5 Best Industrial Air Compressors | Complete Buyer’s Guide

Industrial Air compressor is a compressor with over 1000 psi and 200 hp (horsepower). Industrial air compressors include centrifugal compressors, rotary vane pumps, scroll compressors, and turbo air compressors.

The highest industrial air compressors operate as low as 2,000psi can get up to 6,000psi. Most industrial air compressors are also two-stage air compressors. However, not all two-stage air compressors can be used in industrial settings(source).

These heavy duty machines might be used on fire trucks, hydraulic equipment for building rockets and planes, industrial sprayers for agriculture, industrial laundry press and steaming machines, paintball guns, and even bottling plants for food and beverage operations. 

Industrial grade air compressors come in different, shapes, and sizes. Industrial air compressors are divided into 5 different types.

In this detailed buyers guide, we will review the different industries that use industrial air compressors, the different types of industrial air compressors, the cooling processes, and much more.


IMPORTANT NOTE: Any 30,60,80 gallon compressors are NOT industrial air compressors. Additionally, the company Industrial Air is simply the brand name of that company but does not necessarily represent industrial air compressors.

Best Industrial Air Compressors 

Product NameHPCFMType Application
Quincy QGV variable speed rotary screw40-20082 – 982Rotary screwLight Industry and Food
Textile and Clothing and more
Kaishanusa KRSP2 SERIES150 - 350525 – 2641Two-stage rotary screw
Construction and Building Material
Electric Power
Mechanical and Electrical Machinery and more
Quincy QVMS Series2-108-378Vacuum pumpsHospital settings
Elgi Two-stage water-cooled60 – 500100 - 190Two stage rotary screwMedicine and Health
Petrochemical Engineering
Electronic and Electrical and more
Sullair Two-stage rotary screw150 – 600542-2457Two-stage water-cooled oil free compressoAll applications with intolerance of oil vapor presence in the entire manufacturing process
Atlas Copco ZR ZT90 – 160616 – 3000Rotary screwPapermaking and Printing
Metallurgy and Mining
Household Appliance and more

1.Sullair Two Stage Rotary Screw 

This company serves mainly food and beverage companies and general production as far as the centrifugal compressor sector is concerned.

Sullair Two Stage Rotary Screw

Dominant market drivers are lower maintenance costs and greater energy efficiency, which is typical for the industry, and Sullair tailors the offerings accordingly.

Their two-stage rotary screw compressor line is characterized by a superior end-to-end design for optimal power savings and efficiency. As a result, there is longer air end life, lower operating costs, and no loss of capacity or efficiency.

2.Kaishan KRSP2 SERIES – Best Two-Stage Industrial Rotary Compressor 

The Kaishan KRSP2 Industrial Air compressor supports manufacturing operations around the world by providing reliable and energy-efficient compressed air.

Any business that is serious about productivity enhancement should consider this compressed air system. The main benefit of KRSP2 is low power consumption. This newer model is 20% more efficient than earlier models.

Increased Cooling Efficiency

This industrial air compressor achieves increase cooling efficiency by using Higher static pressure, which allows for heat recovery ducting. Additionally, it provides a stable and even airflow across the cooler face.

Finally, the VSD cooling fan is providing energy saving by reducing the cooling airflow during times of light workload or during low temperatures.

Kaishan USA KRSP2 series

Less Maintenance 

The highly efficient system also reduces dust build-up by bypassing cooling air thru the main compressor compartment. In other words, reducing the dust built up means less maintenance, and therefore reducing the cost of owning this industrial compressor.

Additionally, the Motors are standard TEFC to IP 54 protection
from dust and moisture. The stainless steel tubing is corrosion-free. In fact, the entire system is built based on the goal of reducing maintenance.

Variable Speed Drive

The variable speed drive used in KRSP2 compressors are backed by worldwide support as well as efficient and reliable service.

