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Tag Archives: portable air compressor
  • What Size Air Compressor Do I Need For My Tool?

    If you're using pneumatic tools, there's no avoiding the need for an air compressor. But when it comes to compressors, you'll find they come in a variety of shapes and sizes - so how much compressor do you really need? Use these simple guidelines to determine which air compressor suits your needs best.

    In most scenarios, a portable hand-carry air compressor will provide more than enough power to keep your pneumatic fastening tool up and running. Take this for instance - a small 1HP portable unit (delivering 2.0 CFM – cubic feet of air per minute) allows a large nail gun to operate at about 15 nail drives per minute. That same compressor will run a medium-size finishing nailer at about 30 nail drives per minute, and will run a small brad nailer at over 70 drives per minute. So as you can see, the specs of the tool will ultimately dictate the air compressor's performance.

    Senco PC1131 Workshop

    Each tool takes a “breath” of compressed air, which then provides the driving force necessary to sink each fastener. The larger the pneumatic tool, the more air it requires to operate, which is also known as “air consumption per cycle”.

    PRO TIP: If you divide the air consumption per cycle into the CFM of any given air compressor, you will determine the possible drives per minute. This simple calculation should tell you if the compressor is able to properly power the tool you are intending to use.

    Senco Compressors

    All that's left to do is determine how quickly you're planning to run the tool. A professional construction contractor may need the extra juice to operate one - or more - large tools at a high rate of speed. In this instance, a wheelbarrow compressor (either gasoline or electric depending on preferred power source) will provide the necessary power required. If similar output is required, but the application is in a fixed location (think assembly line), a large stationary compressor may also work.

    For those running one or two smaller air tools, a portable electric compressor should provide more than enough energy - especially if used with an additional expansion (holding) tank of air. If you are running several small to medium-size air tools, you'll want a compressor rated for 4.0+ CFM. If you're looking to run a finish and trim tool (or similar) individually, a 2.0+ CFM compressor should provide ample power.

    For easy reference, we've included this handy chart below, provided by Senco.

    Senco Compressor Chart

    Which compressor will best suit your project?

     

    ~The Team At Nail Gun Depot

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  • How To Buy The Right Air Compressor

    Have you found yourself asking, "How much air compressor do I really need?" If so, you've come to the right spot. Many are fooled into buying more - or less - air compressor than their tool(s) require. An easy solution, learn how to buy the right air compressor, by visiting Nail Gun Depot's, Nail Gun Network.
    Bostitch Compressor
    The following are points for consideration as you start your research:
    • Portability: We put portability at the top of our list, because despite performance and technical specs, if you can't take your compressor where it needs to go, it's useless. Think about the types of projects you are looking to do. Will there be room for a larger unit, or is space going to be limited? Will you have to carry the compressor up and down stairs, or will it always stay at ground level? Will you be using the compressor in a fixed work space, or will it move from job to job? A hand-carry air compressor will prove beneficial if you will be moving it up and down stairs, or if you have limited space to work with. Most DIYers will find that a hand-carry compressor will offer plenty of power for their finish nailer or stapler. These compressors are also handy for basic projects around the garage, such as inflating a tire or pumping up a basketball. Wheelbarrow compressors offer a significant increase in power, and are a better choice for heavy-duty use, but sacrifice some of the portability a hand-carry air compressor offers. Fixed compressors are large and powerful, but are not easily moved, and are not ideal outside a workshop or manufacturing facility.
    • Power & Performance: To make sure your compressor is powerful enough to handle the pneumatic tools you plan to hook up to it, check the specs on your tools to see how much air power they require. Most finish and trim nailers, staplers and the like, will require a lower Standard Cubic Feed Per Minute (SCFM) rating, while larger framing nailers and construction staplers typically need a higher SCFM rating to run. If you are planning to run multiple tools at the same time, you'll need a compressor that's designed to handle the additional load. Outside of providing power to your tools, you'll also need to decide whether you want an electric, or gas-powered air compressor. Most hand-carry compressors are only available as electric, but for larger wheelbarrow units and some fixed units, gasoline power is an option. Consider using a gas compressor if you find yourself frequently on the job without an electrical outlet available. Some gas-powered compressors will also offer increased power over their electric counterpart.
    • Pump & Tank Type: Most compressor shoppers will go straight for the motor output - without thinking about two other crucial components - the pump and the tank. The tank size - measured in gallons - determines how frequently the motor must run to keep air in reserve. Almost as crucial as the motor, the pump is responsible for moving air through the compressor. A single-stage compressor pumps air at the same output pressure, while two-stage compressors have multiple cylinders that continually compress air to provide improved tank filling capability. Be sure to note whether your compressor pump is oil-free, or if it requires regular oiling to keep moving parts lubricated. Larger compressors typically require oil lubrication as regular maintenance.
    • Reliability: The last point on our checklist, make sure the compressor you are buying has been built by a contractor-grade manufacturer. The "house-brand" compressor manufacturers come with an appealing price, but are likely to fall apart sooner than expected. In fact, most don't even come with the out-of-box quality that can be found in compressors from brands such as, RolAir, Senco, Bostitch, J-Air and similar. Buyer beware, make sure the compressor you decide on is designed to sustain several years of hard use.

    All things considered, how much air compressor DO YOU really need? The solution ultimately lies in the type of projects you work on, the pneumatic tools you are using, and the flexibility of your typical job site. Despite the size or design of the compressor you choose, keep long-term reliability in mind. Choosing a slightly more expensive, contractor-grade compressor, might pay for itself in the long run.

