The Ultimate Guide to Different Air Compressor Types

Are you looking for an air compressor? There are many different air compressor types and searching for one when you aren’t sure what you’re looking for can make it difficult.

Having the right type of air compressor will make your job a lot quicker and easier. Let’s take a look at the varying types on the market.

Air Compressor Types

There are two main types of air compressors, with a variety of subtypes. Air compressors categorize as either a displacement compressor or a dynamic compressor. Let’s explore the differences between the two.

Displacement Compressors

Displacement compressors are generally used in industrial environments. A piston compressor is one of the most common displacement compressor types.


A bicycle pump is a great example of a piston compressor. The piston draws air into the cylinder. This act creates pressure inside of the cylinder, allowing for the release of air while using the compressor.

There are more complex piston compressors that allow you to build up the pressure in increments. If you need a specific or very high pressure, this is a great pump that achieves your desired pressure.


Another type of displacement compressor is a double rotor compressor. With this compressor, air collects between rotors. While the rotors are moving, they create pressure when the air moves into a smaller space.

The pressure increases according to the amount of air inserted into the rotors. This is a great air compressor if you need a specific pressure amount.

There is a single rotor compressor with uses one rotor to compress the air instead of two. The rotor is typically in a spiral and as the spiral turns, it traps the air created pressure.

Dynamic Compressors

The other common of air compressor types is the dynamic compressor. Dynamic compressors are used in items or actions that require a ton of pressure.

As a result, this type of compressor is not used in an industrial setting. For example, a dynamic compressor is what powers a turbojet. These use gas to achieve the desired pressure and are still qualified as an air compressor.

Gas is accelerated in a container by adding fast moving air to create pressure. Dynamic compressors create a lot more air than you would find in a displacement compressor. This makes them great for industries like energy, power, manufacturing, chemical, and flight.

Choosing Your Compressor Type

Now that you know what air compressor types exist, you can make the best decision in which fits your need. Do you need someone to pump up a bicycle or power a jet plane?

The type of air compressor you select would be very different for these two types of tasks. A displacement compressor would be your best bet if you’re looking for more pressure that’s adjustable.

If you’re looking for an air compressor that can release high pressure and a high volume of air consistently, a dynamic compressor is going to work best.

Are you interested in learning about air compressors for other types of activities? Check out Max-Air’s line of scuba diving compressorspaintball compressors, industrial and more!