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5 Things To Consider When Buying An Air Compressor

When it comes to buying an air compressor, especially a used one, there are many factors one must cover.

If you are in the market for an air compressor, I’m sure you know that there benefits of buying used instead of buying new. You also know the main reason is that those who had owned an air compressor may have outgrown it and in the end didn’t need it anymore or they were looking for an air compressor that was more powerful than their previous model. A big benefit to buying a used air compressor will indeed to come down to the price. Although you may consider purchasing an older model, you’ll get a really great deal compared to buying a newer model.

Air Compressor

What Are Things to Consider When Buying A Used Air Compressor

Here are things one must consider when it comes to buying a used air compressor:

  • Your Tool Requirements: When buying an air compressor that is used, it still comes down to whether it can power up your tools efficiently or any other tools that you will purchase down the line. Always check to see what are the CFM requirements and if they are compatible with the tools that you have.
  • Check The History: When you are buying a used air compressor from someone, make sure you get a complete history of the compressor. Make sure that you ask for quotes if there were any repairs done in the past. In addition, make sure that all the parts that came with the air compressor are available by the time that you do buy it.
  • Easily Repairable: Nothing is worse than buying a used compressor at an inexpensive price then, down the road, realize that it will cost you a huge amount of money to fix, repair, or replace. Pertaining to the older model that you are buying, research the model and see what tools are needed in case you do have to repair it if something goes wrong.
  • Other Considerations: Always check to see if the air compressor is powered by electricity, diesel or regular fuel.

5 Things To Consider When Buying An Air Compressor

1. Electric or Gas

If you are indoors then you will have no choice in going electric. The main reason to go electric than gas indoors is that they do not emit fumes. Outdoors, however, gas can be efficient and cheaper to run. Be careful though as the exhaust from the compressor can prove to be an issue. If going electric there are also some things to consider. Electric can also be nice for portable cases but holds the issue of needing a plug into a wall. The power you need from your compressor will determine how much voltage you need when plugged. Many household compressors use between 110-120 volts while a 2HP engine may require a 220-240 volt outlet.

2. Single-Stage or Two-Stage

Compressors that use pistons are either Single Stage or Two Stage pumps. Single-stage and two-stage compressors differ from the amount of PSI they can reach. A single-stage can reach 120 PSI while a two-stage can reach 150 PSI.

The Single stage works by sucking in air and compressing the air to the desired pressure in a single piston stroke. Single stage pistons can reach up to 150 Pounds per square inch (PSI). The cubic feet per minute (CFM) will typically be higher than on a two-stage as every stroke is compressing air.

A two-stage compressor works like a one stage compressor but it has two pistons firing one after the other. They compress air in stages instead of all at once. First, it is compressed then cooled and compressed again. These types of compressors can reach up to 200 PSI. They are also efficient because they cool the air between the stages which increases the density.

A benefit of two-stage compressors is that they can use their air pressure at any moment without losing the pressure. Two-stage is a bit more expensive but maybe worth the cost to you.

3. Fixed or Portable

Depending on where you need to use the compressor you are either going to want a fixed or a portable one.  A fixed air compressor is stationary and is usually bolted to the ground or foundation of a building to prevent movement. Portable compressors can be handy if you need to bring a compressor on site or need to move it around in some cases.

4. Horsepower and CFM

When compared to vehicles, air compressors can be measured by their horsepower (HP). This, however, can be misleading given that the amount of HP doesn’t always equal more compressed air.

Standard cubic feet per minute (SCFM) is a better measurement of performance as it measures the performance of the HP as not all motors are created equal.

For most instances, the engine size will be between the range of 1-2HP. Some industrial situations will call for 5HP or more but this will be only in special cases. HP, however, is not really the best indicator as to the strength of the air compressor. CFM (cubic feet per minute) gives you a better idea. This measures the volume of air that’s delivered from the device on a regular basis.

5. Noise

If noise is an issue then you may want to get an oil-lubricated compressor as they tend to rattle around a lot less and therefore tend to be quieter than those that are oil-free. Oil-free compressors though being less efficient, do have the benefit of being more versatile as they do not require a flat surface so that the oil can circulate properly.


We hope we explained in detail what to consider when buying an air compressor. At CFM PSI Air Compressors, we carry different brands of quality air compressors. These brands include Ingersoll Rand, Sullair, Atlas Copco, and Sullivan Palatek. If you’re looking to purchase our high-quality air compressors for your work projects, you can contact us at (714) 531 8239  or email us at 

Request a quote and order your air compressor today!