Air compressors are some of the most versatile and useful tools that you can own. The way that these machines work is quite incredible, and they can be used for a wide array of different use cases. The flexibility and functionality that you are able to get from air compressors is part of the reason why they’re such popular tools. However, that power and functionality can come with a bit of a cost.

how to choose an efficient air compressor

When working with machines in a workshop or garage, it’s common knowledge that these things have a tendency to require a great deal of power and energy in order to operate properly. It’s a bit of an annoyance if you are someone who likes to be as efficient with their energy usage.

Air compressors can be a big contributor to this issue. They require a healthy amount of power in order to function in the way that they do. Despite your need for this tool, you might still be wondering how you can get an air compressor that is as energy efficient as possible. After all, conserving is good for both your wallet and the environment.

Fortunately, hope isn’t lost entirely. As with any other large machine of this caliber, air compressors come in certain models and makes that are designed to be as efficient as possible.  Whether you’re worried about saving time or money, seeking out and purchasing an efficient air compressor for your particular work case can go a long way in providing a much better experience. So, without further ado, here is our guide to help you seek out and choose the most efficient air compressor possible.

Conservation of energy

Whenever we’re talking about some sort of appliance or machine being efficient, the most obvious point to talk about is how it compares to other similar units. The actual amount of energy savings that efficient air compressors bring along with them just might surprise you.


According to the United States Department of Energy, more than 50% of air compressor systems that are being used in any sort of industrial facility are energy efficient and able to help conserve energy. In fact, according to some reports, an energy efficient air compressor has the ability to use 50% less energy than inefficient comparable units.

With energy savings like this, it only makes sense to opt for an air compressor that is classified as an efficient one. While they might cost you a little bit more upfront, the savings in energy bills will pretty much pay for itself in no time at all!

Cash savings

Speaking of saving money, that benefit ties directly with conserving and using less energy. Thanks to various studies, it has been reported that about 30% of all compressed air that is generated in industrial plants is wasted entirely. That 30% waste translates to $9600 that is used for a standard installation of a SCFM system. Even more so, it has also been reported that more than $3.2 billion in the United States has been wasted as a result of air compression systems that are poorly designed and/or made.


The money being lost as a result of non-efficient and poorly made air compression systems is simply unreal. While you won’t necessarily be losing billions of dollars if you use an air compressor that isn’t energy efficient, you’re still going to be wasting money.

The actual amount of money that you will save is ultimately dependent on how you use your air compressor and how often you use it. It could be a substantial amount, or it could just be a few extra bucks. No matter how small or large the amount comes out to be though, it’s still extra money in your pocket that you didn’t have before!

Size matters


In the case of choosing which air compressor is right for you, the term “size matters” really does hold a lot of truth. It might be easy to think that a bigger air compressor will result in a better overall experience when using it, but that isn’t necessarily true for all people. When choosing what size air compressor to get, you should really choose one that is going to be the best fit for the line of work that you’re going to be demanding from it. If you don’t have a lot of work lined up, opting for a smaller air compressor will be your best bet. However, if you have a big workload ahead, a small air compressor will result in being nothing more than a time-waster. Think about the tasks that you have at hand, and then make your decision from there.

Think about where you’re going to be using your air compressor


The area that your air compressor will be used plays a big part in selecting an efficient air compressor. The two main types of drive systems for air compressors are a gasoline engine and an electric motor. While both of these are solid options, the type of environment that you’re working in will make one of these more efficient and practical than the other.

If you work in an area that requires you and your tools to have as much portability as possible, an air compressor with a gasoline engine is going to offer you the most flexibility. However, if this is not a point of contention for you, air compressors with electric motors are much more affordable and don’t require nearly as much maintenance.

Figure out how much power you’re going to need


Similar to the other points we’ve mentioned so far, deciding just how much power you’re going to need with your air compressor will ultimately depend on the workload assigned to it. Similar to choosing a larger tank might seem like the best way to go no matter what, getting an air compressor with the most powerful horsepower can also seem like the only way to go.

If the work you’re going to be doing with your air compressor will require you to use it for prolonged periods of time, getting something with a high amount of horsepower and low CFM will provide for the best combination. However, this same combo will cause your air compressor to run hot if you’re only using it for quick bursts at a time.


Overall, energy and money savings are the two biggest benefits when it comes to using an air compressor that is efficient. Efficient air compression systems are more common and readily available than they ever have been, so you really don’t have any excuse at all for not getting one.

While there are certainly other points to take into consideration, the ones listed here are the most important ones to keep in mind when ensuring that the air compressor you select is as efficient as possible. Efficient air compressors often come with many great benefits, but in order to get those benefits, you first need to know how to spot a compressor that is going to be efficient for your own particular needs.