How to Adjust an Air Compressor Pressure Switch

Your electric air compressor is designed to operate within specific air pressure ranges, with pre-set cut-in pressure and cut-out pressure setting options. For the most part, operating within this range, especially the cut-out pressure setting, is the best way to operate your air compressor. This is especially important when you’re considering adjusting the higher pressure end of your switch, because the rest of the system may not be rated to higher pressures and turning up the pressure can damage it if the rising pressure doesn’t trip a faulty safety valve and tank pressure gets too high. At Advanced Air & Vacuum, we always recommend having a professional look at your manufacturing sector air compressor to see what the system will bear, or if any other upgrades would need to happen before pressure switch adjustment takes place.

However, sometimes you have to replace the switch with a new pressure switch that has been set to different cut-in pressure and cut-out settings. These settings are the pressure at which your air compressor switch, a mechanical device, will turn on to increase air pressure or turn off when the higher pressure that is set is reached. Similarly, you may need to adjust the breadth of the pressure range in which your air compressor will operate. In this situation, being able to adjust your air compressor switch is an important part of operations.

This is a different process than changing the line pressure for your system and should not be confused. It’s much simpler to change your system’s line pressure, where a pressure regulator is adjusted to adapt the pressure in your feed lines that go to your tools. In this article, we’ll take a look at the steps that are taken when you are adjusting your air compressor’s pressure settings at the switch, including appropriate safety precautions to take to prevent an accident, what kind of tools you’ll need to get the job done, and the steps required to make the changes to your air pressure switch.

Air Compressor Pressure Switch Adjustments: Precautions + Required Tools

Safety Precautions

Air compressors often work on an electrical circuit, which makes it important to take appropriate safety precautions. Because the pressure switch will control the electrical current to the compressor motor, it’s vital that you follow safety measures, including wearing personal protective equipment. Turn off the air compressor and if possible, pull the plug to avoid accidental shocks to yourself, your crew, or any bystanders in the area.

You don’t need to open the drain valve, as the lack of current at the electrical contact will prevent the pneumatic pressure switch from running the compressor pump. However, if you’re undertaking these operations at the end of the day regardless, it may make sense to bleed pressure off of the system first, especially if you’ll be testing the cut-in at a lower pressure than you currently operate at. You may also want to inspect the pressure switch relief valve so that you know that it will blow off extra pressure instead of causing a blow-out if you turn the maximum pressure too high. Similarly, if the drain water from your drain valve is rusty, you may want to have your pressure tank inspected before adjusting the pressure up, as that can be a sign of corrosion within the tank.

Tools and Materials Needed

Generally speaking, the adjustment process needs very little in terms of tools and materials. You’ll need a screwdriver or wrench, depending on the type of air pressure switch that you have on your compressor. If the compressor and lighting in the area are hardwired into a breaker, you’ll need to throw the breaker, so make sure you tape it off and have alternative lighting available to be able to see what you’re doing. Depending on how long it has been since you’ve adjusted the pressure switch, you may need to use dielectric grease or an electrical solvent to get the set screw to move. DO NOT spray flammable liquids on the pressure switch while it is hooked up to an electrical current! Similarly, a bit of sandpaper or steel wool is handy if you need to clean up the switch contacts due to corrosion. If you’re rehabbing your air system, you may want to include Teflon tape if you’re replacing piping with threaded connections or need to replace gauges.

Steps to Air Compressor Pressure Switch Adjustment

Now that we know what we need and how to safely work on an air pressure switch, let’s start going through the adjustment steps of the process.

Step 1: Turn off the air compressor. For safety reasons, this doesn’t mean just work on it when it isn’t running, because it could cut in at any point. If possible, unplug the air compressor from its power supply or flip and tape off the breaker that the air compressor is powered on. You may want to drain the pressure tank and check the pressure relief valve at this time.

Step 2: Locate the pressure switch and the adjustment nut. There are two types of pressure switches, fixed range, which has one nut with an adjustment spring beneath it, and adjustable range, which will have two or three nuts that can be adjusted to change the cut-in point, the cut-out point, and the breadth of the pressure range between these two points. For a fixed range pressure switch, you can only increase or decrease pressure, while the range remains the same. Increasing the cut-out point will increase the cut-in point. Adjustable range provides a much finer degree of control.

Step 3: Identify the correct pressure range for your tool or equipment. If this is not located on the tool itself, or if it has worn off, check the manual for the factory setting for the pneumatic tool. Exceeding the recommended settings for the air tool can cause serious damage to the tool, so you’ll want to make sure you’ve got this range correct before proceeding.

Step 4: Turn the adjustment nut or adjustment screw. Generally speaking, almost any air compressor pressure system that has a differential adjustment will turn in a clockwise direction to increase the pressure, while turning the fitting in a counterclockwise direction will decrease the pressure. Similarly, turning the range nut on an adjustable range pressure switch clockwise will increase the range, while turning it counterclockwise will decrease the range. It is recommended that you leave a minimum range of 20 PSI to prevent short cycling and wear on your system.

Step 5: Check the pressure gauge and adjust as needed. Close the drain valve, pressure relief valve, and shut-off valve to your air system lines. Plug your compressor in or flip the breaker back. Turn your compressor on and see at what points it will cut in and out before putting pressure out to your system. By keeping pressure localized, you can speed up the rate of compression and the testing process, because the system will not need to pressurize all your lines before you reach the cut-out point.

Step 6: Test the compressor and adjust again if necessary. Check the pressure at the gauge and again at the tank to ensure that they match up. Are they where they need to be? If the pressure is outside your ideal range, take the time to adjust again. If you record the pressure between tests and note how far you’re turning the adjustment nut or nuts, you can get a better idea of how much adjustment will be needed to reach that range.

Step 7: Turn on the compressor and monitor for any issues. After you’ve reached the ideal range for your air system, open the valve to the rest of your air lines. Connect tools and make sure that they work well with the pressure settings and make any additional fine-tuning adjustments at the pressure regulator to your overhead line system or at the tool itself, depending on your setup. Once your system is fully pressurized, listen for hissing sounds that may indicate leaks or poor connections, and repair them as needed.

Advanced Air – Your Provider of Industrial Air Compressors

Whether it’s part of your retooling process, rehabbing an older industrial air compressor, or simply changing out an air pressure switch that has failed, going through the steps properly ensures that your company will get good performance out of your air compressor for many years to come. However, in some situations, a simple adjustment may not provide enough of a change for your operation to work smoothly.

At Advanced Air & Vacuum, we’ve spent the past two decades creating outstanding air systems for industrial, manufacturing, and factory needs. With a short chat on the phone, we can find the right solution to your air compressor woes, whether it’s upgrading part of your system, making a simple repair, or providing you with the right air compressor for your company’s needs. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.


Best Pipe for Air Compressor Lines

Running your shop or facility on compressed air hoses can be a great way to get your business off the ground initially, but it’s not a great long-term solution. They’re messy, can cause issues with catching on items, and can cause serious safety risks. For better occupational safety, getting those hoses off the ground in favor of air pipe that can be run overhead to drop points makes it easier for employees to avoid tripping over an air compressor line that wasn’t there a minute ago. This can make a big difference in your shop’s operations, keeping your workers safe and production moving efficiently.

But what kind of air pipe should you use? There is a wide range of available options that you could turn to, from the cheap and dangerous, to expensive and long-lasting options, to the gold standard that won’t cost you a mint, saving your budget significant harm without requiring replacement every few years. In this article, we’ll cover all of the popular types of compressed air system piping that is available to the market, including some that you should avoid at all costs to prevent injury to personnel or damage to your pneumatic tooling

Common Types of Piping used for Compressed Air Lines

There are many kinds of air pipe you can put to use, including copper piping, plastic piping, aluminum piping, stainless steel piping, and black iron piping. But while some of these are an excellent choice for your shop, others will have a prohibitively high cost and yet others will have safety issues or cause rust contamination in your pneumatic tooling. Let’s look at the most common types of air pipe available for running compressed air lines from your rotary screw compressor in your compressor room to your pneumatic tooling drop lines so that you can select the best pipe for the job.

