Oil Free or Oil-Lubricated Air Compressor: A Broad Comparison

In recent times, you will observe that air compressors have different sizes and a wide range of variety in their types as well. In complete contrast to this situation, the air compressors that have lubrication system in their ranks can be categorized into three diverse kinds. They compressors are splash, pressure as well as oil-less and there is no pump circulation in them. Additionally, the oil is supplied to other internal sections by the splash and the pressure lubrication system will use an oil pump. This unique system will provide superior lubrication and the oil-free system will adapt the permanent lubrication method. Not to mention that this pumping will be pre-lubricated.

Head-to-head Comparison

Basically, both the oil-free and oil-filled units have positive as well as negative sides. The oil-filled compressors will enjoy more longevity than the oil-less ones and you can choose the pressure lubrication system for heavy duty functions. Moreover, while dealing with the high-consumption air utensils, you would like to go for a stationary oil-lubricated compressor. However, if you are intent on working at home for inflating the car tires or working a nail gun or puffing away wood debris, then an insubstantial oil-free air compressor would be much suited.

Oil-lubricated model are a perfect match for the people who are engaged in using lots of air tools. Additionally, these compressors are much heavier than the oil-less models and these oil-less units have less weight as well. Consequently, the oil-free models are tailor-made to the clean environment as there will be no sign of oil in the air that it will produce. What’s more, the oil-free models can be easily used in cold conditions, which is their added advantage as well. Lastly, you can use them on bumpy surfaces such as in the roof top.

Furthermore, the oil-lubed compressors need an extra attention as the oil ought to be examined as well as changed according to the schedule. Additionally, the oil-free models use a Teflon sleeve or coating system in the compression chamber and lubrication is not needed by them as well. What’s more, it makes them lubricant-free maintenance items, but you need to repair the air filter on a regular basis. Consequently, the oil-less air compressors are not free of contamination and draining the water from the tank is very important also.

If we talk about the longevity, then the oil-less compressors would not be a match compared to the oil-lubed units. Moreover, the oil-lubricated compressors are enduringly lubed, but their performance will be demeaned over time because of losing the factory lubrication. In contrast to these units, oil-less units are power-driven by a universal motor, but this motor doesn’t last compared to the induction motors. Apart from these best air compressors, there are some models that possess an induction motor along with an oil-free pump such as the California Air Tools Ultra Quiet & Oil-Free compressors. They actually are made of oil less double piston pump system.

Compared to the oil-less models, the oil-lubricated models are less noisy and the California Air Tools CAT-6310 has been promoted to create only 60 decibels. This amount of noise is not less than normal conversion rate. So, the less noisy claim is not a valid one. What’s more, the 4 pole induction motor works at just 1680 RPM, which means lower RPM, will cause fewer vibrations and a lesser amount of noise. Additionally, it will come handy to the durability of the item as well. For instance, The Rolair JC10 is an oil-free model that is measured as quiet by many people and it is motorized by a 1725 RPM motor.

Air Compressor Oil

Still, if you opt-for an oil-lubed air compressor, remember to choose the oil carefully. Only oil that is certified to work with air compressor could be purchased, or else you’ll risk ruining your beloved machine. Refer here for the over view on air compressor oil!


To sum up, I would like to say that you will see diverse features in both the oil less and the oil-lubed air compressors. The oil-free models will bring portability and lightweight design whereas the oil-lubricated models will provide longevity as well as less noise. So, it will be your decision to decide, which air compressor you will be using and I am sure that it depends on several facts. Therefore, decide carefully and enjoy the best compressors for efficient use.