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Oil Flooded or Oil Free Compressors – Which is right for me?

oil free compressor

The main question when deciding on an air compressor system right for your business is generally going to be whether to buy an oiled or oil-free compressor.  Both types have their pluses and minuses, but in hopes of shedding a little light on the subject here are a few of the important things to keep in mind when making that decision.


Oil flooded compressors, as a general rule, do require more maintenance than oil-free simply due to the fact that the oil needs to be changed regularly.  Oil-free compressors also tend to have simpler designs and less moving parts, and even though they too can have complicated compression methods requiring maintenance, they are easier to take care of on an everyday basis.


When it comes to industrial air compressors – ones that will see heavy daily usage – durability is king, and oil flooded compressors are much more durable and reliable than oil free.  This is because oil-free compressors are pre-lubricated (usually with Teflon) so when that coating eventually starts to deteriorate it can cause issues.  These issues can of course be mitigated by proper preventative maintenance, but for long-term heavy use, oil flooded remains the best.


Within an industrial environment noise is generally an accepted part of getting work done.  That said, oil flooded compressors tend to be much quieter than their oil-free counterparts since better lubrication lends itself to quieter operation.

Other Factors

Sometimes an oil flooded compressor is just not suitable for the kind of work you’re doing.  If you’re working with materials that might be sensitive to oil, whether it is drugs, food, finishing, or laboratory applications, then an oil-free compressor is definitely the right choice.

Overall, for a heavy industry with hard daily use, an oil flooded compressor is your best bet.   For businesses where oil sensitivity is a challenge or use might be more intermittent, oil free could be the way to go.

If you want more information, or have already decided on the right system for you, contact our team directly at CED.  We’ll be happy to help you out.

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