Buy the best portable air compressor for YOU. With our buying advice, you avoid wasting money and time.What to look for when buying a portable compressor...

Of course, you need to know the pressure and flow that you need. Portable compressors are usually 8 bar, 13 bar or 15 bar.The maximum air flow that the compressor can deliver is something else. It depends on the number of tools you use, and the amount of air they require. It is calculated in number of liters per second or minute.

But what is the best portable air compressor for you? Besides pressure and air flow, there are many other things to consider. It all depends what you use the compressor for and where.

Just a few things that pop up in my mind are:

  • Aftercooler (to cool the air as it leaves the compressor at about 80 degrees Celsius)
  • Re-heater (re-heats the air after the after cooler, this eliminates most water-in-air problems)
  • Filters (dust filter, oil filter. Depends on what you use the compressed air for)
  • Towbar style (do you plan to hang the compressor behind your big truck or your car?)
  • Fuel tank (do you work in remove area’s? A big fuel tank allows for longer running without re-fueling)
  • Intake filter (if you work in a very dusty environment, you might want to pay extra attention to good air filters.
  • Spark arrestor (for use in flammable environments like oil refineries and woods)
  • Air intake shut off valve (for use in place where flammable gas can be present in the air
  • Number of air outputs (how many hoses can you connect to the compressor
  • Sound level (do you plan to use the compressor in a residential area?)
  • Emission level (there might be regulations in your country that forbid the use of dirty engines)
  • Extra options like a built-in generator.
  • Extra options like remove monitoring (though gsm and gps)

These are all just technical things. But what about maintenance, spareparts cost, etc? Here’s another list to keep in mind:

  • Cost of maintenance (spare parts, hourly rate of service technician)
  • Availability of service and spare parts (how quick can your compressor be repaired?)
  • Other support (like telephone support or emergency replacement compressor)
  • Maximum lifetime (in running hours or years). Pay special attention to the lifetime of the compressor element)
  • Warranty (number of years)
  • Energy efficiency (although less important compared to stationary compressors)

What’s also important is what I call ‘clever engineering’, especially when it comes to repairing or servicing the compressor or engine.

On some makes and models you need to take apart half of the machine, just to change the oil filter…

While on same makes and models, the design engineers where clever (and listened to their customers and service technicians) and made it easy to change the oil orchange the oil filter for example.

portable air compressor oil filter 1The oil filter is hard to reach

portable air compressor oil filter - easy accessEasy to reach filters for easy maintenance. Smart!

Bottom line: before buying a compressor, find out what you need. Do you need a lot of air, or at a high pressure? Do you work in remote areas?