5 Reasons A Rotary Screw Compressor Might Not Be Right For You

October 17, 2016

There are many factors to consider when you are buying a new air compressor. As a rotary screw manufacturer, we typically talk about the benefits and advantages of rotary screw compressors. But we know that doesn’t mean they’re right for everyone.

In this article, we’ll talk about five reasons not to buy a rotary screw air compressor:.

5. You don’t need 100% duty cycle

If your application only requires intermittent use, you might not need the power of a rotary screw air compressor. Although a rotary screw compressor is designed to handle continuous duty applications where air delivery needs to be consistent, it is also more than capable of running in an environment where air use is inconsistent. But that doesn’t mean you need the extra power.

If your application only requires intermittent use, a light duty reciprocating air compressor might be a better option (if the next 4 options also ring true.)

4. You don’t have the budget

Budgets are a concern in every major purchase decision, so we’ll be candid and let you know that rotary screw compressors generally cost more than reciprocating compressors. These initial costs are typically saved over the lifetime of the compressor, making them well worth the investment.

Unfortunately, not all budgets will consider that reciprocating compressors deteriorate significantly faster than rotary screws. In this circumstance, the initial investment may be too much for the budget.

If upfront cost is a major factor in your decision process, a rotary screw compressor may not be right for you.

3. You don’t want high air flow

Rotary screw compressors start to outperform reciprocating compressors above the 30-40 CFM range, but smaller compressors can handle lower air requirements perfectly fine. There’s really no need for a more powerful air compressor if all your air tools operate under 30 CFM.

If you need less than 30 CFM, a reciprocating compressor may be your better option.

2. You won’t pay for the maintenance

The most common rotary screw compressors use synthetic oil for air compression, cooling, and lubrication, and that oil and its filters require regular maintenance.  The synthetic oil and regular service work take time and money that some operators aren’t willing to spend.

Reciprocating compressors also require oil and maintenance work but it costs a little less. That’s because most reciprocating compressors don’t use as many filters and the oil is lower quality, in comparison to rotary screw air compressors.

If you aren’t willing to pay a little more in maintenance for a superior air compressor system, a rotary screw air compressor isn’t a good match for you.

1. You don’t need to use it for long

Rotary screw air compressor can last thousands of hours with the correct maintenance. In fact, we guarantee that VMAC rotors will last the entire life of your work truck. Unfortunately, low-cost reciprocating compressors don’t tend to last nearly that long without being rebuilt multiple times.

If your application calls for an air compressor that doesn’t need to last for thousands or tens of thousands of hours, then a reciprocating compressor might be a better choice.

Making a final buying decision

When making your buying decision for a new mobile air compressor system, there are many more factors that need to be considered, including an understanding of how you’re using the air.

We’ve put together several articles that can help you narrow down your options and choose the best air compressor for you:

If you have any questions about this article or anything mobile compressor related, please feel free to call us at 1-800-758-8622 or contact us online.