Typically, portable air compressors feature low installation and maintenance costs and can be used for almost all of the same applications as an ordinary air compressor. However, because of their small size, they lack the capacity and strength to power tools that require a continuous supply of energy required by some industrial applications.
At such times industrial air compressors or rotary compressors are better, more powerful options, though also more expensive. Reciprocating compressors are the most common version of portable air compressors. This particular style functions by way of a piston in a cylinder, which draws in the air for compression and then releases it for the energy expense. Portable air compressors contain two major elements in their framework, a motor and an air tank, which are accompanied by tube and valve accessories. These simple compressors usually weigh ten pounds or less.
Portable air compressors vary in size and shape; some are small and can be held in one hand, and others may be larger and require more effort to move. The material used to manufacture them varies depending on the weight desired. Portable air compressors are sometimes made of plastic instead of the usual aluminum, stainless steel or cast iron.
They also differ in the amount of pressure they offer, along with their size, noise level, compression mechanism, and energy source. The energy for compression can be taken from electrical or gas motors that charge before use. Additionally, they may be cordless and obtain power from batteries or receive energy from the DC current generated by a car and accessed through the cigarette lighter.
12 volt portable air compressors provide added convenience, as they offer extra mobility and ease of maneuvering. One more convenient characteristic that can be combined with the portable air compressor is the lack of lubricant to operate the compressor. These oilless compressors are used in industries that require completely clean air, such as the food and medical fields. In such arenas, even the smallest amount of oil in the air is unacceptable. Oilless air compressors have half the moving parts of regular compressors and therefore are more reliable and require less maintenance.