When it comes to deciding which air compressor is best for your application, there is a wide range to choose from so it’s difficult to know where to start.

One of the main things you need to think about is whether you should choose an oil lubricated or oil free compressor.

How to Choose Oil free or Oil Lubricated

Most air compressors are oil lubricated; oil is used to lubricate parts within the compressor to ensure they work efficiently and to help seal air in them. An oil free compressor isn’t technically oil free as oil is still used just not in the compression chamber. The cylinder is lubricated in order to protect the pump during operation, but an inter-cooler is used instead of oil to keep the level of heat down.

Oil Free Air Compressors Don’t Contaminate Air

Certain industries require completely clean air which is why oil free compressors are chosen. The food and beverage, electronics and medicine industries do not tolerate air contamination regarding their products. Even though filters can be used with oil lubricated air compressors, many usually opt for an oil free system.

Oil Lubricated Compressors Have Less Maintenance Requirements

Oil lubricated compressors require regular oil changes amounting to more maintenance compared to oil free compressors. As there is less oil and less moving parts, there are fewer potential areas for problems and less need for a service with oil free systems. At Air Power East we would still recommend maintenance checks and servicing on a regular basis though.

Oil Lubricated Compressors Have a Longer Life Span

For industrial purposes and longer working hours, oil lubricated air compressors are better suited due to their durability and longer life spans. Oil free compressors can only support small amounts of usage and have a shorter life span, so would be ideal for more domestic applications.

Oil Free Compressors Cost and Weigh Less

An oil free compressor has less parts than an oil lubricated compressor so therefore is lighter in weight, as well as cheaper in cost. Their designs are often simpler too.

Oil Lubricated Compressors Produce Less Noise & Heat

Due to the lubrication in oil lubricated air compressors, they make a lot less noise and also maintain a cooler temperature. Oil can help draw heat from the compression process while in operation, therefore oil free air compressors produce more heat as well as sound.

How do Oil Free Air Compressors Work

The primary purpose of oil free air compressors and oil lubricated compressors is identical, but the volume of air compressed and the applications for which they’ll be utilised could make a significant difference.

Oil-powered air compressors are the finest option for construction and heavy-duty industrial applications that need power equipment. They may run for long durations and compress as much air as needed. If there isn’t any pressing necessity for a lubricant-free air compressor, as when air pollution must be deterred, a lubricant-based compressor is a more cost-effective option.

Lubricant-free air compressors are lighter, making them an excellent choice for applications requiring mobility or requiring less compressed air, such as in the medical industry.

Considerations when choosing a compressor

When purchasing an air compressor, there are various factors to consider. Aside from the size, rating in CFM (for airflow) and bar (for air pressure), you must also pick between an oilless or oil-based system.

The decision is influenced by the type of applications in which you want to use your air compressor. This is why it’s important to understand how compressed air systems function and what applications they’re utilised for.

Choosing an air compressor isn’t an easy task, but you should never opt for the cheapest and easiest option without real consideration, or speaking to an expert. Always consider your needs and requirements, and if you require further advice and guidance, talk to an expert to find the perfect one for your application.

Contact us today for more information.

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