Home Business Air Compressor Buying Guide: So Many Types, So Little Time

Air Compressor Buying Guide: So Many Types, So Little Time


The air compressor industry brings in around $12 billion every year in the United States alone.

It’s no surprise considering how many businesses and individuals use these units to power tools and perform other tasks. If you’re looking to buy one for yourself or your business, it’s important to consider a few things before getting started.

Keep reading for our air compressor buying guide which includes information about the four types of air compressors you can buy.

Air compressor system: manometer and accessories, closeup.

Types of Air Compressors

Before we get to the guide, let’s look at the basic types of air compressors you can choose from for workspaces.

Rotary Screw Compressor

These low-maintenance air compressors create air pressure thanks to two rotors which turn in opposite directions. They’re designed for continuous use and are typically large. This can make them difficult for home use and small spaces.

Centrifugal Compressor

For a large amount of power, there’s the centrifugal compressor which can reach up to 1,000 horsepower. They also work well for small areas because of their size. These compress air by using a diffuser to slow down and cool the incoming air.

Reciprocating Air Compressor

This is another small unit that works great if you need different amounts of pressure. A reciprocating air compressor uses a piston to compress air within a cylinder that you can then use.

Air Compressor Buying Guide

When you’re ready to buy an air compressor, you need to look beyond the types available. This is because, within the three main types of air compressors, there are additional ways to determine which unit is right for you.

Let’s look at the five things you need to consider before buying. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to get more info so you can avoid buyer’s remorse.

Drive Method

This refers to how the air compressor is powered. The most common drive methods are engines, motors, and steam. In some cases, this determines how much power a unit has, but it can also determine short- and long-term cost.

Cooling Method

This is generally a less important consideration, but one that’s important to know for properly maintaining your unit. Air compressors use either oil, air, or water to avoid overheating.

Compression Stages

If you need different levels of air pressure with the same unit, you’ll want to make sure you get one that has several to meet your needs.


There are two types of air compressors in terms of lubrication. Some use oil while others are oil-free. The oil-free units use oil for some parts, but not those that will come into contact with the compressed oil.

Level of Customization

How much customization you need depends greatly on what you’re using your air compressor for. Most people can get away with getting an existing unit although specialized companies and projects may need a custom-made unit.

Want More Current News?

With this air compressor buying guide, you should be able to go out and get the right unit for you, your work project, or your business.

If you want more current news, check out our blog. We help you keep up with what’s going on in the world today so you don’t feel left behind in life or business.