The Four Basic Types of Air Compressor

The four basic types of compressors are reciprocating compressor, rotary screw compressor, centrifugal compressor, and axial-flow compressor, each type uses different air compressor filter. Further classification would be by the number of compression stages, the cooling method (air, water, or oil) and the drive method for example engine, motor, steam, gasoline, or diesel and lubrication.

Rotary Screw Compressors
Rotary air compressors are positive displacement compressors. The most common rotary air compressor is the single stage helical or spiral lobe oil flooded screw air compressor. These compressors consist of two rotors within a casing where the rotors compress the air internally. There are no valves. These units are basically oil cooled (with air cooled or water cooled oil coolers) where the oil seals the internal clearances. Since the cooling takes place right inside the compressor, the working parts never experience extreme operating temperatures. The rotary compressor, therefore, is a continuous duty, air cooled or water cooled compressor package. Rotary compressor uses a special type of air compressor filter to work effectively.

Reciprocating Air Compressors
Reciprocating air compressors are examples of positive displacement machines. This means that they increase the pressure of the air by reducing its volume. This also means they are taking in successive volumes of air which is confined within a closed space and elevating this air to a higher pressure. The reciprocating air compressor accomplishes this by a piston within a cylinder as the compressing and displacing element.

Centrifugal Compressors
The centrifugal air compressor is a dynamic compressor which depends on transfer of energy from a rotating impeller to the air. Centrifugal compressors produce high-pressure discharge by converting angular momentum imparted by the rotating impeller (dynamic displacement). In order to do this efficiently, centrifugal compressors rotate at higher speeds than the other types of compressors. These types of compressors are also designed for higher capacity because flow through the compressor is continuous

Axial compressors are rotating, air-foiled base compressors where the working fluid principally flows parallel to the axis of rotation. This is in contrast with other rotating compressors such as centrifugal, axial-centrifugal and mixed-flow compressors where the air may enter axially but will have a significant radial component on exit.

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I personally prefer the reciprocating air compressor. They seem to be the most efficient. I also think they cost less money in the long run. Air compressors are so handy.

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One of the problems that arises when people have machines, such as an air compressor machine, in their garage is that they are eventually going to try to find ways in which to use the machine incorrectly. No matter how many warnings are on them, people always find ways to do something which could lead to potential long term danger. One of the most common pieces of an air compressor machine which can be hazardous is used improperly is the air compressor filter.

Air compressors are great pieces of machines that can make the most out of a dire situation. There have been plenty of projects that I have worked on around the house that have involved needing an air compressor for some kind of tool. That definitely was a great way to keep the garage clean as well, with having some kind of hose to blow the dirt out. Thank you for sharing.

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This was so helpful for me because I always felt like my air compressor isn't that strong. This is going to help find the right one so I don't have trouble waiting for my tire to fill up. Anna D. Pritchett

never realized there were so many different kinds of compressors. I wonder which one of these would be the most cost effective when working at their highest level of efficiency. That would be a good deciding factor for me when picking a compressor. Do you know what would be best?

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Cooper Freer Compressors provides compressed air solutions for industrial and manufacturing industries. We provide superior air compressor units in Leicester, Derby, and Nottingham area. We offer 24/7 service, turn-key installations and preventive maintenance services.

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