Flatten tires are one of the most irritating problems for off-roaders. It can happen anytime, with anyone. But again, off-roading is always challenging and that's what makes it exciting.
A long off-road drive can calm your mind. It has some great psychological advantages. But you don't want any disturbances to ruin the fun.
Taking proper precautions, you can avoid any disaster. That includes, always keeping an off-road tool kit box with you. Keeping a powerful off road air compressor with you should be a priority. It will help to have a smooth journey without worrying about flats.
Now the million-dollar question. Which air compressor is perfect for you? And how will you choose it from all these options available in the market?
In this article, I will try to give you all the necessary information you need to know. Keep reading and you will find out what makes an air compressor the perfect one. So, let’s dive deep into the main topic.
1# What is an air compressor?
Inflating your flat tire will be the responsibility of an air compressor. Now let's know some interesting facts about it.
Reducing the air volume and increasing air pressure is the job of an air compressor. Remember this key concept. It will guide you to choose the right air compressor.
Now you might be thinking about how it will do that? And the answer is the capacity of the air compressor.
How powerful a compressor is to reduce the volume of air and how fast it does that means the duty cycle.
So, we got two-parameter:
- Duty cycle
Which I will explain in the latter part of this article.
The air compressor does this compression using an electric motor. Continuous rotation of the piston increases the volume of the container to let the air in.
Then it pressurizes the air by decreasing the volume. Finally, the air passes through the tank or a pipe to its final destination inside the tire.
Mainly, the duty cycle is pressurizing capacity directly related to this motor. As this is a thermodynamical system, a lot of heat will produce during rotation. It happens for the friction of the air molecules and the tank chamber.
So, you will need a cooling system to protect the whole system to survive from overheating. Also keep in mind that the cooling system is a cool feature of a standard product.
2# Pay Attention To These Criteria
- Capacity: The capacity of an air compressor describes how powerful it is. You can calculate the capacity using the PSI pressure unit. Which means the force exerted on a square inch area.
In the present market there are a lot of standard off-road air compressors. They generally start with a minimum of 15 PSI and go up to hundreds of PSI.
However around 40 PSI is enough for an off-road vehicle like ATV or UTV.
For tracks, and heavyweight vehicles you need around hundreds or more PSI.
- Budget: Budget plays a very important role too. When you are confirmed how much capacity you need, then you need to focus on your budget.
After you decide how much you want to expense for buying this tool you now need some market analysis to choose a model. Later, I will discuss some of the most sold air compressor types.
- Diversity of Uses: After budget and capacity, comes purpose. You should decide if you want it for a single purpose use, like filling up the tires.
If so then a less powerful air compressor is enough for four-wheeled vehicles like ATV, Bikes, and so on.
If you are planning for a big SUV or truck then you should focus on the robust compressor.
3# Classification of Compressors
There are mainly two types of compressors available based on the working mechanism. They are: Positive Displacement and Dynamic.
- Positive Displacement Air Compressor: It operates on the displacement of the mechanical linkage. It pressurizes the air and reduces the volume of the gas. This is also classified into two types:
- Rotary Compressor: Rotary Compressor is used in different fields. Like, large industrial applications and high power air compression tools like wrenchers.
- Reciprocating compressor: Chemical power plants, natural gas processing plants use them.
- Dynamic Compressor: This kind operates based on the inertia and momentum of the fluid. It is also classified into two types:
- Centrifugal compressor: The centrifugal forces generated by a rotating impeller. It accelerates and decelerates the air molecules which pressurizes it.
The kinetic energy of the impeller to the air is converted into pressure energy. This is how it works.
- Axial compressor: It continuously pressurizes air molecules using an airfoil based compressor. In which the working fluid principally flows parallelly to the axis of rotation.
4# Popular Types of Air Compressor
- Tanked and Tankless air compressor: In the market, there are two types of air compressors based on the feature of whether the compressor has a tank or not.
I know what you are thinking at this moment. Is the tank going to be a problem to carry the compressor? Well, it has its positive and negative sides like everything else.
A tanked air compressor is bigger than a tankless one. But the tanked air compressor is more powerful than a tankless air compressor.
Again, a tankless compressor starts working immediately after powering the compressor. When the tanked one takes time to fill the tank first and then go on the action.
That means the duty cycle is less for a tankless one than a tanked one. A tanked air compressor can help you with powering the suspension.
So, both of them have their own specialty, now you have to decide which one is suitable for you.
- 12V or 24V: Based on the power source of the compressor, there are a few types of air compressors in the market. Among those 12V and 24V air compressors are the most popular.
The 12V one is popular among the off-roader because it can power the compressor from the existing battery of the vehicle. But its capacity is less than the other one.
5# Is Cooling System Necessary
You already know how an air compressor works. So, I can assume that you understand the necessity of the cooling system for an air compressor. It is so much important for an air compressor to cool down otherwise it can cause failure due to the overheating.
Maybe you are thinking, is it mandatory to have an external cooling system? If it is not available with the air compressor should you buy it?
Well, air compressors that come with a built-in cooling system are awesome. But if it is not then you have to pay attention to the frequency of the powering of the compressor.
Generally to fill a flatten tire an off-roader vehicle needs around maximum 4 to 5 min for the capacity of 40 PSI. In this case you do not need an external cooling system.
But you have to be careful while touching the chamber and the air pipe by which the compressed air travels through into the tire.
Well, that is all from me today. I hope this article will help you to choose the right air compressor for your journey ahead.