The Two Stage Air Compressor Pump Breakdown

Is a two stage compressor the right choice?

Two stage reciprocating air compressors are tougher than single stage compressors. They can handle more pressure and capacity and in turn will service more difficult working arrangements.

If you feel like you don’t need as extreme of a compressor, you may want to wander back to our single stage page to see if that is a better fit.

How does a two stage compressor pump work?

With a 2 stage air compressor pump, the air is compressed in two separate stages. The air is cooled off in between stages.

In stage 1, air is compressed with the big cylinder/piston. A large volume air is moved with minimal pressure. Air is then cooled back to a lower level afterwards, which paves the road for the high pressure stage. Upon entering stage 2, the air is compressed to the final end pressure. This is the small cylinder and piston. Air moves at high pressure and low volume at this stage when it finishes.

2 stage compressor

2 Stage Air Compressor Pump Options

Every compressor will have it’s own unique set of characteristics. However, there are certain things to watch out for when buying a 2 stage pump versus any other.  Many people don’t think there’ s much of a difference between the average compressor type or even the options it comes with.  This is key in selecting the right compressor for you. There are salesmen out there that will always upsell you on key terms such as Max Pressure, Low Price, Tank Size.  All of these won’t matter unless you really get down to the details of the unit.


These compressors can reach 175 psi if needed. Whether you actually need that much is really up to you to decide.  If you don’t need as much pressure, look more along the lines of capacity.


Again, take a look at all of the tools you’ll be using and see if their added capacity together exceeds what you think you will purchase. It is important to know how much air you will be using at any given time. They can range anywhere up to 50 CFM. Any more than that and you may want to look for a rotary screw air compressor.

Duty cycle

Unlike single stage compressors, two stage compressors always have a duty cycle of 100%, which always will make them more durable since they can run non stop without a cool down period.

Electrical Issues

Electrical connection becomes important in two stage units since it is so much more powerful. Power supply will need to be above average in order to maintain a consistent electrical current to run the machine. Ask your local retailer if you have further questions on this.


When you compare single stage and two stage compressors, the large difference between the two will be price point. Normally you will find single stage reciprocating compressors varying from a couple hundred dollars up to $1000.  Two stage units will easily exceed the thousand dollar mark and upwards in starting models.

Two Stage Compressor Reviews

Ingersoll Rand 7.5 HP 80 Gallon Two Stage Air Compressor — This is a heavy duty industrial strength compressor that can tackle any project you may have.  A very popular model. Read the full review here.

Ingersoll Rand 2 Stage 80 Gallon


Quincy 5 HP 60 Gallon Two Stage QT Pro Compressor — Quincy has been around for some time and this two stage pump is dependable and has one of the longest pump lives of any of them out on the market today. Read the full review here.

Quincy 5 HP 2 Stage Compressor


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