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How Do I Choose the Best Cheap Compressor?

Amy Rodriguez
Amy Rodriguez

Choosing the best cheap compressor depends on a few factors, such as the overall material construction, previous maintenance and repair history, and the intended application for the machine. Purchasing a small compressor may be initially inexpensive; but, the internal parts may be poorly designed, causing a premature breakdown that can cost even more money. You also have the choice of purchasing a new, used, or rebuilt compressor, depending on the retail store.

Certain parts of an air compressor should not be constructed of flimsy material, such as the air tank. You should choose an inexpensive compressor with a strong metal or aluminum tank. Smaller compressors will not require as much manufactured material, making the retail price more inexpensive than larger compressor types.

Some nail guns, which launch nails at very high speed, make use of an air compressor.
Some nail guns, which launch nails at very high speed, make use of an air compressor.

A cheap compressor should still have a strong motor housing to protect the heart of the machine. The motor pulls in air from the outside to create a dense air mass within the storage tank. During shopping, examine the packaging to find out about the motor's housing material; it should not be shrouded in plastic, rather the chosen material should be metal or aluminum for a long lasting motor.

Some retail stores advertise their cheap compressor inventory as used or rebuilt. If you decide to browse among these machines, you should ask if each model has a documented repair and maintenance history. Many retailers will have information about oil changes or past repairs so the consumer can make an educated decision about purchasing a used or rebuilt inexpensive compressor.

Another practical way of choosing a cheap compressor is observing the machine's physical exterior. Multiple dents or broken areas along the tank or air valve area can signify that the compressor was neglected or abused. You should look for a model that clearly looks maintained with no visible damage to any exterior portion.

Most home hobbyists use simple and small tools for projects around the home, such as nail guns or drills. These air tools do not require a large and powerful compressor. In fact, a small compressor is a practical choice for most consumers. A cheap compressor is normally small in size; you can choose either a horizontal or vertical tank, based on the space available in the home.

It is good practice to mentally note all the air tools that need power from the compressor before purchasing a machine. In addition, note the future projects that you intend to try with the compressor. A cheap compressor that is too small for the larger household tools, such as a grinder, is not a useful investment.

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    • Some nail guns, which launch nails at very high speed, make use of an air compressor.
      By: Greg Pickens
      Some nail guns, which launch nails at very high speed, make use of an air compressor.