Join Date: Nov 2000
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I would recommend a 220 volt compressor that puts out enough cfm to keep up with the tools you intend to run off it. So you need to start from the perspective of what tools do you intend to use with it.
There's all sorts of marketing baloney of 2 hp peak, 5 hp peak, etc. A real 2 hp compressor needs 220 v power, otherwise you need more amperage than a 110v circuit can typically supply. I agree with the recommendation of at least 3 hp. I have a 220v 2hp twin cylinder unit and it won't keep up to continuous work with a paint gun, sander or impact. At one time I had a 5 hp compressor and I now wish I had replaced it with same. You could run tools at about 75% duty cycle and it would keep up. You turned it on and the pressure gauge went from zero to 90 very quickly. You need that if you are doing something like sand blasting, painting or sanding.
Also, buy quality tools, they deliver more power for the air they consume than the cheap chinese tools.
When looking at CFM of the tools, consider the typical duty cycle. An impact gun might see very intermittent use, a sandblaster, sander, or paint gun continuous use. So if the impact uses 10cfm, and you run it at 50% duty cycle, you might only need a 5cfm at 90psi compressor. But if you run a paint gun that uses 12 cfm at 40 psi, and you run it continuously, which is likely, you will need a compressor that can deliver 12 cfm at 40 psi. Also note that the cfm is rated at a specific psi. The higher the psi, the lower the cfm output, as its more highly compressed.
You'll never regret buying a good compressor.