The Top Air Compressors a Carpenter Needs

There are many different types of air compressors on the market today that can satisfy a carpenter’s need at almost any level. To determine what kind of compressor you need, first consider the job you are trying to accomplish. You don’t want to be too conservative, because a compressor without enough air capacity and pressure may not be enough to help you get the job done. Adversely, too much air pressure could ruin your project and you certainly wouldn’t want that.

So there are different types of air compressors to fill different needs. Hopefully, when you are through reading this article, you will better understand which type of air compressor would be best for your carpentry job and why.

First, let’s take a look at the different types of compressors available on the market.

  1. The Inflator


The inflator is a simple air compressor without tank. Its function is to simply compress air and move it from the open into a confined space such as a ball or a tire. These are often found in emergency automobile roadside kits or on the shelf in a garage. Obviously, this type of compressor would not pack the power to be used in carpentry cases, but I thought they merited an honorable mention.

  1. The Hot Dog


These smaller style air compressors are great for portable jobs such as trim work or finish work. The tanks vary in size. Some are lightweight and can be easily carried while others are meant to be rolled. Tanks on these hot dog style compressors will vary in size, offering its owner differing CFMs (Cubic Feet per Minute). This is important because it can determine how often your compressor will have to run to refill the tank. Be sure that your tank and tools are compatible so that your compressor does not have to work overtime and your tank burns out. You want your compressor to only run about 50% of the time, or it is working too hard.

Some hot dog compressors come with multiple tanks as well. These units are even conveniently detachable and can be made smaller for more convenience, depending on the job at hand.

  1. The Pancake


Pancake tank air compressors have a larger capacity for air, but that does not necessarily mean that they will be able to have a higher functionality than their hot dog counterparts. Its unique design does allow for increased airflow and more forced air capacity so that the compressor does not have to work as hard.

The pancake tank is designed to be a more stationary tank and is often outfitted as a centralized machine to supply air through longer hoses. These types of tanks are used in larger, lengthier carpentry jobs and can be shared by multiple groups more easily than their hot dog counterparts.

If you are using tools such as grinders, sprayers or other tools with high levels of air usage behind them, you will definitely need a pancake tank with a large capacity. For home framing jobs, however, a 6-gallon tank will do just fine.

Care and Maintenance

When you are through using your air compressor, it is highly important that you take care to release the pressure from inside the tank. There are multiple reasons for doing so. The first and most important reason for releasing the air out of the compression chamber of your air tank is that you do not want stagnant air in your compressor, especially if you are in a humid environment. Your tank will rust inside. Releasing the air pressure will ensure that there is proper circulation in your tank and it will be less likely that you will experience moisture buildup. Your air compressors will have release valves to make this possible.

When you purchase your compressor, be sure to understand the mechanics of the compression engine itself. It is important that you note whether or not it is an oil or non-oil engine. If it is an oil engine, you will be required to add oil to it. Failure to do so could be disastrous and would wear the engine down much more quickly. If your engine burned out, even before the manufacturer’s warranty was up on your compressor and it was discovered that you did not maintain the proper oil levels in the engine of your compressor, you would be the one held liable. Your warranty would be void.

Last, but not least, when not in use, be sure to disconnect your hoses and tools from your compressor. The compression bearings will last much longer if they are given the opportunity to rest on occasion.

For the carpenter who understands things like PSI and CFM, this may be elementary, but for those who are just getting started, understanding the different types of compressors can be very helpful. There are a lot of choices out there particularly on where portable air compressor reviews may be found. Need something more quiet yet does the job? Visit