When you have an idea of the impact wrench you need, the next step you need to take is getting an air compressor to act as a power source. However, that does not make the choice easy – there are various considerations you need to keep in mind.
Compressed air is among the most useful forms of energy you can get, and one of the most versatile. The result is that it remains among the best and affordable parts that you may have. In fact, you can even complete your automotive repairing, maintenance, craft, hobby, and construction compared to traditional tools.
Air tools last for longer, you can adjust them easily for torque control and variable speed, you experience low operator fatigue because they have a high ratio of weight to power, they do not generate heat while they work, and they do not have fire hazards or electric shock potential like some tools.
Factors to consider when choosing a compressor
Air compressors are not as complicated as you may imagine, because it is very easy to find something once you know what to look for. Here are some of them.
- Where you will use the compressor
You will get compressors in several types, but the main varieties are stationary and portable ones.
Stationary compressors are exactly that – you do not move them from a site to another one. They are usually bigger, and they give greater power than portable compressors due to the increased size of their tanks. The larger the volume of the tank, the more air it stores, which means more cubic feet in storage. That will make it easy for the pump to deliver as quickly and efficiently as possible while maintaining CFMs at the required PSI.
Portable compressors, on the other hand, are smaller in size and you are able to move them more easily. This allows you the advantage of having compressed air anywhere. They are mostly useful for activities that require you to move from place to place, such as inflating air mattresses and sports equipment, in addition to acting as a power source for impact wrenches and nail guns.
- Getting the power requirements
You will have to consider two factors when talking about the requirements of air compressors – their tank size and the air flow.
- Air flows
When you are checking the specifications of an air compressor, you will frequently hear deliverable CFM (cubic feet per minute) and PSI (pounds per square inch). These two may sound strange especially if you have never heard of them, but they are the major factors that determine how effective the compressor is in different circumstances.
When selecting a compressor, you need to know the CFM and PSI requirement of the impact wrench, which is usually at least 4.0CFM at 90PSI for 0.5-inch impact wrenches, and 5.0CFM at 90PSI for 0.75-inch impact wrenches.
If you have multiple wrenches and are going to be using one tool at a time, then it is best to select a compressor that surpasses CFM and PSI needs of your most efficient equipment. This will ensure you do not suffer through using under-powered tools. As a general rule, buy a compressor that has 1.25 to 1.5 times more CFM at the recommended PSI than what your air tools need, and this will guarantee the long-term performance of your air tools without losing efficiency.
- The tank size of the compressor
All air compressors have a storage tank, which contains the air they need. This means the amount of air the tank can store will determine the performance of your impact wrench and other air tools you have. In addition, once the tank is completely full, larger tanks do not need to operate that much for them to keep the CFM, as long as the pump itself generates greater CFMs than what you are utilizing.
What this means is – if you are using more tools that require more continuous air, then you need a larger tank. If your tools are fewer and need a more intermittent operation, then you can get a smaller tank. The ultimate goal should be getting a tank that is capable of powering all your tools as you need them.
- Other factors
You can also consider the durability and pricing of the tank as well, although these will depend on your personal preferences.
It is important to get a suitable air compressor for your impact wrench, so do not be frustrated if it takes longer than you thought.