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Industrial grade air compressors, also referred to as commercial grade, are generally used for business and professional applications. They are intended for the most demanding of jobs and run for extended periods of times. These units are generally the biggest, most expensive, and full of the latest technology. Almost all are of the stationary variety. The few “portable” units are usually towed to a location or job site. Commercial air compressors generally range from 3-HP to 50-HP or more for some of the behemoths. Tank size can go into the hundreds of gallons and CFM into the hundreds as well.

Two-Stage Air Compressors

2-stage industrial compressors can be powered by either gasoline or electricity. They include two pistons which actually compress the air twice. The result is that at a higher compression, more air is available for the most demanding of air tools such as impact wrenches, grinders, and air hammers. While two-stage air compressors are also used by contractors, the commercial versions are generally much larger and are able to deliver almost 100 CFM. These types of heavy duty compressors are often found in manufacturing facilities and auto repair shops.

Rotary Screw Air Compressors

These are the biggest and baddest compressors available and are designed to run 24 hours a day every day of the year. Rotary screw air compressors are truly industrial grade and are used to provide non-stop air to factories, oil rigs, and even the rides at amusement parks. Two rotating screws (rotors) turn against each other in opposite directions and compress the air that is trapped in a chamber between the screws. This technology is extremely efficient, powerful, and surprisingly quiet. For the amount of air flow these units generate, they actually have very low energy consumption and many are Energy Star rated. All this of course comes with a high price tag. But if you have a need for more than a 60% duty cycle, the up-front investment will pay off through the savings of much lower energy costs than a two-stage industrial compressor.

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