Air Compressor Rental [Costs & Where To Rent]

Rent or Own? That is always a question that comes up when it is time to add new equipment, replace, or upgrade existing equipment.

These decisions hold for industrial air compressors as well. There are many factors to consider when making this decision.  

A few of the considerations that should be in your decision-making checklist are:

  • Capital Investment vs. ongoing expense
  • Maintenance costs and issues
  • Changing Needs

In addition to these considerations, before you decide to rent or buy, you should have some understanding of what you need in a compressor to fit your company and your job requirements best.

Air Compressor Rental

Different jobs, different locations, and various tools require a different style and types of air compressors.  Choosing the proper size and style of air compressors for your job and site will make operations more efficient and more economical.

Why Rent Instead of Own?

Deciding about renting or owning an industrial air compressor for your business can be a complicated decision.

renting or owning an industrial air compressor

There are economic, financial, and operational considerations that must be included in the equation. When you begin the process of making this decision, you should consider these factors.Depending On Business Size & Type

Your business is probably the biggest consideration on whether to rent or purchase an industrial air compressor. These things may influence your decision.

  • Size of your business – Large manufacturing operation or small independent shop? Not only does the size of your business impact the size and type of industrial air compressor you need, but it can also be an influencing factor in whether you rent or purchase.
  • Type of business – Different types of businesses need different types of air compressors. Your compressed air demands are dictated by how you are using the compressed air and the size of the compressor you need.
  • Economics – Is it more economical to rent an industrial air compressor or to purchase outright. There are pros and cons to each option.
    This can be complicated because of the accounting and tax implications involved with each choice.

The Financial Side

Your budget may dictate whether you rent or purchase an industrial air compressor.  An industrial air compressor can represent a huge financial outlay for some businesses.

In many cases purchasing an industrial air compressor may involve financing, which can add another layer of cost.  There are disadvantages and advantages to both options.


  • Rental costs can be considered a business expense for tax purposes.
  • Many times, maintenance on the equipment is the responsibility of the rental company.
  • Renting allows you to change the equipment as your needs change from job to job.
  • There is no capital outlay for the equipment.
  • You don’t get many of the tax advantages such as depreciation on rented equipment.


  • Interest, depreciation, and maintenance costs are tax deductions that can provide additional financial benefits.
  • You control the equipment without any contractual restrictions or requirements.
  • You are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the equipment, which is an additional cost.
  • The equipment becomes an asset to your company.

An Operational View

When considering the option to rent or own, there are some operational considerations that should be involved in your decision.  Some advantages of renting are:

  • Flexibility – Renting gives you a degree of flexibility. Your compressed air requirements may change from job to job. Renting gives you the option to get the equipment that best fits your job requirements.
    Being able to get the air compressor that best fits your needs can often save you money.
  • Technology – Renting your industrial air compressor offers you the opportunity to take advantage of the latest innovations in technology and engineering in the air compressor industry. Often these upgrades mean more efficiency and less operating costs.
  • Support – Rentals companies have a vested interest in keeping customers happy and satisfied and keeping their equipment in top operating condition.
    This translates to support from the rental company that you may not have if you purchase the industrial air compressor.

However, there are some disadvantages to renting as well.

  • Contractual Obligations – Renting an industrial air compressor requires that you enter into a contractual agreement with the rental company. This can limit you in some respects. Owning the equipment outright removes these contractual obligations.
  • Financial Limitations – Since you don’t own the industrial air compressor, you cannot claim it as an asset for your company. The rented equipment cannot be used as collateral for loans or lines of credit.

Changing Needs

Conditions and situations change in any business. These changes can happen rapidly.

When on contract ends and another begins, the new contract may have entirely different circumstances and demands that are better served with a different industrial air compressor.

Changing needs can often be better served with a rental industrial air compressor. Most rental agreements allow you to change equipment as your needs change.

A month to month rental agreement offers the flexibility to rent different equipment to meet the demands of your job as needs change.

How Much Does It Cost to Rent?

Costs involved in renting industrial air compressors vary greatly across the country.  The best way to get an idea of the cost involved in renting an industrial air compressor in your area is to visit with some of the rental companies in your area and get an estimate from them that is tailored to your needs.

To help you toward making your decision about renting an industrial air compressor, we have prepared the following comparison chart based on industry averages from some of the largest nationwide rental companies.

