Like most engine-powered machinery, air compressor engines need fluids to maintain their running efficiently and reduce the friction effect, also the chilling and sticking components of the internal engine. Adequate oil can also cut the costs of energy. Oil causes a reduction of friction, which reduces the heat and power consumption of the compressor.

While lubricate-free compressors are on hand, the mainstream models require compressor oil for engine lubrication. As numerous brands of fuels are available for air compressors, many get confused about what oil to use in an air compressors? Through the article, we will guide you in picking the suitable oil to use in your compressor.

Do all the compressors need oil?

Compressor oil serves as lube to allow the engine’s interior to function at full capacity. Some air compressors use oils. Such compressors tend to offer higher service cycles and longer service life. The air compressors that are oil-less seem to have less lifespan and the highest level of CFM. It also experiences a fast breakdown because you cannot re-lubricate it.

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What sort of oil do you need for an air compressor?

Oil means the oil, right? No! It is not that easy. The distinction between cooking oil and car oil is easily visible. Even there are different versions of automobile oils. Likewise, compressor oils are close to hydraulic fluid and different from other typical oils.
Compressor Oil

Compressor oil vs. Motor oil: Compressor oils are mainly suitable for compressors and are detergent-free oil.

Generally, motor oil, which is for automobiles, contains some detergent in there that is useful to a vehicle engine. Yet, it is not the best option for a compressor as it will cause severe carbon to develop up in a reasonably little time.

Compressor oils generally are the best option, particularly if you like to follow the company’s guarantee regulations. As they find that you were using a non-suitable oil, they can nullify the guarantee and any service contract benefits.

Moreover, you can use detergent-free motor oil in your compressor. However, I suspect many users do not have that type of motor oil available. So why not go for the compressor oil straight?


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 Synthetic oil vs. Standard air compressor oil: Oils can be produced in two ways. It can be created from a synthetic source or a mineral base. The source of standard oils for air compressors is minerals.

Synthetic compressor oils are more refined than mineral ones produced from a synthetic source. They are a far more processed oil that has undergone much more filtering to make them experts for this specific implementation.

Both are suitable to use in almost all air compressors. In general, the perfect choice is synthetic.

In several situations, the manufacturer’s instruction requires synthetic air compressor oils. By using synthetics, screw compressors can get 47 weeks of use in between oil alterations.

It’s because they are generally free of many of the chemicals present in standard oil, which generate scraps around the inner surface of the machine. They allow fewer carbon generations, too. Some synthetics are great for the output and durability of the compressors.


Characteristics of compressor oil

Manufacturers of air compressors have their own rules on what and with what their machines can and cannot be used. These are the guidelines that you can follow. These provide the primary conditions for the compressor lubricant type and can include recommendations for greater efficiency.

In their suggestions, check for the necessary features to exactly know whatever you need:

  • Viscosity:

    Oil has a variety of thicknesses, referred to as viscosity, as well as “weight.” A higher viscosity indicates that the oil is denser, which means it is waterier. Many air compressors employ 20-30 viscosity. Viscosity is referred to as weight also. Therefore the oil could be classified as 20 weight. The most significant calculation for a compressor oil is viscosity. It may not fit well in the system if it’s too thick or too thin and could lead it to shut down.

  • Temperature Range:

    Temperature range is also an essential factor for compressor oils. Many oils may have the correct viscosity, but they may not function as predicted in every temperature range. Freezing temperature or about 120F heat can allow both to operate differently. For cold weather, you generally need a lesser viscosity and a higher viscosity to secure the metal components during the hot summer. Remember that the heat is formed inside the air compressor itself. Preferably, a 20 weight is perfect for cooler weather, while a 30 weight is best for warmer climates or other conditions.

  • Additives:

    Beware of the additives and cleanser types. Many oils have additional additives that are useful in automobile engines but will be harmful to the air compressor. The detergent additives used in engine oils for vehicles are an example. They help clean diesel motors, but the same additives might, over time, ruin your air compressor engine by carrying dust particles throughout the lube as it moves around. Chemicals that enable air compressors provide components that allow the engine to survive corrosion or avoid rusting.

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How frequently compressor oil need to change?

Two kinds of air compressors necessitate lubrication: first, rotary compressors, and next is reciprocating compressors. The longer you use them, the more often they should change. The oil changes should be around 12 weeks for reciprocating compressors. It should be approximately 40 weeks of use for the rotary compressor. You must replace the oil at least annually for both types of compressors, even though you don’t use that much. Allowing it to stay for long will lead your compressor to deteriorate and destroy gradually. Every machine has clear guidance regarding oil change specifications. It would be best to clean the scraps of your last oil while filling the new oil.

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Compressor Oil Size

The amount of oil a compressor need

The compressor size can indicate how much oil the machine needs to use. Generally, the majority of the compressors use no more than a couple of ounces of oils at the moment. Unplug, clean, and refill again; the process of oil replacement in air compressors is done!

Bottom line

Customers using air compressors often discuss what oil to use in an air compressor. An air compressor can generally use a standard or synthetic oil with no issue. The category of oil diverges from one air compressor to another. Referring to your user manual for information about the most suitable oil is always a smart move to prevent guarantee revocation.