Black Iron or Steel Pipe

Let’s start with the old standby, one of the first types of metal pipes used in air distribution. There are three different types of ferrous pipe, including galvanized, black iron, and stainless steel pipe. Galvanized should be avoided at all costs, because the anti-corrosive zinc lining can flake off and wreck your pneumatic tooling. Black pipe doesn’t have the galvanization, but instead can rust if exposed to moisture in your air piping from your air compressor, causing rust contamination in your tools. Stainless steel pipe is a better option, as it has significant resistance to corrosion, but is also more expensive to purchase and install. In any case, the ferrous air pipe will be heavy, require expertise to weld or connect with fasteners, and will have potential failure points at those connections.

Copper Pipe

There’s something beautiful about a shop with its air supply plumbed in copper pipe in a steam-punk kind of way, and its resistance to high temperature, reliable air flow, and smaller inner diameter (i.d.) to outer diameter (o.d.) ratio means it takes up less space than thicker, larger pipe options. It’s also lighter weight than iron pipes, has strong natural corrosion resistance in all but the most hostile environments, and it’s fairly easy to obtain fittings for your system at a local store if you need to make a quick repair or expand your system to one or two more workstations. However, the additional expense of copper pipe often outweighs the many benefits that this material brings to the table. Given that the price of copper in the commodities markets is showing no sign of dropping after the last several years, this can make this type of air pipe above many shop budgets.

Aluminum Pipe

Though originally difficult to find and more expensive, aluminum pipe has become much more popular and lower in cost for compressed air systems in the past two decades. Commonly used for construction or retrofits in industrial plants, high-quality aluminum piping is very cost-effective, lightweight, and corrosion resistant. This makes them ideal for consistent air flow and fast installation, because they don’t require the complex installation processes of copper or ferrous piping systems. It’s also very resistant to leaking, comes in a wide range of sizes, and deals well with a range of different temperatures. Though it may not be as freely available as other options, it’s well worth the weight to plumb your air distribution system in aluminum.

PVC Pipe

PVC piping can seem like a great, inexpensive option for handling compressed air lines given its lower energy costs to produce, causing a lower overall acquisition cost, but these plastic pipes hold a dangerous secret that can shortcut your company’s success. As exposure to oil, heat, and the passage of time increases, PVC lines become more and more brittle, degrading to the point that the cheap, reliable lines you’ve used the past year or so suddenly give way. Instead of simply splitting and causing a pressure drop, the PVC shatters, creating tons of sharp, jagged shrapnel as it blows out in every direction, dropping pressure and injuring workers. For this reason, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) as well as other occupational health administration agencies have prohibited the use of PVC pipe in compressed air lines. This same caution should be used with plastic flexible tubing, which may also age poorly.

What Size Pipe should I use for my Air Compressor?

Generally speaking, most piping sizes for your compressed air system will be based on how many cubic feet per minute (CFM) your system will be using at its highest production demand point. If you’re planning a future expansion, start with your expected usage rather than actual usage to provide a buffer and allow simple expansion, rather than replacement, of your compressed air piping. These measurements are based on the inner diameter of the pipe, which makes the pipe’s thickness irrelevant to the volume of air that is moved.

  • 1/2″ piping: up to 25 CFM
  • 3/4″ piping: 25 to 50 CFM
  • 1″ piping: 50 to 100 CFM
  • 1-1/4″ piping: 100 to 200 CFM
  • 1-1/2″ piping: 200 to 400 CFM
  • 2″ or larger piping: over 400 CFM

By keeping within these piping ranges, you’ll be able to enjoy constant compressed air pressure at your pneumatic tooling systems without suffering regular pressure drops and the impact that can have on your production process. If you’re dealing with tight spaces, you’ll want to consider your compressed air piping material carefully, as thicker-walled material such as iron and plastic pipe will take up more space than thinner-walled copper and aluminum piping.

Compressed Air Piping with AAV

When you’re trying to find the best compressed air pipe for your needs, it can be difficult to make sure you’re making the right decision. At Advanced Air & Vacuum, we’ve spent the past two decades helping our customers find the right solutions for their businesses. For this reason, when we find a truly remarkable product for our industry, we work hard to make sure we can secure suppliers for our customer’s needs. Among those remarkable products is the Prevost Piping System, a compressed air system based on 100% aluminum materials.

By creating a solid air compressor network that is built to stand the test of time and provide constant, high pressure air flow to each of your workstations, the Prevost Piping System is lightweight and more compact, with PPS1 aluminum fittings to provide a more resilient air supply system. It features exceptional mechanical resistance to both average daily pressure as well as to impacts that would damage lesser materials. It’s also resistant to compressor lubricants and oils, preventing damage to your system if a change is made. Featuring an exterior epoxy paint and an interior treatment, the aluminum alloy piping is well-protected against any oxidation or corrosion risks.

The Prevost Piping System is completely modular and scalable, with the PPS1 fittings making upgrades and changes very easy to pull off due to its adaptability. To assemble your system, the lightweight aluminum piping is simply lifted and inserted into the fitting, and the strong PPS1 fitting is then tightened around it, creating a strong, leak-resistant connection. Developed with the company’s patented design, the PPS Grip Concept ensures that you have a flawless connection and zero leaks, making it easier to avoid pressure loss in your air flow. Because the inner pipe surface is perfectly smooth, there is a low level of friction and a larger internal diameter, allowing you to move more air without turbulence in the same space as other types of piping.

If you have any questions about selecting, installing, and maintaining the right pipe system for your compressed air needs, in addition to design assistance for your piping layout to gain the best possible performance, the experienced professionals at Advanced Air & Vacuum are ready to help. Please feel free to contact us today with any concerns, for more details on the right compressed air system for your business, or to get a quote on a high-performance compressed air pipe system for your company’s needs.


Air Compressors for Car Detailing: A Guide

If you do a lot of auto detailing, you know that an air compressor can be very handy, from interior detailing such as cleaning floor mats and fabric upholstery to adding pressure to steam cleaning processes in the vehicle engine compartment. The professional detailer knows that the difference between the care and attention they give to every square inch of the vehicle is vital to their business, because otherwise the owner may as well just go to the car wash for their cleaning needs.

The enormous power that is available in an air compressor moves many cubic feet of air into a high-pressure system, making it much easier to blow debris out of tight spaces in a car interior. One might say that an air compressor is just as essential to the professional detailer as a microfiber towel, vacuum cleaner, or similar detailing tools. It even works well for mobile auto detailing professionals, with many options available to help keep your operation running efficiently.

In this article, we’ll go through the details of why a vehicle shop may need an air compressor, different types of air compressors available on the market, and how to select the perfect air conditioner for your professional detailing service.

Why Would a Vehicle Shop Use an Air Compressor?

Providing constant air pressure to a range of different activities in the shop, an air compressor is a vital tool in many automotive businesses, and for detailers, they can be used to blow dust out of hard to reach areas in car upholstery, cup holders, door jams, and similar tight spaces in a vehicle. It can also be used for exterior detailing, such as cleaning around door panels, operating pneumatic tools, or providing power for headlight restoration. Overall, having an air compressor to assist in the detailing process makes it much easier to give the customer a pristinely clean car at the end of the process.

A few examples of how an air compressor helps keep your business moving:

  • Car painting: An air compressor provides an unbelievably smooth finish, especially to clear coat paints that can be somewhat fussy.
  • Tire inflation: You want to leave customers feeling they got an amazing value and checking tires on the way out is one way to do that.
  • Cleaning your engine bay: Dirt and grime are endemic in auto shops and being able to blow dust out the overhead door makes cleanup simple.
  • Drying off a car: Bumpers, side mirrors, hood vents, grills and similar areas are notoriously stubborn to get dry. Blow the excess moisture out.
  • High Pressure cleaning: Nothing gets dirt out of tight places like using high pressure, and the right air compressor helps make that happen.
  • Powers a car cleaning gun: Whether you’ve got a Tornador Z-010 or similar cleaning tools, you’ll need an air compressor to power it.

Types of Air Compressors for Car Detailing Available at AAV:

There are two different types of air compressor you can use for car detailing, a rotary screw compressor and a piston compressor. Let’s take a look at each type:

Rotary Screw Compressors

What are rotary screw compressors?

Rotary screw compressors provide constant air pressure by keeping the mechanism in motion constantly, with no downtime in the duty cycle. This type of compressor is very reliable and can provide a high airflow in terms of cubic feet per minute (CFM), but also tends to be a bit more expensive.

