How to Calculate the Horsepower of a Compressor

By William Hirsch

Horsepower (hp) measures the amount of mechanical energy a device uses to complete a task. An air compressor converts electrical energy into mechanical energy to move air or liquid particles. Typically electrical power is measured in watts which equals a single joule of energy consumed every second. A single unit of horsepower is equivalent to 745.8 watts. A watt meter allows you to calculate the horsepower of a compressor by first finding its power in watts.

Turn on the watt meter.

Plug the compressor into the watt meter. Note the number of watts of power the device draws. For example, the power might be 1500.0 watts.

Convert the power to horsepower by dividing by 745.8. In our sample exercise, 1500.0 watts divided by 745.8 watts equals 2.0 horsepower.

About the Author

William Hirsch started writing during graduate school in 2005. His work has been published in the scientific journal "Physical Review Letters." He specializes in computer-related and physical science articles. Hirsch holds a Ph.D. from Wake Forest University in theoretical physics, where he studied particle physics and black holes.