How does a piston compressor work?

A piston compressor consists of one or more pistons which compresses the air. Piston compressors are best suited for smaller compressed air needs, where they compress the air in intervals.


How does a piston compressor work?

A piston compressor have one or more cylinders with pistons driven by a motor. 

Piston compressors create compressed air by the piston moving down and forming a vacuum over it. Then atmospheric air can be sucked in and fill the area above the piston in the cylinder. 

As the piston moves up, the air is compressed in one or more compression stages, simultaneous with the inlet valve being closed, and outflow valve opened. For each stroke, more air enters the compressor, and the pressure increases.

Reno piston compressors

Types of compression stages


The air can be compressed in one or more stages.

In one-stage compressors, the atmospherics air is compressed directly with one or more pistons. Piston compressors with one compression stage are often used at pressures up to 10 bar.

A multi-stage piston compressor compresses the air in several stages connected in a range, in which the air is gradually compressed to the final pressure. Between stages, the compressed air is cooled either with water or air. This enables the compressor to deliver a higher pressure, thereby increasing efficiency. A multi-stage piston compressor is often used at pressures above 10 bar.

Advantages of a piston compressor

One advantage of using a piston compressor is that it is optimized for intermittent operation, with a load rate of up to 40-60%. 

Another advantage is that a piston compressor is available in both stationary and mobile versions. This offers more flexibility as piston compressors can be used on the road.

Also, there are many different types of piston compressors, and it is always possible to find the right one for your needs.


Read more about piston compressors here