How do they work?

A rotary screw compressor is operated by trapping air between two rotors or interlocking helical screws. The volume of air that is trapped between these two screws will gradually be compressed, providing a constant source of compressed air.

Because of the simplicity of design, rotary screw compressors tend to be very reliable and provide a constant stream of pressurized air, which can be a boon if you’re dealing with air tools that use a great deal of air flow, such as a painting rig.

Use cases:

  • Powering air tools
  • Inflating tires
  • Running spray guns

Piston Compressors

What is a piston compressor?

By comparison, a piston or reciprocating compressor uses an electric motor to compress air that has been taken into a cylinder, which is then moved into a large capacity bottle or tank. From this tank, the pressurized air is then moved through hoses to tools and similar equipment. Though both terms are correct, most in the industry use the term piston compressor.

Piston compressors are found in two primary configurations:

Single Stage Compressors

Designed for intermittent use, a single stage compressor uses one cylinder to compress the air. For this reason, it’s only able to reach lower pressures. They tend to work very well for smaller shops, individual workstations, or personal use. Due to their smaller size, capability, and simplicity, they tend to also be the least expensive type of air compressor on the market. They work well for inflating tires, cleaning shops, operating lower-power air tools, and similar applications.

Two Stage Compressors

By comparison, a two stage compressor is designed for near-continuous use. The two stages in this type of compressor refer to two cylinders, one larger and one smaller. The larger cylinder fills with air which is compressed by a piston and moved into the second, smaller cylinder. The second cylinder is then also compressed by a piston, after which point the air is moved into the storage tank. This process allows the air to be compressed to a higher pressure, making it more suitable for ongoing use as well as in higher-powered applications such as painting, sanding, and similar applications. However, due to the larger number of moving parts, they are typically more expensive to purchase up front, but have a lower overall maintenance cost due to less frequent maintenance being required.

Choosing an Air Compressor for Car Detailing: Things to Consider

There are many factors to take into consideration when selecting the right air compressor for your detailing needs.


Size can refer to two different factors. The first, the weight of the air compressor, has to do with how stable it will be in operation. If you run a mobile service, you may want to go with a lighter horizontal-orientation air compressor, which will be more stable but still movable by the average worker. If you have a centralized shop, you may want to choose a heavier vertical-oriented air compressor that will remain stable while taking up less floor space.

The second factor has to do with tank size. The size of the air compressor tank will determine how much air it can move into the system during its duty cycle. If you’re considering a two cycle piston air compressor, you may get by with a smaller tank at a higher pressure than you could with a single stage air compressor. Air compressor tanks are typically measured in gallons.


Though air compressor tanks are measured in gallons, the amount of air they can move is measured in cubic feet per minute. This has to do with how much air can be compressed constantly by the air compressor if it’s running wide open.


PSI stands for pounds per square inch, which is a pressure measurement. A two stage compressor can handle higher PSI than a single stage, providing higher pressure to get the job done.


As mentioned under size, a heavier air compressor is better for a large shop, while mobile services will want to use a smaller air compressor that will often be easier to move.

Best Air Compressors for Car Detailing

CR7.5 Gas Powered Air Compressor: The Most Reliable Piston Air Compressor

Featuring a two-stage compressor, 30-gallon tank size, 7.5 horsepower motor, and a flow rate of approximately 23.5 CFM at 100 PSI and 22.6 CFM at 175 PSI, the CR7.5 is the most reliable piston-based air compressor we stock at Advanced Air. It works very well for many larger shops, but may be too heavy if you need a portable unit.

Quincy Portable Air Compressor

If your operation is in need of a smaller, more portable option, this single stage air compressor from Quincy is a great option to consider. It can generate a maximum of 7.4 CFM at 135 PSI, features a 20-gallon powder-coated ASME tank, runs on 115V AC with a 2 horsepower motor, and is a great option to consider for most portable operations.

As you can see, there are many factors to consider when selecting your air compressor, whether you’re using it as a simple leaf blower for your shop, need something to move cleaning liquid deeper into the carpet, have to have something with enough power to handle the perfect ceramic coating, or just want a simple, oil-free pump that requires virtually no maintenance. At Advanced Air, we’re happy to help you find the perfect option. Please contact us today to get started!


Direct Drive vs. Belt Drive Air Compressors

Whether you’re driving pneumatic tools or want to improve energy efficiency in your operation, the type of air compressor you purchase can make a big difference in the performance you’ll receive. Though many larger operations will go with a rotary screw compressor to provide tankless operation, many companies find themselves puzzling out the differences between direct drive units and belt-driven models when trying to make a decision between the types of air compressors available on the market.

In this article, we’ll get into the fine details and differences between these types of air compressors, whether you’re using a portable compressor or a stationary compressor for your operation. We’ll look at the advantages and disadvantages between a belt drive air compressor and a direct drive model, so that you can determine which is the best option for your needs, including initial investment, compressor performance, which has less maintenance, noise level, and similar aspects. Let’s get started.

Direct Drive Air Compressors

What is a direct drive compressor? A direct drive air compressor directly connects the motor to the compressor pump using a crankshaft. This direct transmission of power doesn’t limit the compressor to single-stage compressor operation, however, with two-stage compressors available with a direct drive power system.

Advantages of Direct Drive Air Compressors

Because they have fewer moving parts, direct drive air compressors are low maintenance, with fewer parts to wear and require replacement. This means that you’ll have fewer failure points than a belt-driven compressor and overall maintenance costs will be lower with less downtime.

This simplicity also means that it will do better in harsh environments, holding up better to extreme temperatures than its belt-driven counterparts. This makes a direct drive air compressor a better option for hot and cold weather, where belts can be impacted by the temperature. This represents the overall ruggedness of direct drive compressor options.

Direct drive air compressors also have higher levels of efficiency in operations, as there is no loss of power transmission in the belt. This allows you to get more energy from every cycle than you would receive from a belt drive compressor.

Disadvantages of Direct Drive Air Compressors

However, as with any list of benefits, direct drive compressors also have drawbacks. Because of the direct connection between the electric motor and the compressor pump, this compressor type tends to be much louder than a belt drive compressor.

The other issue that can arise is higher repair costs. Because there are fewer parts to fail, if one part does fail, it typically has a much higher cost of repair, because it is more integral to the overall operation of the direct drive compressor, such as a shaft seal at the connection points for the crankshaft.

Because the direct drive compressor must be constructed to higher initial standards to hold up in a wider range of environments and with fewer moving parts, it will often have a higher initial cost as its final disadvantage.

Common Applications of a Direct Drive Air Compressor

If you’re in a situation where you’ll need significant cubic feet per minute (CFM) and a large air compressor to keep your air compressor in operation, a direct drive rotary screw air compressor will generally provide the best outcomes for your operation, due to better energy efficiency, continuous operation, and lower downtime.

Belt-Driven Air Compressors

By comparison, a belt drive compressor uses a belt to connect the electric motor to the drive pump using a pulley system, which may include other items being powered such as an exhaust fan.

Advantages of Belt Drive Air Compressors

A belt drive air compressor will provide greater flexibility to your operation, allowing you to adapt to variable speed by changing out the pulley system for different-sized pulleys. This allows you to change how much air flow and pressure you can pack into your storage tank.

The fewer direct connection points of a belt drive compressor mean that this type of compressor will be less noisy than a direct drive compressor, making it more suitable for an indoor environment where the air compressor can’t be removed from the work area.

Because they don’t need to be as hardy as direct drive compressors, you’ll often find that belt drive compressors are less expensive initially than their direct drive counterparts, making it much easier on the budget for the initial investment.

Disadvantages of Belt Drive Air Compressors

Because the belt drive compressor uses a rubber belt to drive the compressor pump, the belt must remain at the proper tension. This means that at extreme temperatures, you may find that there is too much slack or too much tension in the belt, which impacts appropriate operation. This limits the range of temperatures in which it can operate.

Because the belt is made of a flexible material, there is some loss of efficiency in a belt drive air compressor, as there will always be some slippage given the properties of the belt material. Changes in temperature can impact this, making the belt slide more as the belt relaxes in higher temperatures, making the proper tension of vital importance to efficient operations.

