Compare Air Compressor, Generator & Welder Combos For Work Trucks

It’s not an easy task to compare systems that combine an air compressor, generator and welder into one tidy package, but we’re here to help! In this article, we compare several of the most popular air compressor generator welders and tell you everything you need to know to make a smart buying decision.

Air compressor generator welder combos are a great option for mobile operators who perform a variety of tasks on the go and never know exactly what’s waiting for them on a remote job site. These combo systems are popular with mobile mechanics, heavy equipment repair technicians, and other multi-talented operators who are frequently out in the field.

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VMAC Multifunction on a Finning CAT Service truck

Compressor generator welder systems go by many names, including:

  • 6-in-1
  • All-in-one
  • Multi-power
  • Power system
  • Power pack
  • Multifunction system
  • And more (including many combinations of the words above!)

Most of these systems include an air compressor, a generator, and a welder, but it’s also common to add a battery booster, battery charger, and specialty features as well.
Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular compressor generator welders in North America:

Compressor Generator Welder Comparison Chart

BrandEngineAir Compressor TypeCompressed Air Output @ 90 psiDC Output @ 60% Duty Cycle (Weld)Max AC Output – Continuous, Single Phase (Generate)WeightSize (cubic feet)
VMAC Multifunction – Cat® PowerCat C1.1 Industrial (Diesel)Rotary screw45 CFM190 A8 kW710 lb15.63
VMAC Multifunction - KubotaKubota D902 (Diesel)Rotary screw45 CFM190 A8 kW560 lb12.74
Mi-T-M AGW-SH22-20MHonda GX690 (Gas)Two-stage reciprocating30.5 CFM190 A4.5 kW803 lb32.64
Miller Trailblazer® 302 Air Pak™Kohler CH750 (Gas)Rotary screw31 CFM350 A11 kW771 lb23.81
Miller EnPak® A30 DieselKubota 19 HP (Diesel)Rotary screw30 CFM210 A*6.5 kW571 lb15.2
Miller EnPak® A30 GasKohler 23 HP (Gas)Rotary screw30 CFM210 A*6.5 kW477 lb13.6
Lincoln Air Vantage® 566Deutz TD 2.94L4 (Diesel)Rotary screw60 CFM600 A12 kW1,737 lb55.18
Lincoln Air Vantage® 566 HydraulicDeutz TD 2.94L4 (Diesel)Rotary screw60 CFM600 A12 kW1,800 lb65.74
Vanair Air N Arc® 300 GasKohler 26.5 HP EFI (Gas)Rotary screw40 CFM270 A**6.8 kW700 lb18.12
Vanair Air N Arc 300 Compact DieselKubota 25 HP (Diesel)Rotary screw40 CFM270 A**6.8 kW775 lb19.72
Vanair Air N Arc® I-300 DieselKubota 25 HP (Diesel)Rotary screw40 CFM270 A**6.8 kW852 lb19.12
Boss MechanX 250Kohler ECH730 (Gas)Two-stage reciprocating24 CFM250 A**5.0kw500 lb24.70

*Duty cycle unknown/**100% duty cycle/***65% duty cycle; 60% duty cycle figures unavailable.

Compressor Generator Welder Bonus Features

Many compressor generator welder systems include additional features that may also be important to operators. The following is a basic overview of the most common “bonus” features:

BrandCold Climate ProtectionBattery Booster / Crank AssistBattery Charger PTO Port / Hydraulic PumpVehicle Fuel Tank Integration
VMAC Multifunction – Cat PowerYesYesYesYesYes
VMAC Multifunction - KubotaYesYesYesYesYes
Mi-T-M AGW-SH22-20MNoNoNoNoNo
Lincoln Air Vantage® 566YesYesYesNoNo
Lincoln Air Vantage® 566 HydraulicYesYesYesYesNo
Miller Trailblazer® 302 Air Pak™YesYesYesNoNo
Miller EnPak® A30 DieselYesYesYesNoYes
Miller EnPak® A30 GasYesYesYesNoYes
Vanair Air N Arc® 300 GasYesYesYesNoYes
Vanair Air N Arc® 300 Compact YesYesYesNoYes
Vanair Air N Arc® I-300 DieselYesYesYesYesYes
Boss MechanX 250NoNoNoNoNo

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How To Choose The Right Air Compressor Generator Welder System

1. Identify Your System Needs

The first step in choosing an air compressor generator welder system is to determine your needs for each individual component:

  • How many CFM do your air tools need?
  • What amperage do you need to weld at?
  • How much AC Output do you need on your generator?

