An Air dryer is an essential element of an air compressor. It extends the life of your air compressor and protects it against rust. But what does an air dryer do on a compressor? No worries. Continue reading to get answers to all your questions-

What Is An Air Dryer On A Compressor?

An air dryer is a device that removes the moisture from inside the tank of an air compressor and keeps the tank dry.

Air compressors compress and store the air at high pressure. When the temperature inside the compressor cools down, the vapor inside the compressor condenses and turns to water.

You must remove this water by draining it. However, the draining operation only partially eliminates the moisture from the tank. This task is eventually accomplished by using an air dryer. It removes moisture from the tank and protects the air compressor from rust.

What Does An Air Dryer Do on a Compressor?

An air dryer is an essential device to keep your air compressor damage-free. But what does an air dryer do on a compressor? Go through the below points to know your answer-

Removes Moisture

The Air compressor produces water when the compressed water gets cool. The condensed water then settles in the compressor tank, which requires draining.

However, draining can’t remove the moisture. That is why you need an air dryer. It blows air into the compressor tank and evaporates the water inside it.

What Does An Air Dryer Do on a Compressor

Blows Away Dirt Particles

An air dryer blows away the dirt particles from inside the compressor tank and keeps it clean. You can also use it to clean the exterior of the air compressor.

Keep The Tank Dry

If the question- “What does an air Dryden do on a compressor?” ever appears in your mind, the answer is it keeps the compressor tank dry.

The primary purpose of installing an air dryer is to remove moisture from the tank. In addition, it is essential to keep the interior of the air compressor free from water, as it can get rusty. That is why an air dryer is a crucial part of an air compressor.

Save From Rusting

The Air compressor condenses vapor to water and sets the water to the bottom of the tank. Then, this stored water is drained through the drain valve. But what about the moisture?

The moisture remains inside the tank, and draining can’t eradicate the water. That is why with time, the tank rusts and damages the air compressor.

The air dryer blows away the excess moisture inside the tank, saving your compressor from rusting. Thus, it keeps your air compressor dry and free from rust.


An air dryer can make your air compressor last for a long. But, What Does An Air Dryer Do on a Compressor to make it last long?

Water and moisture inside the air compressor rust the tank. As a result, the rust gradually spreads and eventually causes tank leakage. In this case, an air dryer prevents the compressor’s rust and makes it long-lasting.

save air compressor maintenance cost

Saves Maintenance Cost to air dry for your air compressor

Repairing a rusted air compressor is quite expensive as it causes severe damage to the
tank. In addition, many a time, corrosion of the compressor tank leaks the tank, which
requires a complete replacement of the machine or challenging repair.

In this sense, an air dryer frees the air compressor from rust and saves your repair cost.

How Do Air Dryers Work On An Air Compressor?

An air dryer is installed in the air compressor that expels moisture out of the tank. A typical air dryer cools the compressed air, condenses to water, and releases it through the drain valve.

However, the working principle of air dryers varies with the type of air dryer. Read the below section to know how different air dryers work on an air compressor.


Types Of Air Dryer On Air Compressors

Types Of Air Dryer On Air CompressorsCompressed Air Dryers

There are four primary types of air dryers on air compressors. They have their respective advantages and disadvantages. Each of these kinds is unique in terms of functioning systems. Let’s learn about them in detail-


  • Refrigerated Air Dryer

    Check Price On Amazon For:

     Ingersoll-Rand D25IN Refrigerated Air Dryer

    Refrigerated Compressed Air Dryers

    The refrigerated air dryer functions like the refrigerator-freezers you use at home. They reduce the temperature to remove the moisture inside the compressor tank.

    A refrigerated air dryer decreases the temperature inside the compressor tank and lowers the dew point. The vapor inside the tank thus condescends into water that is finally eradicated with a drying procedure.

    This category of air dryers has some advantages and disadvantages; let’s look at them-

    Pros Of Refrigerated Air Dryer

    • Refrigerated air dryers are more accessible to set in than other dryer varieties.
    • They are cheaper than other air dryers.
    • Resistant to oil particles
    • Maintenance costs for refrigerated air dryers are low.

    Cons Of Refrigerated Air Dryer
    ● Can’t remove the moisture entirely from the tank
    Despite these disadvantages, refrigerated air dryers are great for air compressors. They are affordable to install and are best for regular air compressors.


