Owning your own high pressure air compressor can be a big step for an air gunner but, it’s a step towards independence and makes shooting an air rifle much more convenient by taking away the drive time, fuel costs, filling charges, and waiting around for the shop to open… or rushing to get there before they close!
High quality, high pressure air compressors can cost $1000, $2000, and up so, it’s no small feat to get your hands on the money for one. Even when you do get your hands on enough money to buy one, the temptation is there to use that money to buy another rifle, or supply bottle, instead of a compressor.
There are basically two different styles. One is called a “booster compressor” which takes the pressurized air from your home shop compressor and “boosts it” to the higher pressure you need for either your rifle or your supply bottle. The other style is the “stand alone” type, which do the whole process by themselves.
Many of the booster compressors do not come with filters for drying the air they are providing to your rifle. So, you might have to pick up an additional desiccant filter in order to give your rifle high quality, filtered, dry air. Accessories such as this not only bring additional costs but, they can also make the whole process a bit more cluttered by adding more hoses and equipment to your set up. But, for someone on a lower budget, one of these might fit the bill. Also, if you decide on a booster style, you’ll have the added benefit of owning a home shop compressor.
High quality, stand alone compressors such as the Omega Turbo Charger will run a higher price tag. But, they come with some very nice advantages. Oddly, the saying “Less is more” applies to these advantages. You’ll get less equipment, less machines running, less fittings and hoses, less noise, less power being used, and less things that can go wrong over all. They’re usually very compact, about the size of a suitcase, which makes it easier to find a place for them for operating and/or storage. Being stand alone, there’s nothing else to worry about hooking up, maintaining, or storing. Then there’s the noise factor. With a stand alone unit, you only have one machine running that’s about as loud as a washing machine. As I write this, my Omega Turbo is happily humming along, filling my supply bottle in another room. On the other hand, a booster compressor will have two machines running, the booster itself and a home shop compressor. I can tell you that any home shop compressor I’ve ever owned has been VERY loud and is certainly not something you want to be around when it’s running! Another big benefit to the Omega compressors is the moisture purge system which periodically purges moisture out the back of the machine before it gets to your rifle or storage bottle, without the use of a separate desiccant system.
Regardless of what style of compressor you’re looking at, they should all have some kind of safety feature built in. Either in the form of a pressure based automatic shutoff system, an over-pressure burst disc, or a redundant system that has both. Having the peace of mind in knowing that your bottle will not be overfilled is a MUST!
Personally, I like the stand alone units. I’ve had a booster compressor in the past and the one that I had made my shop compressor run very hard. In fact, it ended up breaking the shop compressor and I had to go out and buy a new one with a higher output. With a stand alone unit, I only have to worry about one machine. With proper maintenance, I should be able to fill my bottles “trouble free” for a very long time. Even if something does go wrong, it’s only one machine to worry about, diagnose, and fix.
Here’s a timely tip!!!
As I mentioned above, the cost of a stand alone unit can be significant and can leave quite a dent in a shooters budget. As of writing this article, it’s late-February and that means “tax season” is upon us! If you’re one of the lucky people that is expecting a tax return, and doesn’t have it ear-marked for anything yet, this might be a great opportunity to achieve “high pressure air INDEPENDENCE!”