How to choose the right Vacuum Pump

How to choose the right Vacuum Pump

by Jennifer Oden August 11, 2017

Don't know what vacuum pump to get for your HD Vacuum Press or where to even start? There are several factors to consider when selecting the right pump. There are so many different types out there, where do you even begin? Should I get a single stage or two stage? How many CFM? Don't get trapped in analysis paralysis! 

It's ok, you can exhale. We have already done lots of research and testing on the subject. We came up with a list below of what is important and the best options we think you would want to consider.

Don't care about this and just want to know what to buy? Click here to skip to the bottom.

Different Types of Vacuum Pumps

There are many different types of vacuum pumps, but what works best for vacuum forming and specifically our table top vacuum press?  Each work differently and produce different levels of vacuum. Here is a quick run down of the common types and why we do or don't recommend it. 

Diaphragm Pumps are very quiet and durable and don't use oil or have any oil mist. This type of pump can only produce medium vacuum levels (about 83.5%) and low CFM. These are not recommended for our thermoforming vacuum press

Vacuum Generators require an air compressor and venturi pump to create a vacuum. They are very noisy and can create inconsistently high levels of vacuum. This type of pump transfers all the wear and tear to your air compressor and other expensive equipment. We do not recommend this for our presses.

Oil Filled Rotary Vane Pumps (RECOMMENDED) create the best vacuum for the cost. They are designed to run continuously for extended periods of time. There are lots of options for every budget. They are durable, inexpensive, easy to work with, require no additional equipment, and are easily adaptable to vacuum pressing.

We believe Oil Filled Rotary Vane Pumps are the best choice and have designed our vacuum formers specifically to work with them. Each press includes fittings to convert this kind of pump to our easy connect system which is plug and play, or you can purchase one of our pre-converted vacuum pumps here

Single stage vs two stage

Two stage pumps cost up to twice as much as single stage...Say what? What is the difference other than price? A two stage design has two rotors and vanes. This means that the first stage generates vacuum and the second stage cleans the system, leading to a deeper ultimate vacuum level. As a result, two stage pumps can produce a deeper vacuum than single stage pumps.

Both single and two stage pumps can reach 29.92 inches of mercury at sea level (inHg possible based on altitude, see conversion chart here). When making your choice you should consider what you want to achieve. If your goal is faster evacuation, cleaner process, and quieter operation, then the answer is a two stage pump.

CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute)

Does it really matter? Yes. This is how many cubic feet per minute of free air the pump will move. All HD Presses will work with any 3-CFM or higher pump. We recommend higher CFM pumps when you are operating large or multiple presses at once.

Large vacuum presses (ex. 3624 model) or running several presses on the same pump with the automated vacuum control system means you have a much higher volume of air to remove from the system when operating. A pump with higher CFM rating will help you get to full vacuum quicker. Higher CFM does NOT mean better vacuum, only faster evacuation. We recommend our easy connect converted 8 CFM two stage vacuum pump for this setup.

What is the best pump for operating an HD Press?

We recommend the following pumps. Depending on vacuum forming configuration, press size, and budget you will have to decide which will work best for you. These are easy to operate and maintain. All of these pumps are a great value for the price and perform very well with our vacuum presses. 

Recommended Oil Filled Rotary Vane Vacuum Pumps:

3-CFM Single Stage Vacuum Pump - 2424 Models

5-CFM Two-Stage Vacuum Pump - 2424 & 3624 Models

8-CFM Two-Stage Vacuum Pump - 2424 & 3624 Models

Other considerations

If you purchase one of our pre converted vacuum pumps, you don't need to do anything else. If you purchased a pump elsewhere or already have one, you need to change the fitting on your pump to easy connect. All of our presses include the necessary fittings to convert, but you still may want to purchase a check valve to prolong the life of your pump (this is included with our pre converted vacuum pumps). The built in fitting on vacuum pumps usually contain a check valve. When you remove the fitting to convert, you are taking the check valve out of the plumbing. 

Be sure to take a look at the Automated Vacuum Control System for the perfect companion to your press. This kit comes with a check valve already, so you don't need to get one separately

Jennifer Oden
Jennifer Oden


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