Rotary-Vane-Reciprocating-Screw; sounds like the intro to a bad rock song to me. :-)
What is the difference between the various types of compressors available on the market today?
And, which style of compressor will be right for your compressed air applications?
Links to more information about these various types of air compressors are below.
One of these two air compressors will over deliver substantially if all you need a compressor for is to blow up a basketball, a bicycle tire, or perhaps an air mattress. The discharge rate of a 40 HP compressor would quickly over inflate these items with unfortunate results.
The 12 Volt air compressor, plugged into the power outlet in your automobile, would not be the logical choice to provide air to your shop air tools, for example.
Yes, the 12 VDC unit plugged into your cars power supply can give you 120 PSI air (depending on the brand of course) just like the 120 PSI compressed air that is available from a 40 HP compressor can. The difference is in the flow of compressed air at that 120 PSI.
If you tried to use a too small type of air compressor for a high-demand application, the compressor could never catch up (compressed air outflow would always exceed the compressor's ability to compress it) and it would never reach cut out pressure to allow it to shut down. Since these small air compressors have a limited duty cycle the compressor would run at full speed all the time, trying to supply enough air for a high-demand application, until it finally self-destructed.
All air compressors do essentially the same thing. They gather in free air, and compress it.
Therefore, you will need to select the type of compressor that delivers the capacity you need, both in terms of pressure and the flow of that compressed air at the pressure you need.
Follow are links to pages on this website that provide information about the various types of air compressors.
You will see them at the corner garage, on the shelves at the hardware stores, in residential garages, many home basements, darn near everywhere, and their uses are numerous too. Careful though. While reciprocating compressors often have the lowest up-front cost, they may also have the highest operating cost! If you are planning on using a lot of air in your shop or in your home, a different style of compressor may give you better value over the long haul. Do check this out.
Here is more information on the reciprocating type air compressors.
That being the case, you will want to look at details about portable air compressors.
Did you know that...
"While there are many different types of compressors, all compressor types theoretically operate more efficiently if they are designed to include multiple stages."
Source: Compressed Air Systems Fact Sheet 11, Office of Industrial Technologies, Department of Energy