Which Air Compressor Is Right For You?

Choosing the Right Air Compressor

Industries everywhere rely on air compressors to carry out a variety of functions, but not all compressors are the same. Here are some questions to ask yourself in order to determine which air compressor is right for you


How much air do I need?
Each tool or piece of equipment in your shop requiring compressed air to function should specify their exact CFM (cubic feet per minute) requirement, the units by which compressed air is measured. Use these numbers to find a compressor that has an output meeting or exceeding the requirements of your shop equipment.


What pressure do I need?
Similar to CFM requirements, your equipment should also specify its PSI (pounds per square inch) requirements. This will help you determine how much air pressure they need to function.


What kind of power source do I have?
Air compressors require a great deal of power, so it’s important to understand what kind of strain this will place on your electrical system (and power bill). Consult an electrician to determine the type and amount of electrical power available in your shop, and select a compressor that fits within those specifications.

Where will I keep it?
It’s important to ensure that you have adequate space for an air compressor in your shop, ideally in its own room. Compressors should have a roughly 3-foot radius to maintain ventilation and should be in an environment that maintains an ambient temperature and doesn’t get too hot or cold during periods of extreme weather.


Which compressor type is better suited for my purposes?
Do your research to determine whether you need a rotary or reciprocating compressor– take into consideration factors such as price, longevity, ease of use, duty cycle, and more before making your final decision.


Once you’ve gathered all this information, give us a call and we can assist in deciding which of our many air compressor options is right for you. Contact us, today.

Air Treatment Mythbusting, Pt. 2

air treatment myths and facts

We’re back to debunk another round of common air treatment myths and misconceptions! Read on to learn more about air contamination, dryer installation, and more:

Myth: Compressed air contamination is a compressor issue.

Fact: In a typical compressed air treatment system, contamination comes from three different sources, these being:

  1. Atmospheric air: Air compressors draw in huge amounts of atmospheric air, which continuously fills the system with contaminants such as water vapor, microorganisms, atmospheric dirt, and oil vapor.
  1. The air compressor: In addition to the contaminants drawn in through the compressor intake, the compressor also adds particulates from its operation. Additionally, oil lubricated compressors carry over liquid oil, oil aerosols, and oil vapor from the compression process. Once through the compression stage, the after-cooler will also condense water vapor. This introduces it into the compressed air in both a liquid and aerosol form.
  1. Compressed air storage devices and distribution piping: The air receiver (storage device) and the system piping that distributes the compressed air around the facility both store large amounts of contamination. Additionally, they cool the warm, saturated compressed air which causes condensation on a large scale. Thus, adding liquid water into the system. This saturated air and liquid water leads to corrosion, pipe scale, and microbiological growth.

Myth: Static oil water separators are not suitable for synthetic lubricants/PAGs. This is evident with cloudy outlet water.

Fact: Oil water separators are designed to reduce oil in water levels to acceptable limits. Some lubricants such as synthetics/PAGs also contain detergents and additives to extend the life of the compressor. Oil water separators are not designed to remove detergents and additives. Lab analysis needs to accurately determine oil in water content and not from visual inspection. Lab analysis of cloudy outlet water is the only way of accurately testing oil in water content to show whether or not it is within acceptable limits.

Myth: Any dryer (refrigerated or desiccant) can be installed outdoors.

Fact: A standard dryer design is for internal installation. However, many are often installed outside, with or without a lean-to roof. Outside installation is acceptable provided there is a lean-to roof with freeze/snow protection, blowing rain protection, and a roof/ceiling high enough to avoid hot air recirculation. We do no recommend outside installation of standard dryers with no roof.

In a case where outside installation without roof is a necessity, request an outdoor modification package including freeze protection, UV protection in paint, fasteners and electronics, and Nema 4 components throughout. A Nema 4 electrical enclosure alone is not sufficient for an outdoor setup without roof installation.

Myth: Most dryers do not provide dryness levels to the same levels quoted in sales literature.

Fact: Dryer installations often plague with a variety of mistakes which impact the level of compressed air dryness they provide. Classic installation mistakes are: 

  • Insufficient space above or in front of condenser air discharge, which causes recirculation and high pressure faults
  • Dramatic undersizing of dryers, forgetting that cooling water and ambient air in summer is at far higher temperatures than in winter
  • Insufficient power supplies, so the actual voltage is subject to tremendous dips, which can wreak havoc with dryer operation and performance.

Myth: Compressed air filters also dry compressed air.

Fact: Compressed air filters are capable of removing bulk liquid water and some water aerosol from compressed air. Compressed air filters are not capable of reducing the level of moisture vapor in compressed air. Nor do they reduce the pressure dew point of compressed air.

We hope this information helps those working with compressors to increase your understanding of your machines! We also hope we broke down all this air treatment myths you might’ve thought were true! Whether you’re looking to purchase a compressor or are in need of maintenance, 3C dedicates to educating our customers and providing quality service and products. Contact us for more information today!

Air Treatment Mythbusting, Pt. 1

air compressor mythbusting pt 1

With the amount of information available on the internet about air treatment and compressors, it can be hard to decipher how much of it is actually true! This is where our expert mythbusting skills come into play! Here are some common myths and misconceptions about air treatment, debunked:

Mythbusting: Filter elements should only be changed when differential pressure (DP) is high.

Fact: Compressed air filtration improves air quality. DP gauges/indicators are blockage indicators, not air quality indicators. Change your filter elements annually to ensure your compressed air quality.

Myth: Coalescing filters are ONLY for oil removal.

Fact: Coalescing filters have an even higher capture rate with solid contaminants than with liquids.

Myth: Oil contamination is not present in atmospheric air.

Fact: Atmospheric air typically contains between 0.05mg/m3 and 0.5mg/m3 of oil vapor from sources such as car exhaust and industrial processes. Because oil-free compressors use large quantities of atmospheric air, which contains oil vapor that can cool and condense in the compressed air systems, the use of oil-free compressors does not guarantee oil-free air.

Myth: Liquid oil and oil aerosol are the only contaminants present in a compressed air system.

Fact: Generally, there are 10 contaminants found in a typical compressed air system that need to be removed or reduced for the system to run efficiently:

  • Water vapor
  • Liquid oil
  • Oil vapor
  • Rust/atmospheric dirt
  • Water aerosols
  • Microorganisms
  • Oil aerosols
  • Liquid water
  • Pipe scale

Liquid oil and oil aerosol. Those two contaminants introduced from a lubricant compressor. The purification equipment required to reduce or remove the remaining contaminants also removes liquid oil and oil aerosols by virtue of their operation. Therefore, regardless of the type of compressor installed, you need purification equipment.


And that’s all the mythbusting for today! At 3C, we believe in the importance of educating all air compressor owners and users so that they fully understand the machines they work with. Do you still have unanswered questions about air compressors or air treatment that you’d like solved? Contact us today!