    • Desiccant Air Dryers

    desiccant compressed air dryers

    The desiccant air dryers use desiccant materials to remove the moisture from the compressor tank. These dryers follow the dsorption process, where the desiccant material captures the moisture without dissolving it.

    Such air dryers have a two-tower design to dry the air effectively and continuously. Nevertheless, this dryer has some advantages and disadvantages. Now let’s learn about those-

    Pros Of Desiccant Air Dryer

    • Desiccant air dryers give effective performance
    • Can perform in harsh environments
    • Maintenance cost is low
    • Lower dew point

    Cons Of Desiccant Air Dryer

    • Expensive installation
    • Not resistant to oil particle


    Chemical Air Dryers

    Chemical air dryers

    The chemical air dryers are one in which the compressed air inside an air compressor goes through some chemical substances that capture the excess moisture. Eventually, these caught moisture are expelled with the water draining.

    However, to keep the performance of the chemical air dryer, it is essential to have a sound filtration system in your compressor. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of a chemical air dryer-

    Pros Of Chemical Air Dryer

    • Cheap set-up
    • Easy installation
    • Requires less monetization in comparison to other air dryers

    Cons Of Chemical Air Dryer

    • Requires frequent chemical replacement
    • A top-notch filtration system is mandatory
    • Higher maintenance cost

    Membrane Air Dryer

    Membrane Compressed Air Dryers

    Membrane air dryers pass the compressed air into a semi-permeable membrane that
     aptures the moisture inside the compressor. This air dryer category is not ideal for industrial use but for smaller projects.

    Some of the advantages and disadvantages of membrane air dryers are as follows-

    Pros Of Membrane Air Dryer

    • Affordable
    • Easy to use
    • No electricity requires
    • Quit operation

    Cons Of Membrane Air Dryer

    • Requires prefilter
    • Not resistant to oil particles
    • May block the filter

    Therefore, these are the most common category of air dryers for air compressors.

    Where To Install An Air Dryer For An Air Compressor?

    You already know what an air dryer does on a compressor and how essential it is to keep the air compressor safe. But where to place this device? You can install the air dryer downstream (after) or upstream (before) of the air compressor. Each of these ways has its pros and cons. So, know these facts before installation of the air dryer-


    Downstream Air Dryer Installation

    downstream air dryer instalolation

    The downstream air dryer installation means setting the air dryer after the air compressor. It is the most traditional way of placing the dryer. This installation style is more suitable for light and regular use than heavy industrial uses. Now, let’s know the pros and cons of installing an air dryer downstream-

    Pros Cons

    ● Lowers load on air compressor
    ● Reduce the requirement for oversize dryer
    ● Supports partial flow
    ● Lower maintenance cost
    ● Hard to determine the dryer sizing

    ● Chances of corrosion
    ● Fluctuation of air flow rate
    ● Gets overloaded
    Best For: Wet & Untreated Air

    So, these are the benefits and drawbacks of downstream air dryer installation. If you are looking for wet & untreated air to pass your air compressor for drying, such a configuration will be best for you.


    Upstream Air Dryer Installation:

    upstream air dryer installation

    Upstream air dryer installation means placing the air dryer before the air compressor. It is a modern way of setting the air dryer compared to downstream air dryers. Below are the pros and cons of upstream air dryer installation-

    Pros Cons
    ● No condensation inside the receiver tank as dryer air is stored here.
    ● Reduces the chances of corrosion
    ● No overload
    ● Easier to determine dryer sizing
    ● Supports fluctuating air demand
    ● May need oversizing during hot days
    ● Operating and maintenance cost is higher

    Best For: Dry & Treated Air

    So, keep these benefits and drawbacks in mind when installing an air dryer before the  air compressor. Such air dryer configurations are significant if you want to store dry air for instant peak-ups.
    Therefore, if you require dry and treated air to remove moisture from the air compressor, go for an upstream air dryer configuration.

    Is It Safe To Place An Air Dryer On The Top Of An Air Compressor?

    You may think, why waste space setting the air dryer after or before the air compressor when you can install it on the top of the compressor? Well, placing the air dryer above the air compressor hampers the performance of the air dryer. That is why it won’t be a wise decision to do so.

