Air Compressors

When you are deciding on a compressor there are various things that you will need to think about. Before you can make a decision about how large a compressor you require, you must consider what you are going to use it for. Let us imagine you need an air compressor to drive your pneumatic tools. Consult the manual for your tools and obtain the amount of air necessary for each tool. The documentation for a nailer for example might note "air consumption - 3.0 10 nails per min at 90 psig" This will mean that the nailer needs 3.0 cu. ft. of compressed air to hammer 10 nails/min at 90 lbs /square inch. So you would be advised to look for an air compressor with at least this capacity. If you could be using more than one air driven tool at once (in a larger workshop for example) you will have to add up the requirements of individual tools.

Different Types of Compressors

Portability and Power Sources

If you will be using your compressor outside away from a source of electricity you will need a petrol powered compressor. For use inside, in a workshop for instance, a compressor that runs on electricity will be more suitable. A stationary model will be better for a permanent installation.


Nowadays compressors driven by pistons require little maintenance and are oil free. There should be a a pressure gauge, a pressure release valve and a switch which is both manual and automatic. Verify that portable compressors are easy to move around with a convenient carrying handle. Stationary compressors should have secure brackets for mounting.

Electricity Generators

Electricity generators are rated in watts and when considering the one to purchase you will need nto be sure that it will provide enough power for your needs. For occasional needs when there is a brief power outage and you only need to power lights and small appliances, a 2000-2500 watt side valve generator will usually be plenty. For longer outages you will need an overhead valve with 4000 or higher wattage.

Features of Generators

  • Auto shutdown on low oil levels helps prevent damage to the engine
  • Spark arrester for if you use the generator near to combustible material
  • Compression release with a pull start is easier.

Generator Size

To make a decision on the wattage needed you should think about what appliances and lights you will be running from your generator during a power outage. This may include boilers, water pumps, lighting and refrigerators etc. In addition many electric motors, for instance sump and water pumps, while using a certain wattage when running, will require perhaps 3x this wattage when starting up.

Types of Generator

There are two kinds of generator, portable or standby. As its name suggests the portable generator is able to be transported around as needed, for use on camping trips or for using tools etc for use at a distance from an electricity supply. A portable generator can be used to power household appliances in an emergency by being connected temporarily to the house power supply and manually switched on. The standby generator is fixed in place, usually on a base of concrete, and permanently wired into the home circuits. Automatic switches are usually turn on the generator if a power cut occurs.