The Difference Between an Oil and Air Compressor

Written by mary lougee
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There are two types of air compressors. One type uses oil inside to lubricate the parts and the other is an oil-free design. Each type has a design for certain applications.


Air compressors provide pressurised air to operate air tools for mechanical and construction use. You might also use them to air dry parts, wood and inflate tires.


Compressors that are internally oil lubricated incorporate an articulated piston, which uses an oil bath at the bottom to lubricate parts and keeps the air separated from the oil at the top of the piston by using an o-ring. Oil-free air compressors use a diaphragm piston or a fixed piston to operate.


Oil-free air compressors are useful in the construction industry. When using an air tool as a nail gun for building a wooden structure, the oil-free compressor will not apply any oil to the surface, which could cause stains and imperfections.


Lubricating air compressors will leak minute amounts of oil into the outflow of air, which will also lubricate the air tools you are using with it. Most air tools require lubrication, and this will ensure they operate properly without adding an inline oiler.


Using a lubricating air compressor requires checking and changing the oil. This type of compressor is for use only on flat surfaces so the oil bath in the bottom will effectively lubricate the bottom of the piston on each down stroke.

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