How to Avoid Purchasing a Bad Portable Air Compressor

By | February 12, 2017

Portable air compressors are one of the most useful tools you can have around. They are used for a variety of tasks such as inflating bicycle tires, home improvement projects, etc. The only problem is that many of them require a lot of maintenance and don’t last very long. This article will show you how to avoid these issues and which compressors are better.

When you’re ready to choose a portable compressor, you’ll find that there are two choices. They are either made with aluminum cylinders or cast iron cylinders. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. One of these is practically maintenance free and the other requires a little more work.

Are “maintenance free” compressors really better?

If you’re shopping around for an air compressor you might have noticed various models being advertised that are cheaper and don’t require oil. Most of these can be found in your local hardware store. These compressors are advertised as “maintenance free” or oil free and look very tempting to buy. This seems great on the surface but lets dig deeper and find out if it’s really what you’re looking for.

Cheap Aluminum Cylinders

If you see a portable compressor for sale that’s made with an aluminum cylinder, the price tag might look pretty good to you. You also don’t have to worry about adding oil or messy cleanups. There’s only one problem with this type of aluminum-based model. Many consumer reviews show that they don’t last very long and if there’s ever a problem with the compressor itself, it can cost a lot of money whenever you have to take it in for repairs. You’ll have to ask yourself if it’s really worth the trouble. It’s true you can save a few bucks in the beginning but in the long run, you’ll either end up having to replace it or spend a lot of money having to repair it.

The solution

Portable air compressors made with cast iron cylinders do require oil and are more expensive than the aluminum variety. So, why would you choose one? It’s because they tend to last a lot longer and have less mechanical issues. Those of you who want a quality portable air compressor and don’t mind adding a little oil every now and then might want to consider one of these. Some of the top brands such as Makita and Dewalt are made with cast iron cylinders and consumer reports show that an extremely high number of customers are happy with the long-term results.

So, how do you decide which portable air compressor to choose? If price is an issue and you’re not going to be using your compressor every day, it might be better to choose an aluminum-based compressor. For those who’re going to be using their compressors for heavy duty work and want it to last a long time, a cast iron portable air compressor is the answer.

Your next step should be to read consumer reviews and find out what other portable air compressor users are saying.