    Below are why you should not set the dryer on top of the compressor-


    Every air compressor vibrates while operating. It doesn’t matter how intense the device is; it indeed creates vibration. So, if you set the air dryer on top of the air compressor, it will vibrate too. And such vibration will show a negative effect on the performance of the air dryer.


    An air dryer removes the moisture from the air compressor. And doing this task requires cooler air. But when it is placed at the top of the air compressor, it will no longer get sufficient cool air. The reason is simple: the air compressor gets hot while operating. So, this hot air affects the air dryer’s performance.


    Placing the air dryer above the air compressor will require disassembling to reach the compressor. Thus, it will waste your time and be a headache to operate.

    Therefore, avoid placing the air dryer on top of an air compressor. Instead, install it
    before or after the compressor.


    Why Is It Important To Know The Correct Size Of An Air Dryer?

    correct sizing of air dryer

    The size of an air dryer is a crucial factor to consider. If the size is improper, it will not perform as it should. For instance, if the air dryer is too big compared to the air compressor, it will harm the device.

    On the other hand, if the air dryer is too small, it will not remove the moisture appropriately. So, for maximum performance, get the perfect size of air dryer that well supports your air compressor.

    Is It a Good Idea to Oversize Air Dryers on Air Compressors?

    Yeah! Installing oversize air dryers on your air compressor can bring you additional benefits. You have already understood what does an air dryer do on a compressor from the above section of this article. Now, let’s know how an oversized air dryer is suitable for an air compressor.

    Usually, people match the exact size of the air compressor when choosing air dryers.

    For example- if you have an air compressor of 95 CFM, you will likely get an air dryer of 95 CFM. But it’s not an ideal decision. Because the performance of air dryers highly depends on the dew point. And dew point depends on air pressure.

    So, if the weather gets hot or the room where you placed the air compressor is not well-

    ventilated, it will affect the dew point. If the dew point requirement increases, the air dryer will fail to remove the moisture in this case. So, it is better to get an oversized air dryer. For instance, for a 95 CFM air compressor, go for an air dryer of 100 CFM.

    However, don’t overdo it with the size because if the air dryer is too big compared to the air compressor, it will wear the device quickly.


    Why Do You Need An Air Dryer On A Compressor?


    An air dryer is an essential component of an air compressor. Now, what does an air dryer do on a compressor?

    The answer is simple. An air dryer blows away the moisture present inside the air tank.

    Air compressors produce a lot of water as the compressed air gradually cools. And draining, though, get the water out, but what about the moisture?

    To remove this moisture from the tank, you need an air dryer. If you don’t have a dryer installed in your compressor, it will rust gradually and cause damage to your device.

    So, in simple words, the moist environment inside the tank causes damage to the air compressor, which is why it requires drying. And an air dryer does that task.

    When Does an Air Compressor Need an Air Dryer?

    You need an air dryer to solve the moisture accumulation problem of your air compressor. But how to know when your air compressor needs an air dryer? No worries, go through the below point to understand when you should install an air dryer to your air compressor-

    Manufacturer’s Specification

    The air compressors which require an air dryer come with the instruction to install an air ndryer. So, before you purchase an air compressor, go through the manufacturer’s specifications, and get the suggested air dryer compatible with your device.

    Rusting Of Pipelines

    If you ever notice the pipeline of your air compressor is rusting, get an air dryer asap.
    Moisture accumulation rusts the air compressor and damages it. So, if you observe something like this, install an air dryer to free the moisture and keep your device safe.

    Hose Leakage

    The phenomenon of water coming out from the hose of an air compressor is often observed. But why does this happen? It occurs because your air compressor nproduces excess water, which will rust your device from the inside. So, such situations suggest you install an air dryer.

    Water Spot On Air Tools

    When your air compressor produces excess moisture, you will find water sports on your tools. This is because the water vapor also sprays out from powered tools. If you find such a situation, get an air dryer installed soon.

    Therefore, these are the ways to know when your air compressor needs an air dryer.

    So, take these signs seriously and get your air compressor a dryer; the sooner, the better.

    Things To Look For While Purchasing An Air Dryer

    Before getting into the facts you must know while purchasing an air dryer, you should clearly understand what does an air dryer do on a Compressor.

