Buying a Rotary Screw Air Compressor

The Idea Behind Rotary Screw Compressors

The rotary screw compressor is considered to be an industrial workhorse type of air compressor.

Rotary screw compressors provide compressed air 24 hours a day, 365 days a week for large jobs that need the power and durability. Need to know what all goes into a rotary compressor purchasing decision? That’s why this guide will take you through the ins and outs.

If you think after reading these short few sentences that a 24 hour around the clock workhorse compressor seems to be a bit much you might want to head back to the comparison page to reread what type may be better for you. If you’re thinking that you’re going to stick to small household projects, you’ll probably want to check out our reciprocating compressor page.

Why would you take the rotary compressor option?

Rotary screw air compressors are ideal for

  • Large Construction Jobs
  • Large Automotive/Workshops
  • Industrial contract jobs
  • Round the clock need for compressed air

If you need any of the following however, you may want to consider other options:

  • You’re only using small hand air tools
  • You don’t need continuous around the clock air flow
  • You’re doing a lot of of house hold do it yourself projects
  • This is a small to medium job

Reciprocating air compressors may be better suited for the previous statements. If you forgot the differences head back on over to our air compressor types page

Top Reasons to Purchase a Rotary Air Compressor

There are a number of reasons why one may be interested in going for a rotary screw compressor. Perhaps this is your first air compressor purchase and you think this is the best choice. Maybe you’ve realized that your rotary compressor you have now isn’t getting the job done and you need a higher capacity. This may also apply to the fact that you might already have a reciprocating compressor and you’ve realized you purchased the wrong type. All of these scenarios are common.

Having a compressor that can provide the right pressure with the right amount of air with the right amount of power at the right price point can be quite the balance to achieve. Here’s some tips.

1. First time Air Compressor Buyer

Check the manuals and instructions of all of your air equipment. It should tell you the pressures and amount of CFM needed.

Always take the highest pressure piece of equipment to find the correct PSIs. You may want to add an additional percentage to that number to account for variables in pressure and possible additional equipment purchases in the future.

For capacity or CFM, remember to add all of your tools required CFMs up to together to get an idea of what you’ll need.

2. Replacement for Rotary or Reciprocating Compressor

Check the current pressure and capacity of your old compressor and decide if your old reciprocating compressor was sufficient for the jobs you’ve done in the past.  If that’s the case you’ll probably stick with the reciprocating. However if you felt a struggle with all of your equipment, and all of your jobs tended to be bigger than what your old one could handle, it may be time to upgrade to a rotary screw compressor.

Feel like you need more capacity? Check all of your current tools to see what total cfm would be needed to operate all of them. If you feel like you’re barely hanging on you may want to check into a rotary compressor, especially if you own a business that has larger jobs and is used more often. If you’re using your compressor regularly for hours at a time this is always better for a rotary as well. If your rotary will be sitting without use for much of the time though, moving to reciprocating will be the better choice.

rotary screw animation

Rotary Compressor Parts and Options

Rotary screw air compressors come with many different options. Many I won’t even go into but some are worth mentioning.

Air Filters and Dryers

Many rotary screw compressors come with integrated compressed air dryers and compressed air filters.

Compressed air is wet and causes numerous maintenance issues when build up occurs. This is why compressed air dryers are recommended with filters.  These features will save you a lot of money in repair costs and replacement parts.

Electronic condensate traps

Electric condensate traps are not necessary, but convenient. The idea is that if you don’t check the drain on your compressor often or daily, it will trap dirt and clog, which will cause it to fail.

If you manually drain or check the drain on your air receiver every day you probably won’t have any issues. However most people don’t take the time nor do they want to do this. This is when an electronic condensate trap in nice to have.

Energy Costs

Energy costs on a rotary compressor can be in the thousands of dollars over a lifetime as features and additional power add up to large energy costs..

Energy efficient compressors can save lots of money over the course of a unit’s lifetime so if the opportunity presents itself to purchase a more energy efficient model, don’t hold back!

Top Rotary Screw Compressor Reviews

There are many great brands and models of rotary compressors.

There tend to be 4 main competitors:

These brands are reputable and established. They have been around for a long time and provide some of the best rated products. All rotary compressors are somewhat similar with differences really just being in capacity or pressure and sometimes horsepower. Often there are those that are more energy efficient or have optional features that are somewhat unnecessary but the ultimate choice is up to you.



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