Compressor Purchases: What Do You Need to Consider?
When it comes to purchasing an air compressor or upgrading your plants existing compressed air system, you have a wide array of solutions to select from: reciprocating or rotary screw, oil-free or oil-lubricated, variable speed or fixed speed.
It is best to approach planning without preconceived opinions such as “it has to be a screw compressor/reciprocating compressor/oil-lubricated compressor” or “we need a 100 HP machine.” It is better to carefully consider all your options. Be sure to consult with your local, authorized distributor, to provide an analysis of your current compressed air demand and pressure level.
Furthermore, when comparing the prices of different compressor types and brands; be sure to remember that energy accounts for more than 2/3 of a compressed air system’s total cost of ownership (TCO). Compare beyond the
initial purchase price to the total cost of ownership which includes maintenance and service procurement and energy usage costs. Systems with the lowest
sticker price are not necessarily the most cost-effective in the long run.
Reciprocating | Rotary | Centrifugal
Oil-Lubricated | Oil-Free | Oil-Less
Fixed Speed | Variable Speed
Single-Stage | Two-Stage | Multi-Stage
Low | Medium | High
Downstream Equipment & Accessories
Drains | Oil/Water Separators
Lubricant | Piping
Genuine OEM Parts & Lubricants
Air Dryers | Filters
Typical compressor technologies include reciprocating, rotary screw, rotary vane,
centrifugal, high-speed centrifugal, scroll and a few others. One technology is
not right for every application. As an example, at low HP ranges such as 10 HP
and below, several technology choices will work, but one will usually outperform
the others depending upon the specifics of the application, including needs
and/or wants of the purchaser. If the air requirement is very intermittent, a reciprocating compressor is likely the best choice. As the application specifics
change, the technology choice may change as well. The bottom line is when
the technology choices are limited, compressors are pushed into the wrong
applications and the end result is sub-optimal operating performance. Be sure
you are considering all the appropriate technology choices for your application.