What to Look For in an Industrial Air Compressor

Are you on the hunt for an industrial air compressor?

It can’t be too complicated, right? Just let your budget dictate your options and opt for as much horsepower as possible?

Not quite.

There’s a lot to consider and if you don’t know what to look for, you risk wasting your cash. For industrial units, this is especially true.

But make a well-researched decision now, and it’ll pay dividends further down the line, with reduced spend and maintenance costs. Follow our selection tips below and make sure you opt for an air compressor that best suits your needs.

Let’s dive in.

1. Usage Needs

Before you start your search, you’ll first want to assess your needs.

If you’re on the hunt for an industrial compressor, there’s a good chance that your usage needs are pretty significant. So above all else, choose a compressor capable of a heavy duty cycle that can meet your maximum daily use.

2. Pressure

Measured in pounds per square inch (PSI), you’ll need to look out for a compressor that can match (and preferably exceed) the pressure requirements of all your air tools and pneumatic gear. Single-stage units max out at 135 PSI, so if your needs go beyond this, you’ll require a two-stage compressor unit (175 PSI).

3. Airflow

Airflow is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM).

Watch out, though! CFM is usually given in two forms, one referring to piston displacement and the other to the level of air delivered, at a given pressure. So make sure you know which type of CFM is listed on the industrial air compressor you’re considering, or you’ll risk buying a unit that can’t match your needs.

4. Horsepower

The higher the horsepower, the more CFM your compressor will be able to produce. But don’t just opt for the highest horsepower you can afford.

A better approach is to let your PSI and CFM needs determine horsepower.


Some units have a high horsepower but come with comparatively low airflow, meaning the compressor can run very hot, which significantly reduces its lifespan. That may be fine for occasional use, but it’s a bad idea if you need your compressor daily.

5. Size

The bigger an air tank, the more pressurized air output capability. But larger units will also require more maintenance.

Industrial units can take up a lot of space, and you’ll need sufficient ventilation to handle the heat generated during use. We suggest placing your compressor a minimum of 3 feet away from all walls. Both vertical and horizontal units can be purchased to help match your space, but the former is only available up to horsepower of 10.

6. Features

The above covers the essentials. But if you’re searching for an industrial compressor, it’s likely you’ll need a heavy-duty unit that’s long-lasting and reliable. So here are a few pointers on bonus compressor features to look out for.

  • Cast iron construction (more durable)
  • Limited moving parts (less maintenance)
  • Stainless steel valves (no corrosion potential)
  • Oil monitoring capabilities (prevent low-oil related damage)

Choosing an Industrial Air Compressor

So there you have it, all you need to know when it comes to buying an air compressor. Take heed to the above, and you can’t go wrong when selecting your new unit.

Now you know what you need, why not check out our range of industrial air compressors?