The biggest difference between 1 and 2-stage air compressors is the amount of times air gets compressed between the inlet valve and tool nozzle. The air gets compressed twice in a 2-stage compressor compared to getting compressed just once in a 1-stage compressor.
What Is A 1-Stage Air Compressor?
1-stage or single-stage air compressors feature pistons that draw air into the machine, eventually sucked through its filter section. The air will then pass through intake valves into a cylinder. This is where a crankshaft rotates, with pistons pushing the air upward.
The piston will help compress the trapped air, forcing it through exhaust valves, which will travel to a discharge tube as well as a check valve. As soon as the air enters a storage tank, it can stay there until the user wants newer air.
What Is A 2-Stage Air Compressor?
As stated above, the air gets compressed twice, and by simply increasing the number of cylinder stages and pressure, 2-stage compressors work more effectively and efficiently. These applications can handle more tools at once and have a quicker recovery time to boot.
A 2-stage compressor, also known as multi-stage, features a series of cylinders, all with a different diameter. The Air will pass through a heat exchanger for cooling purposes between each compression stage. Cooling the air will reduce the amount of work needed to compress it further. In this air compressor, air is forced into an additional chamber when pressurized.
Uses Of A 1-Stage Air Compressor And 2-Stage Air Compressor
Of course, there are numerous benefits to using a 2-stage compressor, but that doesn’t mean this application is perfect for every situation. Typically, single stage compressors work better for light-duty jobs, in which pressure requirements do not exceed 100 PSIG. 2-stage compressors, meanwhile, offer more reliability for continuous use applications. This includes manufacturing and automotive repair.
1-Stage Air Compressor Uses:
2-Stage Air Compressor Uses:
- Beverage manufacturing.
- Auto manufacturing.
- Aerospace and military equipment.
1-Stage Air Compressor Advantages
The top benefits associated with 1-stage air compressors are as follows:
- Electronic models are more energy efficient.
- Less expensive than 2-stage models.
- Lighter weights make for easier handling.
2-Stage Air Compressor Advantages
Here is a look at some of the advantages of using two stage compressors:
- Easy to drain the tank.
- Heavy cast iron crankshaft.
- Excellent reliability, durability and efficiency.
- Smooth starts and stops ensured by the magnetic starter.
Differences Between 1-Stage And 2-Stage Air Compressors
The main difference is the amount of time air is compressed – that is what separates these two applications. Additionally, the compression process does differ in the single stage compressor. Air is sucked into a cylinder, then trapped and compressed in a single stroke. The single stroke comes with a piston at roughly 120 psi. From there, the air is moved to a storage tank. The storage tank is where the compressed air ultimately serves as an energy agent for the variety of tools in use.
A 2-stage compressor has a similar compression process, but the air is not sent to a storage tank. Instead, the air is sent to a smaller piston for a second stroke, this time at a psi of 175. Then, the double-pressurized air is cooled and sent to a tank, where energy is released and utilized.
Cost Of 1-Stage Vs 2-Stage Air Compressors
Single stage air compressors typically cost between $500 to $1,500. Some larger models can cost up to $50,000, according to KompareIt.
The costs of 2-stage air compressors will vary widely based on a variety of factors. According to HomeDepot, the average price range for two stage air compressors is $300 to $5,000+.
Which Is Better: 1-Stage Or 2-Stage Air Compressor?
Compared to 2-stage compressors, single stage applications are extremely quiet. That is exactly what makes them better for smaller environments like garages, kitchens or workshops. 2-stage models are ideal for larger projects, typically geared toward industrial-scale arsenals. Essentially, the compressor you choose should be dependent on size of your project.