Debating between a screw compressor and a piston compressor? Understand the benefits of each type of compressor to make the right decision for your needs.

Some things to know about screw compressors 

  • Screw compressors are softer on power start-up than piston compressors 
  • 20%-30% more efficient than a piston compressor of the same size 
  • Much quieter, a screw compressor is around 60db compared to a piston compressor of 75-80db, meaning no acoustics are required 
  • 100% duty cycle for a screw compressor compared to a piston compressor with just 60% duty cycle
  • Discharge temperature of a screw compressor is up to 20C less than a piston in the same environment, causing less strain on the dryer. 
  • No vibration from a screw compressor compared to a piston 
  • Safety. A Screw compressor has over temperature, phase rotation, and current draw cut-out safety whereas a piston compressor does not have any safety cutouts.

With all that being said, you can understand why more often than not, a screw compressor is a better choice for pneumatic systems. What always entices the piston buyer is the low cost. However, it should be noted that the lower-cost option is ideal only for specific environments. 


These are typical to low-duty cycle applications or very harsh environments. They are generally more cost-effective at the time of initial buying. 

Use a Piston compressor for 

  • Remote location workshops 
  • Small, low-volume tyre shop or mechanical workshop 
  • Farm machinery shed/workshop 
  • Small service station 
  • Cement batching plants - dusty workspaces 

If you are debating between a screw or a piston compressor for your business operations, reach out to our pneumatics experts. We are happy to share the knowledge and offer a free custom consultation for your workspace. 

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