Using an air compressor improves productivity and efficiency by minimizing labor and cutting down time required for an application. However, regardless of size & power, an air compressor on its own, without required accessories, is like a soldier without ammunition – almost useless. There might be some accessories that come with an air compressor out of the box, or you may have to purchase them as per your requirement. Right air compressor accessories can significantly increase your work efficiency, therefore it is important to know some tips on choosing what best suit your needs!
Essential Air Compressor Accessories
The hose is a critical accessory for every air compressor, it’s no brainer. One end of the hose is attached to the air compressor while the other end is attached to the tool, while compressed air is forced through the hose by the motor.
Although most air compressors come with a hose, it is not uncommon for users to purchase a hose of their own choice as the original one might not be of good quality material or durable. Another reason for purchasing a new hose is that the original one might offer less air volume or be too short for outdoor applications. It is also normal for hoses to wear down due to prolonged use or develop holes or kinks.
Hoses are of two types:
Recoil hoses come with small, circular bends throughout their length which allow the hose to retract for storage.
While retractable hoses are straight and can be wound up like a vacuum cleaner cord.
When purchasing a new hose, you must consider the length you may require as per applications, the material of which the hose is made of, and hose’s capacity.
2. Hose Reels
Where there is a hose, there is a hose reel. Hose reel is an accessory on which the hose is coiled for better storage. There are portable hose reels with wheels and handles, the other type has a back plate to be attached on the wall.
Hose reels are important because sometimes if the hose is not properly reeled for storage, its durability and lifespan decreases.
The filter in an air compressor makes the motor work more efficiently. However, with the time and use, the filter can get clogged which puts stress on the motor and diminishes the compressor’s lifespan and performance. That’s when you need to change the filter or install an additional filter to keep the dirt, odors, and oil, water vapors at bay.
4. Tool Attachments
If you plan to add a new item to your air tool collection, it is important to match the compressor’s max pressure to that of the tool, so that you just purchase items which can be powered by the compressor. If the compressor does not have enough capacity to power its tools, they will be rendered useless.
Mentioned below are the most common type of tool attachments that are available in the market:
Nail guns are absolutely necessary for a wide range of specialized applications like woodworking, finishing, framing, and roofing. The nails are held in a coil or stick from where they are delivered to the gun.
Blowguns are used with air compressors to direct the stream of air discharged at a precise point. This stream of highly pressurized and precisely directed air is to clean or dry surfaces, or remove debris and swarf. As they are used for essential tasks, it is important that you invest in high-quality blowguns.
Drilling through concrete or bricks requires significant force that sometimes an electric drill cannot sustain due to overheating. But with an air drill, you don’t have to worry about that. Depending on the application, drills come with different grips and bits.
Sanders are used for sanding, grinding or polishing surfaces to achieve a smooth finish. When browsing through sander options, you must consider the type, the size of the surface to be sanded, and the material of the sander.
Remember when people used to spend hours trying to paint a wall? Well, with a paint sprayer, that job can now be done in half the time with half the effort. When used with an air compressor, the paint sprayer will enable you to paint a larger area quickly, and achieve a smooth, professional-looking coat. Paint sprayers can also help you paint home furniture and cars with ease.
5. Roll Cage
A roll cage is a protecting device which, when fitted to the air compressor, prevents it from getting bruised or punctured. Some air compressors come with a roll cage out of the box, while others do not. If you want an aftermarket roll cage, it’s better to buy one that has a flatter, wider structure to prevent it from overturning, as such roll cage has a low center of gravity, so it is more stable on the ground. You should also consider installing a skid plate underneath the roll cage to keep the air compressor from friction with the ground.
6. Fittings and Adapters
If you intend to purchase an additional hose or air tool, don’t forget fittings and adapters as they’re essential to easily connect the accessories with the air compressor. Opt for anodized fittings as they are resistant to rust and corrosion! Quick connectors allow for easy on and off, thus making it convenient to clean and repair, or to switch between tools, or. If you can, try to purchase fittings and adapters from the same brand with the air compressor to minimize discrepancies.
7. Air Regulator
While the air pressure delivered by your air compressor might be 150 PSI or higher, the air tools you have purchased might operate at a lower level. That is when an air regulator comes in handy, as it helps reduce the pressure to a level at which the air tool can operate optimally.
8. Air Line Lubricators
Air line lubricators are used to add a lubricant to the internal working parts of air tools, through the compressed air. It is important that you adjust the lubricator such that a minimum of lubricant oil is used to lubricate the tool, as any excess oil will be released in the atmosphere and result in environmental pollution.
When compressed air is discharged, it is considerably hot and might contain water vapor. An aftercooler is a heat exchanger which cools down this air and condense the water vapor to liquid. As the density of air increases with more air molecules per cubic foot, it also increases the power and efficiency of the air compressor.
Depending on your budget and choice of brand, the air compressor you purchase might come with some or all of the aforementioned accessories. You might want to purchase additional accessories for certain applications. Alternatively, you might be looking for accessories made of better, durable material or which offer more features.
In any case, when buying accessories your main concern should be safety and compatibility. Pneumatic tools or air tools should be particularly compatible with your air compressor, for which you should check the air flow and air pressure of both.
Make sure you know what accessories your air compressor comes with out of the box, and what you will have to buy additionally according to your intended use!