Air compressors are one of the most useful and versatile items you can add to your tool arsenal. But many people remain without an air compressor simply because they don't understand the various terminology used to describe the capabilities of a given model. If you are considering purchasing an air compressor and would like to learn more about what all those specs mean, read on. This article will elucidate the meaning of two common terms.
Variable Speed Drive
It's no secret that, in order to provide its power, an air compressor requires a fairly large input of energy. This is the case when considering air compressors that run on both gasoline and electricity. Manufacturers have long been looking for ways to cut down on the energy demands of air compressors. Variable speed drive is one of the most significant such innovations available today.
Most air compressors run at full power all the time, regardless of the particular demands of the job at hand. While this is a good way to ensure that an air compressor can handle any task you throw at it, it also ends up causing a lot of energy waste. Units equipped with variable speed drive, on the other hand, are capable of altering their power requirements based on the particular job at hand. In other words, when using your compressor for a task that only requires a fraction of its capabilities, the machine will only draw a fraction of power, thus reducing its overall energy consumption.
You are probably already familiar with the term PSI, which stands for pounds per square inch. This is one way that the power of a given air compressor is expressed. If you plan to have only one power tool attached to your air compressor, PSI is a perfectly good indication of what size unit to buy. Yet those who hope to power more than one tool simultaneously must be familiar with yet another acronym: CFM.
CFM stands for cubic feet per minute. This term has one large advantage over PSI: it possesses additive potential. In other words, to know whether a particular model will be able to successfully power multiple tools at once, you simply have to add the CFM value of those tools together. Multiply this value by at least 1.25 times, and you will have the necessary CFM rating of the necessary air compressor. PSI values cannot be added together in this way, and thus make it harder to determine the necessary strength of air compressor to buy.
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