The Pros 

  • Reduced OSHA Risk and Injury
  • Steady System Pressure
  • Quiet Operation
  • Reduces carbon footprint
  • Direct Drive Motor
  • High Flow Rate via Two-Stage Air End Design
                                                                           KRSP2 Series Specs

3.Kaishan 2 Series 100 – 500 hp 

This series is a member of the company’s line of two-stage air compressors. These high-performance units are designed from the ground up, including an evaluation of each component for efficiency, reliability, and optimized operation.

Kaishan 2 Series 100 – 500 hp

A number of models offer working pressure from 100 to 190 PSI and power ratings from 100 to 500 HP. The Kaishan company backs its products with one of the best warranties in the sector: five years on major parts and lifetime coverage on the air end.

4.Elgi Two Stage Water Cooled Air Compressor

Elgi’s water cooled air compressors are equipped with Free Air Delivery (FAD) are tested as per ISO 1217 : 2009 – Annex C. The standard water inlet pressure ranges from 14.3 psi to 36 psi, and the standard cooling water temperature rise is 14ºF.

The company also offers customized units with different pressure variants (50 – 130 psi for two stage machines), varying voltages, and medium or high voltage motors subject to a special offer. The standard packages offered are equipped with built in VFD.

All compressor motors can be supplied for IEC, NEMA, ABNT, and other country standards, but weight and dimensions may vary. 

5.Atlas Copco Oil Free Compressors 

Last but not least, Atlas Copco’s oil-free centrifugal compressors are used mainly in power generation, industrial gases, and the hydrocarbon industry.

Atlas has compressors for oil and gas midstream, LNG, air separation, chemical and petrochemical, fertilizer, supercritical CO2, and related industries.

Atlas Copco Oil Free Compressors

In the CO2 segment, for example, the compressor range reaches pressures up to 200 bar.

The single-shaft compressors reach flow volumes of 480 000 m3/h in the air separation segment, and centrifugal compressors can achieve operating power of up to 45 000 HP. 

6.Quincy QVMS Vacuum Pump

The vacuum pump has been uniquely designed to meet needs in medical settings. Engineered for easy installation and flexibility, the QVMS features direct drive, reliable pumps and unilateral access for the maintenance needed.

Quincy QVMS Vacuum Pump

A Quincy QV rotary vane vacuum pump builds the core of every QVMS, developed for hospital applications that demand constant vacuum levels and high capacity. Any vacuum pump used in a hospital setting must be user-friendly, reliable, and sanitary.

What Businesses Use Industrial Air Compressors?

Many industries use air compressors – innumerable ones, in fact. Just have a look at the table at the beginning of this article. In this section, we’ll focus on food factories, product packaging, and wastewater treatment.   

Industrial Compressors In Food Industry 

Rotary screw air compressors compress food grade air, which can be used to cut and prepare products or create consistent, clean packaging. They can be used to move ingredients and food products down a process line.

For example, they push powdered products through pipes by means of compressed air. Air hoists and compressed air cylinders can move products more quickly down the line too.

This is required in order to maintain the necessary production speeds. In the automated sorting of products, compressed air can also be used to power pneumatic systems like control valves.

Compressed air can be used to peel vegetables and fruits and get them ready for packaging. The peel of the product is removed by a jet of pressurized air. The process is clean and efficient.

You can also use compressed air to remove nut peels or shells. You can cut food items using high-pressure compressed air. This option is usually cleaner than knives or blades.

Product Packaging Industry 

The fast sequence of heating and molding plastic packaging requires equally rapid cooling of the formed polymers. This is achieved through industrial air compressors’ water cooling systems, which extract the heat in the form of hot water at high temperatures. 

Wastewater Treatment Industry 

Air compressors guarantee that the air is free of contamination as they operate. They reduce noise and vibration levels and regulate airflow via a variable speed drive.

Industrial Air Compressors Types 

Centrifugal Compressors

The best centrifugal compressors are powered by integral gear or single shaft technology, handle volume flows up to 560,000 m3/h and pressures up to 205 bar.

Centrifugal Compressors

Also, known as dynamic compressors, centrifugal air compressors are designed to produce big volumes of compressed air in a highly energy-efficient process.

