The type of air compressor you need will depend on the task and the tools you want your compressor to operate. Since there are a few different types and power sources for these units, it is important to understand the differences between them.
Selecting the right air compressor for the job
Compressor / tank style:
Provides maximum portability and is ideal for roofing, remodeling, car maintenance, and clean-up, with a low-profile for added stability on uneven surfaces.
Wheels provide easy maneuvering and mobility for building and maintenance job sites. Slightly larger than pancake style compressors.
Lightweight and portable, the pancake style is great for locations where you might be concerned about your space limitations. It is ideal for building, inflation, crafts and outdoor clean-up.
Vertical style units have an up and down tank orientation. This configuration is used for larger capacity tanks and stationary units.
Oil-free air compressors rely on components that are made from self-lubricating materials that allow the piston to lubricate the cylinder while the unit is operating. Oil-free units tend to be smaller and lighter.
Typically these are larger, heavy duty units, that require oil to operate. Oil is used to lubricate the moving parts of the pump and prevent excessive wear or damage to the unit. These units require routine oil-related maintenance.