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Things You Need to Know Before Choosing a CAT Air Compressor
California air compressors’ main advantage over other compressors is their ultra-quiet operation. The California Air Tools (CAT) manufacturer is producing reliable, powerful and quiet air compressors. As a matter of fact, some of their air compressor models have been proven to have a noise level of only 60dB.
The various California Air compressors are designed to suit different applications. To get the right one, you should consider such things as horsepower, air tank capacity, CFM, and duty cycle. Reviewed below are the top eight air compressor tools by California Air Tools.
Air Pressure (PSI)
The air pressure produced by an air compressor is expressed in pounds per square inch (PSI). The right PSI rating will depend on the tools you will be connecting to the compressor.
On average, most air tools need about 90 PSI to run properly. To maintain this PSI, you will need a compressor that has a higher shut-off pressure rating.
If you are looking for an industrial model, it is advisable to go for the ones with a two-stage model. Such a model builds up to shut-off pressure in two stages, the first one being 90 PSI, and the other one 175 PSI. If you are a hobbyist, a smaller air compressor model will suffice.
In such a case, you should go for models with a shut-off pressure rating of between 125 and 135 PSI. This may sound too high, but you should bear in mind that most models kick in at about 100 PSI.
Again, you also need to factor in the pressure drop caused by restrictions in the couplers and hose.
Horsepower (HP) is often used to express the power or size of the air compressor.
Although some brands may exaggerate the rating to market their products, commercial models are often labeled correctly. To tell whether the labeling is correct, you need to assess the amount of electrical power required to run the unit.
For instance, a true 5HP motor draws about 24 amps when connected to a 220 Volt circuit. If overrated, a 5HP air compressor can only run on a normal 15 amp, 110V circuit. This rating is a bit different in gas-powered air compressors.
For instance, you will need a 10 HP gas-powered air compressor to produce as much air as an industrial 5 HP electric compressor would.
Cubic Feet Per Minute (CFM)
In addition to the HP rating, pneumatic tools require a certain volume of air to run. The volume of air produced by an air compressor is expressed in cubic feet per minute (CFM).
Some air compressors have several CFM ratings at different g pressures, which can be really confusing. For smaller air compressor models, the most important CFM rating is the one at 90 PSI as it is the pressure required to run most air tools.
Single-Stage Vs. Two-Stage Compressors
Single-Stage air compressors can only have one or two cylinders pumping air directly into the tank.
However, a two-stage compressor cannot have less than two cylinders. In a two-stage compressor, the air is pumped from one cylinder to another, and finally into the tank.
A conventional two-stage air compressor moves the air through a cooling tube, and then into the second-stage cylinder at 90 PSI or so. The air is finally transferred to the reservoir tank at about 175 PSI.
A two-stage air compressor will only be necessary if you need higher pressure. While many people think that a two-stage compressor is of better quality than a single-stage compressor, this is not necessarily the case. The right air compressor will only depend on your air pressure requirements.
You also need to consider the duty cycle before choosing the right air compressor. The duty cycle in air compressors is expressed as a percentage. It shows the number of minutes the unit is allowed to run out of ten minutes. For instance, smaller air compressor models tend to have a 50% duty cycle.
In such a case, the unit should not run continuously for more than 5 minutes within any 10-minute period. Exceeding the duty cycle of any air compressor model causes it to overheat, which tends to have an effect on its durability.
A good number of the California Air Tools commercial air compressor models have at least a 75% duty cycle. Some of the leading brands even have models with 100%, meaning that you can run it continuously for up to ten minutes.
The right duty cycle will depend on several other factors. For example, a 5 HP compressor that has a 100% duty cycle can produce more continuous air than a heavy-duty 7.5 HP compressor.
Air Tank Capacity
The air reservoir or tank is often mounted on the air compressor unit and its capacity actually matters. With a large enough motor and air pump, you will never run out if air even if the air tank is a bit small.
if you use air intermitted, a smaller pump coupled to a larger tank can save you a considerable amount of money.
If you had a compressor that produces 10 CFM continuously, you could draw out 20CFM of air from the tank for half the time. For instance, a one-inch impact wrench that runs on 20 CFM intermitted, you can just use a small air compressor with a large storage tank.
In such a case, the compressor will have to build up enough pressure by the time you need to use the tools again. If you need to run a pneumatic tool continuously, such as a sander, you will need to get a unit that produces as much air as you need in real-time.
In such a case, it would be advisable to get a smaller air tank. A smaller tank makes the compressor more portable and builds up to the required pressure faster.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are California air compressors any good?
A: Yes, California Air Tools are some of the best in the industry. As a matter of fact, their air compressors feature the latest technological advancements.
This makes them some of the best oil-free air compressors in the industry, with regards to reliability and ultra-quiet performance.
Q: Where are California air compressors made?
CAT air compressors are produced from the manufacturer’s certified UL facility that is based in San Diego, California USA.
|Model||CFM @ 90 PSI||Horsepower||Tank Size|
|California Air Tools 20040CAD||10.60 SCFM||4.0 HP||20 Gallons|
|CAT-60040CAD||10.60 SCFM||4.0 HP||60 Gallons|
|California Air Tools 20040DCAD||10.60 SCFM||4.0 HP||20 Gallons|
|California Air Tools 10020C||5.30 SCFM||2.0 HP||10 Gallons|
|California Air Tools 10020SPC||5.30 SCFM||2.0 HP||10 Gallons|
|California Air Tools 4610AC||2.20 SCFM||1.0 HP||4.6 Gallons|
|California Air Tools 10TL||2.20 SCFM||1.0 HP||No tank|
|California Air Tools CAT-5510A||2.20 SCFM||1.0 HP||5.5 Gallons|