Air Compressor vs Air Pumps vs Inflator: Which one is Better?

Either by the first attempt to use or by the learnings, we all have had the experience of using the air compressors and air pumps.

Least bothered by the differences, we often mistake both the air compressor and an air pump to be the same. As they function in the same way- to create pressure, both of the devices creates a difference in terms of performance. 

Let us delve deep into learning the differences that make the air compressor different from the Air Pump.

Air Compressors vs Air Pumps vs Inflator

What are the Air Compressors?

The Air Compressor is a device that is used to compress the air with the purpose of releasing it in pressure. Widely used and made suitable for different purposes, almost 70% of industrial units are rising consistently from its use. Due to its fast and efficient functioning, every textile, plastic, or automobile industry owns this machinery in their day-to-day operations.

What are the Air Pump?

The Air pump is a machine that pumps the air or any form of liquid from one place to another. Useful for low-pressure tasks, particularly for residential and commercial sectors. 

Functioning and Internal workings:

How do Air Compressors work?

Air Compressors work mainly on two parts:

  1. Electric motor/engine
  2. Storage tank

The Air Compressor functions in two ways: suction and pumping. The machine takes in the air and pushes the air to a receiver tank that stores the air or gas by squeezing it. This process of soaking the air is called compression, which ultimately reduces the volume of the air to generate high pressure. This is done with the help of an electric motor or an engine that uses its energy to release high-pressure air or gas. 

As long as the machine stores the gas or air in a receiver tank, the compressor remains turned on. As soon as the pressure reaches its maximum degree, the air compressor automatically turns off. 

The best thing about the air compressor is its ability to store the gas that, in turn, can be used for later use. 

How do Air Pumps work?

Air pumps contain three parts, mainly:

  1. Inlet valve
  2. Piston
  3. Outlet valve

Air pumps work on a single piston that takes in the air and releases it to the other end, without storing the air. 

The air pumps function to pump air inside the area which needs to be air-filled. When the piston is turned up, the air finds its way inside the pump by a valve. Then, when the air inside fills up, the motor inside pressurizes the air as and when the inlet closes. And when the piston closes down, the air goes out by another valve. 

The fact that the air pumps cannot store or retain liquids, they cannot be used for water. 

In simple words, the Air Pump functions one-way to pump the air while the air compressors double its function of compressing and pumping the air.

Also Read: Reviews for the Best Air Pumps for Aquarium, Fish Tank In India 2021


Types of Compression:

1. Piston Compression: The piston compression makes use of the piston to deliver high-pressure air. Also known as reciprocating pumps, they come in two different types: Single-stage and Double stage pumps. This type of pump takes in the air and pump it into the storage tank with the use of pistons. 

That is to say, the air passes through a tube which moves the air in and out as per the shifting position of the piston. When the piston pulls down, the air passes inside through a chamber, and when the piston opens up, the air releases into the storage tank.

On the other hand, the single-stage and double stage pump are further classified as per the use of its piston. If single-stage uses one side of the pump, both sides of the pump are utilized by the double-stage pumps. 

2. Centrifugal compressors: These types of compressors are common in manufacturing industries. They function to compress the air or gas through the rotating impellers. The rotors of the motor allow the air to pass in and move out while pressurizing the air at the same time. 

Types of Air Pumps:

There are two different kinds of air pumps:

  1. Manual Air Pump
  2. Electric Air Pump

As the name suggests, the manual air pumps operate by hand; whereas, the electric air pumps are easier to work as they are pre-loaded with an automatic system.

Also known as inflators, the manual air pumps are safe and convenient to use. Being easy to use, the inflators are quite useful for blowing balloons, filling the air in tires or tubes. 

While the above two air pumps are light in weight and used for any purpose. The air pumps are also used to supply oxygen for marine life. Being bulky, the air pumps play a significant role for aquariums and small-sized fish tanks. 

Also Read: Reviews for Best Hand Air Pumps for Balloons In India 2021


Air compressors:

The Air compressors are useful in railways, infrastructure, agriculture, and automobile industry where productivity remains at its peak. With air compressors of any type and size, the efficiency tends to improve with time. 

Useful for inflating bigger pool toys and high-pressure jobs, the machine is of the best use for power tools too. Drillers, sanders, impact wrenches, etc., the air compressors build up sufficient pressure to use them easily. 

For railways and infrastructure, the compressor held in pressure for air brakes and automatic gates. And for infrastructure, the high pressures turn towards construction. 

While the compressed air is found in tractor brakes and farming tools, it also works the same for the automobile industry for inflating tires and painting the vehicles. 

Air Pumps:

Air pumps are useful for objects which require low-pressure air. Useful for inflating balloons and tires and pumping water for coolers, the air pumps are a great help for household use. 

In terms of its other uses, some of the air pumps have an electric motor that flows the air and such types are generally useful for aquariums. They are useful for feeding oxygen to aquatic life by creating bubbles in the water.

Also Read: Reviews for Best Electric Air Pumps for Balloons In India 2021

Conclusion: Which one is Better Air Compressor or Air Pumps

It is unlikely to state one over the another as both of the machines – Air Compressor or Air Pumps has different uses. If air compressors are used for more production, in cases, where labor work is impossible, then the air pumps are useful for industries that serve both ends.

For analysis on the price, the air compressors are way more costlier than air pumps. However, that seems fair for the value it offers, in the form of better productivity in less time.

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