How Much is an Air Compressor: Know Before Buy

How much is an air compressor

FramingNailersGuide is reader-supported. If you buy an item through the links on this site, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more

Air compressor had backed up almost the whole automotive, power and mechanical industry. At least in many aspects.

But when it comes to the cost of air compressor, there is some complicated mathematics out there. But we’ve taken up the charge to make that calculation easier throughout this post.

We’ve discussed three types of costs types, and the way to calculate electricity costs for household compressors specifically to help you find the top-quality air compressors. Also, we’ve included a set of tips to make it cost-effective.

Let’s dive deep-

How Much is an Air Compressor: Let’s Know

Air Compressor Cost

Air Compressor Cost

Air compressors are in a wide range of uses, and their size, capacity, and power differ from each other. No matter whichever version of compressed air you are using, compressed air might cost you some serious money.

So, compressed air is quite an expensive thing to create. Thus, an entire industry had been built around it. And as you have to source compressed air for your inflator, air tool, or power tool, you have to take the expense into concern.

A study has shown that near around half of the compressed air is wasted. And that’s with your air compressor as well. If you estimate how much this air costs you, it would be easier for you to take steps that reduce this waste.

The cost can be split into three major categories- the equipment and installation price, the maintenance cost, and the electricity cost. Each of these costs combines with themselves to let you figure out the total costs.

Also, there are some fixed costs, and there are some ongoing costs. You can estimate these two costs separately.

Let’s have a look at the three different sections of costs-

Equipment and Installation

Near around 12 percent of the total cost is on the equipment and installation process. And the total cost is upfront (one time).

The equipment is almost all about the air compressor itself, and its accessories. Depending on what type of air compressor you’re looking for, the cost deviates a lot. Take the rotary screw compressor and the pancake type portable as an example, the first one might cost you near around a grand, and the second one will be from around a hundred bucks.

The installation is also demanding for some investment. A stationary air compressor requires some retrofitting arrangements, which have to be bought individually. Also, there are rebates, which would take some price also.

Maintenance and Repair

When the air compressor system is installed, step 1 is done. Now, when you are using it constantly, it will require some regular maintenance. And that will take some price as well.

The maintenance includes inspections regularly. If you’re a DIYer, you don’t have to make any extra expense. But if you need to bring on an expert, now that would ask for some decent money.

Although the chance of any internal or external damage can be reduced by regular maintenance, it’s impossible to get rid of it completely. Over daily use, there will be leaks, wearings, knockings, etc. The cylinder, the motor, the rings, and the bearings- everything is under the rudder when it comes to damages.

Here is a list of potential damages and mishaps that can take place in the case of an air compressor-

  1. Leaks and traps on the shut-off valve.
  2. Leaks and wearings in the fitting system.
  3. Malfunction or dysfunction of the pressure regulator.
  4. Holes, wearings on the pipes, sealants, and connectors.

Power Cost

If you take two years of lifespan of an air compressor, the cost of electricity is even more than the price of the compressor itself. To be precise, 76% of the total cost that you have to make after the compressor is the electricity itself. And that’s not rocket science.

A study shows that an industrial air compressor takes almost 0.8M dollars after electricity over a life cycle of 10 years.

And there is no way that you can get rid of this expense. But if you be careful, there are ways to reduce this cost by a significant level.

To estimate the ways to do that, ask yourself these questions first-

  1. How long do you run your compressor?
  2. How demanding the compressor is for electric power?
  3. How energy-efficient the compressor is?

Based on each of these answers, you can take steps to reduce the electricity cost.

How would you Measure the Cost of an Air Compressor?

If you want to take a severe attempt to acknowledge the expense of running a full form air compressor, we have something to show you in this section. For the following calculation, we’ve taken a mediocre home air compressor into consideration.

Before taking you through the steps, you might have a look at the EQ rating of the compressor. EQ rating shows up with some basic idea on how the estimated cost of an air compressor would be.

However, let’s see the steps of calculating the cost of running an air compressor-

Figure Out the Run Time

Usually, air compressors are not used throughout the day. And as we’re more precisely focused on home air compressors, they run quite discretely. If that’s the case with your compressor also, take an attempt to measure the hours of runtime with a stopwatch.

Take a week’s data, and make an estimated working hour per day. Now, do a little mathematics to turn it into the KW/h unit. Now, the type of electricity supply might have a fixed price for the KW/h used. Multiply these two figures, and you’ll have an average daily expense after the electricity.

The process is more broken down below-

Calculate the Amount of Power Consumed

From the working hour, you can calculate the amount of electric power your compressor is consuming each day. You can check that out from the wattage rating of your compressor.

