Deciding on what air compressor type is suitable does not need to be hard, sizing the correct size unit required in a reciprocating piston air compressor unit is simple. Firstly piston air compressors are not designed to run continually.
And that is whatever the stated air consumption of the air tool being used, such as spray guns, nail guns, or impact guns. For example, for a spray gun that uses 8-10cfm, the correct piston air compressor size for this application should be around 20cfm. Correctly sizing the unit is a common problem, but it is crucial to choose the correct duty cycle.
Most applications require a three-phase unit, an air compressor type that is not easily accessible for most home users. In fact, home users usually do not have three-phase power and are limited to only a couple of 240volt single phase options. When using a 240volt single phase unit instead of a required three-phase unit, users must only use the tool for about 5-6 minutes at a time, in the example of an air sander, and then give the compressor a break for around the same time as the time of use. For many home/domestic users this is the only option available. Having a break allows the single phase unit to catch up with the air being used and restart refilling the holding tank when the pressure drops down, therefore working similarly to the correct sized three-phase unit.
The bottom line is if you work in a commercial operation with three-phase power available, your first choice of air compressor type should be a three-phase air compressor.
Single Phase Air Compressors Pros and Cons
Single phase air compressors are commonly used in most homes and small businesses. It can adequately provide power for small areas where usage is not as heavy and as frequent as in bigger workplaces and industrial areas.
Single phase air compressors are cheaper than its three-phase counterparts, making it ideal for non-frequent and light to medium usage. Moreover, since they are not frequently used, the power they consume is also lesser and allows you to save money on electric bills. Commonly, they are also smaller and more lightweight, making them easy to store and move around when they are about to be used. Additionally, maintenance routines are not as painstaking and frequent as in three- phase air compressors.
Due to the fact that it is designed for light to medium service usage, it is not advisable for places where air compressors are often needed. They are not as strong as 3-phase air compressors and can easily heat up when used for a prolonged time.
Three-Phase Air Compressors Pros and Cons
A three-phase air compressor is perfect for heavy duty works in panel-shops, cabinet-making shops and manufacturing shops, industrial sites, and other similarly demanding environments. This type of air compressor has more consistent power output and can be used for a longer period.
Compared to a single phase air compressor, a three-phase air compressor has obvious advantages in terms of power generation, transmission and distribution. For prolonged usage, three-phase air compressors are more energy-efficient. Overall, it has better performance and endurance than its single phase counterpart.
The downside of three-phase air compressors is that they are usually heavy and bulky and they need a larger space. They are not as mobile as its single-phase counterpart and maintenance requirements are expected to be more demanding.
Choosing the Right Air Compressor Type for You
When choosing an air compressor for purchase, you need to identify its usage in terms of how heavy the service duties will be and whether it will be frequently used or not. Do not settle for a single phase compressor to do the job that is expected of a three-phase alternative.
Finally, whatever the air compressor type that is best for you, make sure that you are buying one high quality. Opt for brands that are known for their quality and performance. Do not settle for half-decent choices to save some money because you may just end up spending more in the long run.