Pros and cons of oil-free air compressors

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A well lubricated air compressor is a happy air compressor – at least that’s what conventional wisdom would have you believe – so how can oil-free air compressors be better?

It’s a tale both of pros and cons, and ultimately the decision of oil-free air compressors vs. oil-lubricated air compressors can come down to the specific application and especially the need for clean, dry compressed air.


This is the first benefit of oil-free air compressors: the compressed air output is free from tiny droplets of oil that can find their way into the airline in a lubricated system.

As such they are the obvious choice in healthcare, dentistry, pharmaceuticals and in sectors like semiconductors where the environment is a crucial factor.

But why might you choose oil-less air compressors in other industries? Here are some more pros and cons of oil-free air compressors to help you decide.


Pro – Less Maintenance

Oil-less air compressors are machined to very high specifications with internal lubrication, smooth contact surfaces and friction-reducing coatings.

This means they can operate without additional lubricants – and that means less maintenance as there are no regular oil changes required.


Con – Less Longevity

The downside of this is that the life span of an oil-free air compressor is generally shorter than a lubricated air compressor.

When those surfaces start to show signs of wear and tear, there is little you can do to keep the compressor running smoothly, as there is no lubricant to top up.


Pro – Lower Cost

The good news is that oil-free air compressors often cost less than their lubricated equivalents, so it’s worth factoring this in when deciding what offers you the best long-term value.


Con – Higher Operating Noise

One of the commonly quoted pros and cons of oil-free air compressors is higher operating noise – but this is not always the case.

In fact with Bambi air compressors in particular, you can get ultra-low-noise oil-free air compressors for dental and medical applications.

This can deliver small quantities of compressed air almost silently, ideal for enclosed environments like dentists’ treatment rooms.


If you are not sure which pros and cons of oil-less air compressors apply in your circumstances, give us a call today on 0161 476 3800 and we will be happy to advise on the best lubricated or oil-free air compressor for your needs.