Industrial Air Compressors – Average Rental Rates

Rental rates for stationary fixe place industrial air compressors are typically negotiated on a case by case basis.  

Compressor NameDaily Rental Weekly RentalMonthly Rental
Man-Portable Air Compressors$45 - $90$100 - $200$250 - $450
Towable Industrial Air Compressors$75 - $950$225 - $2,400$600 - $6,000

Rent to Own Options

If your industrial air compressor needs are on the smaller end of the scale, you may be able to find a rental company who offers a rent to own option.  There are pros and cons to entering such a contract.


  • In many cases, there is no down payment or upfront cost.
  • In some instances, there is no penalty for canceling the contract other than forfeiting the equipment.
  • You may negotiate a lower monthly payment than you would incur with a financing agreement.


  • Rent to Own payments may not be tax-deductible.
  • You may become responsible for all maintenance and upkeep.  
  • At the end of the term, you get the equipment, but it will be used with no recourse.

Where to Rent

Depending on your location, you may have several options for finding a rental company with a selection of industrial air compressors. Some of the nationwide rental companies that may have a rental location near you are:

Don’t forget to check with your locally owned rental company. There are many local and regional companies that rent industrial and construction equipment.

Often you can negotiate a better rate with a local company for a long-term rental than you can with a national company with company-wide fixed rates

What Style of Compressor do You Need to Rent?

The first big question is what style of air compressor you need to rent. Selecting what style of air compressor best fits your needs may be an easy question to answer in some cases.

If you need a compressor to serve a shop or manufacturing facility, the obvious choice is a stationary compressor. However, this may not be as cut and dried as you think.  

Are you renting an air compressor to add additional capacity to an existing system because of a temporary influx of work? In that case, a towable compressor might be a better option since it isn’t likely to be a permanent installation.

If you are moving your rented air compressor among several job sites as it is needed or moving it around a large job site, the obvious answer is a towable rented air compressor.

On the other hand, if it is a small job site, the temporary installation of a stationary compressor may make more sense. There are advantages and disadvantages to both styles of air compressors to consider when making your decision.

Stationary Industrial Air Compressors Advantages

  • Best when large capacities of compressed air are needed
  • If specially treated air is required, a stationary compressor is easier to connect to filtration and air dryers
  • A more economical operation where large airflows are required
air compressor

Towable Industrial Air Compressor Advantages

  • If portability among job sites is common, a towable industrial air compressor makes more sense.
  • Versatility and adaptability to different job site requirements is often easier with a towable industrial air compressor
  • Towable industrial air compressors are complete compact units that don’t require any installation.  You can pull up to a job site, start the compressor and go to work.

Disadvantages with Stationary Industrial Air Compressors

  • The installation of a stationary industrial air compressor usually involves the addition of electrical equipment, ventilation equipment, and mounting equipment at additional cost.
  • Most stationary industrial air compressors are noisy and may require additional soundproofing in your shop or installation in a remote area away from the work floor.

Towable Industrial Air Compressor Disadvantages

  • Towable industrial air compressors may not be able to deliver the airflow needed for your job.
  • Maintenance issues may add additional costs to renting a towable industrial air compressor as may the addition of necessary filters and air dryers
  • Unless extraordinary precautions are taken, towable industrial air compressors are easily stolen from job sites.
Towable Industrial Air Compressor

What Kind of Air Compressor Best Fits Your Needs?

You should consider what kind of industrial air compressor best fits the airflow requirements for your installation.

The most popular kinds of industrial air compressors that are available for rental each have their own set of best applications.

  • Industrial Rotary Screw Air Compressor Applications – Rotary screw industrial air compressors are used across the gamut of industrial and construction applications.  These applications include:
  • Constructionif you need large air flows to operate pneumatic tools and other equipment, the airflows may vary widely during the working day.  Rotary screw industrial air compressor excels when variable airflow rates happen frequently.
  • ManufacturingAlmost every industry in the US relies on compressed air for some portion of its processes.
    Rotary screw compressors are found in every imaginable manufacturing installation. The dependability and economical operation make the rotary screw compressor the choice.
  • AgricultureWhether you are a row crop farmer or a dairy herd operator, Rotary screw compressors are more than likely among your tools.  
  • Reciprocating/Piston Industrial Air Compressor ApplicationsReciprocating or piston style sir compressors have historically been the most used kind of air compressor. Like rotary screw compressors, they are found across industries.
  • Allied Automotive IndustriesAuto body shops, paint shops, and repair shops use compressed air for a variety of small hand tools. The low compressed air demand of these tools makes a piston industrial air compressor more suitable.
  • WoodworkingLarge industrial woodworking shops depend on air tools for their processes.
    Like the allied automotive industries, these shops tend to use lower volume hand tools that make the selection of a reciprocating air compressor a viable option.
  • High-Pressure Industrial Air Compressors
  • High-pressure compressed air systems are typically used in specialized applications and industries.
    The specialized application includes SCUBA tank refills, paintball game refills, industrial fire suppression systems, and some medical applications. 

