Oil-Less vs. Oil-Lubricated Compressors


oil-free-vs-oil-lubricated-air-compressorAs you are probably well aware, manufacturers of air compressors are developing both oil free and oil lubricated types of compressors. Normally, both types of compressor pumps are capable of providing good performance that will get the job done. Although some people don’t really care about what type they buy, oil free and oil lubricated air compressors can have specific uses, advantages and some disadvantages. This can be important information that people should understand before they buy a compressor. The importance in knowing how well your oil free compressor or oil lubricated counterpart performs can save you time and money. Here is some basic information that will allow you to compare the two types.

Most oil free compressors are lighter compared to oil lubricated when it comes to their weight. That is why most portable air compressors are oil free. This allows the machine itself to be carried from any place without much issue. When it comes to performance, oil lubricated air compressors can usually surpass the best performance of oil free compressors.

Basically, the wear and tear of oil-less compressors is short and can produce a significant amount of noise which can be annoying and even lead to hearing loss without ear protection. An oil lubricated compressor, on the other hand, can have a longer lifespan and higher performance because it minimizes the wear of every component with the help of the oil. Friction is the number one cause of wear and without oil, the friction is obviously higher. However, when it comes to maintenance, oil free compressors require less maintenance compared to oil lubricated. Sometimes no maintenance is required for the life of the product.

oil-lubricated-compressorOil lubricated models will require more maintenance especially when it comes to the oil itself which requires replacement. An oil-less model is equipped with permanent lubrication called Teflon that offers adequate protection from wear. When it comes to price, it’s pretty obvious that oil free compressors are much cheaper because they have a simple design and are built using lightweight materials, generally not as heavy duty as their oil-lubricated counterparts. That is why oil lubricated compressors are much more preferred for stationary use as they are more suitable to use in providing extra power for every kind of task. The life expectancy of oil free compressors depends on the Teflon lubrication as well as the material quality.

Once the Teflon has reached its limit, the compressor will be useless. While it may be repaired, sometimes it makes more sense financially to simply purchase a new unit. However, oil lubricated compressors can last for a longer time and be run for longer amounts of time because the life of the compressor will depend on regular oil changes. Basically, oil is the life of every oil lubricated compressor and it can easily break down without proper maintenance such as these top 5 tips. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide how you’ll be using your air compressor. If you’re a once-in-a-while weekend warrior, an oil-less model may be all you ever need. For those who use compressors on a jobsite, often for hours at a time, an oil-lubricated model is a must.