Oil-free Air Compressor Life Expectancy: All You Should Know

The lifespan of an air compressor depends on its type, how well it is maintained, and how much it is used. For this reason, compressor life is usually measured in hours rather than years. Besides this, it is more accurate because it considers how often it is used. Air compressors are divided into two categories – oil-free and oil-lubricated.

Oil-free air compressors have a shorter lifespan than oil-lubricated air compressors but are durable and lightweight. Many prefer them as they are portable. But what is an oil-free compressor’s life expectancy? To know more, please read this article for details.

Oil-free Air Compressor Life Expectancy

What Is An Oil-Free Air Compressor?

An oil-free air compressor does not use oil to lubricate the compressor pump. Instead, mechanical elements are usually coated with a permanent lubricant like Teflon. The compressors get many benefits for lack of oil.

Oil-free or oil-less compressors are generally more lightweight and less expensive. Besides this, it’s easier to maintain than oil-lubricated compressors. That’s why they are famous for household use and essential contractor work. Industrialists used 100% oil-free air compressors in many industries and factory settings.

Some oil-free compressors provide low-noise compressors that traditional compressors don’t. Additionally, these compressors don’t use oil to lubricate their parts because oil can harm the environment.

Types Of An Air Compressor:

There are several different types of air compressors, each using a separate process to compress air. The three main oil-free air compressors are pistons, rotary screws, and rotary scroll compressors.

Rotary Screw Compressors:

Rotary screw compressors are the most common type of compressor and also the simplest. It’s easy to maintain and has an internal cooling system. Yet, it’s used for large-scale purposes, and you can find them in two oil- and oil-free models. Also, you can use this compressor continuously.

Reciprocating Compressors:

Another famous compressor is reciprocating compressors found on small job sites. In garages or construction sites, you can find them. Typically, you can’t use them continuously and frequently, and their parts often need oil for great movement.

Even these compressors come in single or multi-stage, impacting the pressure range. Multi-stage compressors are outstanding for higher capacities, and single-stages are convenient for smaller applications.

Dynamic Compressors:

The dynamic compressor produces high horsepower with rotating blades. It is stored as stationary power in the compressor, and there are two common types of compressors.

The two types are Axial and Centrifugal. The axial compressor is best for ships’ high-end engines, and centrifugal is for high manufacturing applications and plants.

Different Types Of Air Compressors Life Expectancy:

Here are some average lifespans of different types of compressors.

Oil-Free Air Compressor Life Expectancy:

Oil-free compressors last about 200 to 2000 hours, depending on the quality and use. Nevertheless, some factors can expand or lessen the oil-free air compressor life expectancy. Moreover, using it for 2 hours a day will last more years than 24/7.

A regularly serviced compressor can last about 50,000 hours. An oil-free air compressor has a shorter lifespan than an oiled compressor. Compressors have a Teflon coating that will eventually wear.

Since pressurization takes time, it has to work twice as long, causing the compressors to heat up. Ultimately, overheating will cause the compressors to shut down completely. These compressors contain universal motors and don’t last longer than induction motors.

Rotary Screw Air Compressor Life Expectancy:

This air compressor uses a pair of meshed helical screws to compress air. When you turn the screws, the air will compress continuously. Rotary screw air compressors are suitable for high CFM and continuous-use applications.

This air compression technology is used in widely heavy industrial applications like conveyor systems and powering pneumatic production lines. Rotary screw air compressors’ life expectancy is over 100,000 hours.

Industrial Air Compressor Life Expectancy:

An industrial air compressor is essential in industrial operations, especially in organizations requiring air compression. These tools help ensure the organization can assume its role without considerable challenges.

This is why most companies value such systems. They have worked extremely hard to ensure they always keep their air compressor in the best possible condition. So, the industrial air compressor life expectancy is 15,000 to 20,000 hours before significant repair.

Refrigerator Compressor Lifespan:

Refrigerator compressor lifespan varies by model and operation, but most agree it can be between 10 and 20 years. Some last longer than that, but it’s rare enough for a standard refrigerator. The average age is 14 years, according to the US Appliance Industry, 23rd Annual Report.

Air Compressor Tank Life Expectancy:

There are no broad guidelines for how long a compressor tank will last. Subsequently, the lifespan depends on many elements. So, the life expectancy of an air compressor tank can be years or decades.

The factors include:

  • How much does the compressor use?
  • How often is maintenance done (mainly dehumidification)?
  • What is the compressor used for?
  • Where is the compressor stored?
  • Compressor quality
  • Humidity in the air

The average home-use compressor can easily last 10 to 15 years with accurate storage and care.

air compressor oil

What Is Centrifugal Air Compressors:

Generally, centrifugal compressors deliver continuous, stable, oil-free, high-quality compressed air with minimum maintenance workload. In addition, its high efficiency can entirely fulfill the different requirements of factory procedures and air systems.

Centrifugal compressors efficiently convert power using a series to cool and compress air. A centrifugal compressor uses a rotating element to impart kinetic energy to the air stream. Then it converts kinetic energy into possible power in the form of pressure.

Between each compression stage, the air is cooled, and excess moisture is removed to expand the air’s efficiency and quality. Plus, this compressor can efficiently produce large amounts of air in a relatively small package.

FAQ(Frequently Asked Questions):

Q. How long does an oil-free air compressor last?

An oil-free compressor usually lasts between 5 and 7 years, depending on maintenance and usage. Oil-free compressors have a longer lifespan than traditionally lubricated compressors. And it can last up to 10 years if regularly serviced.

Q. How long does an air compressor last in a car?

There is no definite time; it all depends on the usage. A car is a very demanding environment to survive mechanically due to heat, cold, and vibration. They often begin to fail after ten years when seals leak.

A car AC compressor has a lifespan of 8-10 years. Like any other car part, it wears out with constant use. Nonetheless, its deterioration is usually slow and gradual from other parts. Hence, it can serve longer than most vehicle components. Other parts, like brakes, tend to wear faster due to exposure to external conditions.

Q. What are the disadvantages of oil-free compressors?

Though using the oil-free air compressor has many advantages, it also has disadvantages. So, the disadvantages of oil-free air compressors are:

  • Not suitable for use in heavy-duty or continuous-use applications
  • Lower CFM output than many comparable oil-lubricated models
  • Short life expectancy (in terms of service time)
  • Often louder than an oil compressor

Q. How long does an air compressor take to fill?

Since all air compressors aren’t the same, filling or building up the pressure will be different. The higher the CFM, the faster the compressor can pump air into the tank. For a large tank, you need more air to compress to fill this tank. Usually, you can see that it takes at most 2 to 5 minutes.

Final Word

In summary, as we know, the oil-free air compressor life expectancy is much shorter than that of an oiled air compressor. But how long will the oil-free compressor last? You have this question. Ultimately, here above, we give this answer properly. We hope you can now know the lifespan of the oil-free air compressor. Though its life expectancy is short, you can increase its life with proper maintenance.

Maintenance includes: draining, leak testing, and pressure testing. Oil-free compressors are lighter in weight, and oiled compressors are heavier. However, if you need an oil-free air compressor, you should buy the best air compressor. It’s because it can provide the best service for a long time.

Read Oil Carryover in the Air Compressor Tank | Things You Should Know in 2023


I am Engr. Z Eusuf Lubricant Specialist, Mechanical Engineer & has been working with engine lubricants for a long time and knows what makes them work best. I can help you find the right oil for your needs, and I have tips on how to keep your engine running at its best.