Seat of Power: Choosing the Best Air Compressor for Your Furniture Workshop

Furniture manufacturing has come a long way from lone artisans toiling away with hand tools in cramped shacks. Modern furniture manufacturing operations both large and small require robust sources of power for the tools and timber processing machines they use, and industrial-grade air compressors are one of the most popular choices.

Compressed air is an exceptional source of power for furniture manufacturers—it is efficient and reliable and presents much less of a fire hazard than other on-site power sources, an important consideration when your business is in timber and fabrics. However, the unique demands of furniture making mean not all industrial air compressors are suited to the task. If you're looking for an industrial air compressor for your furniture workshop or factory, keep the following guidelines in mind as you shop around:

If you're small, stick with reciprocating compressors

Most industrial air compressors come in one of two varieties: reciprocating and rotary screw compressors. Reciprocating compressors use pistons to compress their air supply, and function in a very similar fashion to a car engine. 

If you run a small furniture workshop creating bespoke pieces, or if you only run your furniture making business on a part-time basis, reciprocating compressors are usually the best choice. They are relatively inexpensive and quick to activate, and their mechanical simplicity makes them very simple to maintain and repair. They also tend to be more compact than rotary screw compressors, making them ideal for urban workshops where space is at a premium.

if you're big, invest in rotary screw compressors

While reciprocating air compressors have their advantages, they can only provide a limited amount of power and tend to wear out quickly when used constantly. Large furniture workshops and factories should be prepared to spend a little more on rotary screw compressors to meet their power needs. Rotary screw compressors can provide significantly more power than reciprocating compressors, and they do not overheat or lose efficiency nearly as quickly when used constantly. 

Keep portability in mind

You will also have to choose between fixed and portable industrial air compressors, and your needs will naturally depend on the nature of your business. Portable compressors have a relatively low upper power limit, and fixed rotary screw compressors are almost always the best choice for running large-scale, static machinery (such as sawmills and conveyor belts).

However, even the largest and most sophisticated furniture factories cannot mechanise everything and still need humans equipped with portable air tools to handle some tasks. To keep their tools supplied with power, you should supply your employees with easily portable reciprocating air compressors. These are ideal for powering nail guns, circular saws and other hand tools, and they won't break the bank if you need several portable compressors to meet your needs.