What type of air compressor oil should I choose?

Jump to your selection ⤸

Oil-lubricated air compressors logically require oil. But you might ask yourself: what kind of air compressor oil should I choose? Your choice depends on a few different factors: the additive properties of the oil itself, your equipment, the conditions in which the air compressor operates and what kind of maintenance it requires to function properly. We will tell you all about making the right oil choices in this article. 

What makes air compressor oil different from other oils?

Air compressor oil might be synthetic or non-synthetic, or a mixture of both. You have to consider that  air compressor lubricants have different functions:

  • Lubricate

  • Prevent corrosion

  • Prevent contamination

  • Prevent premature wear and tear

The right additives make sure that the requirements of your equipment are met according to the ambient conditions.

What kind of additives are in air compressor oil?

So you’ll need a balanced mix of synthetic and/or non-synthetic additives to ensure the best results. We’ll tell you all about the types of additives found in compressor oil:

Antioxidant additives

They make sure the oxidizing process and acid-forming is delayed. They lengthen the lifespan of the lubricant, protect your equipment while it’s not operating and make sure your oil is used in different conditions.

Surface activity additives

These additives make sure that your oil doesn’t foam. Foam makes for a higher oxidation rate, since it exposes more oil to oxygen. You’ll need these additives to make sure that your oil separator is not saturated. It’s essential to reduce pressure drops and increase the lifespan of your air compressor.

Oil demulsification additives

These additives make sure that water gets separated from oil: your system is therefore protected from so-called oil/water emulsions.

What about my equipment?

Every specific type of compressor requires a specific type of oil. Using a general lubricant is not advised, since it will never be as equipment-specific as specialized oils and lubricants. When acquiring your compressor, we will always give you the right advice on which lubricant you should use. That way you’ll always be able to lengthen the lifespan of your machines and reduce production and maintenance costs.

What happens if I make the wrong choice?

Let’s say you’ve made the wrong choice, or are about to make an uninformed decision. This can have dire consequences, like for instance: 

  • Shortening of your equipment lifespan

  • Deposit forming on oil circuits and moving parts

  • Insufficient lubrication

  • Degradation of the sealing mechanism

  • Corrosion

  • Overall lack of performance

One tip: follow the manufacturer’s recommendations

When choosing air compressor oil, you can’t just pick something up that seems suitable. The only way to ensure that you’re not paying too much for maintenance, production or repair is following the manufacturer's instructions. Our specialists are eager to help you make the right choices. We are ready to help you pick out the right air compressor oil. 

Want to know more about air compressor oil?

Curious to know what we can help you with? Get in touch with us and we’ll help you straight away.

⇪ Back to top ⇪

Trust your air compressor maintenance to an expert

Everything mentioned in this article, is a simplified version of things to keep in mind when servicing your air compressor installation. Never perform any work on your screw compressor, piston compressor, air treatment or other equipment that you are not qualified to perform, but instead consult an expert.


Specialised air compressor experts know your system inside and out and are licensed to handle any situation, no matter what issue arises. Moreover, they’ll be able to provide pointers on how to better use your compressor.


Maintaining your air compressor is far more sustainable than buying a new one every few years, so make sure you take the time to really keep it up. If you’re looking to save money, refrain from buying a second hand compressor, and focus on quality parts and preventative maintenance.


Looking for some assistance? Get in touch with our experts for services that meet your needs.

Read more about air compressors in related articles