Air occupies a significant portion of Earth. However, sometimes the use case requires a compressed version. As the name explains, an air compressor is a gadget that compresses the air reducing its volume to increase the pressure. High-pressure air is used in various industries like surgical instruments, repairing tools, and even in automobile paint shops.
Air compressors differ in their compression technologies. Some use rotatory screws, while others have pistons for compressing air. Air compressors are also dividable based on their lubrication, oiled and oil-free ones.
An oilless air compressor has permanent lubrication, which doesn’t require external greasing. In comparison, oil air compressors need frequent greasing to keep functioning correctly. Oil-free air compressors are rapidly becoming popular. Let’s see if their popularity is justifiable.
What Is an Oil-Free Air Compressor?
Maintaining the quality of the compressed air is crucial. However, when there is oil in the compression chamber, as in oil-based air compressors, the air gets contaminated.
An oil-free air compressor has no mechanical components operating within the compression chamber or has a protective seal to keep the working parts grease-free. The specific points about oil-free air compressors will become more apparent when you know their operating mechanism.
How Does an Air Compressor Work and How the Oilless One Is Different?
A standard air compressor consists of inlet and outlet valves for drawing and releasing air, an electric motor, and a compression mechanism. The inlet valve allows the atmospheric air to enter the compressor. Here the compression mechanism springs into action to compress the air by creating a vacuum. The high-pressure air is stored in a storage tank until it is used or till the psi value drops below a specific threshold.
Oil-based air compressors require lubricating the pistons to prevent the metal-on-metal intact. At the same time, the oil-free or oilless air compressors have pre-lubricated coatings on their pistons (usually Teflon), which eliminates the requirement for external greasing.
Why Should You Buy an Oilless Air Compressor?
This section walks you through a comparison of oil-based and oil-free compression pumps so you can witness how oil-free ones are superior.
No Air Contamination
Air contamination is an inevitable phenomenon when you are using oil-based air compressors. As the pistons operate within the compression chamber, their grease mixes with the air, compromising the air’s quality. Low-quality air may somehow work for mechanical uses, but in sensitive use cases like surgery and dentistry, it causes many issues.
Requires Less Maintenance
The logic agrees that no external lubrication is another way to say cost-effective. An oilless air compressor has pre-lubricated pistons, so you don’t have to dedicate a lubrication budget every month.
Compared to traditional oil-based air compressors, the oilless ones are more inexpensive. The lubrication in the oiled air compressor also has some standards, which makes the overall setup expensive.
Oilless air compressors produce little to no noise because of the optimal lubrication. Oil-based air compressors work excellently after lubrication. However, the metallic clicking sounds become more prominent as the lubrication gets thin.
Minimal Carbon Footprint
Oiled counterparts excrete the oil waste into the air. The larger the machine, the higher its carbon footprint. Oilless air compressors are superior in this regard as well. They are more eco-friendly because of their pre-lubrication.
The Bottom Line
Air compression is essential in a variety of cases. For instance, they are used in automation shops, pressure washing, food processing, and other industries. Initially, air compressors were oil-based, which means that the mechanical pistons within the compression chambers require constant lubrication. The presence of the oil resulted in air contamination, which caused inconvenience.
The advent of oilless air compressors solved the issue. Oilless air compressors prevent air contamination and provide benefits like cost-effectiveness, efficiency, and eco-friendly operations. However, their lubricated coating wears over time, making them comparatively less durable than their oiled counterparts.