Oil vs Oilless Air Compressor – Which One Is Best For You?

Oil vs Oilless Air Compressor – Which One Is Best For You?

Air compressors retail in a wide array of sizes and shapes. And each type is designed to deliver a specified amount of PSI and CFS.

This implies you need to make sure you pick the right air compressor that will suit your daily tasks. A main factor to consider is what tools you plan on using for your projects.

With that in mind, air compressors are also split into different categories. This is done based on their capacities and style. Today, we are going to compare the tools according to whether they’re oil or oilless.

Both oil and oilless air compressors draw air into the tool’s tank using the piston. But the one you pick will immensely play a role in the tool’s price, the frequency of maintenance issues, as well as its capacity.

So, which one is the best for you? Let us find out.

Oil vs Oilless Air Compressor

What is an oil lubricated air compressor?

Compared to their oilless counterparts, oil air compressors are more famous among pro workers and DIY-ers. They’re known to deliver considerably more air volume and force. This makes them the ideal choice if you run an industrious or construction business.

Air compressors compress air prior to storing it in their tanks. This is quite demanding than it sounds, particularly on the pistons.

So as to keep the tool’s pistons working efficiently and effectively, one ought to keep them well lubricated at all times. This is where the oil comes into play.

The oil keeps the tool cool, lubricated, and running optimally.

Pros of oil air compressors

  • They are more effective for running big construction businesses
  • They are more durable compared to their oil-free counterparts
  • The pistons are lubricated at all times, which minimizes maintenance related issues
  • User-friendly so you can use it even if it’s your first time
  • Oil air compressors will not wake up your neighbors. The oil ensures the pistons run smoothly without a hitch and without making noises
  • Delivers more air volume and force to run some of the heaviest pneumatic tools

Cons of oil air compressors

Even though they sound amazing, oil air compressors also retail with their fair share of disadvantages

  • They need constant monitoring during operations. You need to beware of how much lubrication is remaining in the pistons or else the tool may overheat and die when you’re in the midst of a dire project
  • Most of them are not very portable. Of course, you can lift and place them on your truck but note that this will be a hassle as the tool is a large machine. It’s best to leave this one in your workshop. But then acquire a lighter, oilless counterpart that you’ll take with you to different job sites.
  • At times, the lubrication may, in fact, contaminate the quality level of compressed air passing through the hose into the device. But for the most part, this usually is not a huge problem for most people.

What is an oil-free air compressor?

Now I presume that you know everything important regarding oil air compressors. So let us take a look at the oilless alternatives. As the name suggests, this tool does not need oil to operate.

The only lubrication needed to keep the pistons going is Teflon. The Teflon is coated with cylinders in order to keep the pistons pumping without producing too much friction. If you want to avoid the hassle of the air compressor, you can checkout battery-powered nailer at nailersnow.com

Pros of oilless air compressors

  • You won’t need to keep monitoring the tool, making it a worry-free air compressor
  • More portable as they’re smaller than oil-lubricated compressors
  • More affordable compared to oil air compressors
  • They do not release contaminants through the tool’s hose into its tank. This ensures they keep producing high-quality air

Cons of oilless air compressors

  • They come with small tanks. This can be disadvantageous if you run a big business
  • Takes more time for the motor to deliver more compressed air
  • Are Loud
  • Not very durable
  • They cannot handle heavy duty projects
  • Can only run a few light-duty air powered tools such as brad nailers and airbrushes


So, which one do you think would be better for you? After extensive research, I noticed that most construction workers prefer oil-lubricated compressors. Hobbyists and DIY-ers, on the other hand, preferred to acquire oilless alternatives and save money.

I hope this review has helped you make an informed decision.

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One Response

  1. John Attinello February 28, 2020

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