Once you answer these questions, you can use the charts above to quickly narrow down your best available options.

Air Compressor

There are a few things you need to know about when choosing an air compressor, which we’ve written about extensively in, “How To Choose A Mobile Air Compressor For Your Work.

Check out that article to find out:

  • How much CFM do you need?
  • Rotary screw vs. reciprocating
  • Tow behind or vehicle-mounted?
  • What’s your ideal fuel/power source?

If you need more help determining your air needs, give VMAC a call at 1-888-514-6656 to talk with our air compressor experts.

Welder

The welders included in air compressor generator welder systems are typically meant for SMAW or GTAW arc-welding in Direct Current (DC), working with mild steel in environments that are likely to be contaminated with dirt, oil, and other impurities. A few systems also allow for AC welding, such as Lincoln’s Air Vantage® 566, but this capability comes with a much higher price-tag.

An operator using a welder should be educated in welding equipment and be aware of their own specifications prior to purchasing any system that includes a welder. That said, the amperage needs vary depending on the electrode, but most common stick weld applications are well under 200 amps.

Amperage Needs of Common Stick Electrodes

MaterialElectrodeElectrode WidthAmperage Needs (DC)
Mild SteelE6010/E60111/8’75-130
Mild SteelE6010/E60115/32”90-175
Mild SteelE60131/8’100-135
Mild SteelE60135/32”145-180
Mild SteelE70181/8’90-160
Mild SteelE70185/32”130-210
Mild SteelE70241/8’100-160
Mild SteelE70245/32”160-215

(Source: Lincoln Electric: Stick Electrodes)

Air compressor generator welder systems will include a welder that can get most remote jobs done, but it’s important to note that mobile welders aren’t meant to replace a stationary shop welder. Look for a welder in a system that will meet your everyday “on the go” needs.

Generator

A generator can be a convenient way to power electric tools and equipment on the fly.

To find out how much wattage your generator needs, add up the wattage requirements of each piece of equipment that will run simultaneously. Keep in mind both starting wattage and running wattage in your calculations and use the highest of the two numbers.

For example, if you’re running nighttime lights and a power washer, your calculations might look something like this:

 Running WattageStarting Wattage
Night Lights300 Watts450 Watts
Power Washer1500 Watts1750 Watts
Total Wattage1800 Watts (1.8 kW)2150 Watts (2.2 kW)

If you can’t easily find the wattage of your equipment, you can calculate it using this simple formula:

amps x Volts = Watts
ex: 15 amps X 120 V = 1800 Watts

Once you know the wattage requirements of your equipment, select a system with a generator that meets those needs.

2. Consider Size & Weight

Now that you have a better idea of what systems will meet your compressed air, welding, and power generation needs, you should consider the size and weight of the systems.

As a rule, you want the most lightweight and compact system that meets your needs. There are numerous benefits to reducing GVW and freeing up space on your vehicle including:

  • More weight/space for other tools & equipment
  • Increase payload capacity
  • Maximize revenue
    • Reduce fuel costs
    • Reduce vehicle maintenance costs
  • Potentially eliminate inspections & certificates

You can read more about why size and weight matter in these articles:

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A Finning CAT service truck with the VMAC Multifunction

3. Look at System Warranties & Support

Warranties for air compressor generator welders vary across the board. Some systems will have a straightforward (but short) warranty that covers the entire unit, while other systems will include individual warranties for specific components, such as the air compressor, generator, and/or welder.

For example, VMAC’s rotary screw air ends are backed by a lifetime warranty. Other rotary screw manufacturers might have similar warranties, while warranties for reciprocating air ends are short or non-existent.

System and component warranties will give you a rough idea of the general life expectancy of the system, which can be an indicator of the system’s overall quality. Confirm these warranties before making a purchasing decision.

