Need To Purchase An Air Compressor? 5 Terms You Need To Know

Posted on: 23 June 2021

If you want to purchase an air compressor, there are some terms that you need to know. Knowing these terms will help you more effectively compare different machines and pick the best one for your needs.

Term #1: Pounds per Square Inch (PSI)

One of the terms you will see the most often when looking at an air compressor is pounds per square inch or PSI. This is the measure of the force of air that the air compressor can deliver. This number is essential because you will need certain PSI levels to operate different pieces of equipment that you can attach to your air compressor. You will want to consider the PSI required for the tools you want to use to find the suitable air compressor that will fit your needs.

Term #2: Horsepower

The horsepower is abbreviated as HP. The horsepower is how much power the motor can generate when you use it. The bigger the horsepower number is, the more work the air compressor can do. This can result in equipment capable of producing stronger pounds per square inch of pressure and being able to pump in more air per second. A strong engine will improve the performance of the air compressor.

However, it is important to keep in mind that you don't need the strongest air compressor on the market if you are just using it to do work around your home. If you are not doing industrial work with the air compressor, you don't necessarily want to invest in a powerful machine.

Term #3: Brake Horsepower

The brake horsepower is different than the standard horsepower that the unit can produce. The brake horsepower is how much horsepower the unit delivers to the unit's compressor shaft or output shaft. The compressor shaft is where most of the work occurs with an air compressor, so you want a unit where the brake horsepower and the horsepower match up as neatly as possible.

Term #4: Intercooler

The intercooler is a part of the air compressor. The job of this part is to cool the air as it moves through the compression process inside of your air compressor.

Term #5: Aftercooler

The aftercooler is a different heat exchange unit inside of your air compressor. The aftercooler is used to cool off the air after it comes out of the compressor. The aftercooler has a moisture separator where moisture is removed from the air that it cools down as it is expelled from the aftercooler.

The more you know about the parts and terms associated with an air compressor, the better chance you have of picking out an air compressor that meets your needs.

Talk a dealer, such as a Quincy air compressor dealer, to find the right compressor for your needs.


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When most people think about the products they enjoy each and every day, they don't give a second thought about the types of equipment that made those items, which is really a shame. In today's world, there are thousands upon thousands of different pieces of equipment that create great pieces, and knowing how items are made can really help you to appreciate what you have. This little blog is here for others who want to learn more about the equipment used to create excellent items made each and every day. Read more about how to identify various components of industrial equipment, so you can look at the things you have and appreciate them.


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