximum amount of pressure it can hold or distribute (pounds per square inch or PSI), and the volume of air it can deliver at a specific PSI (cubic feet per minute or CFM). The tools an air compressor powers all have different PSI and CFM requirements; the air compressor used should be able to meet the maximum CFM requirements of the tool used.

Of the many types of air compressors, the main two are portable or stationary. A portable air compressor is handy if compressed air is needed at multiple locations around the home or job site. Portable doesn't always mean small–while some portable compressor are very compact, they are available in a large variety of sizes.

A stationary air compressor, as its name suggests, doesn't move from job site to job site. Typically, a stationary compressor is larger than a portable air compressor, and is able to deliver and maintain the CFM's required.

You should also consider the tank size. The size of the air receiver tank on an air compressor is the amount of pressurized air that can be stored. The larger the tank, the longer power to your tools can be delivered without restarting the air compressor pump.

This video from This Old House offers some very useful information on choosing an air compressor to fit your needs. And remember to check out our DIY Air Compressor Repair section for troubleshooting tips and how-to repair guides. 


How to choose an air compressor