Finally, the additional wear points will require more maintenance and more frequent downtime than direct drive systems, impacting your operational efficiency.

Common Applications of Belt Drive Air Compressors

A belt drive compressor will do best when flexibility is needed in an operation. If you need to push lug bolts with your crew this week and push paint the next, being able to rapidly change out your CFM and PSI by simply changing pulleys and belts can be a huge advantage. Belt drive systems also tend to be more portable, making them easier to move from point A to point B.

Belt Drive & Direct Drive Air Compressors: Which is Right for You?

Though you’ll need to consider all aspects of your operation, there are some differences between these two types of compressors that may stand out and help make your decision easier. As an example, temperature, maintenance, downtime, budget, or similar aspects may play a strong role in your selection process. To help you decide, here are a few factors to consider:

Use Frequency

If you only need to use an air compressor every once in a while, a belt drive will typically suit your needs much better, due to its lower overall cost and need for regular maintenance and downtime. For frequent to continuous use, the direct drive will be a better option, as it is designed to operate on a near-continuous basis with lower downtime and infrequent maintenance needs.


If you’re on a tight initial budget, a belt drive will work better, giving you a lower starting budget to get your air compressor into operation. However, if you’re concerned about your long-term operating budget, a direct drive will have lower maintenance costs down the road, often giving you a lower overall cost over the lifespan of the air compressor.


If you need to limit downtime on your line, a direct drive system that requires fewer maintenance tasks carried out on it is a better option than a belt drive, which will require more frequent services. The direct drive system will also have a longer overall service life, requiring less frequent replacement and providing a higher level of reliability than a belt drive system.


The environment that your air compressor will be used in can also impact the type that you should purchase, with harsh conditions and extreme temperatures causing problems for some air compressor types if it’s used there on a regular basis. For an ideal solution in a harsh environment, go with a direct drive system that has fewer wear points and maintenance requirements, rather than a belt drive air compressor that will not do as well in extreme temperatures below freezing or in very hot conditions.

Contact Advanced Air for Your Industrial Air Compressor Needs

Whether you’ve decided on the exact air compressor you need for your operation or need assistance deciding whether a belt drive air compressor or direct drive air compressor will be best for your company, Advanced Air & Vacuum can help. Our team of experienced professionals has worked in a wide range of industries, and knows what will work best for your operation. Please feel free to reach out today with any questions, for more information, or to get a quote on the perfect air compressor system for your business.


How to Quiet an Air Compressor

Pressure Gauge on an Air Compressor

Though air compressors can be a very handy tool and pneumatic power source, they can also create a high noise level, making the search for a quiet compressor important to many business owners. However, just because you’re on the hunt for a quiet air compressor doesn’t mean that you have to have a lot of noise in the meantime. This article will delve into the causes of noise in a loud compressor, how to use different tools and techniques to quiet your air compressor, and what types of air compressor are the quietest to begin with.

How Loud are Air Compressors?

With the usual decibel range of a vacuum cleaner, an air compressor can be rather noisy. Used to power a pneumatic tool, air tool, air up car tires, or push paint or other material through a sprayer assembly, a silent air compressor is practically non-existent. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy normal conversation in your shop without the loud noise of your portable air compressor operating in the background.

But let’s start by talking about how sound volume is measured. Sound output is measured in decibels, which increase on a logarithmic scale. A decibel is the smallest change in sound volume that the human ear can detect. Using the scale, this means that a 40-decibel sound is 10 to the 4th power louder than a single decibel, or 1,000 times louder. In some situations, a decibel meter may be used to measure noise pollution in an environment, determining at which point hearing protection should be required of workers to protect their hearing.

Though some air compressors, such as rotary screw compressors, are by nature low noise generators, using a circular motion of a screw to compress the air into the system, most air compressors, including both a portable compressor and stationary compressors, create a lot of noise in industrial application. For that reason, taking steps to reduce noise in the work environment is important both to worker health and occupational safety. In this next section, we’ll discuss some of the ways you can reduce noise in your industrial application.

How to Make Air Compressor Quieter

The amount of noise that is generated in industrial applications can be bothersome, making normal conversation difficult and the work environment dangerous as workers fail to hear potential hazards due to the noise level. The powerful motor that runs the air compressor can create a lot of noise in and of itself, as can vibrations, the air intake, and other parts of the air compressor.

Air compressor noise reduction can happen in multiple ways, from an intake silencer to a soundproof enclosure, and all attempts at noise reduction make your shop a more pleasant place to work. Here are some of the top ways you can improve noise reduction in your industrial application.

Soundproof Box for Air Compressor

One option is moving your air compressor out of or away from the workspace. This can include building a soundproof box, complete with concrete block and acoustic foam. An intake muffler can generate less noise that would otherwise escape through the intake needed to keep air moving into the compressor.

However, when planning your acoustic barrier, remember to include a certain number of cubic feet within the enclosure, especially for air-cooled motors. You can also place rubber grommets between the feet of your stationary air compressors and the slab they’re mounted to so that vibrations don’t pass along the slab to generate more noise and vibration throughout the shop. You should also ensure that adequate ventilation is available to help keep your air compressor cool to ensure a long workable lifespan.

Air Compressor Sound Blanket

But what if you can’t create a soundproof box to enclose your air compressor? Hanging a sound blanket around the air compressor saves room while causing noise reduction to happen, which you could back on the outside with stainless steel bars to prevent it from being pulled into the intake muffler.

In addition to hanging sound blankets at the sides of your industrial air compressor, you can also include them over the top of your air compressor to further reduce and control noise in your industrial application. Rubber grommets can be placed between your air compressor and the slab it’s mounted on as well, or rubber mats can be placed beneath it, to help reduce the noise that is caused by vibration on the slab.

Perform Regular Air Compressor Maintenance

Regular maintenance can also impact how loud your air compressor can be. Maintenance helps your air compressor run more smoothly, reducing how much noise it generates. These steps should include:

  • Check lubrication levels on a regular basis. This system is typically laid out in your air compressor’s manual or on the manufacturer’s website. As mentioned above, an air compressor that requires oil changes will be quieter than an oil-free air compressor. Try to keep spare oil on hand so that you’re not caught short when you need it most.
  • Place the air compressor on a rubber mat to absorb vibrations and check the mat’s condition regularly. Because the vibration caused by the air compressor will cause mats or grommets to be moved against metal or concrete, it can cause significant wear on these parts. Consider keeping spares on hand.
  • Keep air filters clean and change them often. Again, your manufacturer’s website or manual is the best place to reference this information, but it’s especially important if you’re in a dry, dusty climate that can cause dust to build up on the filters quickly. If you can, try blowing the dust out of the filter outside to get more use from it, and always keep spares on hand.

Use a professional maintenance service. Because professional maintenance technicians also manage repairs, they’re a good person to have on hand to spot issues that may arise in your air compressor, allowing you to catch problems early on when they’re easy to fix rather than later when they’ve become a serious issue.

Choose a Less Noisy Air Compressor

Though all air compressors will generate some amount of noise, some types will generate less noise from the beginning, making it easier for you to create further noise reduction in your workshop or industrial application. These include:

  • Compressors requiring oil changes
    • An oil-free air compressor is typically louder than its oil-change-required industrial models. Part of this is because industrial air compressors will typically include better construction than an oil-free compressor, such as stainless steel versus mild steel parts, and take steps to reduce the amount of noise generated by the compressor. Don’t give into the urge to go low maintenance with an oil-less compressor! One great option to consider is the Atlas Copco CR5 to 7.5 Vertical 80-Gallon Air Compressor.
  • A rotary screw compressor
    • Rotary screw compressors run constantly, but do not make as much noise, because they constantly generate pressured air instead of trying to “catch up” the tank so that it can take time out of the duty cycle. Towards that end, they tend to have fewer revolutions compared to piston-driven tank models and show a related 10 to 15 decibel drop in noise level, typically topping out at 70 to 75 decibels compared to the 85 decibels that are more normal for piston-driven air compressors. We recommend the Atlas Copco G7-15 series of rotary air compressors to meet your needs.
  • A larger-capacity compressor
    • Though this doesn’t necessarily reduce the noise of the air compressor, it can reduce how often it needs to be operated to fill the storage tank. By increasing the tank capacity, the air compressor will have to operate less frequently to fill it, remaining quiet the rest of the time. This can make it much quieter in your shop the rest of the time and is a great option to consider if you’re planning a shop expansion down the road that may require a larger compressor to begin with. We recommend the Atlas Copco two-stage CR10 and CR15 series, which features a 120-gallon storage tank. (Read more about two-stage air compressors here!)

