Pneumatic tools are tools used in the workshop or that you take to a job site that are fueled by compressed air. Most serious workers have at least one pneumatic tool in their collection – whether it be a trim nail gun or a paint sprayer.
If you have a pneumatic tool, then you’ll most likely need to consider investing in a high-quality air compressor. The problem is that such a large tool for a single pneumatic tool is definitely overkill, and you don’t want to tie down thousands of dollars on a machine just to power a simple paint sprayer. If you have one or two pneumatic tools that aren’t air-hungry and are not used simultaneously, you can forget about looking for a beefy air compressor and opt for a trim compressor instead.
What Is a Trim Compressor?
Essentially, a trim compressor is a miniature version of a large air compressor. However, the bigger question is how does a trim compressor differ from compact or portable air compressorsIn this section, we’ll discuss briefly what they are and what they’re meant to do.
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A trim compressor is the tiniest air compressor available. This machine is designed to power trim tools only like trim nail guns. A trim compressor is small, portable, and doesn’t come with a whole lot of features and doo-dads, but it’s a straightforward tool for home renovation and improvement projects.
Portable Air Compressor
Portable air compressors are also on the tiny side, but they pack considerably more punch than their trim counterparts. Many portable air compressors are powerful enough to power impact drivers and might even support air-hungry tools like impact wrenches. Since they provide more power, you can even utilize this machine to power multiple light-duty pneumatic tools simultaneously.
Do I Need a Trim Compressor?
Well, the answer to this question depends entirely on what air-powered tools you have on hand. If you have light-duty ones like a trim nail gun or spray brush, a trim compressor would definitely suit you. However, if you’re looking for something to deliver air to tools such as an impact wrench and impact hammer, you might need an air compressor with a beefier motor and greater air-delivery capacity.
Trim Compressor Under $200 Buying Guide
Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you can get a high-quality trim compressor. In fact, trim compressors are the wallet-friendly type of air compressor since they have limited airflow capacity. That being said, it doesn’t mean that any trim compressor will do. In this section, we’ll tell you what features and specs to be on the lookout for in you’re looking to pick up a trim compressor for your home improvement projects.
PSI and CFM
PSI, or pounds-per-square-inch, is the amount of force that an air compressor can deliver, whereas CFM, or cubic-feet-per-minute, is the total volume of air that the machine can produce. Higher PSI and CFM ratings mean an air compressor has the ability to deliver sufficient pressurized air for larger pneumatic tools.
However, since we’re talking about trim compressors in this article, don’t expect to see any jaw-droppingly high PSI and CFM figures. You’ll typically find that they come with a maximum of 135 PSI and around 0.75 CFM, though certain models may have higher ratings.
The size of the tank is important if you don’t want to be waiting around all day for the machine to recompress air. For this reason, we favor a larger tank over smaller ones. However, don’t expect a trim compressor to come with large 6- to 10-gallon tanks. The average trim compressor is equipped with a tiny 1-gallon tank, but there are some trim compressors that have slightly large tanks.
Even though larger tanks are preferred, the main benefit that a small 1-gallon tank has over large 10-gallon tanks is that it’s much quicker to refill with compressed air. Most trim compressors won’t take long to refill to maximum capacity, so there’s very little downtime. Try and find a model with the least recycle/recovery time possible. The average recycle time is around 30 to 60 seconds.
The weight of a trim compressor isn’t that big of an issue since they’re built to be lightweight and portable. You’ll typically find the weight of a trim compressor to be less than 30 pounds, but a heavier model might indicate larger compressed air storage capacity and a beefier motor by trim compressor standards.
Don’t be surprised if you see a trim compressor with hardly any buttons, gauges, or knobs. Trim compressors should be straightforward with very few dials and buttons. Trim compressors normally come with a pressure regulator dial, a tank pressure gauge, and an outlet pressure gauge. At most, you might find LED lights indicating whether the tool is turned on or not.
Even though trim compressors are small, easy-to-use tools, there are certain things in the machine’s design that you need to consider. The most important of which is the drain valve or more specifically, where the drain valve is located. It should be pointing downward at the ground to let out as much accumulated moisture in the tank as possible.
Since trim compressors come with smaller motors and tanks, your ears won’t be exposed to loud noises for prolonged periods of time. Try and find a trim compressor that produces, at most, around 65 decibels which actually won’t be too difficult to do. We must let you know that you should still wear earmuffs or earplugs when operating a trim compressor.
A trim compressor is the smallest type of air compressor out there. However, just because it’s small doesn’t mean it’s not useful. In fact, if you have a single light-duty pneumatic tool like a trim name gun for home renovation projects, a trim compressor can be a smart investment. There’s absolutely no need in investing in large, costly air compressors or even a more powerful portable air compressor if a budget-friendly, under-$200 trim compressor can do. As long as the machine can provide sufficient amounts of PSI and CFM to operate your pneumatic tools, a trim compressor will be the exact tool you need.