Dental Portable Air Compressors

No modern dental practice can run without a dental compressor. The tools that the dentists and staff use on patients require a constant flow of high-quality air that’s almost medical grade to make them run.

The reason dental practices use special air compressors is to prevent patients from being exposed to harmful contaminants. These compressors have to abide by strict regulations. The current standards for dental air compressors do not say it has to be 100% oil-free air, but most offices choose those types of compressors.  

The ideal dental air compressor will meet all the major categories of performance, air quality, capacity, and noise level. These are all important for function and ease of use in a dental office.

Portable Dental Air Compressor 

We believe dental offices need a truly professional system, that is anchored in place.

Portable Dental Air Compressor

However, if for any reason you prefer or must have a portable system, this portable air compressor would be ideal. It is very affordable and offers all of the needed dental tools.

How To Choose The Right Dental Air Compressor

There are three main factors you must consider when looking for a dental air compressor: 

  • Power
  • Pressure
  • Production

First is power. Most dental offices require their compressors to have a rating of 1 to 5 horsepower to efficiently run their tools. 

Next is pressure. Each tool that the dentist uses requires a specific amount of pressure to operate properly. The air compressor has to be able to provide enough pressure to all of the tools so they can operate safely and efficiently. 

Lastly is production. Your compressor has to exceed the required CFM or LPM for your practice and its tools. These ratings ensure your tools and equipment have the power required when an additional tool is being used.

Dental tools often assume a 25% load. This means that a single tool would be used every four minutes and the CFM reflects this. 

Let’s take an in-depth look at some more requirements. 


Most dental chairs require 2 CFM of air per chair. Additionally, you should also take into account what tools are being used and if using them all at once could strain the system if it can’t handle the air output.

To determine the correct size compressor, you should consider how many people are using tools at the same time.

Capacity can greatly influence how reliable the compressor is since they are designed with a limited duty cycle. Duty cycle refers to the amount of time a compressor can run without cooling off. Additionally, receiver tank size and pressure are also calculated. 


Most dental offices prefer to use oil-free compressors because compressors that require oil tend to carry the risk of contaminating surrounding fluids. This could severely harm the patient. Not only that, but oil-free compressors require minimal maintenance and upkeep because the parts are self-lubricated.

An oil-lubricated dental air compressor requires more maintenance and filter changes. They’re also more likely to introduce oil vapor or contaminated air into the tools and body. Not only can this vapor cause harm to the body, but also the longevity of the air compressor. 


Most dental compressors rate their power in kilowatts or horsepower. The power that comes from the motor will determine the compressor’s ability to pump air. Most dental compressors will have 1-5 HP or 0.75-3.7 kW. This will certainly provide enough power to run the tools required as long as the CFM is acceptable as well. 

Pressure (PSI)

As with all pneumatic tools, dental tools have certain PSI requirements. Many dental tools are measured in bars, which comes to about ~14.5 PSI each. To avoid putting too much strain on their equipment, dentists will generally use applications that require a pressure of 5 bars.

However, it’s a good idea to have a compressor that can provide more pressure than the tool requires, just to be on the safe side. 

Noise Level

Many silent air compressors have a 60-70 decibel rating. The option of an acoustic hood or cabinet can reduce noise and minimize disruption. The hoods and cabinets can drop the decibel rating from 60-70 down to 54 dB or less. 

Dental Compressors Brands

Product CFMHPMax PSIDecibel
Tech West 9.64N/A72
Providence Dental122100 PSI30-50
DuraPro 51100 PSI72
California Air Tools SP10.6412575
Eastwood Elite31.8119062 +/- 3

How Does A Dental Air Compressor Work?

A dental air compressor works a little differently than most air compressors. Most compressors don’t filter the air that’s being taken in, but dental compressors do. This is done through an inline filtration system that is crucial to the efficiency of the compressor. 

There are actually a couple of stages that the filtration and compression process goes through.

First, the air is taken in by the dental compressor. Second, the dew point is lowered by the filtration process to remove impurities, providing the dentist with clean, dry air. Lastly, the dry air is compressed, stored, and ready for use for other applications. 

How Much Does A Dental Air Compressor Cost?

On average, a dental air compressor costs between $800 and $1400. This price is for a unit with 135 PSI, 3-5 HP, and a CFM of 10.3-15.5. A More powerful unit, with a PSI of 175, 7.5 HP, and CFM of 24 can cost anywhere between $1,900 and $2,200.

However, the price will depend on a number of factors such as horsepower, CFM, and portability.

As you can see, the more HP, PSI, and CFM, the higher the price is going to be. These numbers are most likely the highest a dental office would need, but there are larger compressors as well. 

A portable compressor with 175 PSI, 10 HP, and a CFM of 34 will cost anywhere from $2,700 and $5,200. If you want to go a little larger and have a stationary unit, a unit with 80-125 PSI, 80 HP, and a CFM of 185 ranges between $12,00 and $17,500. 

Dental Compressor vs Regular Compressor

The main difference between dental compressors and regular compressors is the dry filtered air that comes from the dental compressor. 

Dental Compressor

Dental compressors have a coalescent filter that provides the patient and dentist with the cleanest air possible. These compressors are also fitted with a dryer that can be desiccant and membrant.

Desiccant air dryers employ a material called a desiccant. It’s made of natural material meant to absorb water. The membrane air dryers use a dehumidification membrane that removes vapor from the compressed air. 

Regular Compressor

Regular compressor air absolutely isn’t meant for human inhalation. These compressors are equipped with nominal five-micron inline filters. This means that the lowest particle limit the filter can capture is 2 microns. Did you know that over 80% of all aerosol contaminants are under the 2-micron size?

The only type of filter that can remove the submicronic contaminants is the coalescent filter on a dental compressor. Not only that, but regular compressors are noisy and not meant for indoor use whereas dental compressors are made to operate quietly and in indoor spaces

Can I Just Use A Shop Compressor?

Shop compressors may be cheaper, but they are also not designed to offer dry filtered air.

Shop compressors are not built for hygienic work, so they develop microbes and rust sooner than dental compressors do, which can lead to health and safety concerns such as bacteria and microbe growth.

Keep your patients safe and protect yourself from liability issues and never use shop compressors.

How Do I Deal with Water Build Up?

Even if your compressor has anti-moisture technology it’s important to frequently drain your compressor. If you let collected moisture remain in the tank, then you run the risk of developing rust and microbes sooner, which will ruin your equipment and cost you money.

Get The Right Equipment For The Job

In the dental industry, compressed pneumatic tools are used for various tasks such as cleaning, polishing, and drilling. Compressed air-powered tools are more reliable and easier to maintain than electrically powered tools.

Additionally, compressed air is used directly within the cleaning and drying applications. The air is used to dry portions of the mouth to make the dental hygiene process simpler. 

If you want your practice to grow and expand, then consider your choices carefully. We hope that this buying guide has been useful to your compressor shopping. You may be interested in breathing air compressors