Oil-free vs. Oil-lubricated Air Compressor: All You Need Know


Air compression is essential in many pharmaceutical, automotive, food, and agricultural industries. The air compressor oil has many variations. 

For example, some handle heavy programs better than others. However, air compressors can generally be divided into two main categories: oil-lubricated and oil-free.

Oil-lubricated air compressors

All air compressors have moving parts. These moving parts must be lubricated to prevent damage to the air compressor. If you lubricate the compressor enough, it will work properly. Oil is the most common lubricant used in machinery, and traditional oil ring compressors use this proven and reliable medium.

Oil compressors are solid and durable, and the use of oil makes them ideal for industrial applications. They emit a lot of heat, but the oil acts as a heat carrier.

Oil compressors are versatile and reliable, but they have drawbacks. First, they require significant maintenance, and operators must regularly check the oil level and change the oil and oil filter. In addition, due to their large size, they cannot be moved, so they will have to be permanently installed in one place. 

The most obvious disadvantage of using lubricated compressors is the risk of oil contamination. The oil used to lubricate, seal and cool the engine leaves the oil content in the compressed air, which must be removed by separation or filtration. In an industry where air cleanliness is critical (especially in sterile environments), even a tiny drop of oil can cause contamination.

If left untreated, oil contamination can lead to product damage, rework, production stoppages, and your brand reputation. This is where oil-free compressors come into play.

Oil-free air compressors

Oil-free compressors use an alternative sealing, cooling, or lubricating medium, such as water, eliminating the risks and costs associated with oil contamination. Companies use oil-free compressors for applications where transporting even a tiny amount of oil is unacceptable.

For example, pharmaceutical companies cannot contain hydrocarbons in their products or air in their manufacturing facilities. This also applies to food and beverage companies, such as bottling companies and manufacturers of food packaging, because the air directly interacts with their products.

Here is a list of industries and applications that typically require oil-free air compressors to prevent oil contamination.

  • Medical industry
  • Pharma industry
  • Life science industry
  • Chemical industry
  • Power generation industry

Image link ( Oil- Lubricated Air Compressors )

Common misconceptions about oil-free compressors

There are myths that people use to discredit oil-free air compressors. We’re going to dispel some of these myths. 

Oil-free compressors are very noisy.

We can’t deny that oil-free compressors were noisier than their traditional oil counterparts. However, modern oil-free compressors are quieter than they are supposed to be. Modern oil-free compressors use direct drive, dual-piston pumps, and noise reduction technology, so noise is not an issue.

Oil-free compressors have a short service life.

The biggest argument against oil-free compressors is their relatively short lifespan. Again, this may have been the case in the past, but today oil-free compressor life is no longer an issue.

Oil-free technology has come a long way, making oil-free compressors cooler and more durable. In addition, it requires less maintenance than oil compressors. However, it may be necessary to replace the air in an oil-free compressor before replacing the air in a well-maintained oil compressor. 

Oil-free compressors run hotter.

Although it is true that the oil acts as a heat dimensional material and holds the compressors cool, the double pump projects of non-oil-free compressors allow the desired CFM/PSI to achieve an oil compressor.

Compare the benefit of the oil and oil-free compressors

Industrial air compressors include many places, including mutual, curly, and centrifugal, and each site has unique benefits and applications. These, however, are some frequent advantages and disadvantages of non-oil and oil compressors.

The Benefits of Air Oil- Lubricated air compressors

  • Best suited for heavy and industrial applications.
  • Act long before you need to replace the ventilation

Disadvantages of air compressors with oil

  • Very heavy; Permanently installed locally.
  • More maintenance is required and should be used regularly
  • More expensive for lubrication
  • Pollutes the surrounding air oil

Benefits of Oil-free air compressors.

  • Small and portable design
  • No need to manually lubricate
  • It’s easy to work
  • Suitable for programs affected by oil pollution
  • Best for business purposes

Disadvantages of Oil-free air compressors.

  • High cost
  • Heavy programs and compressors ejected with oil not guided
  • Will soon require airend replacement than an oil- lubricated compressor

What is right for you?

Both have their own pros and cons. your program must determine what is best for you. If oil contamination risks your business, an oil-free compressor is a solution. If you need an air compressor for heavy and industrial use, an oil-lubricated air compressor is for you.

James Morkel

Tech website author with a passion for all things technology. Expert in various tech domains, including software, gadgets, artificial intelligence, and emerging technologies. Dedicated to simplifying complex topics and providing informative and engaging content to readers. Stay updated with the latest tech trends and industry news through their insightful articles.

Related Articles

Back to top button