Buyers Guide

Best Commercial Air Compressors For Medium Sized Businesses

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Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 05:23 pm

air compressor for saleThe North American air compressor market is expected to reach 5.7 Billion by 2023(source). Further, many small businesses, are in need of a commercial air compressor.

There are a few large air compressors for sale on the market.

Those industrial air compressors have a unique set of specs.  The compressors will be reviewed based on power, price and the level of quietness.

Furthermore, the business owner must know what his/her requirements are and carefully examine the specs. The most common size of commercial air compressors is the 200-gallon air compressors. However, some small shops may find 120-gallon sufficient.

Which Businesses Rely on Commercial Air Compressors?

Air Compressors are most widely used by automotive businesses such as tire shops, heavy duty truck mechanics, and machine shops. Those types of businesses require industrial air compressors to operate their large number of power tools.

There are portable commercial air compressors. Although not very common, they are part of the market. The application of such compressors is by highway construction companies and road service professionals, who serve truckers.

In addition,  industrial grade air compressors are used in the agriculture industry.  Other industries that use commercial air compressors are glass industry, laundromats, dry cleaners,  food & beverage industry and the aerospace industry.

Finally, many factories require the use of high volume and high-pressure air compressors. Specifically, paper mills use heavy duty air compressors to operate the paper rollers.

Best 200-gallon Air Compressors

Product NameBest Feature Price
Atlas Copco AR20 10-HP 460V 3-Phase ensuringView
FS-Curtis ML10 10-HP 100% continuous dutyView
200 Gallon Air Tank Vertical with Skirt Made In USAView

Atlas Copco AR20 – Affordable 200 Gallon Compressor

200 gallon air compressorAtlas Copco has duplex mounted 10-HP pumps. The two 2-stage compressor pumps meet extra demand and can double the lifetime of your compressed air system. Below are some specs:

  • Highly efficient system delivers energy savings
  • Lead-Lag Control System
  • Running hours are balanced for equal lifetimes
  • Both compressors can run for maximum output
  • Dual Pressure Switches & Alternator
  • Start-Stop Pressure Switch Control
  • Puts out 70 CFM at 100 PSI; 175 PSI maximum
  • Low noise, superior cooling
  • Large Multi-Blade Flywheels
  • Fully enclosed PVC-coated belt guards protect the belts & operator

Optional belt guard after coolers are available (sold separately). You need to order them when making the compressor purchase. The 200 Gallon ASME Tank & Safety Valve makes it a safe addition to any facility.

The top-grade air inlet filters ensure clean air for extended operational life. Leading industry factory warranty from bumper to bumper protects your investment for two years.

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Pros
  • Engine: HP 20
  • Pump: CFM 70
  • CFM Rated @ 100 PSI
  • Pump Material Solid Cast Iron
  • Pump Type Two-Stage – Dual Pump
  • Max PSI: 175 PSI
  • Oil Sight Glass
  • After Cooler
  • Pump Drive Belt Drive

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Cons
  • Very Expensive

FS-Curtis ML10 – Most Powerful Air Compressor (20 H.P) Pressure Lubricated

commercial air compressorThe patented Centro-Ring pressure lubrication system delivers 100% continuous duty over an extended service life because all the most important components are properly lubricated.

ML-Series reciprocating compressors handle rugged, making them better than rotary compressors, especially in hot or dirty ambient conditions. Below are some of the best features of our third choice:

  • Durable pumps deliver 79.6 CFM at 175 PSI; slow RPM extends pump life & reduces noise
  • Two D97 2-Stage Pumps With 100% Cast-Iron Cylinders, Cylinder Heads, & Connecting Rods
  • Oversized tapered main roller bearings ensure long pump life; low oil shut-off protects the pump
  • Premium finned intercooler maximizes heat dissipation; metal intake filter housing is superior to plastic
  • Two 10-HP NEMA-Designed Electric Motors With Automatic Stop/Start Control
  • Alternator control panel complete with magnetic starters can run as continuous or intermittent duty
  • Stainless-steel valve assemblies increase airflow & reliability
  • ASME-Approved 200-Gallon Air Receiver
  • Robust, heavy-duty construction is built tough to last a lifetime in demanding working conditions
  • OSHA-Approved Totally Enclosed Metal Belt Guard

Finally, the compressor arrives factory oil-filled, which means you’re ready to use it at once.

The heavy-duty, sturdy, stamped-steel belt guard protects both the drive belt and the operator, and the manual condensate tank drain valve simplifies maintenance.

