Using an air compressor to operate any air-powered nailer, stapler, or other pneumatic tool is common knowledge, but many don't realize it's not simply the air compressor that brings their pneumatic tool(s) to life. Get the most out of any air tool with these top five essential air compressor accessories.
1. Air Hose
Available in 1/4 inch and 3/8 inch inside diameters, the air hose is not only our most common accessory on this list - but also the most crucial. RolAir recommends using a 3/8 inch air hose whenever possible, as it allows for optimal air flow - despite being slightly less nimble versus a comparable 1/4 inch air hose.
Air hoses come in a variety of lengths and materials. Typically found in 25 foot increments, make sure your air hose is long enough to reach the distance required. For a workshop or garage, 50 feet may suffice - whereas a roofer or framer may require 100+ feet of air hose while on the job.
When it comes to selecting the best air hose material, it really depends on the type of environment the hose will be used. Options for air hoses include rubber, polyurethane, or a rubber and polyurethane blend (commonly referred to as a "Hybrid Hose"). Rubber material handles temperature change well, but for more intense use, contractors generally prefer polyurethane air hoses, which also do well in extreme temperatures (warm and cold), but offer added flexibility with less risk of damage. Polyurethane has been found to stand up better to cuts and kinks too. Hybrid air hoses offer added durability, but at a more desirable price point as compared to traditional polyurethane air hoses.
2. Oils & Lubricants
Most new air compressors that are not oil-free come with a fresh reservoir of oil, but once that oil has reached the extent of its lifespan, you'll need to make sure the compressor pump is properly lubricated.
Before you start, make sure your compressor is not an oil-free model. Assuming it requires oil, prior to daily operation, make a habit of checking the air compressor's oil level for the compressor pump and engine (if compressor is gas-powered). Every direct-drive, hand-carry air compressor has a dipstick to check and maintain the proper oil level. RolAir belt-driven air compressors are equipped with a sight gauge to make the task of checking oil levels easier. Always maintain the oil level to read 2/3 full on the sight gauge.
As a general rule, RolAir recommends changing air compressor oil once a month - though depending on usage this interval may change. If measuring based on hours, 10WT and 30WT compressor oil should be changed every 200-400 hours, while semi-synthetic air compressor oil can go 1,000 to 2,000 hours, and full synthetic compressor oil can run 2,000 to 4,000 hours between changing. Always use oil specified for use with air compressors, ONLY.
3. Air Hose Fittings
Thanks to their size, air hose fittings are probably the easiest air compressor accessory to forget; but while the fittings may be small, their purpose is significant. Depending on your set-up, you'll be able to choose between connectors, couplers, elbows, manifolds, splicers and more. Most of the fittings on Nail Gun Depot are anodized, which means they are resistant to rust and corrosion. Simply learn the proper size fitting for your air tool configuration before shopping.
4. Air Regulators, Filters & Lubricators
The following three air compressor accessories aren't necessarily mandatory, but can improve operation in many ways. Air regulators are pretty straightforward in their purpose - to regulate air flow. Filters help to keep the compressor motor running more efficiently, by removing unwanted moisture and debris from compressed air; however, if filters are allowed to get clogged, they actually lead to adverse results - reducing the compressor's lifespan and performance. The lubricator helps to ensure a long, trouble-free service life, lubricating the entire compressed air system and eliminating the need to add oil to each tool individually, in some instances.
5. Air Compressor Expansion Tank
Need more air than your air compressor's built-in storage tank can hold? You'll probably need to invest in an air expansion tank for your compressor. Compressor expansion tanks are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, and are designed to hold a surplus of air - providing added pressure and performance between your compressor and pneumatic tool(s). Try to find an air reserve tank that is certified by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), ensuring compliance with the laws and regulations of the United States.
Have a question about what you need for your air tool - air compressor configuration? Send us a message, or check out this Nail Gun Network exclusive video on "How To Connect An Air Compressor Hose."
~ The Nail Gun Depot Team