Types of Air Compressors

On the market today, you can find different types of compressor. You should remember one thing that choosing the right compressor might be a hassle but it is worth in the end, because it will save you a lot of money and energy in the long run. What type of air compressor is good for you it also might depend on what you are using it for? The main difference in the air compressors is pressure and flow.

Types of Air Compressors

Reciprocating piston compressor

Piston is used in these types of compressors. In order to compress the air it moves back and forth inside a cylinder. Sometimes the piston can be changed with a rubber membrane. These compressors are usually used for general purpose such as cleaning the dust or using the air for some small paint jobs.

Some of the main pros of this compressor are:

  • It is very cheap
  • It is maintained easily
  • You can use it for high pressure

Some of the main cons of this compressor:

  • You need to put the compressor literally in other room because it is very noisy.
  • The compressed air causes high outlet temperature
  • The air piping contain a lot of oil

Rotary screw compressor (oil-injected or oil-free)

Rotary screw compressor is also very popular compressor. This compressor uses rotors in order to compress air. They turn in opposite directions and the air that is sucked in at one end is trapped between them and then it is pushed to the other side.

There is an oil-injected and another oil free type of this compressor.

Some of the main pros:

  • You can use it without ear protection since it is not very noisy
  • It can supply a large amount of compressed air
  • Energy efficient compared to other air compressors
  • Low end temperature of compressed air


  • The price is a bit higher
  • It has more complex design
  • Minimal air use

Scroll Compressor

This compressor type might use the most clever design principle to compress air but it is rarely seen. It runs without noise and vibrations too. They use two spiral elements to compress the air. There is a stationary, which is statically, and the other moves but only in small circles. The air is trapped and then it is moved to small air pockets to the center of the spiral.


  • So quiet
  • Very small, so you can easily move it from one place to another
  • Not so complicated design that makes it easy to maintain
  • It is oil free


  • It has low capacity
  • It is very expensive
  • The air gets very hot

Which type of compressor is right for you?

Overall, it depends on what you need to use the air compressor for. Not every compressor is suitable for all purposes. Each type has merits, demerits and suitability of their own. Do you have any special needs or not? These simple questions will help you to choose the one that will suit your needs.