Check with Ernesto at Air Compressor Express
http://www.silentaircompressor.com. He can set you up with the
perfect compressor for your needs and save you some money at the same
time. He carries all the major brands, does warrantee work and
carries spares. He is also most helpful and a pleasure to talk and
No affiliation, just a very satisfied customer.
You will love using a silent compressor, whichever brand/model you
end up getting. If you are using it mainly for powering an air
powered graver handpiece, any one of the smaller models will be more
than adequate. If you do things like sandblasting, airbrushing or run
a high-speed rotary handpiece you will probably need to look at the
CFM (cubic feet per minute) requirements of your tools and match the
compressor to the capacity required for the tool that needs the most
air. Add a bit for cushion.
The pumps on these compressors are the same type used for air
conditioning and refrigeration. The main thing that will kill these
compressors is heat, which is generated by operating the pump for too
long without a cool-down period. You ideally want the pump to operate
less than 50% of the time you are using the compressor, with a
maximum of 15 minutes constant operation, followed by 15 minutes off.
Tank size is an important consideration, with the larger tanks
increasing the off-time of the pump during use. I add a clip-on
cooling fan to my compressors. There are models that incorporate a
fan, but they add considerably to the cost, and a cheapo clip-on fan
from the Dollar Store works almost as well as the built-in variety.
Not all of these compressors are the same, even though many look
nearly identical. The one part that will give you the most grief is
the regulator, and the cheaper models obviously have cheaper
regulators. Cheaper regulators (plastic body) will clog and jam open
with heavy use, requiring a periodic tear-down and cleaning. They
also don’t usually do as good a job of cleaning and drying the
compressed air as the better quality metal bodied regulators. Oily,
wet air can mess up handpieces, blasting media and whatever else is
being powered. It’s not a bad idea to add an in-line oil
separator/filter/drier before your tools either, especially if you
have a GRS Gravermax or equivalent. The rotary valve and handpieces
of the GRS units are really allergic to dirty air. Important little
detail if you intend to use it with a wax pot too.