The Top 3 Best Air Compressor for Irrigation

A home irrigation system helps you cut down on both effort and cost when taking care of your lawn. However, the initial cost of installing an irrigation or lawn sprinkler system runs into thousands of dollars, making it a valuable purchase that you must make good use of for as long as possible. 

If you live in a cold climate with freezing temperatures in the winter, you must winterize your irrigation system so that it does not get damaged. A few things you can do to winterize your system are shutting off its water supply, shutting down the controller if you have an automatic system, and draining the pipes. You can drain the pipes through a manual drain valve, an automatic drain valve, or through compressed air blow-out method. That is where air compressors come in. 

Best Air Compressor for Irrigation

Read below for some of the best irrigation air compressors you can use to winterize your irrigation system:

1. Husky Portable 32 Gallon Air Compressor

The Husky Portable 32 Gallon Air Compressor has an impressive horsepower at 5.5 HP, which measures the output of its engine. The air compressor goes up to a maximum PSI of 150 and provides an air volume of 80 to 100 cubic feet per meter (CFM), which is ideal for blowing out your irrigation system. The Husky comes with an oil-less pump and a protective shroud on its critical parts. Despite its large size, this air compressor is portable and easy to operate. 

10Expert Score

PROS
  • High CFM
  • Oil-less pump
  • Critical parts protected with a shroud
  • Portable
  • Easy to operate
  • Works well for home irrigation systems as well as commercial needs
CONS
  • Heavy

 

2. Schulz L-Series Two-Stage Air Compressor (580VL20X)

This electric motor on this Schulz air compressor boasts an impressive horsepower of 5 HP, which not only handles home use but can also be reliably used commercially.  The air compressor is fitted with deep cylinder fins to allow heat to dissipate, and its low RPM (revolutions per minute) pump enables the compressor to run quietly without giving off too much heat. The Schulz compressor also produces an air volume of 20 cubic feet per meter, which is the minimum required for blowing out sprinkler systems, and a maximum pressure of 175 PSI. 

9.7Expert Score

PROS
  • Meets CFM requirements
  • High horsepower
  • Low RPM, so does not heat up quickly and can run for longer
  • Quiet
  • Critical parts protected with a shroud
  • Works well for home irrigation systems as well as commercial needs
CONS
  • Very heavy (650 pounds) so difficult to transport
  • Uses an electric motor, so you would need an electric outlet close by

3. NorthStar Portable Gas-Powered Air Compressor with a Honda OHV Engine

The NorthStar Portable Gas-Powered Air Compressor contains a full cast iron pump with low vibration technology to give it a long life and allow for smooth operation.  Thanks to the V-style cylinder design, The NorthStar compressor allows for superior cooling.

This air compressor weighs 196 pounds, which is much lower than many other high-duty air compressors. It also contains wheels for easy transportation. With its 20 gallon tank, the NorthStar Portable air compressor is perfect for winterizing your irrigation system.

9.8Expert Score

PROS
  • Low vibration technology allows for longer life
  • Portable
  • Lighter than other air compressors for winterization
  • Relatively quiet
  • Honda engine delivers better fuel efficiency
  • Works well for home irrigation systems as well as commercial needs
  • Long warranty
  • 4-year limited warranty for consumers and a 2-year limited warranty for commercial purposes
CONS
  • Maybe slightly difficult to use for amateurs

As soon as the weather starts to approach 30 degrees Fahrenheit, you should consider winterizing your irrigation system so that it bears no damage and lasts as long as possible. The air compressors mentioned above can be used both in the home and commercially, and are among the best in the market.

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Tips for Buying the Best Air Compressor for Irrigation

  • Establish that the air compressor can handle the required air volume over an extended period of time. In order to winterize a sprinkler line, you must blow out each zone for at least two minutes, so your compressor must be able to deliver the minimum air volume (20 CFM) for two minutes continuously. To check if it can do that, run the compressor at full capacity for two minutes. During this time, the pressure meter should not drop significantly.
  • Ensure that the air compressor’s tank size is at least 10 gallons. The size of the tank determines whether it can handle blowing out a sprinkler line, and smaller tanks take a long time to recharge when they are nearly empty.
  • Choose an air compressor with a gas-powered motor. An electric motor has a limited range of operation because it requires a source of electricity near the operating area, and also carries the risk of electric shock due to the presence of water around the area. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Q1. What size compressor is ideal for winterizing a home irrigation system?

Answer: The size of the tank on the air compressor should be at least 10 gallons.

Q2. How much PSI should I use when doing a sprinkler system blowout?

Answer:  The PSI you need during a sprinkler system blowout depends on the type of pipes. If your system has rigid PVC pipes, set the air pressure to a maximum of 80 PSI. for flexible black polyethylene pipes, however, you should set a maximum of 50 PSI. In most instances, you should not apply pressure greater than 80 PSI. 

Q3. What should be the horsepower on my air compressor for irrigation system blowout?

Answer: Your air compressor should ideally have a horsepower of 1 HP to 3 HP so that it can exert enough power to properly blow out your irrigation system pipes. 

Q4. How much air volume (cubic feet per minute) should my compressor be able to provide in order to do a sprinkler blowout?

Answer:  Your air compressor should be able to provide at least 20 cubic feet per minute (CFM) to properly blow out an irrigation system. However, most irrigation professionals suggest using at least 50 cubic feet per minute.