Which piston compressor should I choose?

Piston compressors are reliable machines that can operate a wide range of smaller compressed air tasks. Before buying one, there is a few different things to consider.

Does a piston compressor fit my needs?

A piston compressor will be the right choice if you have a smaller, intermittent need for compressed air. This is often the case for smaller auto repair shops, craftsman tasks, agriculture as well as light industry.

If you have a large, continuous need for compressed air, a screw compressor is a better fit for you.


How to choose the right piston compressor

When choosing the right piston compressor, you should always consider the four basic elements of a compressor. 

This can help ensure that the compressor is not undersized or oversized

To be able to size the compressor for your needs, it is important to know the working pressure of your equipment and the operating cycle. When choosing piston compressors, it is also very important to know its area of application. 

Should the piston compressor be used at a construction site or in a workshop? And how much of the total operating time should the compressor be fully loaded?

Reno piston compressors

Where is the compressor used?

When choosing a piston compressor, it is important to be aware of where and how it will be used. 

Depending on whether the piston compressor will be used on a construction site or on the road, or in a fixed position at e.g. an auto repair shop, the requirements for the piston compressor will be different. 

On a construction site where the compressor must be able to be moved from one end of the construction site to the other, a mobile piston compressor with robust wheel and top plate for protection of the machine may be a better choice. In addition you need to consider the power supply in the area. For life on the road, a smaller and more handy compressor may be the optimal choice.

On the other hand, if your compressed air needs are located in a fixed area, you may benefit from a stationary model which can be connected to your piping system.

A piston compressor for light industry will likely have a high load rate. Here a stationary, industrial piston compressor is well-suited.

Craftsman on construction site
Production worker with compressed air tools

The load rate

The choice of piston compressor is dimensioned based on the need for compressed air, where it is relevant to focus on the load rate. 

The load rate indicates how much of the total operating time the compressor should be fully loaded.

A piston compressor with a load rate of 50% will after 3 minutes of compression need to rest for 3 minutes. This means that the piston compressor, on the recommended one working shift, will run efficiently 4 hours a day.

See our recommendations for load rates on piston and screw compressors.


Read more about piston compressors here