    An air dryer is a device that needs installation on the air compressor to remove the moisture from the gallon tank. It prevents the device from getting rusted. That is why it is an essential element of an air compressor. And so, you must consider some factors to get the best dryer for your device.

    Here I’ve listed the major factors that you must look for in an air dryer before making a purchase-

    Dew Point Requirement

    The dew point requirement of an air compressor is the foremost thing to consider while purchasing an air dryer. The Dew point determines the amount of moisture. So, find a professional to know the dew point of your air compressor. And then get an air dryer that can meet the requirement. Here, I’ve suggested some air dryer types following the dew point requirements-

    Dew Point Requirement Type Of Air Dryer
    0F – 32F Refrigerated Air Dryer
    0 F to 80 F Deliquescent air dryer
    40 F to 0 F – Desiccant air dryer with a silica desiccant
    -100 F to 0 F

    Desiccant air dryer with activated alumina


    Therefore, determine the required dew point for your air compressor and choose the air dryer accordingly.

    CFM & PSI Rating Of The Air Compressor

    Cubic Feet Per Meter (CFM) is the unit for measuring the airflow rate of an air compressor or air dryer. And PSI (Pounds Per Square Inch) is the measuring unit for air pressure. So, to purchase an air dryer for your air compressor, you must consider its CFM rating. For instance, if your air compressor is 95 CFM and 125 PSI, choose an air dryer of 100 CFM (for a High Intel Temperature dryer). However, these ratings vary with the type of air dryer.

    Kind Of Air Dryer

    Knowing the types of air dryers is a crucial factor to consider. Each kind has its advantages and disadvantages. For example- refrigerated air dryers are economical butcould be better for industrial use. On the other hand, desiccant air dryers are a goodchoice for heavy-duty tasks.


    The performance of the air dryer directly or indirectly depends on its size. It will not
    perform effectively if the air dryer is too small or too big compared to the air compressor. So, consider the size of the air compressor while purchasing a dryer.

    Overall Costing

    Costing is essential to consider before purchasing an air dryer. Here, costing doesn’t only mean the price of the air dryer but the overall cost, including the maintenance, installation, energy consumption, etc. Therefore, before purchasing any air dryer for your air compressor, make a wise calculation of its overall cost.


    How Does Cold Weather Affect The Performance Of Air Dryers On Air Compressors?

    In cold weather, it becomes very challenging to keep the performance of an air dryer on a compressor. Here I’ve pointed out how cold weather affects the performance of an air dryer on an air compressor-

    1. Heat ex-changers are used to passing the air in between the air compressor and air dryer. During cold weather, the condensed air or the moisture inside this heat ex-changer freezes. Thus, it creates a blockage, which increases the chances of heat ex-changer cracking.

    2. The drain valve gets blocked due to freezing the water inside the tank. Though it doesn’t hinder dryers’ air flow, it freezes the moisture. Thus, the moisture from the air compressor is not removed.

    3. Cold weather hits the performance of desiccant air dryers in the worst way. It blocks the piping and control line and thus hinders the airflow.

    So, in cold weather, you need to ensure high maintenance of your air compressor and air dryer to run their proper functioning. Arrange a weatherproofing room for your devices and create a cold-proof system to keep up your air dryer and compressor’s efficiency.

    Tips To Use An Air Dryer On Air Compressor

    It is essential to maintain the air dryer properly to maintain its functioning and last longer. Here are some tips/advice for you to follow to maintain the air dryer in the best way possible-

    Install The Air Dryer At A Clean Place

    Air dryers often shut down due to dirt disposal. If you place the air dryer in a dirty place,  it will pull the debris while operating. So, avoid placing the air dryer on the floor or in any dirty area.

    Arrange a Shelf For The Air Dryer

    If you place the air dryer on the floor, it will get in touch with dirt and debris. So, to eliminate this problem, arrange a shelf to store your air dryer.

    Clear The Way For The Dryer

    The air dryer requires airflow to operate. Placing the air dryer in a congested area will hinder the airflow and ultimately affect the device’s performance. So, make enough space for the air dryer to operate effectively.

    Final Word

    After all these discussions, now you know what does an air dryer do on a compressor and how essential it is to keep your air compressor free from rusting. So, don’t cmpromise getting the ideal air dryer for your compressor. Instead, follow the guidelines of this article to choose an air dryer and get the one that suits you best.