Advanced Air’s Quality Air Compressors

By starting with a high-quality industrial air compressor from your local Arizona or California air tools supplier, you’ll get much higher quality than you would from a hardware store air compressor. Because an industrial air compressor is built to withstand demanding environments, they’re often quieter from the beginning, due to the superior construction and materials used in creating them.

At Advanced Air & Vacuum, our highly trained team of technicians gives you a multi-faceted approach to finding the perfect air compressor for your business, installation process, and continued service and maintenance for many years to come. Our dedication to our customers is second to none. Please feel free to reach out today with any questions, to get more details on our outstanding lineup of air compressors and accessories, or to get a quote on your next air compressor project.

Case Studies

How to Repair a Hole in an Air Compressor Tank

Why It’s Important to Fix an Air Compressor Hole ASAP

Whether you’re looking at a small pancake air compressor from Harbor Freight or Home Depot or a 150-gallon tank old compressor that you’ve gotten years of service out of, it’s important that you fix the hold in your receiver tank ASAP. If you don’t, it can lead to additional problems that are not so easily fixed, such as the failure of your compressor pump because your tank cannot keep sufficient air pressure for the load from your air tools, causing it to cycle endlessly and exceed its rated duty cycle.

Similarly, a small leak from your air compressor because proper maintenance wasn’t undertaken and the tank has rust in the water when you drain it with the drain valve in the lowest position, there’s going to be additional rust inside. Duct tape over the pinhole won’t fix serious problems like a corroded tank, and in many situations, patching one small hole in the tank will simply cause more to appear, and could cause an explosion if left as it is. A new compressor may be the direction you have to go in, but at a minimum, you’ll want to replace the damaged tank with a replacement tank.

If you have undertaken proper maintenance, including daily draining of the tank to remove moisture, a small hole could occur because of an accident, such as someone on your crew accidentally drilling into the tank when using it as a sawhorse or a drop from a height onto something very hard and sharp. In these situations, it’s entirely possible to fix the problem with a little work, saving you from having to buy a new compressor when your old compressor still has years of reliable service left in it.

What to Look Out for

While you’re making a repair on your pressure vessel, you may as well check the other aspects of the air compressor to make sure that the rest of the components are working beyond the air receiver tank. Have you noticed fog in your lines or at your pneumatic tools? This could be a sign of oil in the lines and adding an oil filter can help reduce the problem. Rusting tools with a clean tank can be a sign that you need to add an air dryer to your system.

There are also numerous valves to check, including a safety valve or pressure relief valve, a tank check valve, the unloader valve or valves to which your lines attach, and the attached pressure switch. Are these parts working properly? If you need to, remove them from the air compressor temporarily and attach them to a portable air tank or a new tank using Teflon tape, so that they’re easily removed after testing. Do NOT test them on the questionable tank with the small hole, especially if you suspect the problem is caused by corrosion. Check if the cut-in pressure is reading accurately.

Again, if you have a tank that you suspect has a leak because of corrosion, it’s best to put new pressure tanks on the compressor rather than risk an explosion if another compromised area gives way. Many people have been injured by exploding pressure tanks, including injuries to hands, eyes, limbs, and even causing loss of life in extreme situations. A new tank is much cheaper than a visit to the emergency room, doctor’s visits, worker’s compensation, or a funeral.

What You’ll Need

Though some people may recommend just shooting a sheet metal screw into the small hole, this doesn’t always provide the best repair, and can often result in additional flying objects and shrapnel if the tank’s air pressure becomes too high for it to bear. Others use a brazing torch to try to seal the hole, but this can cause other areas around the hole to weaken, creating a potential trouble spot. For this reason, we recommend an approach that uses the below tools and supplies:

  • Spray bottle filled with soapy water to test for leaks, similar to checking gas lines for leaks
  • JB Weld to seal the pinhole
  • Teflon tape for sealing fitting threads
  • Adjustable wrench for tightening fittings
  • Grease or permanent marker for marking leaks
  • Duct tape to hold JB Weld in place as it cures
  • Sawhorses, workbench, or similar holding option to allow the pinhole in the air compressor tank to be rotated to the bottom.

How to Fix the Hole in Your Air Compressor

If you’ve come this far, you’ve probably decided that the hole was caused accidentally, rather than by failing to undertake proper maintenance. To save your compressor pump, you’ll want to fix the problem as quickly as possible.

  1. To start, hook the air compressor tank up and begin to pressurize it, keeping the air pressure below your normal cut-in pressure.
  2. Spray the tank and fittings down with a soapy water solution in a spray bottle. Watch for bubbles to form, indicating where you have leaks.
  3. If there are leaks around the relief valve, air receiver tank openings, tank check valve, safety valve, pressure relief valve, or unloader valve, you know that those areas need to be tightened down with your adjustable wrench.
  4. If there are areas that are showing a pin hole leak on your air compressor tank, carefully wipe around those areas and mark them with your marker.
  5. If you notice that additional rust water or particulates are coming out of the holes, STOP! If the corrosion is compromising one area of the tank, there are probably other areas where they’ll occur next. A replacement tank is your best bet in this situation, ensuring safety.
  6. Once you’ve marked your tank, wipe down any remaining moisture on the outside, being careful to not wipe away your marks.
  7. As you prepare to repair the pin hole leak, turn that location on your pressure tanks to the bottom of your work area. This allows gravity to assist in creating a solid plug.
  8. Using JB Weld, fill the pin hole, pushing enough material into the tank so that it will form a plug, leaving a bit more on the outside so that it will flatten out, forming a dumbbell shape to hold the patch in place.
  9. Once the patch has cured, go on to any other pinhole leaks.
  10. To retain the patch while the JB Weld sets up, put a piece of duct tape loosely over the hole, making sure that it flattens the JB Weld on the outside of the air compressor tank without pushing all of the material into the inside of the tank.
  11. Once you’ve finished allowing the JB Weld to cure, make any additional repairs that are needed in the compressor at the same time to start it back into operation in good condition.
  12. Consider making any changes needed to your routine maintenance and handling to prevent the problem from occurring again in the future, such as regular draining of the tank or rules around how air compressor tanks are handled on a job site.

If you’re having problems with a pinhole leak in your air compressor and are not sure whether it’s safe to repair or if you should replace it, it may be time to call in the professionals to ensure that you get a good repair or replacement tank that helps keep your air tools in effective operation for many years to come. Whether you use a 3 gal tank air compressor from Harbor Freight or a 150-gallon tank to drive your compressed air tools across a range of requirements, having a safe tank and properly running air compressor can make a big difference in how well your operation rolls forward.

The experienced professionals at Advanced Air & Vacuum are ready to help you find the right solutions for your business. With an extensive on-hand parts department, mobile repair service, available industrial air compressor rentals, and a sales team that is more focused on finding you the right solutions rather than the best one for their commission, you’ll discover an exemplary team focused on a multi-faceted approach to your air compressor problems. Why not take a few minutes to contact us today with any questions, for more information about our services, or to schedule a repair of your air compressor system?


What is the Best Air Compressor for Spray Painting Cars?

When your business is spray painting car bodies, you need an air compressor that provides steady compressed air at continuous air pressure. You’ve invested a lot into your auto body operation and having the best air compressor is often as important as having the perfect HVLP gun to get the right finish. This means that not just any air compressor will do. How do you find the perfect size air compressor for your operation? In this article, we’ll look at factors you should consider, air compressor features that will impact your operation, and some of the best air compressors for your needs.

Factors to Consider


To start, let’s look at what your needs are to ensure that you’re getting the right air compressor for your requirements.


