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Think You Don’t Need An Air Compressor? Think Again

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Air compressor tips

Air compressors play an essential role in manufacturing processes. They provide power for various tools and applications that enhance efficiency, precision, and overall success of manufacturing operations.

Manufacturing companies utilise air compressors for multiple reasons, leading to improved efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and versatility in their operations.

If you’re in the manufacturing business, it is no surprise that the majority of manufacturers use a compressed air system.

Such systems drive several types of equipment, such as material handling and separation equipment, machine tools, spray painting equipment, etc.

Air compressors use fossil fuels, nuclear, solar, or water as their energy source. We only think about air compression systems for industrial and manufacturing environments. However, many commercial setups also need air compressors, office spaces, and retail outlets.

In this article we look at air compressors in detail starting with the benefits of using air compressors.

Why An Air Compressor?

If you are a small business owner, you may have already discovered the benefit of having an air compressor.

Air compressors are essential in various industries due to their versatility, reliability, and contribution to increased efficiency and automation in business processes. Some of the advantages of using an air compressor include the following:

1. Cleaner Air

Did you know that an air compressor cleans the air for air conditioners? Outside air contains pollutants. Any HVAC system requires an air compressor.

If yours requires replacement, consider investing in a quality unit for healthier air for you and your employees.

Also, air compressors regulate the flow of air through the HVAC system. A quiet air compressor means a more pleasant working environment.

2. Office Cleaning

If you are cleaning, a good air compressor is a must. Regular blowers and vacuum cleaners are often insufficient for commercial and retail cleaning.

An industrial air compressor is also quiet enough to clean during business hours when your clients are still at work.

3. Fast Drying

You can also use an air compressor to dry carpets and other large spaces. Naturally, this applies to carpet cleaning service providers.

Water damage restoration companies also find these invaluable for drying areas quickly. Minimizing water damage means racing the clock to dry out soggy floors and drywall.

Rent or Buy Your Air Compressor?

Renting air compressors instead of purchasing them can offer several advantages, depending on your needs and circumstances. If you prefer renting an air compressor, here are some pros to confirm you’ve made the right choice.

  • Cost Savings: Renting air compressors can be more cost-effective in the short term than purchasing.
  • Flexibility: Renting provides flexibility regarding equipment type, size, and capacity.
  • Maintenance and Repairs: When you rent air compressor maintenance and repair, the rental company typically handles repairs.
  • Access to Latest Technology: Rental companies often update their equipment inventory to include the latest technology and more energy-efficient models.
  • Storage and Space: Owning air compressors requires storage space, which may be limited in your facility.
  • No Depreciation Concerns: Equipment ownership comes with the risk of depreciation, which can impact the resale value of the compressor.
  • Short-Term Projects: Renting can be a practical solution if you have a temporary or short-term project that requires air compression.
  • Reduced Administrative Burden: Owning equipment involves administrative tasks such as insurance, warranties, and compliance.
  • Cash Flow Management: Renting air compressors allows you to allocate your capital to other business areas, improving cash flow and potentially enabling you to invest in revenue-generating activities.
  • Trial Period: Renting allows one to test different compressor models before committing to a purchase.
  • No Disposal Concerns: When you no longer need the compressor, you don’t have to worry about disposing of it or dealing with the associated costs.
  • Emergency Situations: In case of unexpected breakdowns or emergencies, rental companies can quickly provide replacement compressors, minimizing downtime and disruptions to your operations.

You can optimize your operations with oil-free air compressor rentals and put off the cost of buying one now or at all.

Air Compressor Jargon

The type of air compressor you choose depends on the tools or heavy machinery the compressor will power. Next is a refresher on the terminology to help you select the right air compression system.

Air Pressure

You measure air pressure in pounds per square inch (PSI). Whatever machine or tool you are powering with an air compressor will list the minimum amount of PSI required to run it.

Air Flow

You measure airflow in cubic feet per minute (CFM). Like PSI, the compressor you buy must be able to supply the correct amount of CFM for the machine or tool you are powering.

The higher the CFM requirements for the tool, the more power you’ll need from the compressor.

Storage Tank

Storage tank capacity, which you measure in gallons, varies per model. The larger the tank, the more CFM the unit delivers. But a larger tank doesn’t always mean more PSI.


You rate an air compressor’s horsepower (HP) power like a car or truck. An industrial air compressor can run off electricity, gasoline, or diesel.

While you know what you need an air compressor for in your business, you may not understand which type to get.

Types of Industrial Air Compressors

You’ll need an industrial air compressor and three main types for your business.

1. Reciprocating Air Compressors

Reciprocating air compressors are also known as piston and cylinder compressors or piston-driving compressors. They create a vacuum that compresses air and forces it into a storage tank.

The technology has been around for a long time, which makes a reciprocating air compressor affordable and reliable.

2. Rotary Screw Air Compressors

Rotary screw air compressors use two rotors called male and female.  These rotors are designed with helical lobes that closely interlock but do not touch each other.

The air is drawn into the inlet port and compressed between the rotors as they turn. After compressing the air, it is discharged through the outlet port at a higher pressure, thanks to the continuous rotary motion, which ensures a steady supply of compressed air. These compressors are powerful even though they are compact.

Rotary screw compressors are widely recognized for their high efficiency, reliability, and smooth operation. They are popularly used across industrial applications where a consistent and dependable compressed air source is essential, including manufacturing plants, automotive repair shops, and other industrial settings.

The benefits of rotor screw air compressors include:

  • Continuous operation – provides a steady supply of compressed air
  • Compact design
  • Low vibration and noise
  • Energy efficient

3. Centrifugal Air Compressors

A centrifugal compressor uses rotating blades, similar to a turbine engine. This type of compressor is robust and ideal for continuous use.

Of course, they are also pricey. They are often the choice for large-scale operations like moving natural gas or oil through pipelines. Another everyday use is making snow at ski resorts.


Air compressors can be as low as $80 and as much as $70,000. Industrial air compressors vary in price according to their capabilities. Here is just a general idea of the approximate costs by type.

A 5 HP reciprocating industrial air compressor $1,000 – $2,500

5 HP rotary air compressor $2,500 – $5,000

10 HP air compressor $3,500 – $7,000

25 HP reciprocating industrial air compressor $8,000 – $12,000

25 HP rotary air compressor $7,500 – $10,000

50 HP rotary air compressor $12,000 – $18,000

100 HP industrial air compressor $20,000 – $35,000

200 HP air compressor $40,000 – $70,000

The average price for industrial air compressors goes from about $3,000 to $30,000 for a rotary machine. They range from $2,000 – $2,500 for a reciprocating machine.

And you can expect to pay $5,000 – $7,500 for previously-owned air compressors.

Summing Up

There are many uses for air compressors, and many businesses cannot operate efficiently with them.

It’s important to note that the decision to rent or purchase air compressors should be based on carefully analyzing your specific needs, financial situation, and long-term goals.

While renting offers these advantages, there may be cases where purchasing makes more sense, such as for ongoing, heavy-duty usage.