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.
Compressor generator welder systems go by many names, including:
- 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
|Brand||Engine||Air Compressor Type||Compressed Air Output @ 90 psi||DC Output @ 60% Duty Cycle (Weld)||Max AC Output – Continuous, Single Phase (Generate)||Weight||Size (cubic feet)|
|VMAC Multifunction||Kubota D902 (Diesel)||Rotary screw||45 CFM||190 A||8 kW||560 lb||12.74|
|Mi-T-M AGW-SH22-20M||Honda GX690 (Gas)||Two-stage reciprocating||30.5 CFM||190 A||4.5 kW||803 lb||32.64|
|Miller Trailblazer® 302 Air Pak™||Kohler CH750 (Gas)||Rotary screw||31 CFM||350 A||11 kW||771 lb||23.81|
|Miller EnPak® A30 Diesel||Kubota 19 HP (Diesel)||Rotary screw||30 CFM||210 A*||6.5 kW||568 lb||15.2|
|Lincoln Air Vantage® 566||Deutz TD 2.94L4 (Diesel)||Rotary screw||60 CFM||600 A||12 kW||1,737 lb||55.18|
|Vanair Air N Arc® 300 Gas||Kohler 26.5 HP EFI (Gas)||Rotary screw||40 CFM||270 A**||6.8 kW||700 lb||18.12|
|Vanair Air N Arc® I-300 Diesel||Kubota 25 HP (Diesel)||Rotary screw||40 CFM||270 A**||6.8 kW||852 lb||19.12|
|Boss Workmaster GW||Kohler CH440 (Gas)||One-stage reciprocating||18 CFM||180 A***||4.0kw||400 lb||13.97|
*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:
|Brand||Cold Climate Protection||Battery Booster / Crank Assist||Battery Charger||PTO Port / Hydraulic Pump||Vehicle Fuel Tank Integration|
|Lincoln Air Vantage® 566||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Miller Trailblazer® 302 Air Pak™||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Miller EnPak® A30 Diesel||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Vanair Air N Arc® 300 Gas||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Vanair Air N Arc® I-300 Diesel||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Boss Workmaster GW||No||Yes||Yes||No||No|
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.
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.
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
|Material||Electrode||Electrode Width||Amperage Needs (DC)|
(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.
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 Wattage||Starting Wattage|
|Night Lights||1000 Watts||1200 Watts|
|Power Washer||1500 Watts||1750 Watts|
|Total Wattage||2500 Watts (2.5 kW)||2950 Watts (3 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:
- Issues Caused By Overweight Commercial Vans
- Top 5 Challenges Caused by Overweight Heavy Duty Pickup Trucks
3. Look at System Warranties
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.
VMAC’s rotary screw air ends are backed by a lifetime warranty and other rotary screw manufacturers might have similar warranties, while warranties for reciprocating air ends are short or non-existent. Confirm the warranty of the system’s air end before making a purchasing decision, as the air end warranty will give you a rough idea of the general life expectancy of the entire system.
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 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 6-in-1 Multifunction Power System
- 5 Key Benefits of VMAC’s Multifunction Power System
- Stahl Peterbilt Wins Top Award With VMAC’s Multi-Power System