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Tankless Air Compressor: A Complete Guide

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Tankless air compressor

Tankless air compressors are the least expensive option compared to regular air compressors and often run continuously while using an air tool. The majority of air compressors feature a tank. In fact, the air tank is sometimes an essential air compressor component.

However, it might appear unusual at first, but tankless air compressors are available. Several smaller air compressors used as 12-volt tire inflators, as well as a range of super silent air compressors, lack storage tanks.

This article discusses why air compressors have tanks, compares tankless and regular models, and give you a few tankless air compressor options to choose from.

Why Does an Air Compressor Have a Tank?

A tank is essentially a storage vessel that contains a pressurized air supply. While using an air tool, the air is drawn from the reserve tank to power the device. When the tank’s pressure declines, a pressure switch activates a compressor, which re-pressurizes the tank.

Air compressor tanks also help maintain constant pressure and can help to remove condensation, which can cause the compressor to explode. When the compressor detects a need for air, the motor of an air compressor turns on automatically.

If you don’t have a tank, the motor must work extra hard to meet the demand. On the other hand, storage tanks give the system a specific target to work toward, decreasing cycles and avoiding unnecessary air loading and unloading.

You also save money on energy with an air tank compressor because you use less energy to operate your compressor.

How Does a Tankless Compressor Work?

Tankless air compressors operate similarly to traditional air tank compressors, with the exception that they must constantly run, using energy at all times instead of storing air in an air tank for later use when the air compressor is turned off.

Unless the engine and air pump are both turned on, tankless models do not produce an air supply.

How it Works Illustrated

Tankless Versus Air Tank Compressors

The truth is that there is no definitive answer to the question: “Is a tankless model better than an air tank compressor?” because the air compressor you choose depends on your personal requirements and preferences.

While a tankless compressor is helpful for tasks that require a portable compressor, such as inflating a tire, they do not make sense for larger, industrial-scale applications.

Here are some of the key differences between air tank compressors and tankless compressors.

Portable Tankless Air Compressors

The most significant advantage of a tankless air compressor is that it is much lighter than air tank compressors. As mentioned before, most air compressor tanks are constructed using heavy materials such as cast iron or steel.

Therefore, tankless air compressors can be used as portable air compressors. These sorts of air compressors are not only easier to transport, but they also tend to be much smaller than air tank compressors.

While it comes to storing an air compressor, its relatively small size can be a huge benefit for tankless compressors. It is simpler to work with, and you can take it anywhere you need to go.

Air Compressor Power and Delivery

Another benefit of tankless air compressors is that they provide immediate air supply, eliminating the delay caused when the air compressor has to reach its operational pressure.

The air is provided straight from the discharge point at your preferred pressure with a tankless compressor, and electric tankless compressors are ready to use as soon as you switch them on.

Gas-powered air compressors are also available, but it is recommended that these devices be allowed to warm up to operating temperature before commencing operation.

Storage Capacity

The primary function of an air compressor’s holding tank is to serve as a reserve for pressurized air. When the pump reaches full operational pressure in the receiver, it can simply close.

This automatic switch-off saves energy and reduces the equipment’s wear and tear. Once the compressor turns off, the bleeder valve continuously bleeds to release any excess pressure in the device.

In addition to the bleeder valve, an attached water trap helps remove moisture from the air to prevent damage to the compressor. A significant advantage of having a big compressed air reservoir is that you may continue using air tools without needing to keep the air pump going.

The pump automatically recharges the supply of air when the working pressure falls below a certain threshold. This means that you can purchase an air tank compressor with less power than is necessary as you can get the extra power from the holding tank.

Maintenance

With regards to maintaining an air compressor, the length of the runtime is crucial to keeping it in good working order. The service interval is usually determined by the time the device has been in operation.

There is no excessive buildup of runtime when an air compressor turns off on its own (as in the case of air tank compressors), and when the runtime is decreased, there is less wear and, therefore, less of a need for maintenance.

As a result, a major drawback to owning a tankless compressor is that its pump runs continually. You can’t acquire air without turning on the engine and the air pump, which means that it has a continuous running motor and is constantly consuming power – even if you’re not utilizing compressed air.

Tankless Air Compressor for Air Tools

Tankless are compressors are lightweight, compact, and portable, which makes them ideal for air tools. You can use a tankless model like the Iwata-Medea Studio Series with an airbrush and many other air tools, including tire inflation tools, impact wrenches, and pneumatic staple guns.

Air nail gun

Tankless Air Compressors You Can Purchase from Amazon

If you are looking to acquire a tankless air compressor, here are five options to choose from.

California Air Tools 10TL Ultra


This incredibly quiet tankless compressor from California Air Tools barely emits 65 decibels and weighs only 25 pounds, making it one of the most portable and quietest air compressors.

It features a power foot pedal that allows you to adjust the power using only your foot, keeping your hands free. This compressor also includes an oil-free pump that reduces the time and energy you need to spend on maintaining it.

The maximum power output is two horsepower, and the unit comes with a one-year warranty. It also has a maximum PSI of 100 and has been designed with a rust-free exterior.

Master Airbrush Model TC-320


The Master Brush tankless air compressor is compact, portable, lightweight, and small. It has an air-on-demand mechanism that turns off the air when it is not in use, which prevents wear to the compressor and reduces maintenance requirements.

Additionally, the compressor can operate for extended periods without overheating, thanks to a dual fan setup.

It emits minimal sound, like the California Air Tools 10TL and other comparable air compressors. However, it is a smaller model, with a capacity of just 0.2 horsepower and a maximum PSI of 57.

Iwata-Medea Studio Series Ninja Jet Single Piston


The Iwata-Medea Studio Series compressor, very much like the California Air Tools 10TL model, has an oil-free pump. It is a much smaller unit that weighs just 5.5 pounds, making it ideal for airbrushing.

This air compressor requires less maintenance throughout its life cycle, and it has a convenient carry handle that lets you take it anywhere. It also emits less noise than many other comparable air compressors.

Worksite Tire Inflator


If you’re looking for a portable tire inflator, then the Worksite compressor is a good option. It comes with a car power adaptor and a 20V 2000mAh lithium-ion rechargeable battery.

The company also claims that the compressor can help you pump up your tire in three to five minutes, and it is small enough to store in your vehicle if you need it while on the go. It also comes with a two-year warranty.

Viair 00088 88P Portable


The Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor is another portable, high-performance air compressor. However, unlike the Worksite Tire Inflator, it is not entirely portable, as you still need a power source to run this compressor. Nevertheless, you can use it to inflate 33-inch tires.

Final Thoughts

If you work with small air tools like airbrushes and need a portable air compressor that you can store and transport easily or a tire inflator that you need to take with you while you’re on the go, then it may be a wise decision to invest in a tankless air compressor.

While these compressors do require a continuous energy supply and tend to need more maintenance than air tank compressors, they can certainly prove to be useful.

Unlike many air tank compressors, tankless models do not require certification. They are also more lightweight and compact, which makes them a lot simpler to transport.

Additionally, when you turn on a tankless air compressor, the air supply you receive is instantaneous, and you don’t need to wait around for the compressor to build up to the correct air pressure.

Daniel Lewis

Daniel Lewis

Live in Chicago Illinois.
A contractor with10 years of experience.
Works with air compressors for various uses.

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