Air Tank Only: Vertical with Skirt ASME 200 PSI

The A10051 / ISO 9001 certified manufacturer is “U” stamped and registered with the National Board. The maximum pressure of the air tank is 200 PSI. The tank is made of carbon steel. The size without the skirt is 30″ x 72″.

Product specs

  • Dimensions (L)(W)(H)30″ x 72″ (Not Including Skirt)
  • Weight (lbs)505.0000
  • Air Tank Configuration: Vertical
  • Warranty: Standard Warranty

We ranked this product at the top because it features optimal airflow at maximum operating pressure. Air flow is indicated by the unit’s SCFM or standard cubic feet per minute.

As airflow goes up, pressure tends to drop. Please take into account the type of tools you will be using with the compressor to determine the correct SCFM and PSI regardless of which compressor you choose.

Best 120 Gallon Air Compressors

Product NameBest Feature Price
Flexzilla 120 GallonMost user-friendlyView On Amazon
DeWalt Two-Stage DXCMH9919910three-phase induction motorView On Amazon
OEMTOOLS 10HP 120 GallonDIY and industrial UseView On Amazon

First Choice: Flexzilla Pro Air Compressor with Silencer – Best 120 Gallon Air Compressor 

This commercial compressor features a patented pump design that runs cooler and lasts longer. The patented piston design helps improve compression efficiency. Below are some details about the product:

  • Draws heat away from the precision bored cylinders
  • Patented Asymmetrical Cooling Fins
  • Patented Cast Iron Flywheel
  • Pre-Wired Magnetic Starter
  • Saves time and money

120 Gallon ASME Tank

The compressor has enough power to operate more than 1 tool at a time with its 35.0 CFM at 100 PSI; 33.6 CFM at 175 PSI; 3/4″ air outlet.

It features a unique Metal Belt Guard Design that improves pump cooling by as much as 60% over other designs.

On the downside, the product comes with a limited factory warranty of just two years. Purchase and use of maintenance kit double the pump warranty.

It has the motor voltage of 230 Volt AC, a magnetic starter, 10 HP engine and pump CFM 35. The pump is made of solid cast iron, two-stage pump type. There is an oil sight glass, but no aftercooler.

 

Technical Specs

  1. Oil Type: Oil Lubricated
  2. Oil System: Splash Lubricated
  3. Pump Low Oil Shut-off: No
  4. Tank Outlet: 3/4 Inch
  5. Power Type: Electric
  6. Tank Orientation: Horizontal
  7. Certification: ASME
  8. Weight: 920 Pounds
  9. Product Length: 75 Inches
  10. Product Width: 29 Inches
  11. Product Height: 60 Inches
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Pros
  • Large, extended fins improve pump cooling & lower RPMs
  • High quality 4 pole, 1725 RPM, NEMA rated
  • Factory pre-wired for 230 volt, three phase system
  • Century Industrial Class 10-HP Electric Motor

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Cons
  • No Electronic Drain Valve
  • Consumer and Commercial Warranty: 2 Years

Our Second Choice: DeWalt DXCMH9919910 Two-Stage Cast Iron Industrial Air Compressor, 120-Gallon

The Dewaltcast iron two-stage air compressor is a uniquely designed compressor with a large capacity to handle large loads and heavier pneumatic tools.

The two-stage function ensures more air can be compressed. This compressor comes with a mounted magnetic and pre-wired starter, making it easier and quicker to start up.

The compressor provides 33.6 CFM at 175 PSI, making it perfect for applications that involve a longer run time for all kinds of air tools.

The unit is very durable, being constructed from cast iron. The patented pump design ensures a cooler running pump, which adds to the durability of the system.

The compressor operates on a heavy-duty, three-phase induction motor that features a running horsepower of about 10. A uniquely designed belt guard that ensures better cooling of the compressor pump is included.

Furthermore, the cast iron flywheel and patented pump design make for more efficient cooling.

This means the machine will never overheat, maintaining a consistent compressing efficiency throughout its life cycle. The two-stage function is not only powerful, but also helps operate more than one device at a time.

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Pros
  • More than one device can be used at once
  • Two-stage pump for more power
  • Heavy-duty
  • Easy and quick to start up the machine
  • Durable and sturdy design

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Cons
  • Requires Permenant Installation 
  • Only work with 3 Phase

Third Choice: OEM Tools 120 Gallon Air Compressor

OEM is unbeatable when it comes to reliability and delivering high-end products. Its 120-gallon industrial air compressor is yet another example of the company’s consistency. Its large horizontal compressor can be used for DIY purposes when you need extra power for your tools.

