We were recently on a tool forum where the question was asked ” what is the difference between oil-free and oil-lubricated air compressors?” This is a good question so we decided to post what we consider to be a thorough answer!
Oil-free compressors have pumps that are directly linked to the motor. A teflon-coated cylinder sleeve and piston ring result in very little friction between the Teflon parts, eliminating the need for oil. Some advantages of oil-free design are no messy oil spills, cleaner output air and no maintenance except for intake air filter. The teflon piston ring and cylinder are easily and economically replaceable resulting in extended compressor life. Oil-free compressors are also lighter in weight.
Oil-lubricated compressors have pumps that use an aluminum crankcase and head for improved heat dissipation, cast iron cylinder sleeves, and automotive style pistons and compression rings. Some advantages of the lubricated design include aluminum components that are noncorrosive, lightweight and improve heat dissipation. Of course, this pump does require oil and some maintenance. There you have it, now the choice is yours!