All industrial manufacturers are aware of the advantages of centrifugal technology, but those who need over 200 to 250 total horsepower tend to gain the greatest savings.

Large Rotary Screw Air Compressors 

Large Rotary screw air compressors are named after the positive displacement mechanism they use. These are gas compressors that use a rotary-type mechanism.

There is very little flow surge or pulsation because the gas compression process of a rotary screw is a continuous sweeping motion. The two main types of rotary screw compressors are oil-flooded or oil-injected and gas rotary screw compressors.

With the first type, oil is injected into the compression cavities to facilitate sealing and supply the gas charge with a cooling sink. The oil and discharge stream stay separate. The oil is cooled, recycled, and filtered. 

Scroll Air Compressor 

For a detailed review of scroll air compressors click here.

Industrial Air Compressor Manufacturers

When selecting an industrial air compressor, the reputation and background of the manufacturer are critical. 

In large compressed air installations, you may need the assistance of qualified engineering staff to ensure that the system will meet the requirements of your business.

Having the support of a reputable manufacturer who can offer advice and assistance in designing and installing your compressed air system is essential for the long term operation of your compressor and the associated delivery systems.

1.Atlas Copco

Atlas Copco is a worldwide manufacturer of industrial equipment.  Their air compressor division is well known and has a sterling reputation worldwide. 

Atlas Copco Oil Free Compressors

The product line of industrial-grade air compressors from Atlas Copco include

  • Piston compressors
  • Rotary screw compressors
  • Rotary tooth compressors
  • Centrifugal compressors
  • Blowers.

Atlas Copco is a world leader in the industrial air compressors market. The company started manufacturing air compressors back in 1899.

The company purchased Chicago Pneumatic Tools in 1987 which helped it become a market leader in the pneumatic tools niche as well. However, industrial air compressors are their main focus.

Atlas Copco produces industrial compressors as well as a complete line of accessories, including dryers, filters, and control devices fitted sith both reciprocating piston and rotary screw compressors.

In addition, Atlas Copco offers extensive before the sale design and selection support, including customized engineered solutions or turnkey system installation.  

Atlas Copco’s mission is to provide the most reliable heavy-duty air compressor installations with the lowest overall cost of ownership on a tailored made bases.  Focusing on the end-user is the basis of the Atlas Copco model.

2. FS Curtis

Another US company with a long history of business in the US is FS Curtis.  They have been manufacturing equipment for other businesses since 1854. 

FS Curtis builds top of the line industrial grade heavy-duty air compressors with a philosophy of “Built for Today, Committed to Tomorrow.”

Heavy Duty Air Compressors

A mission of providing energy-efficient designs with the highest levels of reliability is the foundation of the FS Curtis operation. Their heavy-duty compressors are known for reliable and long duty life and the company’s network of dealers makes after the sale support quick to access. 

FS Curtis is proud of its reputation as the manufacturer of some of the most efficient air compressors on the market. The company is a member of the Compressed Air and Gas Institute’s verification program and all the FS Curtis compressors are tested.

The reports are available about the performance of the equipment allowing the end-user to easily select the best compressor for their needs. 

A complete CAGI report on the testing of each product in the FS Curtis line can be found on their website at this link. FS Curtis is proud of its reputation for building some of the most rugged compressors on the market.

3. Kaeser

Kaeser compressors is a German-based company with offices across the US.  Service before and after the sale are the hallmarks of the Kaeser philosophy.

The quality of Kaeser’s heavy-duty air compressors is renowned and unquestioned.  Their service philosophy is among the highest rated in the industry Kaeser looks at the sale to a customer as a purchase by that customer for life.

Kaeser air compressor

The design and support by Kaeser are focused on building machines with a future that is efficient, effective, and trouble-free. Energy-efficiency is one of Kaeser’s top priorities and their systems are designed to be among the most energy-efficient industrial grade air compressors on the market.