The maximum operating pressure of this unit is about 125 PSI. However, it has no problem delivering 35 CFM at 100 PSI. This means you can use it to provide air to grinders, power ratchets, drills, or whatever other tools you need. The heavy-duty cast iron pump is perfect for durability and performance. It operates at a low RPM, which further adds to the durability factor.

No Separate Filter Needed

You don’t need to buy a separate starter for the motor on this unit because the starter is included, as are the oil and air filters. What is more, the compressor does not require a lot of maintenance or servicing.

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In fact, it ensures longevity and effectively reduces maintenance. Optimal cooling efficiency is ensured by the heavy belt flow guard. The unit also includes tank and safety valves that adhere to the ASME standards.

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Pros
  • Starter and start-up kit included with the package
  • AMSE Standard tank valves and safety valves
  • Used to power many different kinds of tools
  • Can be used for both DIY and industrial uses
  • Durable and reliable performance

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Cons
  • Cannot be moved without assistance
  • Vibrates a lot so vibration isolation pads are needed

 

Buyer’s Guide – Important Things Before Your Buy Commercial Air Compressor


Before committing to a compressor make and model, ask the following questions:  

  • What is the air flow and pressure?
  • How Much power?
  • How durable is the compressor?
  • Oil or oil-less?
  • How good are the cooling systems?
  • What about maintenance?

Air Flow and Pressure

As noted, the volume of air flow and the maximum operating pressure, measured in SCFM, should be taken into account. You need to consider the type of tools you will be using with the compressor to determine the correct SCFM and PSI.

Power

Motor power is usually expressed in horsepower (HP). We don’t recommend going anywhere below 10 HP because these compressors are bound to have large tanks.

Plus, 10 HP produces greater pressure as well as greater compression. Determine the air flow and pressure before considering the power.

Durability

You need a robust, sturdy compressor because these large products are quite expensive for the most part. Cast iron compressors won’t rust easily. They are heavy duty and can usually tolerate the worst.

Oil vs. oil less

Oil is important in the operation of any compressor as it serves to remove heat generated by the compression process. It also provides a seal in many designs. Oil lubricates the crank and wrist-pin bearings and the sidewalls of the cylinder in the case of piston compressors.

Rings on the piston provide sealing of the compression chamber and control the passage of oil into it, as with piston engines.

Rotary-screw compressors inject oil into the compressor body to both remove some of the heat of the compression process and seal the two non-contacting rotors.

Rotary-vane compressors rely on oil to seal the minute space between the housing bore and the vane tips. Scroll compressors are known as oil-less because they do not normally use oil but, of course, their capacities are somewhat limited.

Centrifugal compressors are in a different league than their positive-displacement brethren and do not introduce any oil into the compression stream.

Makers rely on several approaches to create oil-free compressors. Piston-compressor makers can employ one-piece piston-crank assemblies that ride the crankshaft on eccentric bearings.
This design does away with a wrist-pin bearing on the piston. Piston-compressor manufacturers also use certain self-lubricating materials for the sealing rings and cylinder liners.

Important Questions To Ask

Disadvantages Of Oilless Compressors

There are compromises to make whatever you choose. Some of the disadvantages of oil-less compressors are increased wear, more frequent maintenance, heat-management issues, and reduced capacity. An oil-based compressor is a good idea if it is acceptable to filter out oil or simply live with it.

Cooling Systems Of Air Compressor 

Large compressors can heat up very easily because they often face heavy loads. This is why you should always check how efficient a cooling system is. Most compressors are equipped with aluminum heads or fans for better heat dissipation.

Is Maintenance Easy?

You don’t want to be stuck with daily maintenance of such a complicated and huge machine.

It’s a good idea to look for compressors that do not require much maintenance or are easy to maintain, as the rotating screw compressors.

Some Additional Factors To Consider:

  • Sizing the compressor
  • Air quality
  • Controls

Quiet Commercial Air Compressors

There are quiet air compressors out there that can give you the maximum performance you need to get any work done, whether at your worksite, the office, or at home—all without the noise. The quietest and most affordable models are those by Dewalt and California Air Tools. These are at least 50% quieter than the rest.

They also have great reviews from real-life users and product reviewers online. The low prices are another incentive to purchase. Manufacturers have decided to move the market towards quieter air compressors. A compressor doesn’t have to be loud to be good.

Best Commercial Air Compressor Brands

Below are some leading manufacturers in the US today:

  • Brehob Corporation
  • Kaeser Compressors, Inc
  • Eaton Compressor & Fabrication Inc.
  • Werther International
  • Industrial Heat Transfer, Inc.

