Each air compressor has unique requirements, and it will require specific types of oil depending on its application and use. An air compressor oil is a specially designed lubricant that prevents untimely wear. Using the right oil for your pneumatic device ensures reliable performance and system durability. This guide will cover some of the best air compressor oil products for your machine during routine maintenance.
The Benefits of Using the Best Air Compressor Oil
Industrial air compressors require regular repair and maintenance to keep them in tip-top shape. It’s best to check essential parts such as the intake vents, belts, motor bearings, filters, and lubricants periodically. The air compressor oil needs to be changed every 100 to 200 hours or as specified by the manufacturer.
Using the best air compressor oil for your pneumatic device offers several crucial benefits:
- Improves Compressor Lifespan: Additives in compressor oils protect the machine’s components and extend the lubricant’s usable life. These elements also allow the oil to lubricate correctly according to various operating conditions.
- Anti-Foaming: Foam is produced when air bubbles rise to the oil’s surface, increasing the oxidation within the air compressor. The best-formulated oils reduce foaming to help reduce energy consumption and oxidative stress. This effect prolongs the life of your pneumatic device.
- Improved Viscosity: The best-formulated air compressor oils have better resistance to temperature changes, allowing them to maintain their lubricating properties.
- Demulsification: High-quality compressor oils can protect air compressors from water emulsion by separating water effectively.
- Improves Heat Absorption: Using the correct oil for your compressor helps keep the unit cooler. Well-suited lubricants can absorb the heat from compressed air to prevent overheating.
- Oxidation Resistance: With better oxidation resistance, additives in air compressor oils can better prevent acid formation and improve corrosion resistance. Further, they can protect your machine from rust and degradation, extending its service life and improving its performance.
- Improves Efficiency: Using the right compressor oil boosts its operating efficiency by reducing wear and friction between the machine’s moving parts. When efficiency is reduced, your site’s productivity increases due to less downtime.
- Easy Maintenance: The best oil suited for your compressor can make machine maintenance easier. All the parts will be well lubricated, thus reducing damage from regular wear and tear. This means you don’t have to replace parts that often, reducing maintenance costs.
Standard vs. Synthetic Air Compressor Oils
Which air compressor oil is better – synthetic or standard oils? These are the two most common compressor oils recommended by pneumatic device manufacturers.
Standard Air Compressor Oils
This type of oil for air compressors has a mineral oil base, which makes it more budget-friendly. It’s the type of oil recommended for homeowners and businesses that do not operate their compressors continuously. If you use your machine for light to medium operations, this is the type of oil best suited for your air compressor.
Synthetic Air Compressor Oils
Synthetic air compressor oils are formulated for commercial and industrial use. These oils are better suited for compressors that will be used continuously for many hours. If you use your compressor three or more times a week, it’s best to use synthetic oils since they can better provide cooling and lubrication for prolonged operations. At Fitz Equipment, we recommend using synthetic oil if you’re using heavy-duty commercial air compressors, such as Gardner Denver machines.
Synthetic oils are better than the standard variants when protecting air compressors from overheating. These oils can provide a wide range of protection, an excellent fit for work sites in areas with extreme temperatures. Further, synthetic oils promote quiet operation, which can benefit many businesses.
Many air compressor manufacturers recommend using 20 to 30-weight compressor oil for their machines. A 30-weight oil is thicker or more viscous, which makes it a better choice for air compressors used in worksites located in hotter areas. You can switch to a 30-weight oil during summer but use other less viscous oils during colder months.
Twenty-weight oils are less dense and are better suited for cold start conditions. If you use 30-weight oil in colder environments, your compressor may not start immediately. It’s best to use less viscous oil with less weight during winter or in areas where the temperature is usually colder than in other locations.
When to Use Food-Grade Air Compressor Oil
It’s mandatory to use oil-free compressed air in any food production process, especially if compressed air comes in contact with any ingredient. In these facilities, it’s best to use non-lubricant compressors, which produce class 0 purity compressed air. In cases where compressed air will not come in direct contact with any food products, it’s acceptable to use lubricated air compressors. However, these machines should use food-grade oil.
Air Compressor Oil Substitutes
Sometimes you may be forced to use substitutes for your compressor’s oil, especially when specialty oils are in short supply. Here are some of the alternatives that can be used temporarily.
- Motor Oil: Motor oil is readily available but may contain detergents that help clean internal combustion engines. If you use motor oil for your air compressor, use one with no engine detergents.
- Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF): Some ATFs can work well as a substitute for air compressor oil. They can reduce friction and wear during more prolonged operations. Further, transmission fluids can help reduce the heat produced by an air compressor. However, be careful when using transmission fluid since some of these products may contain additives that can damage an air compressor.
- Hydraulic Oil: Hydraulic oil has similar qualities to many air compressor oils. This oil has a lower viscosity, making it a good option for operating compressors in colder climates. In addition, oil can improve corrosion resistance.
Our experts at Fitz Equipment recommend using air compressor oil substitutes only when you have to. Some alternative oils can damage your compressor.
The 5 Best Air Compressor Oils:
Here is a list of some of the best air compressor oils in the market today:
1. Ingersoll Rand All Season Synthetic Lubricant
This is an ISO 68 oil specially designed for Ingersoll Rand air compressors and machines. It’s an all-season oil that works well regardless of the prevailing temperature. Under regular use, this oil is rated to last for 2,000 hours.
2. Royal Purple Synthetic Compressor Oil
This is an SAE 30 oil, which is more viscous than many synthetic air compressor oils. It performs well in hotter climates due to its heavier weight. Further, it’s formulated for smoother and quieter compressor operation and is priced competitively. However, it isn’t a good choice for cold start operations.
3. Campbell Hausfeld Compressor Oil
This oil is a standard ISO 100 air compressor oil. However, it’s more viscous than many synthetic oils available, making it a good fit for operations in warmer climates. This mineral-based compressor oil doesn’t contain any detergents, so it doesn’t cause carbon buildup.
This compressor oil is packaged in smaller containers, making it handy and easy to store. This oil will make an excellent fit if you’re using a Campbell Hausfeld machine. The only downside to this product is that it’s more pricey than other brands.
4. Powermate Px Full Synthetic Air Compressor Oil
This oil is 100% synthetic and rated ISO 68, an excellent option for freezing or sweltering temperatures. This oil provides better wear protection compared to blended oils. In addition, it’s one of the more affordable options compared to other brands.
5. Castrol Synthetic Air Compressor Oils
Castrol has produced several high-quality air compressors, such as the Aircol SR 68 for rotary screw compressors and the Tribol CS 890/68. These oils are designed for multiple types of operations. These oils provide excellent wear protection, stability, and high viscosity.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the best oil to use in an air compressor?
A: The best oil to use for your air compressor will be the one that best suits its type, operating conditions, and manufacturer recommendations.
Q: Do air compressors need special oil?
A: Yes, the air compressor you use in your operations will require a specific type of oil that best suits its operating type and how long and often the machine is used.
Q: Is synthetic oil better for air compressors?
A: Synthetic oil is better for air compressors used in commercial and industrial applications. However, if you only use your compressor a few times a week, it’s best to use standard oil.
Q: What weight is air compressor oil?
A: The weight of the oil will depend on the type of air compressor. For instance, rotary screw compressors work best with ISO 32 or ISO 46 oils, but a reciprocating air compressor, on the other hand, will function better with SAE 30 or SAE 40 oils.
Q: What oil to use for an air compressor?
A: Please refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to learn the correct air compressor oil type for your machine. You should also consider the application you’re using and the time spent operating your compressor.