Different compressors have different wattage ratings. We’re taking home compressors into account, which usually comes with a 110V requirement at 15amp.

To calculate the watt per hour, multiply the voltage rating with the amp rating. That might lead you to 1650 watts every hour.

Sort out the KW/H in Total

At this step, you have to multiply the two data from the previous two steps together to calculate the watt-hours or kilowatt-hours.

As an example, if your daily usage time is around 3 hours, and the watt per hour is 1650, the calculation will lead you to 4950 watt-hours. Dividing it by 1000, we get 4.95 KW/h in total.

Now, the reason for converting it into KW/h is, that’s what standard electricity systems work with.

Find the Total Cost of Electricity in Each Day

The final step is to multiply the KW/h with the expense of electricity for each KW/h. Now, this price may vary from state to state. Even this price would range from whether using it for household purpose or industrial purpose.

The standard and the average cost of 1 KW/h are around 15 cents, which brings us to a daily expense of 75 cents for the electricity.

Note: We’ve only considered the electricity expense. The compressor price, the installment price, and the maintenance will take different calculations. But as they based on the user to user, we’re not making those into the calculation.

How Can You Save on The Cost of Compressor?

In this section, we’ll be going through some actionable steps which will be able to save a good cut in your net air compressor cost.

Here we go-

Make Sure that It’s Energy-Efficient

It’s an air compressor 101 that, more efficient compressors will cost less energy, resulting in less expense. And to do that, the presence of a reasonable control on the flow, and useful storage is essential.

Firm control on the flow will save up the waste amount of compressed air, resulting in more lifespan. On the other hand, larger storage space for compressed air will lead to further savings as well.

Set It to a Regular On-off Schedule

When you’re not using the compressed air for any mechanical purpose, turn it off manually. In case you have an automatic timer that would be even better. This will save up some right amount of electric power usage.

Also, scheduling a turn-on-off system will eventually reduce the chance of getting leaked.

Use at the Exact PSI (Air Pressure)

Rapid increment to the air pressure leads to leaks and clogged air filters. So, we recommend you not to exceed the required pressure level of the air. Some might think that this would save working time, but that doesn’t work in practice.

Ensure Regular Filter Change

Air filters are in the duty of keeping the insider parts o the filters dust-free. So, they are pretty likely to get dirty, and you’ve to clean them regularly. If you don’t the air compressor motor will have to work harder to meet the required psi. And that would lead to further expense after the power of the compressor.

Keep A Sharp Eye for Air Leaks

Air leaks are the real culprits when it’s about unusual power usage. You won’t even realize this waste until you look for the leak. So, we recommend you to perform a regular survey to find those leaks. And prioritize the most massive Air leaks once you find some.

Some more quick tips come as below-

  1. Prevent Large Repairs
  2. Review Piping Infrastructure
  3. Reclaim Compressed Air for Heating

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question #1: How much does a car air compressor cost on average?
Answer: Car air compressors are one of the lightest of the array. And the effective cost is within $50 for most of the models. And the maintenance and repair costs might vary on use.

Question #2: How much it would take for a new air conditioner compressor?
Answer: Air conditioner compressors have to take up a lot of workload within a compact dimension. So that comes with a high price point of $100+ in most of the cases.

Question #3: Does the central air compressor cost too much?
Answer: Central air compressors are commercial setups, with regular working hours at a stretch. The cost is from $800-$5000, based on size, power, and usage.

Question #4: How costly the Campbell Hausfeld air compressor is?
Answer: The price varies on whether it’s a stationary or portable air compressor. Portable ones are within a few hundred dollars, where the stationary ones cost 4 to 10 times more.

Question #5: What are the best air compressors for roofing nailer? 
Answer: We have reviewed five champion air compressors for roofing nailers.

In Conclusion

Buying the right air compressor mostly relates to understanding the requirement of it. And the cost-effectiveness should be at the top of the list. We hope this guide helps to figure out the necessity for your next compressor.

Related Reading:
#1. Air Compressor Size for Air Tools

About the author

John Patterson

Hi there! My name is John Patterson. I’m a meticulous guy who loves to deal with the perfect tools for various needs. No matter if it’s a woodworking tool or gardening tool or anything else, I don’t compromise the quality and usability. Since 2010 I’ve been testing different tools for different DIY and professional tasks. Later in 2015, I decided to share my knowledge with the world. I started by answering people in the forums and several Q/A sites like Quora. Then I founded this blog to aid others like you with my knowledge and experience.