Buying a Replacement
              Air Compressor Tank

When buying a replacement air compressor tank I find it useful to remember that air tanks are dumb devices.

A replacement air compressor tank is simply a container into which the compressor pump pushes air. The air pressure in the tank will increase based on the amount of air that the compressor pump can pump into it.

In other words, a replacement air compressor tank can be, in theory, any size or any shape available. There are some factors that you do want to take into consideration when buying a replacement air compressor tank.

replacement air compressor tank

Tank Photo:

Replacement air tank specifications

First ensure that the replacement compressor air tank is actually designed and built to hold pressure. If the tank has not got the capability of handling the pressure that the air compressor pump will deliver into it, a catastrophic tank failure may occur, possibly leading to serious injury.

There are a variety of organizations that specify and certify pressure vessels. Typically lthough, somewhere on the tank will be a plate or a stamp that indicates that the tank is suitable for pressure and often provides the pressure range that the tank can handle.

Tank size

While the compressor pump does not care about the size of the tank into which it is pumping air, the size of the pump and the power supply to the pump will be affected if the air compressor tank is too big.

The typical air compressor has a pump and motor sized to suit the tank on which it sits. If the tank is too large, then it is possible that the air compressor motor and pump will have to run too long to fill that tank before the pressure in the tank reaches the pressure switch cut out setting.

That can lead to excessive wear on the motor and the pump and early maintenance issues.

Buying a too small air compressor tank can lead to problems as well. The compressor pump and motor are sized for a specific tank and if the tank is too small the pump and motor will have to cycle much more frequently as the smaller air tank will become more rapidly depleted.

When buying a replacement air compressor tank it is sensible, then, to purchase one that's comparable in size to the existing tank, regardless of the manufacturer of that tank.

Mounting the compressor to the tank

Once you have acquired the replacement air compressor tank, ideally it would be one suited for the brand and model of compressor that you are maintaining, yet it is possible that the tank will have a slightly different mounting plate for the pump.

Or the new air tank may not have a mounting plate at all!

No mounting plate on the new tank may mean that you leave the pump and motor on the old tank, and plumb the air to the new or get creative about how the motor and pump are mounted.

Perhaps a plate using clamps to grab the tank may be the solution.

You should not weld a plate to the tank ever, in my opinion. Perhaps a certified welder could do it for you, but I'd rather not use a compressor tank that's been newly welded other than by the tank manufacturer, thank you very much.

Once again, the pump doesn't care about the look, size or whether it is on or beside the old tank. As long as you can attach the compressor pump and motor to a mounting plate, or plumb the air from the pump to the new tank instead of to the old, you can expect it to work.

Things that you want to ensure work properly are that the pressure switch on the compressor pump and motor can actually have access to the tank pressure so that it can monitor it.

Ensure that the new tank has a condensate drain at the lowest point in the tank when the tank is in its normal position.

Also ensure that if the air compressor has a pressure switch with an integral unloader valve, or other types of unloader, that the unloader mechanism or valve can access the tank pressure as well.

It is also important to ensure that the pressure relief valve all the compressor pump has access to the tank pressure in order to safeguard the assembly.

Some compressor tanks can be hard to find

If you are seeking a replacement air tank for the smaller, home DIY type of air compressor, it is not unusual to not be able to find and 0EM replacement tank.

Therefore, in order to replace a failing or failed tank, you will have to secure an off brand.

Just make sure whatever tank you acquire has the pressure capability that your air compressor can theoretically deliver [meaning that even if the pump and motor are designed for 150 PSI, if the pump can deliver 250 PSI, the tank must be rated to handle that maximum pressure] to ensure that it suits the compressor pump and motor.

And yes, air compressor tanks are expensive

You may find when buying a replacement air compressor tank that the cost of the new tank may equal, or come close to, the cost of the whole air compressor. That is not unusual.

Companies that manufacture air compressor tanks may not make them for the after market in the same quantities that they would make a particularly branded model for an air compressor manufacturer.

Similar to trying to rebuild a car engine by buying parts for it from an auto parts dealer, the cost of rebuilding which will very quickly far outstripped the cost of a whole new motor, rebuilding air compressors can be price prohibitive.

Be cautious when acquiring a replacement air compressor tank that it be in good shape and meet the criteria outlined in this article.

If you have a question about buying an air compressor tank, here is the forum in which you can ask a question about air compressor tanks.