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Industry Trends

Industry Trends

Introduction to Pros and Cons of Screw Air Compressors

Jun. 15, 2022

When most people think of air compressors, they think of reciprocating air compressors, also known as piston air compressors. These air compressors use a piston to push air into a smaller space, compress it, and then collect the compressed air in a storage tank. Reciprocating air compressors are relatively inexpensive and have been around for decades. 

Screw air compressors are a newer and improved type of air compressor. They may be more expensive than traditional reciprocating models, but offer many advantages that have made screw air compressors the system of choice for service truck and van fleet managers worldwide.

Introduction to Pros and Cons of Screw Air Compressors

Oil-Injected vs. Oil-Free Rotary Screws 

Screw air compressors used on trucks and vans are oil-injected, which means that oil is used to lubricate and seal the rotor on the air end. This allows the rotor to very quickly generate high pressure and compress the air in a single stage. The oil is then separated from the air before it leaves the system and is recycled back to the air end for reuse. The oil-injected screw allows the compressor system to deliver consistently high CFM and psi. 

Oil-free screw models are used in industrial, manufacturing or medical applications where no oil can enter the air stream, such as food packaging or medical oxygen. Oil-free rotary air compressors are more expensive because they require two stages of compression to achieve the same pressures as oil-injected rotary systems. Most companies use oil-free screw air compressors only when absolutely necessary, so you won't usually find oil-free air compressors on vehicles.

Introduction to Pros and Cons of Screw Air Compressors

VSD Screw Air Compressor

Advantages of Screw Air Compressors 

Screw air compressors offer many advantages that make them ideal for mobile and stand-alone applications. As a result, you'll find screw air compressors in vehicles and trailers that require high-quality equipment, as well as in industrial, manufacturing and medical facilities. 

Advantages of screw air compressors over other compressor types include 

Continuous airflow/100% duty cycle 

Large volumes of air 

Higher CFM per horsepower 

Longer service life 

Better warranty 


Energy efficient 

Most people prefer rotary screw air compressors because of their long life, reliability and easy access to immediate air. Because rotary screw air compressors can run continuously, there is no need to wait for a tank to fill to start using air. These are often the most popular benefits of rotary screw air compressors. 

Many operators also appreciate the limited lifetime warranty that comes with some rotary screw air compressors. These types of warranties are available because the rotor and air ends have proven to stand the test of time. This longevity makes screw compressors a drama-free choice. 

Introduction to Pros and Cons of Screw Air Compressors

Disadvantages of Screw Air Compressors

Screw air compressors have many advantages, but they are not the right choice for everyone. Some of the common screw air compressor disadvantages are


Requires skilled maintenance 

The number one reason people choose reciprocating air compressors over rotary screw is the initial cost. Rotary screw air compressors typically cost twice as much as reciprocating air compressors, but in this case, you truly get what you pay for. 

Rotary screw air compressors may cost twice as much, but on average, they last at least 4 times longer and produce more air. This makes them a solid investment for any business that plans to use compressed air for the long term. 

Another disadvantage of screw-type air compressors is that they require skilled maintenance. Every type of air compressor requires regular maintenance, but the complexity of rotary screw systems requires a higher level of expertise.

Guangzhou Airhorse Compressor Co., Ltd. is affiliated to the German Airhorse Group. It is a high-tech enterprise integrating R&D, manufacturing, sales and service. Adhering to the product and service concept of "embracing the future and pursuing excellence", Airhorse is committed to serving global industrial users. Provide air compression energy-saving solutions to help enterprises grow faster and better. Please feel free to contact us if you need to buy them.

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