Your compressor’s air receiver is one of the most important components for your system installation, but do you know how effective yours is?

Let’s take a look at what a receiver tank does and how you can measure its effectiveness by following guidelines for sizing.

What is a Compressed Air Receiver?

Also known as a compressed air tank, air receivers are a fundamental part of any air compressor because it stores compressed air before it is used for applications. It has the ability to adapt and adjust to the demand from your system therefore optimising its efficiency.

Why Is Storage Volume Important?

Not having an air receiver can require your compressor to work harder than it should to keep up with the demand. But, also, not having the correct storage volume of your tank can also impact its “effectiveness”.

You have to make sure that you not only have enough storage volume, but also that it is being used effectively and efficiently in order to stabilise the pressure. Here are some tips on how to choose the right size of air receiver.

Air Receiver Sizing Guidelines

There is a general rule of thumb for the sizing which is:

  • Allow 3-4 gallons for each CFM / 10-15 litres for each litre per second of compressed air.

However, this general rule of thumb also depends on the type of air compressor and what you use the air compressor for. For example, here are the sizing guidelines for fixed speed and variable systems:

Fixed Speed Compressors

  • Allow 25-50% of the Free Air Delivered (FAD) of the compressor.

However, it has been said that having a bigger tank, maybe even up to double the ‘rule of thumb’, will allow the compressor to run longer at maximum efficiency therefore saving energy.

Variable Speed Compressors

  • Allow around 10% of the FAD of the compressor.

Variable speed compressors have the ability to adjust their speed efficiently, so the air receiver does not need a big tank, just one to provide a smooth downstream demand.

Other Factors to Consider

Not only do you have to think about the size, but also other considerations that contribute to its effectiveness:


You need to make sure you can closely position your air receiver where most of the air is being used. Also, you need to make sure you have enough space to put it in order to still be able to access your compressor.


You need to make sure you implement a condensate drain system on your air receiver as this is where condensate will collect the most.


You need to make sure that the pipework is the correct size for your air receiver and the maximum flow that it will produce.

Expert Advice from Air Power East

If you have any other questions about your air compressor’s air receiver, don’t hesitate to contact us today and we will provide further guidance.

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