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The Right Air Compressor

Air compressors are one of the most vital components in constant use among industrial enterprises. Including electricity, water, and natural gas, compressed air is widely considered the fourth vital source of energy. On an international scale, air compressors are used by about 90 percent off all manufacturing companies in one way or another. Air compressors are used daily by commercial factories, spray foam rig operators, municipalities, field service workers, body shop owners, work truck operators, and a host of others.


When buying an air compressor, it is vital that you are well informed regarding what you are buying. Understanding cfm output, the energy source available on your jobsite, and the air volume needed to accomplish a task will all factor into the final decision of what to buy. It is essential that you buy an air compressor completely adequate for the application of your job.
When dealing with a host of different professions, such as work truck fleets, spray foam rig operators, contractors, or automotive technicians, the amount of air volume and cfm needed can vary greatly. Knowing your needs now and buying “extra air,” will allow you to grow your business or add applications without needing to upgrade compressors early.
Quality is the next biggest underlying factor. In the air compressor industry, there is a large field of aggressively priced compressors commonly referred to as DIY units. Do-it-yourself units are typically low cost to manufacture, and they suit the weekend warrior better than anything. Do not let the attractively low price of a DIY unit hinder your search for the perfect compressor. Put in the time and research before-hand. Pay attention to the components used to build the compressor, and look for such descriptive words as high pressure pumps, aftercoolers, oversized cylinders, liquid filled gauges, or extended warranty, as these are all words used to express the “upgraded value” of most professional brands.

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In order to find the best fit, there are a few questions you should ask before buying an air compressor:

  1. Which unit will be the best fit for the job? Determine what types of tasks or jobs you will perform. Such various jobs as inflating, spray painting, or sanding have differing requirements based upon air consumption.
  2. What cfm is right for the job? First, decide which types of pneumatic tools you will most often use. Different tools require different air pressure and volume (cfm) to operate properly. Choose an air compressor with higher air volume output than the tools to be used. For example, Wood Industries Inc.’s air compressors are set on a 50 percent duty-cycle, which means you should double the cfm requirements of your tools before buying a unit, otherwise you could end up buying an undersized pump (i.e. an air tool that requires eight cfm, would need a compressor that produces 16 cfm or more). Determine if the tool load will be used for light/intermittent duty or for continuous/heavy-duty applications. The heavier the usage, the larger the pump and air tank size (in gallons) needs to be.
  3. Is a gas powered unit or an electric one the best choice? Determine the source of power that you have available. If your compressor will be left stationary, then buying an electric unit is likely the best option. Determine the electrical power you have available. On the other hand, if you need an air compressor for mobile purposes, then a gas powered unit is likely the better option.


Remember, do not under-buy in order to cut corners. “It’s always better to have a little more air than needed. We always encourage our customers to know exactly what they are buying and selling. Having extra air in the long run is always better than having to buy extra parts due to overworking the machine in the short run,” says Jeff Wood, president of Wood Industries Incorporated.


Tyler Massey is a graduate of Ole Miss University with a B.B.A. in Marketing. He is currently a marketing specialist and salesman with Wood Industries, Inc. Find out more about Wood Industries, Inc., visit


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