Choosing The Best Truck-Mounted Air Compressor For Your Needs

Posted on: 2 February 2017

If you have just started to work in heavy construction, then you may have recently realized that you need an air compressor to complete jobs as efficiently as possible. If you are looking at an air compressor as an investment, then you may decide on a truck-mounted air compressor model. This is a good pick for a commercial contractor. If you are unsure about all the choices available to you, then keep reading so you can learn about some of the options that need to be considered. 

Power And Engine Type

Truck-mounted air compressor systems require energy to run, just like any other piece of machinery. Unlike traditional air compressors, like the portable varieties, the placement of the device on your truck gives you several drive options that a portable device does not have. Specifically, you have the option of choosing a hydraulic driven compressor. These devices use hydraulic cylinders, pressurized hydraulic fluid, and a fluid pump to create torque and power. If you have a crane, boom, or a hydraulic powered towing or bed lifting system already installed on your truck, then a hydraulic compressor can be tied into the hydraulics already on the truck. Keep in mind that your fuel will still need to be burned by your truck when you use the air compressor, similar to the way your truck runs when using other hydraulic components.

The other compressor option is a an engine driven model. There are compressors that can be driven off the engine of your truck, but these compressors have extremely small tanks and are typically used only to fill the vehicle tires. Most truck-mounted air compressors use gasoline to power the engine. A small reservoir sits on the compressor itself and must be kept full to run the device. 

Engine driven air compressors are often more expensive than hydraulic devices. If you do not currently have a hydraulic system in your truck and you want one, then now is the time to consider it. Otherwise, a gas-powered device is the best option.

Operation Type

Once you decide on the best power or engine type, you need to think about the operation of the air compressor. There are two common varieties. These include reciprocating and rotary screw. Reciprocating air compressors are the ones you are likely familiar with if you have a smaller compressor in your workshop. These models are relatively inexpensive and are reliable if you want to run pneumatic tools for a short period of time or if you need to fill the tires on your machinery. The compressor is basically a good option if you need to complete basic maintenance functions. If you need to occasionally use the compressor for several hours at a time, then you can use a reciprocating device for this purpose. However, the compressor will turn off when the piston of the device needs to compress air and fill the tank.

If you have more extensive needs or if you need to run the compressor for several hours each day, then a rotary screw device is best. These devices produce and discharge compressed air simultaneously, so there is no need to wait for the device to fill up. However, these compressors must warm up for some time before they can be used. The unit needs to work at a high temperature to control condensation. 

Also, rotary screw devices are only truly efficient if used for long periods of time. Short use can actually result in the poor function of the machine as well as the excessive use of energy to simply warm up the device. Basically, rotary devices are more powerful but are only a good choice if large amounts of compressed air are always needed for a relatively long time.