Many individuals who work with multiple pneumatic tool types may not realize the importance of CFM, or cubic feet per minute, in determining the appropriate type of air compressor for their needs. However, automotive painting requires not only constant pressurized air, but also specific quantities of it. A small compressor may be able to provide sufficient compressed air for operating a wide range of air tool types, but because a paint sprayer provides continuous flow to deliver the best results, it requires a much higher volume of air on a regular basis. If the spray gun were only used for a few seconds at a time, a small compressor might be able to do the job. Still, paint spray processes often require the paint gun to be used continuously for longer periods of time during the painting job to ensure that the car paint comes out with a similar texture across the entire vehicle.

Air Pressure

When using spray guns for large projects such as auto painting, the air pressure must be high enough to provide consistent results. Low pressure can put the paint droplets on in too large of a size, preventing the paint from laying down smoothly or causing runners to form. Your sprayer will come with specific requirements that should be followed carefully, both in terms of volume per minute, or airflow, as well as air pressure, or PSI. Having the right air pressure ensures that you can complete your auto painting project smoothly and effectively, providing a high-quality finish to the vehicle you’re working on. However, if you’re going to be using another pneumatic tool or tools at the same time off of the same air compressor, it’s important to keep their total air pressure and airflow needs in mind when selecting your air compressor to prevent pressure drops when a new air hose is attached to the compressor, or another high-flow pneumatic tool causes a low pressure situation to form in your shop.

Tank Size

If you’re wondering how large of a tank you’ll need for your automotive painting operation, both the best and most annoying answer is “it depends.” How many paint guns will you be running at the same time? Will you be running other pneumatic tools at the same time? From that information, you can calculate your absolute maximum air demand and then add a buffer, just in case you get a new air tool or paint gun that has higher demand than the previous one. From there, you can calculate how big of a storage tank size you’ll want to have available for additional air storage. You should also take into account the duty cycle of your air compressor so that the air stored in the tank provides sufficient flow and pressure to keep your shop moving while your air compressor is resting.


The horsepower of your air compressor is often tied in with other common factors, including the stages, type of compressor (more on that in a few moments), tank size, overall pressure, overall airflow, voltage, and similar issues. Overall, you’ll want to have an air compressor that is capable of around 3 horsepower for single-tool operations, such as one-man shops where only a single tool is used at a time. For multi-person shops, 5 horsepower is a minimum, and large shops will want a production air compressor of 10 horsepower or much larger, depending on how much production you push through on a daily basis. Horsepower is tied to the common factors mentioned above, as larger horse motors will require higher voltage while providing higher pressure, airflow, and larger tanks.

Which Type of Air Compressor Should I Use?


Single vs. Two Stage

If you’re a hobbyist or a very small shop, you may be able to get by with a single-stage air compressor system, provided that it’s large enough to keep up with your paint sprayer gun. You’ll still want to go with a compressor that has a larger storage tank and higher horsepower to be able to keep up with airflow and PSI demands. However, if you’re doing end-to-end bodywork with just yourself or one other individual in the shop or can split the work so that there is minimal draw-down of the air compressor during your painting operations, you’ll be able to keep up with your work with a single-stage compressor with a bit of creativity. These air compressors also nearly always use 115V power, reducing the need for you to have to rewire your shop to be able to use the air compressor. This can be a big boon to someone who is starting out their business in their garage but may need to be remedied down the road to expand your business operations to a professional shop.

Generally speaking, to get more out of your storage tank, you’ll want to look at a two-stage compressor over a single-stage compressor. This is because a two-stage or dual-stage compressor will take two steps to provide further compression of the air, reaching pressures as high as 175 PSI. They also tend to have longer duty cycles, as well as a range of features built in to help you work longer and easier, which is one of the main reasons for having a solid air compressor system in your shop to begin with. Dual-stage compressors meet a wide range of needs, allowing you to run your entire shop from a single compressor. However, you may need to install a special electrical service, as many two-stage air compressors require 230V power, and those that do not will still often require a switch to 20-amp service in 115V power, requiring a new plug, and sometimes new wiring, to be run to the breaker box for operation.

Rotary Screw Compressor vs Reciprocating Air Compressors

If you’re wondering about the differences between reciprocating air compressors versus rotary screw compressor systems, you’re not alone. As you reach higher levels of demand on your air compressor system, you may want to make the change. The single and two-stage compressors mentioned above both use pistons that reciprocate, or move back and forth in their shafts, to compress air. This provides a relatively simple way of compressing the air before it is moved into the storage tank for future use. However, rotary screw compressors can be a boon for high-demand systems, especially when maintaining consistent air pressure and flow is of vital importance for your spray guns.

A rotary screw compressor rotates to compress air and move it into your compressed air lines, essentially creating pressure and flow during the motion and providing superior performance for your operation. This type of air compressor typically drives large quantities of air in a continuous, highly pressurized manner. Because it has a very short rest, if any, rest period during its duty cycle, rotary screw air compressors are considered the gold standard in the industry, providing the most reliable air for pneumatic tools. If you have the ability to switch up to this type of air compressor, it is highly recommended in the industry.

The Advanced Air Difference

When you’re working with Advanced Air & Vacuum, you’ll get the best possible service, information, and assistance in the industry. Our many years of experience in the area means that we can provide you with solid solutions to your needs, from compressed air piping to industry-leading advice. We stand behind our products and ensure that you’ll get the right products for your needs. For automotive painting, we recommend the following products:

Ready to get started with the perfect air compressor for your auto body shop’s needs? We’re ready to help. Please feel free to reach out to Advanced Air for more details, with any questions, or to get started on a smart design that will keep your operation in motion.


A Guide to Single vs. Two Stage Air Compressors

If there’s one thing that’s constant about air compressors, it’s that their classifications are many and diverse. You could sort by storage tank size, electric motor horsepower, electrical phase, maximum airflow, maximum pressure, and many others. Among the other classifications is a single stage compressor versus a two-stage air compressor. What exactly is the difference between these two types of compressors, and does it really make that big of a difference to your operation? In this article, we’ll discuss the biggest differences between the compressor types, in which situations a single- or dual-stage compressor may be more effective, and pricing differences you can expect to see from air compressors that have otherwise very similar specifications.

The Main Differences

Let’s start out with what makes a single stage air compressor different from a two-stage unit: their stages. Generally speaking, you can tell this very quickly by looking at the piston system at the top of the air compressor. In a single-stage air compressor, air is drawn into the piston until it’s at full capacity, then pushed into a higher pressure and moved into the storage tank, reaching a top pressure of between 110-145 PSI. A two-stage air compressor starts out the same way, but before the compressed air is pushed into storage, it’s moved to a second compression using a smaller piston, where an additional step allows it to reach higher pressure yet to about 175 PSI. Because it’s under higher pressure, it can store more air at atmospheric pressure in cubic feet using the same sized tank when it reaches full capacity compared to its single-stage counterparts.

However, simply looking at the air compressor may not tell you enough about the machinery’s potential. Some single-stage air compressors will use two pistons on top, with one filling as the other empties into the tank. The smaller cylinder tends to be the main giveaway for a two-stage air compressor, as it shows that the initial compressed air does not take up as much room as it did prior to compression. The two stages that are being referred to are the two separate compression processes that take place in a dual-stage air compressor system, providing you with higher air pressure in the end and more storage in limited space.

Another indicator to look for is a cooling system between the two pistons. Because of the additional amount of compression that must take place, the temperature of the air can go up significantly. To avoid possible mechanical problems from this heat, high-quality two-stage air compressors will have an intercooler that will cool the air between compressions. This helps cool the mechanical parts and prevent damage from overheating.

In most situations, single stage compressors will be used in portable applications and are typically hooked up to 120V outlet systems. By comparison, two-stage systems generally are permanent installations that usually require 240V power, though the rare one may take 120V at 20 amps, providing a significantly different plug compared to standard household outlets. Single stage air compressors will also often be lighter weight, making them popular for construction and other temporary job sites. Two-stage systems are much heavier, requiring mechanical assistance to move, which is why they are typically used in permanent locations.

Uses for Single Stage and Two Stage

Though a single stage air compressor may seem like it has fewer moving parts and, therefore, is more reliable, this often isn’t the case. Typically designed for single-user operations as well as homeowner and very light business use, single stage air compressors often fail more quickly because they are not designed for constant duty and continuous applications. In these situations, it’s very easy to get caught up in work and go over the compressor’s rated duty cycle, causing overheating and a shorter lifespan overall.

