Air Compressors: Gas vs. Electric

By In Information On October 6, 2016

Air compressors can be useful for a number of different industries, and when you’re business needs an air compressor, it can sometimes be overwhelming to choose between the various types. You want to choose the right one so you know you’re making the best investment.

Two popular categories of air compressors are gas air compressors and electric air compressors. But how do these differ, and what jobs is each type suited for? To learn more about which of these might be best for your specific project or industry, read on. We’ll address the pros and cons of both gas and electric air compressors.

Gas Air Compressors

Gas air compressors are heavier and larger, and they do require regular refueling to work. Upfront, they’re more expensive than electric air compressors, but you may find gas air compressors are a better fit for your project or area of work.


If you do a lot of jobs outdoors or in remote areas, gas air compressors are your champion. They’re durable, they’re reliable, and they can compress air for long stretches of time. They can also effortlessly perform heavy-duty jobs.

Since they’re fueled by gas, gas air compressors can be installed or moved to just about anywhere with great ventilation. And even though gas air compressors require a larger initial investment, gas is considered to be a fairly cheap fuel, so you don’t pay too much to operate the machine.

Gas air compressors are also considered a fairly eco-friendly option because they produce very little carbon monoxide. They produce about 30% less carbon dioxide than oil and around 45% less than coal.


While these compressors are strong and powerful, they do produce a lot of loud noise. Employees may need to have some kind of hearing protection around gas air compressors, and the compressor should be installed in an open area to allow the sound somewhere to go.

They also emit harmful fumes as they operate, so they shouldn’t be placed in any cramped, unventilated areas, as this could create hazardous conditions for your workers. And with their big size and heavy weight, they’re not as easy to move as electric air compressors.

As with any other gas-powered machine or appliance, gas air compressors are best operated with safety precautions in place to reduce fire and combustion risks. Without these safety precautions, a careless or inadvertent move from an employee could spark the fuel, resulting in a devastating accident.

Electric Air Compressors

These air compressors are generally smaller and lighter than their gas counterparts and only rely on electricity. The initial purchase of an electric air compressor is cheaper, but they’re not suitable for every job.


Electric air compressors can easily work anywhere there is electricity, and they run continuously as long as they have a power source. Because they run on electricity, they’re fantastic for indoor jobs, and they’re also relatively quiet, so your employees won’t be distracted by loud, grating noises. They run rather smoothly, and since they’re lightweight, they can easily be moved wherever you need them.

For convenience, many electric compressors automatically shut off when the pressure exceeds the set limit, and they then turn back on once the pressure drops low enough. This safety feature makes it easy for your employees to continuously use the machine without having to constantly worry about checking the pressure level. Instead, they can focus on the task at hand.

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