A mini compressor for simple applications around the home will cost you a little over £100. You can find these at most DIY stores together with a range of appropriate tools such as spray guns.
For a robust 1 – 1.5 HP air compressor, you’ll pay in the region of £105 - £220. Again, most of these models are more suited for the domestic rather than professional market.
Basic business use air compressors fall within 2 – 5.5 HP and cost £250 - £1,200. Some dealers will include a selection of standard air compressor tools in the overall price. These air compressors are reciprocating and mainly powered by electricity. A general purpose 5 HP petrol model will cost you about £1,000 upwards. At this end of the market, equivalent rotary screw air compressors are £1,500 -£2,500.
For a reciprocating 10 HP model, you’ll pay £3,500 - £4,500. At the top of the reciprocating air compressor range, a 25 HP machine costs around the £7,000 mark.
A 10 HP rotary screw air compressor is about the same price as its reciprocating equivalent. But from this point on, rotary screw compressors come into their own as far as power is concerned and can generate 500 HP or more. 50 HP models are the most popular and cost £8,000 - £11,000. For a 200 HP rotary screw air compressor, be prepared to pay about £30,000.
If you’re looking for a centrifugal air compressor, your industry and its needs will dictate the size and therefore the price. An air compressor for a major plant may cost you a seven figure sum.
Earlier in this Buyer’s Guide, there’s a section on air compressor features that refers to oil-free machines. These have a tremendous advantage over traditional compressors because they are virtually maintenance free, but they cost far more than their lubricated counterparts.
Service and support
Dealers may include maintenance and repair packages with 24 hour call-out for top of the range industrial air compressors. For other compressors, dealers may want an extra fee to cover maintenance and repair services. But whether you require fully serviced support or you simply want the dealer to supply spare parts as and when you need them, ensure you ask in advance for details and prices. You will, of course, get a twelve month manufacturer’s warranty on new air compressors anyhow.
Used air compressors
Most people buy new because air compressors are such an important part of their businesses. They also know that new compressors will last for many years – see further tips on buying air compressors. Nonetheless, there is a small market for used air compressors although the potential saving isn’t great when you compare it to the operating costs.
Air compressor hire
Most major hire companies have air compressors for rent. Portable workshop models cost £60 - £130 a week depending on their power output. Trailer mounted petrol or diesel air compressors start from around £170 a week.