Air Compressor 101: Rotary v. Reciprocating Compressors

At Best Aire we have a wide variety of compressors to fit customer specifications and needs, so it important to know some of the differences between compressors types. Two types of compressors that we are going to compare, and contrast are rotary vs reciprocating compressors. Before what we discuss what the main differences are, first there are a couple of similarities between them. Both systems have the same purpose of bringing air into the system and compressing. A first difference comes with the use of pistons in the system. Reciprocating compressors use pistons while rotary compressors do not. The piston is moved up and down throughout the process and hence the name reciprocating.

For Rotary compressors use rollers as opposed to pistons, although they are used in the same purpose as pistons. In rotary air compressors there two rotors that turn in opposite which causes the air to become trapped causing compression to occur. Another difference between these systems is that rotary compressors can operate with a lot lower dBa than reciprocating compressors. Rotary compressors are also quieter and operate with less heat and vibration. The final difference to discuss is the use and application of these compressor systems. Reciprocating air compressors are meant for intermittent use and when you only need a small amount of air. These are best suited for homeowners, workshops, small businesses and construction. On the other hand, rotary compressors are for applications that need continuous air. Rotary is a good choice for the commercial and industrial users with a constant demand for air. They are also very durable and reliable in situations where they are put under a lot of demand.

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