Ensure you also determine the manufacturer support available for an air compressor generator welder before making a final purchase. A high-quality support team will ensure any downtime you experience is minimal, allowing you to spend your time getting work done.

4. Learn More About Air Compressor Welder Generators

Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential air compressor welder generators to two or three, it’s time to research those systems in greater detail. Download the spec sheets, check out YouTube videos, learn more about the manufacturer, talk to your local dealer, and look for testimonials online.

For each system, try to discover:

  • Whether simultaneous operation of the air compressor, welder, and generator is possible
  • Control features & options
  • Extreme heat or cold ratings, if applicable
  • If positive air shutoff is included, if applicable

Feel free to contact the original manufacturer directly to ask any questions you may have. VMAC, for example, is always happy to answer potential customer questions by phone (1-888-514-6656) or email.

Ready to research your shortlist? Learn about VMAC’s air compressor generator welder systems here:

VMAC Air Innovated

SV Seeker: The Boat The Internet Built

Doug-JacksonLike so many others, Doug Jackson grew up watching “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau”, and instantly fell in love with the sea. In school, science and marine biology classes were Doug’s favorites, though he ultimately chose a career as a computer programmer and database administrator. Fast forward to years later; Doug is now back working on his dream of sailing the sea, just as Cousteau did, and SV Seeker is the boat that will take him there.

“I conceived SV Seeker as the red neck version of Jacques Cousteau’s Calypso,” says Doug. “My plan was to build a vessel for scientists who have a passion for their work and the ocean. Money would not stand in our way, and we would build what we need and allow the wind to carry us as it carried explorers before us.” Doug’s vision to allow people to conduct important research, all free of charge, has led to tremendous support for this project, which appeals to a range of people, from oceanographers, archaeologists, and marine biologists to divers and wreck hunters, and adventurers and explorers.

Like Doug, the extended SV Seeker community doesn’t believe resources should stand in the way of the project. People from around the world are sharing the story, sending in donations and supplies, and eager to volunteer. “I expected to build Seeker almost alone, but instead I touched on something that resonated with so many others,” notes Doug. Thanks to the extensive online community, Doug has no problem finding helpers: “We have to schedule volunteers to avoid having more help than we actually need at any given time.”

SV Seeker Attracts Volunteers & Donations From Around The World

SV-SEEKERSV Seeker’s online community includes people from all over North America, and even overseas. Thousands of donations have been made online to help support the project financially, as well as donations of equipment, parts and supplies, while hundreds of volunteers have arrived at the Tulsa, OK worksite to help build the vessel from the ground up. “Our volunteers range from a PHD candidate working on nuclear reactors, to truck drivers, welders, sculptors, actors, cops, carpenters, builders, counselors, fishermen, sailors and almost any other profession,” shares Doug. “Some volunteers bring little more than an adventurous attitude and the willingness to learn, while others bring fabrication skills that have been honed over decades.”

Specialized Equipment Helps SV Seeker Volunteer

The SV Seeker worksite is bustling with activity. Doug keeps fans of the project updated on the progress through his popular YouTube channel, which boasts over 165,000 subscribers. Volunteers find themselves painting, hammering, sandblasting, pouring CNC castings, wiring the electrical, and engineering the mechanics in the engine room. Completing this work, often within a small, enclosed space, requires specialized equipment. One piece of equipment that has helped Doug and the volunteers throughout the build process, is the VMAC Multifunction 6-In-1 Power System.

VMAC Multifunction 6-in-1 Power System

SV Seeker’s VMAC Multifunction 6-in-1 Power System features an air compressor, welder, battery charger, battery booster, generator, and PTO port for hydraulic power—in one complete system. “Before we found the VMAC Multifunction unit, we were sourcing each of these systems separately. It was enough equipment to completely fill the back of a pickup,” says Doug. Small enough to fit on a single pallet, the VMAC Multifunction is significantly more compact than having six separate machines, but it is also up to 6 cubic feet smaller than other leading multi-power brands. It’s lightweight, weighing just 570 lbs, making it up to 400 lbs lighter than other leading all-in-one multi-power systems.

