Gas vs Electric Air Compressor: What is the difference?

gas vs electric air compressor


An air compressor refers to a device that uses an electric motor, gasoline or diesel engine to convert power into potential energy that is then stored in pressurized air.

They are used to supply highly-pressurized clean air meant to fill gas cylinders, supplying moderate- pressure clean-air to a submerged surface as well as moderate-pressure clean air used for driving certain office and school buildings.

There are different kinds of air compressor available in the market. Two of the types are: An Electric and Gas air compressor.

electric air compressor

What are the differences between these two air compressor types?

  • Availability of Electricity

Electric air compressors work with electricity. They are more convenient to use when there is electrical power at your working place, although they cannot work with an extension board.

On the other hand, a gas compressor does not use electricity. They do not have the same electrical hook up you’d find in an electrical compressor. All it needs is just sufficient fuel to power the machine.

  • It is More Expensive to Use Electric Compressors

Electric compressors consume a lot of electricity and can, therefore, increase your energy costs. For example, an electric compressor which works for 3500 hours a year with its motor working at 92% efficiency can make you pay an electricity bill of about $73,017 for the year.

Gas air compressors lower your energy costs. They have a higher efficiency at part load, generating at least 60-75% capacity. They also have the ability to recover waste heat from the lower-grade output, thereby lowering operating costs substantially. You may choose this air compressor for the money it can save you.

  • Electric Compressors are Lighter

An electric air compressor comes in portable and permanent styles, with an in-built generic “Start’’ & “Stop’’ switch that shuts the compressor on whenever there is a drop in the tank pressure levels. On the other hand, the switch will turn off the unit if there is a surge in the pressure levels. That will then stop the motor when none of the tools is currently being used.

In contrast, gas compressors are heavier. They look like wheelbarrows with twin -tanks as well as an engine and compressor that all serve to make it ideal for keeping up heavy jobs outside.

gas air compressor

  • Turning On and Off

In electric air compressors there is a built in start and stop switch that comes on automatically and shuts off when the pressure in the tank get to its upper limit. They, therefore, turn on and off simply by themselves.

A gas compressor does not turn on and off by itself. Instead, they have pilot valves that open and close. These valves are the ones that determine the amount of pressure the tank will contain at any specified time. This “constantly on” mechanism is good for tools in case you require a preset and continuous flow of air, as in the case of grinders, sprayers, or sanding tools. They are ideal for tasks that require a long-standing amount of pressure.

  • Places You Can Use Them

An electric air compressor is quiet and efficient and is mainly used indoors because of their use of electrical power. They pose fewer risks when they are being used.

However, gas compressors produce a lot of noise and fumes and so cannot be used inside a house since inhaling the fumes can pose a risk to the health of the user. Gas is also, an inflammable substance and can cause serious damage.

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