When you use an air tool or multiple tools in your business, you’ll have a particular range of PSI and flow that you’ll need to meet. Depending on the different types of applications and usage you’re putting your compressor through, you may be able to get by with a single stage system, provided that you have a long enough duty cycle that the air compressor can rest on occasion. If your air compressor is constantly running or struggling to keep up with demand for compressed air in your situation, you may want to consider moving to a two-stage system.

However, that’s not the only reason to make the change. As a whole, two-stage air compressor systems tend to be significantly hardier, as they are built for higher pressures and harder work. This is among the reasons why they will often feature an intercooler to help prevent mechanical breakdown. They’re a great option for medium-sized shops that have not yet gone to rotary compressors which can work continuous duty cycles. They typically have larger tanks, allowing them to store more pneumatic energy for continuous applications. They’re also energy efficient, allowing you to get more work done with a lower cost of electricity, propane, or natural gas.

Typically available as oil-filled compressors, you’ll still need to undertake basic maintenance, such as semi-annual, quarterly, or monthly oil changes, but because dual-stage air compressor systems are designed to have longer duty cycles and higher pressures, you’ll find that they can operate much more effectively than single stage air compressor systems, while their tough build makes them last much longer in most situations.

What is the Pricing Like?

So what kind of difference can you expect to see in terms of pricing between single stage and a dual stage compressor systems? As you might expect, there is a much higher level of engineering that goes into dual-stage compressors, mainly due to the higher pressure that they undergo, as well as the fact that it has more components compared to their single-stage counterparts. However, there are often many other aspects that should be taken into account. For this reason, we’ve selected two of our most similar air compressors, one of which is a single-stage and the other of which is a dual-stage system.

Single Stage: The Quincy 12126VPQ Vertical & Portable Air Compressor $1,350

 As one of the few single-stage air compressors that we have, the 12126 has a 26-gallon storage tank and can reach up to 135 PSI. It features a two-horsepower electric motor that plugs into a standard household outlet, and the wheels display its portability, making it a decent option for construction sites and shops where your compressor must be moved around the shop space. It is, however, much closer to the weight you’d perhaps expect from a permanent compressor at 165 pounds, with a powder-coated ASME tank, as we’ll see on our next example.

Dual Stage: The Quincy QT-54 Vertical Air Compressor $2,925

By comparison, one of our smallest Quincy dual-stage compressors, the QT-54, has a 60-gallon storage tank capable of reaching up to 175 PSI. A sturdy five-horsepower electric motor requires a 230V outlet to manage its workload, and there are no wheels on this 475 pound permanent lightweight. Though it’s on the small side of permanent two-stage air compressors, it will provide plenty of pneumatic power for shops, but will not be taken out to temporary job sites often. 

As you can see, the pricing between these two models is fairly different, with the dual-stage compressor rating a much higher investment. However, it will also last longer, can store significantly more air in its storage tank, is built for higher pressure, and is designed for hard work over many years. For this reason, it makes a much better investment than the single stage, which may be replaced several times before the dual stage reaches its end of life.

Though you’ll have to decide whether a single- or dual-stage system is best for your situation and bearing in mind that this does not include rotary screw compressor systems, either type of compressor could provide you with excellent results. However, for most professional situations that do not involve individual air compressors at workstations, we recommend stepping up to a high-quality dual-stage air compressor for industrial work, as it will combine the higher pressure, longer lifespan, and superior energy efficiency you’ll need in continuous applications. 

Are you ready to make a change in your business to improve the operation of your industrial air compressor? Advanced Air & Vacuum has years of experience helping companies find the right solutions to their issues, from humidity levels causing corrosion to compressed air lines needing upgrading. If you’re ready to take the next step, please feel free to reach out today with any questions, for more details, or for help finding solutions that meet your company’s needs.


What is the Best Air Compressor for a Body Shop?

Whether you’re taking over a body shop business with an existing air compressor that doesn’t seem to be keeping up enough or looking to purchase your first compressed air tool system and need to know the basics, there’s no doubt that auto body work requires a particular set of equipment and technology that go beyond that of normal pneumatic tools. But what tools will you need to run from your air tank? What do you need to take into consideration in your compressed air system? Are you a small shop that can run on an air hose or two from your main tank without lowering air pressure or air volume too much, like a regular automotive shop with a digital tire inflator or a home garage running an impact wrench? Or will you be painting car after car with a spray gun?

Finding the best air compressor for body shop work can seem like a difficult process, but it doesn’t have to be. In this post, we’ll explain what you need the air compressor for in your body shop, what you need to consider when purchasing an industrial air compressor, and which air compressor is right for your needs.

Why Do You Need an Air Compressor in a Body Shop?


Let’s start by looking at all the things you can use an air compressor for in a body shop. There are a ton of air tool applications, including an impact wrench for loosening lug nuts on tires, a spray gun for painting vehicles once repairs have been made, digital tire inflator tools for bringing tires back up to pressure, and grinders, ratchets, sanders, and more. In fact, the number of air tools used in an auto body shop can be overwhelming, which is why you’ll want to go beyond a simple portable air compressor and look into a quality industrial or commercial air compressor that can keep up with your shop’s demands.

What to Consider when Purchasing an Air Compressor


While it’s easy to assume that you need a certain gallon air compressor to keep up with your needs, you should go beyond that point when calculating the size of air compressor for your auto body shop. How many spray guns will you be running at a time, and how much air volume and air pressure will they need to operate successfully? Spray painting will likely take up the bulk of your size needs, but you’ll still need to calculate for other air tools, including impact wrenches, tire inflators, grinders and sanders. Once you’ve estimated your total maximum air volume and pressure needed at a time, make sure to add an in an extra margin to allow for future growth of your business or for extreme circumstances.


Should you go with a piston compressor or a rotary screw compressor for your operation? The first thing to bear in mind is the duty cycle. Most piston compressor systems are designed to have a 60-70% duty cycle, which means you’ll need to intentionally “oversize” your system to prevent the compressor from burning out over time. By comparison, a rotary screw compressor can be smaller in size, as its duty cycle is closer to 100%, if not at 100%. This means that rotary screw compressors can run all the time without causing problems to your overall system longevity.

Pressure & Volume

How much air pressure and air volume do your tools need? Some tools, such as truck jacks, will require pressures up to 165 PSI, but only for a short period of time. By comparison, your spray guns may only require between 30-60 PSI, but at a much longer volume as they run for extended periods of time. Take the time to determine both figures, then if you choose to go with a piston compressor, consider that you’ll probably need to increase the tank capacity by 40-50% to prevent the compressor from running longer than it should. Another aspect to consider is an air filter in line, especially for the painting process, as moisture or oil in your paint can cause flaws in the final work.


Once you’ve selected an air compressor, consider where you’re going to place it in or near your shop. Because of the amount of noise that it can produce, many businesses choose to locate the compressor in a separate room or structure with compressed air piping run to the shop. No matter where you house your new air compressor, however, you’ll want to make sure there’s at least 36″ of space on each side around it. This allows you to move around the air compressor if you need to troubleshoot it, provide maintenance or similar issues. You’ll also want good ventilation so that the air heated up by the compressor can move freely out of the structure, so the compressor stays cool and prevents overheating. Generally speaking, you’ll want to be able to keep the air temperature in the location below 104ºF, because above that temperature, overheating can damage the air compressor.

So, what is right for me?

Let’s take a look at several types of air compressors that will provide you with decent results, depending on your shop size and overall needs.

Home Garage

For the smaller needs of the hobbyist, the Quincy Q12120P is a portable 20-gallon horizontal air compressor that is capable of reaching up to 135 PSI and up to 7.4 cubic feet per minute, allowing it to run a single spray gun and any number of air tools. Powered off of 115 volts and a two-horse motor, the additional tank capacity provides you with a smoother operation with a spray gun.

It features an aluminum head with a special fin design to encourage heat dissipation, while the fully-enclosed belt guard protects both your fingers and the belt. With the two-horsepower motor, it is recommended that the compressor be wired into a 40-amp circuit, to reduce breaker throws. Although it weighs in at 155 pounds, it only takes up a svelte 35″ by 20″ by 32″ space, making it easy to move it out of the way when you don’t need to use it. Currently priced at $1275 puts it in the range of most serious hobbyists.