    RolAir Air Compressors
    Now, you won't have to worry about "blowing" your money on the next air compressor you purchase.
    ~The Team At Nail Gun Depot
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  • Introduction To Air Compressors

    Welcome back to a new year of the Nail Gun Network! We hope you had a relaxing holiday break - but alas, it's time to get back to work. Easing into the routine swing, let's start 2015 with a breakdown and categorization of air compressors - so you can find the right compressor to handle your projects.
    Senco Air Compressors
    If you use pneumatic (air-powered) fastening tools, you have to use an air compressor to bring them to life. Air compressors provide power to your pneumatic nail guns, staple guns, paint sprayers, ratchets and other air-driven tools - they can also be used to inflate tires, blow dust or debris, and more. The application(s) you need an air compressor for, will determine the type of compressor you require.
    Senco Compressor Kit
    First, let's take a brief look at how an air compressor works. Air compressors feature a motor, which forces air into a storage tank. Depending on the type of compressor, a user will attach their tool(s) to the compressor via an air hose or hoses. Every time the user fires their pneumatic tool, air in the storage tank is released through the air hose - activating the tool. As the storage tank depletes its air, the motor kicks-in and returns the tank to a designated air pressure. For some compressors, such as MAX's AKHL1250E, an expansion tank is also available.
    MAX Expansion Air Tank
    Smaller projects - with low volume use - can typically get by with a smaller, single-stage compressor. Single-stage compressors feature one-piston motors, which force air into their storage tank for consumption. As the compressor depletes its supply of air, the motor kicks back on to replenish it. These compressors are typically useful for small workshops, residential garages, or DIY applications. Because they are typically smaller in size, they are also useful for renovation and remodeling projects, where space might be limited. Keep in mind, these compressors are not designed to power multiple tools at once - or tools that require a good amount of energy to fire, such as framing nailers. Finish and trim nailers and fine wire staplers are typically intended for this type of compressor.
    Bostitch Trim
    For heavy-duty applications in construction or manufacturing, such as home-building, assembly line work and more, two-stage compressors should be a better fit for use. Two-stage air compressors feature a second piston - providing quicker refill times to the storage tank. The storage tank is also typically larger in size, allowing more air to be stored during use. Two-stage compressors are also designed to power multiple tools at once - improving operation efficiency. The downside to these compressors, they typically weigh more, are more expensive, and make more noise during operation.
    Bostitch Pneumatic Framing
    When shopping for an air compressor, consider the manufacturer required pressure for the tool(s) you are looking to power. Every manufacturer should provide the CFM and PSI required to operate safely. The CFM or Cubic Feet per Minute determines how many tools can be run at once on an air compressor. The PSI or Pounds per Square Inch directs the maximum range of operating pressure with which an air compressor can run properly. Disregarding either of these factors can lead to permanent damage to your tools and/or air compressor - as well as possible injury to the user. When selecting an air compressor, choose a model with a higher CFM rating than the tool or tools you are planning to operate - this will allow for a margin of error.
    Senco PC1010N
    When you start shopping for a compressor, you will also notice the difference in design between certain models. Depending on your application, there are four main designs available for portable air compressors. Generally, the most basic option available, most hot dog shaped compressors have small, cylindrical tanks - this style is generally the easiest to transport, but offers the least power. Models such as the Senco PC1010 exemplify a well-built, popular compressor within this segment. Similar in size, a pancake compressor features an oblong tank that resembles the shape of a tire. Bostitch offers the BTFP02011 pancake compressor (replaced by Bostitch BTFP02012) as part of a 3-tool combo kit for finish and trim. Still capable of being carried by hand, twin-stack compressors feature two tanks (generally one above the other), which allows them to restore maximum air pressure quicker than a single-tank design, such as the hot dog or pancake. A great example of the twin-stack compressor, RolAir offers its FC2002 model - also known as "The Bull" for its rugged nature. One of the heaviest-duty designs for portable compressors, wheelbarrow compressors are too heavy to carry by hand, but feature a single-wheel design with handles - allowing this type of compressor to be rolled from jobsite to jobsite. J-Air is a reliable, popular manufacturer of this style compressor. For fixed workstations that require high-volume use, stationary compressors are also available. There is also a selection of other wheeled compressors available for heavy-duty use, that function similarly to the wheelbarrow design.
    RolAir Bull Compressor
    One final point to consider, determine the source of power that will work best for your compressor. For almost every hot dog, pancake or twin-stack compressor, electric power is your only available option. However, larger compressors, such as wheelbarrow models, generally are available with either the option for gasoline or electric power. Crews in new construction tend to favor gas power, as it can sometimes be hard to find electric on a jobsite. Many gas-powered compressors also feature more powerful motors. Depending on the application - and if electric is easily accessible - you might prefer the emission-free design of electric compressors though.
    J-Air Compressors
    If you work in cold climates, make sure you shop for a compressor with a cold start valve. Many compressors include this feature out of the box, but if not, you could have a hard time starting your air compressor in frigid temperatures. Standard on many new compressors, an oil-free pump design reduces wear and tear maintenance. For high-volume use, check to make sure the compressor includes more than one connection for pneumatic air hoses - to ensure you can run several tools at once. Also, make sure the compressor has the proper cooling systems installed to handle the applications you plan to use it for - this will help to avoid overheating or damage to the compressor motor.
     
    Bostitch 3-Tool Combo Kit
    Last, but not least, consider the manufacturer of your future compressor. There are several reliable brands available, some of which we recommend, including compressors from Senco, RolAir, J-Air, MAX and Bostitch. Be sure to compare each compressor's features prior to making a purchase.
    Blowing Away Your Air Compressor Knowledge,
    The Team At Nail Gun Depot
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