What to Ask Before Buying a Piston Compressor?

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

With so many options available, it is difficult to decide how to choose a piston air compressor. There are several considerations which you will need to be aware of, and several questions you will need answered before making the right decision.



What to Ask Before Buying a Piston Compressor?

With so many options available, it is difficult to decide how to choose a piston air compressor. There are several considerations which you will need to be aware of, and several questions you will need answered before making the right decision. BOGE Singapore believes in answering these questions honestly and with passion so that our customers choose the best option available to them. 

In this article, we will outline the questions you need answered most in order to choose the best piston air compressor for your needs.


Why Choosing the Right Piston Air Compressor is Important

It is important to fully appreciate why spending time choosing a piston air compressor is so important. All of BOGE's air compressors are built to the same premium standards; however, our engineers have developed these cutting edge air compressor technologies so that each model will perform best under given parameters.

If you choose the wrong air compressor for your needs, it could result in:

  1. Costly replacement when you finally realise the compressors you have invested in are not best for your situation.
  2. Expensive maintenance and repairs as you push the incorrect piston compressor to its limits or outwith its designed functionality.
  3. Hazardous conditions, especially if people are working around an air compressor being misused or your chosen air compressor cannot handle a toxic material.
  4. Being unable to scale your operations because you have invested in piston air compressors which are already functioning to their limits.
  5. Not meeting stringent operational regulations which are in place to protect you, your employees, and the environment.

Taking some time to ask the right questions about a piston compressor can save you time, money, and legal issues. But which questions should you ask? Let us take a look at those now.


Is a Piston Compressor the Right Choice?

The first question you should ask when choosing a piston air compressor is: “What type of compressor best suits my needs?”. Bear in mind, there are several types of air compressor, each with their own advantages and engineered applications. BOGE offers screw, scroll, and turbo compressors which are better suited to some situations over our piston models, while piston air compressors are excellent in other situations.

Some essentials you should know about piston designs, include:

  • They can be both oil-free or oil-lubricated in design (more on that later).
  • Excellent choice for high pressure and low flow applications.
  • Not the best choice when air needs to be continuous rather than intermittent.
  • Piston air compressors are the oldest compressor types in the market, and very durable
  • They are also noisier.
  • Piston compressors tend to produce compressed air at a hotter temperature due to the friction of the pistons moving. However, Boge offers after coolers with most piston compresssors as standard
  • Often, piston compressors produce more oil content in the compressed air.(if not oil free)
  • Tend to be more powerful and achieve higher pressure.


Electric or Gas Powered Piston Air Compressors?

Piston air compressors come in both gas powered and electric powered models. Which power source you choose is largely dependent on your specific needs.


Advantages of Gas Powered Compressors

Gas powered piston air compressors can be used where electricity is either not available or not advisable. For example, if there are flammable gases nearby or in the environment, then a spark from electrical power could cause a serious accident. In these situations, a gas powered compressor is preferential. If portability is an issue, then gas powered compressors can be moved around and used in a variety of environments, though BOGE's line of electrical powered compressors provides a great solution.


Advantages of Electric Powered Compressors

While gas gives you the above advantages, electrical piston compressors never run out of power (unless there is a power cut). They are a great fit for indoor use where portability is not needed or desired. Using electrical power also means there are no direct gaseous emissions, which cannot be said about gas-powered designs. This renders electrical power sources as desirable when there is poor ventilation. Electrical designs also tend to be less noisy than their gas-powered counterparts. For these reasons, you will commonly see our mains powered compressors in factory and sensitive settings.


Oil-Free or Oil Lubricated Piston Compressors?

One of the most important questions you can ask when selecting a piston compressor is “should it be oil-free or oil lubricated?”. Much like the gas-powered versus electric powered debate, this is going to depend on your needs. Essentially, oil-free designs are suitable for sensitive environments.

These include:

  • Where oil in the compressed will contaminate the material on contact, such as paint or clothing.
  • Pharmaceutical and food/beverage manufacturing where products are intended for human consumption.
  • Where air itself is to be inhaled such as in sensitive medical environments.


Oil-lubricated piston compressors tend to be more affordable and easier to maintain. However, without essential filtration, these cannot be used in sensitive environments. You will often see BOGE oil lubricated piston compressors as important power sources in auto shops, wood and metal workshops, and even in dental labs when used to power tools where patients are not exposed to the compressed air itself. And also used as Booster compressors for PET industry that use 20 - 40 bar pressure


What Specifications Do I Need?

Lastly, you need to be aware of the compressor specifications required for your needs. Ask the questions: What sort of noise levels are acceptable? Does my compressor need to run continually at full load? Do I require external or built-in after cooler and filtration?

Your FAD (Free air delivery) rating for your overall system is the number one factor from a performance perspective. Any tool or equipment you are powering with your compressor will have a FAD rating. In order to make sure that you have enough compressed air, you need to add up the FAD ratings of all the equipment you need to simultaneously power. This gives you the minimum FAD which your piston compressor will need to produce. At BOGE, while we produce highly engineered compressors, we still recommend adding 25-35% onto your FAD required. This will ensure the compressors will work on intermittent mode and have sufficient rest time for cooling down.


Want to Ask a Question?

We hope our article helped. If you have any other queries about a piston compressor or any other air compressor issue, please contact us today and one of our trained experts will happily assist you in any way they can.