For Air Compressors, Is It Better to Use Traditional Oil or Synthetic Lubricant?

For Air Compressors, Is It Better to Use Traditional Oil or Synthetic Lubricant?

Although oil-free air compressors exist, most air compressors require a lubricant to cool down properly and withstand regular use. Lubricated compressors are more cost-effective, durable, and longer-lasting, making them a leading choice among companies today. 

In the long run, lubrication will protect your air compressor system’s longevity and performance. But, which type of lubricant is better for your air compressor: traditional oil or synthetic lubricant?

Pros and Cons of Traditional Oil

Traditional oil used to lubricate air compressors typically includes mineral oil from petroleum. This oil covers the compressor’s internal parts so that they can move smoothly during operation.

The pros of traditional oil include:

  • Affordability: Traditional oil is usually lower in cost than the synthetic lubricant, which can make it an attractive choice for companies looking to cut expenses. 
  • Suitable for systems that don’t undergo continual use

The cons of traditional oil include:

  • Poor energy efficiency when compared to synthetic lubricant
  • Requires more oil changes
  • No fire resistance and the possibility of flammability
  • Produces more sludge than synthetic lubricant
  • Potential for friction between parts

Pros and Cons Synthetic Lubricant

Synthetic lubricant is derived from raw materials that have undergone filtration and refining processes. So, it omits many of the impurities found in traditional oil. 

The pros of the synthetic lubricant include:

  • Higher energy efficiency
  • Consistent lubrication in all temperatures with a low risk of friction
  • Doesn’t emulsify or produce unwanted byproducts
  • Requires fewer oil changes
  • Low flammability
  • No degradation, leading to a higher usage per volume

The cons of the synthetic lubricant include:

  • More expensive
  • It May not be suitable for use with plastics, adhesives, coatings, and elastomers

The expert team at Air Center can help you choose the right lubricant for your air compressor system. Contact us today for more information about our comprehensive range of products and services.