Oil-free Vs. Oil-lubricated Compressors

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by toolman posted 09-13-2009 08:39 PM 10760 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View toolman's profile


45 posts in 3630 days

09-13-2009 08:39 PM

We were recently on a tool forum where the question was asked ” what is the difference between oil-free and oil-lubricated air compressors?” This is a good question so we decided to post what we consider to be a thorough answer!

Oil-free compressors have pumps that are directly linked to the motor. A teflon-coated cylinder sleeve and piston ring result in very little friction between the Teflon parts, eliminating the need for oil. Some advantages of oil-free design are no messy oil spills, cleaner output air and no maintenance except for intake air filter. The teflon piston ring and cylinder are easily and economically replaceable resulting in extended compressor life. Oil-free compressors are also lighter in weight.

Oil-lubricated compressors have pumps that use an aluminum crankcase and head for improved heat dissipation, cast iron cylinder sleeves, and automotive style pistons and compression rings. Some advantages of the lubricated design include aluminum components that are noncorrosive, lightweight and improve heat dissipation. Of course, this pump does require oil and some maintenance. There you have it, now the choice is yours!

-- Toolman -

3 replies so far

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 3725 days

#1 posted 09-13-2009 10:51 PM

Oil-lubricated air compressors are quite and will last a lot longer.
Oil-free for me are no good, noisy and they break down, I have both and the oil-free is collecting dust in the corner.

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 3396 days

#2 posted 09-13-2009 10:58 PM

I had a Craftsman 20gal that worked good for about 20 years. finally went out and now I have the PC pancake oilless and it has been working great for almost 3 years now. Used to build street rods and needed impact guns and spray equipment. Now just use nail guns, blow gun and fill tires every so often. The PC is really portable, louder than my old compressor, but not by that much.

View DaneJ's profile


56 posts in 3236 days

#3 posted 09-13-2009 11:00 PM

I am not sure where I heard, or read it, but generally an oil less compressor has a fairly low “duty cycle”, meaning that it would not last long if it ran continuously. Also it produces more heat and possibly condensation…

-- Dane, Fairview Pk, OH. The large print giveth and the small print taketh away... Tom Waits

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics