Updated at: 25-09-2021 - By: Lucas

An air compressor is a very useful and important tool. There are many different types of air compressors and each type has its own uses.

You should learn about the most common types of air compressors before you decide which one you need. This will help you avoid purchasing a compressor that you don’t really need.

Rotary Screw Compressor

Rotary Screw Compressor

A rotary screw compressor is a type of motor-driven pump that uses a helical screw instead of a reciprocating piston to compress a gas. Rotary screw compressors are widely used in refrigeration and air conditioning systems, as well as industrial applications such as oil and water pumping. The first practical rotary screw compressor was invented by a Swede named Lars Magnus Ericsson in 1884.

A typical rotary screw compressor has a cylindrical housing with an inlet and outlet on the top. A hollow, screw-shaped rotor with many helical grooves is attached to a shaft that extends out of the bottom of the housing. 

When the shaft is rotated by an external motor, the screw-shaped rotor twists inside the housing, which forces the refrigerant gas (such as freon) to be compressed between the screw-shaped rotor and the walls of the housing. The outlet from the compressor is connected to a tube that leads to a condenser coil. The refrigerant gas is cooled as it passes through the copper tubing of the condenser coil, which turns it into a liquid.

Rotary Centrifugal Compressor

A rotary centrifugal compressor is a type of positive displacement machine that uses a combination of high-speed rotating impellers and static diffusers to create a pressurized fluid. This type of machine is often used to compress air, but it can also be used to create a vacuum (as in an air conditioning system) or any other type of gas or liquid under pressure.

Rotary centrifugal compressors are very common in industrial applications. However, there are some residential systems available now too. They are quieter than a piston compressor and they use less electrical power. A rotary centrifugal compressor will last longer too because they are built to withstand heavy use.

Rotary Lobe Compressors

Rotary Lobe Compressors

A rotary lobe compressor is a device that compresses air by forcing it though a set of rotating lobes. The lobes are shaped like a gear and they are arranged around a central shaft. The shaft has a number of alternating grooves and ridges which cause the lobes to rotate. This rapid rotation creates a high-velocity flow of air which results in a very efficient and compact system.

The rotary lobe compressor is an extremely effective tool for many applications where you need to compress a large amount of air with a minimum of energy input. It is used for a variety of purposes including industrial, commercial and domestic. It can be used for everything from inflating bouncy balls at a kid’s birthday party, to sealing cracks in concrete floors, to providing breathable atmosphere in an underwater habitat.

Piston Compressors

A piston compressor is the type of compressor you will see attached to a air compressor or an industrial-type power tool. It consists of a cylinder with a rubber-like O-ring sealing the top. A piston is inserted into the top of the cylinder. 

As the power tool turns the wheeled handle, the piston is forced down into the cylinder. When the power tool stops turning the wheel, the spring-loaded piston goes back up to its original position. This repeated motion compresses whatever is in the cylinder.

Piston compressors are more efficient than other types of compressors. They are quieter and require less maintenance. They also have fewer parts to wear out. Because of their efficiency and durability, they are used in many refrigeration and air conditioning systems.

Diaphragm Compressors

Diaphragm Compressors

A diaphragm compressor is an electrically powered device that uses a diaphragm to force air into a flexible container. When the supply of air is restricted, the pressure inside the container increases and this causes the diaphragm to bulge outward. This forces the air out of the container through a valve. The valve is spring-loaded and returns to its original position when the internal air pressure drops.

Diaphragm compressors are widely used in industry for a variety of applications. They are particularly useful for inflating small air-filled bladders or “bungs” that are used to give toys or other products a more realistic feel. They can also be used to inflate pneumatic tires and to provide just enough air for people to speak without the hissing sound that occurs when air is forced into the airway.

Helical Screw Compressors

Helical screw compressors are used to create a vacuum to pull air out of the system and then force it back in when the unit is in operation. This process of drawing and forcing air is necessary to ensure efficient operation.

Helical screw compressors are much more efficient than traditional piston-type compressors. That means that they use less energy to do their job. Also, they are quieter, which is a distinct advantage for those who live or work in close proximity to others.

Sliding Vane Compressors

Sliding Vane Compressors

A sliding vane is a device that controls the flow of air into a compressor. It does this by moving a metal plate called a vane against a spring. As the plate moves away from the spring, it allows more air to flow into the compressor. Conversely, as the plate moves closer to the spring, it restricts the flow of air into the compressor.

These days, sliding vane compressors are often electric. This allows for remote control. The remote control can either be manual or automatic. Automatic sliding vane compressors are used mainly in commercial applications. 

However, if you have an HVAC system in your home or business, then you may very well have an automatic sliding vane compressor. These compressors are usually quite quiet and they do not use much electricity. Plus, they last much longer than comparable mechanical compressors.