Electric, Natural gas, Gasoline, or Diesel?

One of the big questions is what fuel is the best to run your industrial air compressor.  Again, many variable factors into this decision and must be considered with each situation.

There is no cut and dry answer.  Each type of fuel option must be considered for its advantages and disadvantages and the requirements of your job site.

Electric, natural gas, gasoline, or diesel air compressor

Electrically Driven Industrial Air Compressors

  • Operation costs – The cost of operating an electric industrial air compressor is a tricky thing to estimate. The cost of electrical power varies widely across the United States.
    In some areas, the cost of electricity to operate a large stationary industrial air compressor could be more than the cost of diesel or natural gas.
  • Maintenance – Maintenance issues on electric industrial air compressors are usually not as intensive as those for a compressor driven with a standard piston engine no matter the fuel.
    Electric motors typically have fewer moving parts and require less ongoing maintenance than piston-driven engines.
  • Job site requirements – Large electric industrial air compressors often require special electrical service.
    Most often, this is a 3-phase service that may not be available on many job sites, especially construction sites. The installation of 3-phase service on remote sites can be expensive.

Natural Gas Fueled Industrial Air Compressors

Depending on the area of the country in which you operate, natural gas may be a better option for fueling your industrial air compressor than any of the other options. This is particularly true in a larger stationary installation.

  • Fuel Costs – In some areas of the US, natural gas is extremely cheap and makes fueling industrial equipment very cost-effective.
    However, like any fuel that is treated as a commodity, the price can fluctuate greatly over time.
  • Installation Issues – Using natural gas as a fuel for your industrial air compressor requires the installation of the necessary piping and regulators and a specially converted engine. These added costs can be prohibitive in some areas.  
  • Portability – If you are in the market for as towable industrial air compressor, natural gas is probably not an option for you. The requirements for delivering natural gas to a job site make the logistics of using natural gas become complicated and expensive

Using Gasoline to Power your Industrial Air Compressor.

Gasoline and Diesel are the two most widely used fuels for industrial air compressors, especially if you are using a towable style of a compressor.  Gasoline is a popular choice but does have some disadvantages.

  • Operating Costs – Gasoline is cheaper than diesel. This usually makes operating a gasoline-powered generator cheaper than operating a diesel-powered compressor.  
  • Maintenance CostsThis is a toss-up. Both gasoline and diesel engines require a higher level of maintenance. Gasoline engines can be extremely reliable if properly maintained.
  • Noise IssuesGasoline-powered equipment, especially air compressors, can generate a high noise level in their immediate area.
    With towable air compressors, this may not be as much of a problem since the compressor can be located away from the work area.
    However, stationary installation may require additional soundproofing or installation of the air compressor in a separate building.

The Diesel Option for your Industrial Air Compressor

Diesel engines have become almost the de facto standard in power for towable industrial air compressors. They are also found in larger stationary installations under special circumstances.

  • Emissions requirements – Federal regulations have become much tighter on the exhaust emissions from diesel engines.
    Meeting these regulations over the course of operation of a diesel-powered industrial air compressor may increase operations costs.
  • LongevityDiesel engines are known for longevity when properly maintained.  Industrial diesel engines are built to be rugged.  
  • SafetyDiesel is considered a much safer fuel than gasoline because it has a higher flashpoint.
    This means that spilled diesel is less likely to burst into flames than gasoline when exposed to the normal operating temperatures around the equipment.

Rent or Own?

Whether you decide to rent or own the industrial air compressor you need, the decision needs to be made in a rational and educated way.

This article addresses some of the issues that you should consider as well as the advantages and disadvantages of different types of equipment and ownership.

I hope that this article helps you make the decision that is best for you and your company.

      Residential & Commercial Air Compressors