Small Shop

If you’re operating a small shop, stepping up to the Quincy QT-54 gives you a 60-gallon vertical air compressor and makes it much easier to run a spray gun along with other tools at the same time. Reaching pressures up to 175 PSI and up to 15.4 cubic feet per minute, the 5 HP Baldor motor with overload is operated on a 230 volt single-phase circuit. 

As a two-stage air compressor, it’s designed with a 100% duty cycle, so you can keep it running continuously during busy times, making it easier to keep up with your workload. The two-phase compressor system runs at lower RPMs, keeping it cooler, while providing more efficiency out of every stroke. It’s currently priced at $2,925, making it well within reach of the average small shop while delivering superior results.

Large Shop

For a large shop, you need a serious air compressor that can keep up with your workload, and Advanced Air’s 10-HP Horizontal Air Compressor fits the bill perfectly. With an outstanding 120 gallons of capacity that is capable of reaching up to 175 PSI and delivering 32 cubic feet per minute, you’ll be able to operate at least a couple of spray guns as well as multiple other air tools with this compressor.

Designed to work on either single-phase 230 volt or three-phase 230 volt or 460 volt, it’s available in a range of power options, making it easier to adapt to your shop’s needs. The cast-iron construction and a three-piston, low-RPM design helps it run cooler and quieter, incorporating a Weg industrial motor for superior performance. Magnetic starters are mounted and wired for easier operation, and a two-year pump warranty is included. It’s competitively priced at $6,150 for the single-phase version.

The Advanced Air Difference

Buying an air compressor for your auto body shop goes beyond simply picking up the best model and driving it away. When you work with Advanced Air & Vacuum, you also receive expert advice from individuals who have been in the industry for more than 20 years. Advanced Air’s expert team can help you troubleshoot any issues, perform repairs, or provide rentals. Contact us today for a smart start to your auto body shop.


What Oil Should I Use for An Air Compressor?

An industrial air compressor is a hard-working machine, and like so many machines working in industry, they require oil for lubrication and to operate smoothly. But why do you need to add oil to your air compressor? Is it the same as the oil that you use with your pneumatic tools? Is there a particular type you should use? How often does it need to be changed during its life span? Is there a particular viscosity that is better than others? Is there a specific standard that needs to be followed? Here’s an in-depth look at using oil in air compressors, including what types, how often and much more.

Oil to Keep Your Air Compressor Running Smooth

An air compressor’s oil is designed specifically for the demands that an air compressor faces daily. Unlike motor oil, which often has a comparable price point and may be easier to find, air compressor oil does not contain detergents, and often has much lower amounts of carbon and sulfur, which are commonly found in motor oil. Motor oils are designed to operate in lower temperatures and higher volumes than air compressor oil, so if you try to substitute motor oil in your air compressor, it can fail, because motor oil breaks down at lower temperatures than air compressors operate at and can oxidize at much lower temperatures. For this reason, it’s very important to use the correct type of oil for your air compressor, which will withstand the high heat and has gone through evaporation, desalting and solvent extraction processes to make it work well in those conditions.

Why Does My Air Compressor Need Oil?

Air compressors tend to build up heat, especially in the pump assembly. Oil helps not only dissipate some of that heat, but also keeps the interior parts lubricated, so they don’t bind up or stick when they reach those higher temperatures. It also keeps the surfaces inside your air compressor pump coated, preventing oxidation and corrosion. Regularly changing the oil in your air compressor ensures that it will last for many years to come, giving you a much longer overall life span as compared to an air compressor that does not receive regular maintenance. To protect your investment, make sure to keep up with this important maintenance step.

How Often Should I Change My Oil?

Unfortunately, the simplest answer is that it depends. To start, if possible, check your owner’s manual to see how often the oil should be changed in your air compressor. However, if you don’t have your manual and can’t find a copy online, there are some general guidelines that can help. If you have a reciprocating air compressor, you’ll want to look at changing the oil every three months if using conventional oil, or up to every six months using synthetic oil. If you have a rotary screw compressor, you’ll want to change the oil every 1,000 to 2,000 hours if you’re using conventional oil, and every 2,000 to 4,000 hours if using synthetic oil. The time period will be impacted in both cases by how dirty and dusty the environment is, how long your compressor is running at a time, and similar factors. The easiest way to tell, especially when you’re just starting the process, is to check how dirty the oil looks, or have it tested to see how well it’s holding up at various points in the duty cycle.

Substitutes for Air Compressor Oil

So, what if you just can’t find air compressor oil? Although it’s best to stick with the right type of oil for your industrial air compressor, there are a couple of other options that can work well in a pinch. Hydraulic oil is designed for heavy usage, and so is a decent option to consider if you need to make substitutions. Similarly, because it’s often used in lower volumes than motor oil, transmission oil can be used in many situations where you don’t have air compressor oil available for your compressor. If you find that you’ve put motor oil in your air compressor, change it ASAP.

FAQs About Air Compressor Oil

1. Should I use regular or synthetic oil in my air compressor?

Though it’s fine using either, the choice of which is best will often depend on how you use your air compressor. If you typically only use it for short periods of time, such as the short periods of cycling to refill a tank on your home air compressor or to run it less than three times weekly, using regular oil will work fine and will often save you some money over buying a synthetic oil. However, if your air compressor is running almost constantly, or if you’re using it three or more times a week, you’ll want to switch up to a synthetic oil, which will last much longer and provide a higher degree of protection in your air compressor pump. Synthetic oils also deal better with a wider temperature range and allows your air compressor to run more quietly and smoothly in most situations.

2. What makes air compressor oil so special?

Though it’s easy to fall into the idea that oil lubricates, so any oil should do, when you get deeper into engineering, you’ll find there’s a huge difference between oil types. What makes air compressor oil stand apart is that it has several specific properties that are keyed into air compressor usage. These include heat dissipation, resistance to oxidation, better viscosity in cool temperatures, anti-foaming ability, longer life span, and demulsification. In short, it helps keep your commercial air compressor cool, resists rust, keeps flowing in the cold, doesn’t create rust-inducing foam, works for longer between oil changes, and keeps any water separated from the oil to provide better protection and easier separation later.

3. What about oilless air compressors?

Though these are typically limited to very small household compressors or tire inflators, oilless air compressors aren’t without oil, but have had a specific amount added at the factory, at which point the air compressor is sealed. However, over time, the oil in the compressor will eventually degrade and burn off, at which point the compressor will seize up. For this reason, we don’t recommend oilless air compressors for any serious usage, because they’re essentially short-term disposable items.

4. What weight of air compressor oil should I use?

Most modern air compressors work well at an SAE 20 or 30 weight oil, so where should you be watching for the difference? A 20SAE oil will have a better flow at lower temperatures, making it a better option for winter operations if your facility tends to cool down during the cold months, but will break down and oxidize more readily in the hot summer months. Similarly, a 30SAE oil is more resistant to breaking down, making it a better option in the summer, while its higher viscosity in the winter can make your compressor run less smoothly and efficiently. But what do you do if you live in extreme climate conditions? Though you’ll want to talk to a local air compressor shop or two to see what their standard is for your area, extreme cold could see you stepping down to a 10SAE while extreme heat could step you up to a 40SAE.

5. How do I check the oil level on my commercial air compressor?

While you can find this information specifically in your owner’s manual in many situations, there are several ways in which the manufacturer makes this possible. The first is the inclusion of a dipstick, often found attached to the oil fill cap. The second is a window that shows what the oil level is in the machine. Some manufacturers have also moved to making a completely clear oil reservoir, making it easy to see from a distance. The last type that you’ll typically find is a porthole, through which you should see some oil if the air compressor is good to go. You should typically check the oil level when the industrial air compressor is cold, as oil expands when it heats up and may appear to be in a proper zone, but the level will drop outside of the appropriate levels after the air compressor and oil cools down following use.

By having a solid grasp of why it’s important to not only use the correct oil in your air compressor but also what types to use and how to maintain your air compressor. This allows you to get much more use out of your industrial air compressor for many years to come. If you’re at the point where you have concerns about your commercial air compressor, need parts or service, or are considering getting into a new air compressor system, the experienced professionals at Advanced Air are ready to help. Please feel free to contact us today with any questions, for more information, or to get a quote on some of our outstanding products and services.