Types of Air Compressor

Once you are clear on the type of air compressor you are going to use, your next choice will be to pick between rotary screw compressors, piston compressors, and other centrifugal compressor options.

The good news is that picking them is simple when you know what you need to use them for and whether you need a continuous duty or intermittent duty cycle. To help, we’ve shared our guide to picking the best air compressors based on your needs.

Considering Your Air Compressor Options

Before you can choose the best air compressor for your needs, it’s important to have a good grasp of the following considerations:

  • What you need it for
  • Any specific industry requirements that you need to adhere to
  • What air pressure ranges do you need access to
  • How much usage your air compressor will get
  • The quality of the air compressor output
  • Any future plans you have for expansion

Once you have all this information to hand, you can then start searching for the best air compressors for your specific needs.

Considering Piston Compressors

If you are looking for a budget-friendly air compressor solution, piston compressors are a great choice. You may find them called reciprocating air compressors, but this is just another name for the same air pressure system.

A piston compressor is usually found in body shops, tyre shops or even in light manufacturing facilities where they provide optimal support, especially for smaller businesses.

The reciprocating air compressor is not just budget-friendly, it is also easy to maintain between uses.

However, just because reciprocating compressors are cheap and easy to use, they aren’t the best choice for everyone.

In fact, a reciprocating compressor is only really good for intermitted use purely because it can only offer around 30 minutes of use for every hour as it needs rest time to cool in order to avoid overheating.

The other issue with them is that it creates a significant amount of downstream oil that can have a damaging effect on the machinery that you are using the compressed air flow utilisation for.

Finally, reciprocating compressors are often incredibly noisy to operate, causing issues with sound levels and employee health and safety. It’s important to note that these types of air compressors are designed purely for intermittent usage, which can help to reduce the noise impact.

Thinking About Rotary Screw Compressors

If the piston compressor is not the right fit for your needs, a rotary screw compressor could be a better choice.

Rotary screw air compressors work well for anyone that needs a constant compressed air supply without having to take a break for the compressor to cool down.

Interestingly, rotary screw compressors also offer a great number of options than piston air compressors, putting you in control of the compressed air system you buy.

You can pick a VSD (variable speed drive) solution or stick with fixed speed compressors depending on your needs. Plus, you can choose a rotary screw compressor that has an in-built dryer when you want a clean and dry air option.

When you choose a rotary screw compressor, you can also pick a tank-mounted option that provides you with additional storage capacity as well as reducing the cost of installing rotary compressors.

Finally, when you are researching air compressor types, you will find that rotary screw equipment can be paired with an integrated dryer to help you achieve a solution that can be plugged in and used right away.

Variable Speed Drive Air Compressors

They may be the most expensive air compressors on the market, but we’d recommend choosing variable-speed drive air compressors as they will offer you the most efficient solutions.

Even though they are expensive to buy, the potential to save more than you have spent is entirely possible as these air compressors offer an energy saving of almost 60% compared to other types of air compressors.

Does your business have a changeable demand for air? 

The best types of air compressors in this situation are VSD compressors, as they will work hard to meet the demand you put on them, no matter how large.

To do this, the VSD is able to recognise the level of flow being used and then works to adjust the motor to meet your needs as the airflow increases and decreases. This means less electricity being used on quieter days and energy savings when you need them the most.

Modern VSDs come with new and exciting ways to monitor your use and ensure that you are being truly energy efficient with your use. They can provide your company with data to understand how your operation of the unit is working for you and also show simple ways to avoid expensive maintenance requirements.

At Control Gear, we offer a VSD installation service to help you get the best solution for your needs!

However, if the cost is just too much, then most rotary screw equipment will work just as well. On the other hand, if you know exactly how much air supply you are looking for, fixed speed engine models could be an even better choice. Whatever your needs are, the Control Gear team are here to help and provide you with an installation offer perfectly suited to your needs.

What Are Fixed Speed Compressors?

When considering the type of air compressor you need, fixed-speed compressors are perfect when you are only ever using your air compressor at one speed.

This could be high-pressure or low-pressure, but it requires you to know what you are looking for.

Fixed-speed compressor capacity is a much better choice than piston compressors, especially if you are in need of a 100% airflow solution.

Other Considerations When Choosing the Right Air Compressors

So far, we’ve shared information about how to pick the right air compressors for your specific needs. However, you may still be uncertain about the best way to compress air for your business need or find yourself worried about spending too much or too little.

Take a look at some of the other important factors that you need to consider when looking for compressor capacity and air quality:

Compressor Size

Whether you opt for centrifugal compressors, a rotary compressor or another type of positive displacement compressors, knowing the size you need is important.

To do this, you should be thinking about the psi and bar you require – the heavier the work, the bigger the compressor capacity you will need.

You should also consider the free air compressor delivery, which is measured in cubic feet. The quicker you want to get heavy jobs done, the larger the airflow you will need.

Oil Considerations

When you are clear on size, you will also need to think about oil-injected options vs oil-free compressors to get the right air compressor for your needs.

Oil-injected options use oil to lubricate the system and ensure that friction is kept to a minimum, but this can result in oil particles being found in the compression chamber and oil seals.

Oil-free compressors are better options for food and medical needs as they offer the best air tools and oil-free air so that you can be confident that your precious goods will not be contaminated.

Let Us Help Find The Right Type of Air Compressor

If you need help picking between centrifugal compressors and dynamic compressors or want to work out if a reciprocating compressor would be better than a VSD, our team is here to help!

Get in touch today and we’ll do our best to answer your questions and provide you with competitive quotes for installation and maintenance.