Apart from them, do consider the manufacturers of the other products we’ve reviewed here. Some great 120-gallon compressors ship from China, for example.

The Outdated 100 Gallon Air Compressors 

The 100-gallon air compressor is not very common in the U.S Market. Most manufactures discontinued the manufacturing of the 100-gallon air compressor for lack of demand. The 100 gallons is falling between the very popular 80-gallon air compressor, which is used mostly by DIY and small business owners.

The air compressor manufactures realized that most light users will most likely be using an 80-gallon air compressor or the 120 gallons (second best among light industrial users). On the other hand, the big industrial applications will require the 200-gallon air compressor.

Either Way, the 100-gallon air compressor does not have a large market share. Therefore, it was discontinued by most.  In our quest, we managed to find only compressors that are shipped directly from China.

We don’t recommend users order those because parts and technical support might be very limited. We strongly suggest choosing a 120-gallon option.

#1 Hande 100 Gallon

This is an air tank complying with EN 286-1, EN286-2, SAE J10. It has certificates CE and ISO. Below are some details about it:

  • Application:  Air Brake System For Truck, Trailer, Buses
  • Material: Steel, Aluminum
  • Diameter , Length: 156mm – 396mm , 50mm-1500mm
  • Port Size:  M22X1.5 , NPT , NPTF
  • Capacity: 5L – 120L
  • Working pressure: 10 bar – 19 bar ,150 psi-275 psi ,1 Mpa-1.9Mpa
  • Warranty:  12 Months, automatic welding

Hande is a reputable factory supplier that has been in business for over a decade. They have a superb technical team to adjust the design for customers. They specialize in producing air tanks from 5L to 120L. They make steel air tanks and aluminum air tanks for the brake system of trucks, trailers, and buses.

The company can supply air tanks with an adjustable design to adapt to customers’ requirements and specific environments.

Pros

  • Inside and outside powder coating, salt spray test up to 500 hours.
  • Weight lighter and longer product life.
  • Passed the safety certification in Europe, with CE certificate.
  • All air tanks pass strict testing before being sold to customers.

Important Disclaimer: We included the Best Commercial Air Compressors we could find online. However, if you are looking for the best commercial air compressor for your business.

We recommend filling out the form.
A Rated Air Compressor Service & Sales Companies
will contact you with a FREE quote.


#2 Muye Air Compressor

The standard volume and working pressure of the Muye is 4.0-1.3. It can supply 2600 units a day. Produced in a licensed Chinese factor, this is a great quality air compressor tank with a volume of 100 gallons. The tank is for air compressor pistons.

Air receiver tanks are designed to provide a supply buffer to meet short-term demand spikes that can exceed the compressor capacity.

They can also dampen reciprocating compressor pulsations, make the compressed air system easier to control and separate out particles and liquids. In some cases, installing a larger air receiver tank to meet occasional peak demands can make it possible to use a smaller compressor.

Air receivers in compressed air systems serve several important purposes:

  • Eliminate pulsations from the discharge line.
  • Separate some of the moisture, oil and solid particles that might be present from the air as it comes from the compressor or that may be carried over from the aftercooler.
  • Decrease wear and tear on the compression module, capacity control system and motor by   reducing excessive compressor cycling.
  • Offer additional storage capacity made to compensate for surges in compressed air usage.
  • Help reduce dew point and temperature spikes that follow regeneration.
  • Contribute to reducing energy costs by minimizing electric demand charges associated with excessive starting of the compressor motor. It is good for motor lifespan increasing.

About the Factory

Muye has been producing and shipping air receiver tanks worldwide since 1996. The systems are compliant with ASME/PED/ISO/SGS/TUV.

They have a strong R&D team with powerful technical support. All raw materials and spare parts pass rigorous testing. Service is friendly and helpful post-sale. Most designs are stocked for immediate shipment.

Pros

  • Each tank is checked by X-Ray before painted.
  • 100% checking leakage before delivery
  • Pressure vessel with best quality and reasonable price
  • Advanced ARC welding machine and dedicated workers
  • Both Custom Designed Solution and OEM are welcome
  • The authorized manufacturer of Atlas Copco, Ingersoll Rand,Sullair in China.

Many Compressors Only One Right Match 

While there are many commercial compressors on the market. Only one or two would be a good fit for your business type. We hope that you were able to use the above buyers guide to make the right decision regarding your air compressor.

The WiseSmallBusiness Team is full of industry experts and successful business owners  willing to contribute important business articles.

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