In addition to design and engineering, Kaeser offers some of the best pre-sale services available. Highly trained staff, many with engineering backgrounds, stand ready to offer advice on the choice and installation of compressor systems in your business.  

What Kaeser provides is

  • Energy-efficient installations that minimize costs and maximize productivity
  • More efficient and economical operations with less downtime and easier maintenance
  • The highest quality of design and manufacture in the industry.

Kaeser works hard to ensure that their equipment is always on duty by managing a worldwide service network and state-of-the-art logistics support to its customers and dealers.

Quincy and Shulz could be added to this industrial air compressor manufacturers list. However, we believe they are more fitting to industrial applications then industrial applications.


Industrial Compressors’ Cooling Process

There are several compressor cooling types, including air cooling, compressors with an integrated refrigerated dryer, and water cooling. This section explores them.  

The Air Cooling Process  

The air compressor package has forced ventilation which contains almost all of the energy the motor consumes. Most modern compressors are equipped with air cooling. 

The Water Cooling 

This is also an efficient cooling method. A water-cooled compressor installation is a good idea because very little pressure is exerted on the compressor room ventilation system.

The cooling water contains around 90% of the energy the motor uses. There are three types of compressor water cooling systems.

They are closed systems with circulating water (including an external radiator or heat exchanger), open systems with a cooling tower (circulating water), and open systems connected to an external water supply (without circulating water).  

Industrial Air Compressor with Integrated Refrigerated Dryer

Refrigerated compressed air dryers are able to eliminate more oil and water than coalescing filters. The reason for this is because after the air is cooled and the moisture is removed, the cold air is used to pre-cool the hot incoming air, which heats up the exiting air. 

Industrial Air Compressor Maintenance Checklist

You need to check and clean or lubricate the following components

Air Filter

A dirty air filter contains particles and impurities that may corrupt the compressed air.

This leads to the deterioration of end-point applications. You should clean the air filter regularly. Change it out at intervals depending on the environment.

Oil Filter

Lubricated and non-lubricated compressors alike need to have their oil filters changed. These must be completely replaced at recommended intervals, which are 6,000 hours on average. Replace your filter sooner if it gets heavily covered in oily residue before this time passes. 

Intake Vents

An air compressor transforms ambient air into something that can replace electric power. It powers heavy-duty machinery effectively. Consequently, the compressor itself can only do so much to turn ordinary air into something powerful.

To make sure the incoming air stays as clean as possible, check the vents regularly. This also prevents dirt from getting sucked into the system. It’s best to inspect them weekly and clean them when necessary.


Lubricant is one of the most crucial parts when it comes to the functions of an air compressor. It allows for smooth movement on all the internal metal parts and joints.

This movement is also non-corrosive. Without lubrication, joints and parts rust because of the tension between the touching metal surfaces. Once you have rust on your hands, it will spread and destroy certain mechanical parts.


With time, the rubber on a belt will become amortized and crack in certain places. It’s therefore important to replace the belts before they break as you work or lose their tension.

Check each belt once per week to ensure they are free of wear. Once there is wear, adjust the tension or replace the belt if necessary.


Motor Bearings

Oil the bearings every 4,000 hours to protect the health and performance of the air compressor’s motor. Between each greasing, check the bearings at quarterly intervals to make sure they remain sufficiently lubricated.

Other things to check include amps, air dryer performance, oil levels, vibration, and temperatures. 


Frequently Asked Questions

What industries use air compressors?

Industries involving use of air hammers, drills, wrenches, and other power tools use them. Also, compressed air is used to operate air cylinders for automation and atomize the paint. You can use it to propel vehicles too.

What is the use of a screw compressor?

Intake Vents

Rotary-screw compressors are generally used to deliver compressed air to bigger industrial projects.

They are best for applications like food packaging plants and automated manufacturing systems. Generally, any application with continuous air demand will benefit from one. 

What is the cost of industrial air compressor rental?

The average industrial air compressors can be rented for $3928 per month. However, It depends on the type, location, and period. 

      Residential & Commercial Air Compressors