SV-SEEKER-VMAC-Multifunction“The thing I liked most about the VMAC Multifunction is that it provides flexibility,” says Doug. “Most of the time the multi-power system will be bolted to the engine room floor and provide AC and DC power for the boat.” However, Doug predicts the VMAC Multifunction will be used for work that they cannot anticipate. “A researcher may be removing sediment from a wreck requiring an air compressor. We might need to perform repairs on another boat, or even on land. We could use the Multifunction to power submersible hydraulic pumps, welding current, or power for hand tools,” explains Doug. “It’s designed to be mounted in a truck, but at only 570 lbs and with its compact size we can easily move it to where our work requires and have everything we need for a variety of jobs.”

Welders Prefer VMAC Multifunction

VMAC-Multifunction-WeldingDoug has been fortunate to have experienced Fabricators volunteering on the SV Seeker build, and with the VMAC Multifunction, he is able to offer them the equipment they need to do the work. “Two professional welders from HollyFrontier Tulsa Refinery have both been very pleased with the performance of the VMAC Multifunction’s welder. They’ve been so impressed, they prefer to use the VMAC Multifunction to power their welds over our Miller XMT 300 welder.”

Get Back To Work Sooner

When asked what he would say to anyone considering purchasing a VMAC Multifunction 6-in-1 Power System, Doug finds the ability to complete repairs right on the worksite as they’re needed a huge advantage: “I grew up working on a farm and with construction equipment. Inevitably something would break, and in those days, it meant bringing the equipment back to the warehouse shop to use the power tools and welder required for the repairs. It surprises me how often I still see this model for doing business, where a $25,000 pickup truck is towing equipment back to the shop for repairs. Give me an old truck and a VMAC Multifunction Power System and we’ll be back to work a lot sooner.”

November 2019 SV Seeker Update

Volunteers from around the United States and beyond continue to call on Doug and the SV Seeker crew to help work on the vessel. Saturdays are a busy day for visitors, and the crew welcomes those who are interested in learning more and touring the boat.

These days, tasks include installing foam board, insulation, and wooden panels for the ceiling and the walls inside and installing caulking to ensure the boat is airtight. Engine room storage drawers have been put in. The team at SV Seeker has also been painting the boat, and the VMAC Multifunction has been used to provide extra air power when painting.

There’s also been some beautification projects at SV Seeker, with the two dragons being painted. Beyond decoration, the dragons will also serve a useful purpose on the vessel—the left side dragon will have a pearl in its mouth to glow red to identify the port side of the boat, and the dragon on the starboard side will have a pearl that will glow green.

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The SV Seeker community has grown a lot over the last 8 years. Doug’s project has inspired a lot of different people to not only volunteer to work on SV Seeker, but to also get creative and work on their own projects. SV Seeker videos end with “What Did You Make Today?” in the credits and do-it-yourselfers send in photos of their own projects to be featured. As one volunteer said: “Not being good at something is no excuse to not give it a try.” And it’s this attitude that has allowed one man to inspire thousands of people and to build a 74-ft motorsailer in the front yard of his Oklahoma home.

Get Involved With SV Seeker

If you’re interested in volunteering, Doug and the SV Seeker crew only have three rules: “#1 Get the job done, #2 Have fun, #3 Be safe. The VMAC Multifunction covers #1 and #2, so be safe.”
To learn more about SV Seeker, visit their website www.svseeker.com. Here you’ll find video updates, crew bios, posts from volunteers, photos, a “junk store” that helps support the project, and different ways to donate to SV Seeker.

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City of Livonia Upgrades to UNDERHOOD™ Air Compressors

As the City of Livonia’s Department of Public Works’ Fleet Supervisor, Jim (Buzz) Kirby manages a lot of different equipment to keep operations running smoothly. For Buzz, overseeing the Department of Public Works’ (D.P.W.) equipment includes writing specs and performing evaluations, and overseeing the maintenance and repair of all equipment within the department. In addition, Buzz is responsible for making recommendations for upgrades. After it became apparent that the city’s outdated trailer-mounted air compressors needed an upgrade, Buzz audited the department’s equipment needs, and sought to solve the challenges operators had been describing.
Continue reading “City of Livonia Upgrades to UNDERHOOD™ Air Compressors”