Scroll Compressors

A scroll compressor is a type of air compressor that uses a series of “scrolls” rather than pistons to compress the refrigerant gas. This type of compressor was developed in the 1970s and has become very popular because of its reliability, low noise level and long service life. 

A scroll compressor consists of a few main components, including a shell, a motor, an oil separator, a suction filter, a discharge filter, a condenser, an evaporator, and a scroll assembly.

The scroll assembly consists of a stationary scroll, which is the outer housing of the compressor, and a orbiting scroll, which is the inner housing of the compressor. The two scrolls are meshed together with clearance between them. The scroll assembly is the part of the compressor where the compression takes place.

The scrolls are designed so that the orbiting scroll orbits around the fixed scroll. As the orbiting scroll orbits around the fixed scroll, the volume of the compressor is reduced. This causes the refrigerant gas to be squeezed inside the compressor and forced through the discharge port into the condenser.

Centrifugal Compressors

A centrifugal compressor is a type of pump that uses a rotating impeller to pump or compress fluids. Centrifugal compressors are used in a variety of applications including air compressors, industrial gas compressors, liquid carbon dioxide. compressors, and home appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners.

They work on the principal of centripetal force. Centripetal force is the tendency of any object with mass to move toward the center of an unbalanced rotating force field. In other words, anything with mass will try to stay near the middle of a spinning bicycle wheel, a merry-go-round, or any other object with rotational motion. This is true whether the object is a person, an animal, or something else with mass.

The impeller in a centrifugal compressor has vanes or blades attached to its outer rim. These vanes or blades are shaped like the letter “V” and extend outward from the impeller like the spokes of a wheel.

Axial Compressors

Axial Compressors

An axial compressor is a mechanical device that uses a rotating shaft to move and compress a fluid. It is a positive displacement device that is used to pump gases or liquids. This type of compressor is often used to supply air to tires in an automobile or boat. 

It is also used to inflate basketball or volleyball balls. Basically, any time you need to get a lot of air into something and then maintain that pressure, this type of compressor is perfect for the job.

An axial compressor consists of three major components: the compressor section, the motor section, and the crankcase section. The compressor section is where the actual compression takes place. The motor section contains the motor and the gearbox. The crankcase section holds the bearings and the other parts that make up the compressor.

Axial compressors are available in single- or dual-rotor designs. A single-rotor design has one shaft running through the whole unit. A dual-rotor design has two separate shafts that are located on opposite sides of the compressor.


How Does A Compressor Work?

A compressor is an air pump. The principle is simple: Pass the air through the compressor inlet, compress it inside the cylinder, and then discharge it through the discharge port. The compressor is powered by the engine, through the drive belt.

As the engine turns the drive belt, the compressor rotates and forces the air though the system. The air forced through the system is not really “compressed” at all. It is merely constricted. 

How to use an Air Compressor?

Air compressors are used for many things, the most common of which is inflating tires on cars and trucks. Also, they are used for powering pneumatic tools and air tools.

They are also used by carpenters and other construction workers to inflate tires on their vehicles so they will have a better grip on the ground as they work.

How to repair an air compressor?

If the air compressor is not working, then it can seriously slow down your progress. It’s important to know how to repair an air compressor so you won’t have to call a professional. 

1: Check and make sure the electrical power is on. This means the circuit breaker (or fuses) must be in the “on” position.

2: Make sure there is enough lubricant in the compressor. 

3: Remove the dust cap from the end of the motor shaft where it meets the gear box. 

4: If you see any dust or dirt, wipe it off with a rag or dry cloth. 

5: If you see any grit or sand, remove it with a file or a knife. 

6: Replace the dust cap and tighten it down securely. 

What is free air delivery in an air compressor?

In simple terms, free air delivery is the air that is delivered by the air compressor, that is not being used by the machine to run itself. In other words, it is the amount of air that is delivered in free flow.

What is the difference between pump and compressor?

A pump is used to move fluids (liquids or gases) from one place to another. A compressor, on the other hand, is used to increase the pressure of a quantity of gas. 

Incompressible fluids cannot be pumped, only compressed. When a liquid is compressed, it becomes a “superfluid.” That is, it becomes a fluid that can flow with zero viscosity.

Why is a compressor used for the refrigeration cycle?

Because it’s cheap. You can easily buy a compressor at a hardware store for a few hundred dollars. When the pressure is released, the liquid becomes a gaseous state. This is the second phase of the refrigeration cycle.

What is a compressor used for?

There are two types of compressors. There are mechanical compressors that are driven by an engine. There are also, compressors that use electricity. They are commonly called electric compressors or electric drives.

Nowadays, electric compressors are the most common type of compressor used in residential and light commercial applications. They are quiet, easy to install and can be programmed to come on at certain times of the day to provide the user with a more desirable temperature and humidity in the house.


An air compressor is a very useful tool for almost everyone. But, there are a lot of different types of compressors which means there are also many different uses for them. Hopefully, the information provided in this particular article will be of some help to you.