Air compressors can be used for several different things, including: cleaning, powering tools, and filling tires. Different applications are going to need different types of air compressors. There are so many different types on the market that it can be quite confusing trying to figure out which one you need and the difference between the most common types. This article is going detail the different kinds of common compressors so it’s easier to understand.
The first feature of air compressors is their power type. The most common power types for air compressors are: electricity, gasoline, and diesel. Keep in mind, there are positives and negatives to each one. For starters, compressors that run on electricity will always work as long as there is power but you have a higher chance of having a more expensive power bill. The gasoline powered compressors will only work if you have gas and you won’t have to worry about power bills, but gasoline can be expensive. The compressors powered by diesel are similar. You won’t have to worry about a high electric bill, but diesel isn’t cheap. The best thing to do is sit down and figure out what is the most affordable for you.
There are 3 different pressure levels when it comes to compressors. They will be listed next, but we first need to talk about the differences before looking at them. For starters, the biggest difference is that some applications won’t work with some of the levels. An example of that would be a heavy duty tool that use an air compressor won’t do well with the lowest setting. You want to make sure that you get a compressor with the right amount of pressure to be able to do the application you need to. If you don’t, you won’t be able to do what you need to and you’ll probably end up having to buy a new compressor that can do the job.
- Low pressure- has 150 psi or less
- Medium pressure- has 151 psi to 1,000 psi
- High pressure- has 1,000 psi and higher
Similarly to the pressure levels, there are several different operation types. Just like everything else, different operations are going to be better for certain jobs. For instance, a scroll compressor is going to be best for air conditioning equipment, while an axial compressor is best for things such as jet engines. One thing to keep in mind is if you try to use a compressor for something it isn’t made for, then it could have negative consequences. Besides not working, there’s a chance that it will try to overwork and catch fire or blow up. The best thing to do is just figure out which style compressor is best for which jobs and get one of the ones that’s compatible with what you’re trying to do.
- Single-Stage Reciprocating Compressor- air is compressed once by a piston
- Two-Stage Reciprocating Compressor- air is compressed twice by a piston
- Compound Compressor- air is compressed by 2 stages or more
- Rotary-screw compressor- uses positive displacement rotary
- Rotary Vane Compressor- air is compressed by positive displacement vanes
- Scroll Compressor- compresses air for refrigeration
- Turbo compressor- compressor that pressurizes gases
- Axial Compressor- constantly pressurizes gases with rotation
Type of Displacement
All compressors use displacement. This means that they move the air or gases around to make it work. The 2 types of displacement that they use are positive and negative. While they are both a form of displacement, they do different things. In addition, some applications will need to use one over the other. Keep in mind, if you’re trying to use the opposite displacement method of what the application requires, you won’t be able to properly do the job and, depending on what the job is, there’s a chance that you can ruin the entire thing. Make sure you check to see what form of displacement you need to be using so you don’t run into any issues.
The way a compressor that uses positive displacement works is by bringing in a certain amount of air into the chamber then slowly reducing the amount of air that’s in the chamber to actually compress the air. The best type of applications for positive displacement compressor use are ones where the load is variable. This means that the exact load will vary because the demands aren’t always the same. Using a positive displacement compressor for these are best because they can easily compress the correct amount of air without the user having to interfered too much. In addition, they’ll be able to handle the different loads without any negative effects.
Now that you know how positive displacement compressors work, we need to look at how negative displacement works. They are more widely known as non-positive displacement compressors. These types of compressors have a rotating mechanism inside. The kinetic energy that comes off of the mechanism is turned into pressure energy. The amount of output on these compressors differ because it’s based on the rotation of the mechanism. If the mechanism is spinning slowly, then the output is going to be lower than if it’s spinning quickly. The applications that are best used with these are ones that don’t need a constant amount of output since it varies so much.
As you can see, there is a lot to think about when figuring out why kind of compressor your going to need. The best thing to do is do some research and stick with one of these common types. Once you get into ones that aren’t very common, not only are they usually harder to operate, but they sometimes don’t have a lot of information available. Just to reiterate, remember that different applications will need different types of compressors so it isn’t a one size fits all type of situation.