Guide to Choosing the Right Garage Air Compressor for Your Air Tools

It is essential that you choose an air compressor that works with your power supply – or you factor in the additional work involved in installing the right power for your equipment.

Workshops which demand lots of power typically have access to three-phase (400 V) power. We offer a range of 3-phase compatible air compressors, as well as 240V air compressors. If your premises only has single-phase electricity you will need 240 volt air compressors. Unfortunately 240 volt compressors are less powerful and might not be suitable for a professional garage or workshop. To make sure you aren’t limited because you don’t have enough power you need to buy the best air compressor for the work you do.

Single phase power supply will only run a motor of up to 3hp (2.2KW). Depending on the motor fitted, some will run on a 13 amp plug and some will need to be hard wired. For ABAC pistons our A29B pumps will run on a 13 amp plug, but the A39B pumps will need to be hardwired. The advantage of three phase power supply is that it will allow you to run a much larger output air compressor, subject to the amperage available (but we recommend you ask an electrical engineer to confirm this).

As a rule, any of our piston compressors supplied with a fitted 13amp plug are designed to operate off a 13amp socket. Any machines supplied with a cable which requires wiring to a plug are for a 16amp or 32amp supply. In our guide to installing an air compressor we recommend that you hire a qualified electrician to connect the appropriate electrical supply. This is a very important part of compressed air safety and it features in our fault finding guide too. We clearly list details of the power supply you need for all our single phase compressors so you can easily see which machines will run off a 13 amp plug.

You might also need a to have a ‘D’ type breaker, motor rated, fitted when you get your air compressor installed. If you aren’t sure about this, a good rule of thumb to decide if your compressor will need a ‘D’ type breaker is if it is runs on three phase power or isn’t on a 13 amp plug. You should always consult a registered electrician whenever you get a compressor installed as it is such an important part of making sure your air compressor system runs safely.