A Comprehensive Guide: The Ins and Outs of Used Air Compressors

The world of industrial manufacturing heavily depends on the reliability and efficiency of its equipment. Air compressors are no exception. While brand new air compressors offer perks, such as, cutting-edge technologies and warranties, they can also be a considerable investment. Opting for used air compressors can significantly cut costs without compromising on performance.

At Air Handling Equipment, we offer used air compressors from industry-leading brands. Our inventory includes oil-free and lubricated rotary screw and reciprocating compressors, ranging from 5 HP to 500 HP. Each used air compressor is inspected and tested by our experienced technicians. We utilize state-of-the-art load test equipment that simulates field application use and perform full service PMs on each used air compressor to ensure our customers are receiving a used air compressor that is in good condition. Our customers are educated on their options, price points, and use-of-equipment (i.e., age, hours, service history). Customer service and satisfaction are important to us, so we’ve put together the following guide.

This comprehensive guide aims to provide industrial manufacturers and businesses with valuable insights into used air compressors. We’ll cover their functionalities, advantages, selection, and maintenance tips to help you make the most informed decision while protecting the bottom line.

Understanding Air Compressors and Their Functionality

Air compressors are an indispensable component to countless of industries. Industries served are: aerospace & defense, agriculture, automotive, construction, chemicals, consumer products, paper, healthcare, technology, oil & gas, metal & steel, clay & glass, building materials, and many more. They work by converting power from an electric motor or gas/diesel engine into potential energy stored in the form of compressed air. This stored energy can then be utilized to power various tools and equipment, enabling them to perform their designated tasks more efficiently.

Benefits of Choosing Used Air Compressors

Used air compressors provide several advantages to industrial manufacturers. First, purchasing a used air compressor can result in significant upfront cost savings, as these units are typically less expensive than their brand-new counterparts. This allows businesses to allocate more resources to other critical aspects of their operations.

Secondly, depreciation slows down, resulting in stronger value. Unlike new equipment that can take a depreciation hit early on, used equipment holds its value, giving you a strong ROI. Furthermore, if well-maintained, used air compressors can meet the quality and production standards of new air compressors. This means you can reap the benefits of upfront cost savings without compromising on performance and reliability.

Lastly, Air Handling Equipment stocks a large selection of used air compressors for sale or rent. In today’s supply chain, lead times have been hit hard across all industries, new compressors included. Which is why we’ve increased our stock of used air compressors, understanding the value of quicker delivery and installation. In addition to the vast selection of used air compressors, we carry stock of used air dryers and storage tanks.

What to Look for When Selecting a Used Air Compressor

Before diving into specific models and configurations, consider these factors when purchasing a used air compressor:

Application: Determining the type of air compressor best suited for your application will vary depending on a number of factors. For instance, a rotary screw compressor might be suitable for continuous use applications, while a reciprocating compressor can be ideal for intermittent usage. Additionally, it is important to understand your operation’s air quality standards in accordance with ISO 8573.1 or (if applicable) food industry requirements, such as SQF & GFSI.

Capacity: Make sure the used air compressor can handle your production capacity. The capacity is typically measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM) or liters per minute (L/min). Be sure to select one that meets or exceeds your required capacity. Having additional capacity and/or redundancy is always recommended to minimize production downtime.

Pressure: Ensure the air compressor can achieve the necessary working pressure, measured in pounds per square inch (PSI) or bars. This can be measured and controlled a few ways. Most commonly, customers will add a pressure flow controller after a storage tank or point of use regulators to hold required PSI levels across the facility.

Power Source and Supply: Decide whether an electric, gasoline, or diesel-powered air compressor best fits your requirements. Energy costs can account for over 75% of your air compressor costs after installation. Electric compressors are usually energy-efficient, but gasoline or diesel compressors offer greater mobility. Furthermore, variable speed compressors can offer greater energy cost savings (up to 30%) throughout the useful life of an air compressor. Lastly, make sure to review your current power supply, as you may be limited by your current setup (208/230/460 volt & 1/3 Phase sources). Depending on your situation, you may be required to upgrade your power supply to accommodate a larger air compressor.

Space: When purchasing a used air compressor, keep in mind your available space and layout considerations for installation. It is important to give air compressors enough space to regulate heat, provide a clean environment to supply clean intake air, and consider placement in relation to your employees work area as air compressors can create noise in the range of 50-80 dBA.

Condition: Take time to evaluate the air compressor’s condition. This can be achieved by partnering with a trustworthy supplier that inspects the compressor’s components, checks for signs of wear and tear, and performs the appropriate repairs and maintenance.

These factors will help you in the initial research of your used compressed air options. If you’re unsure on any of these selection factors or would like to consult with a professional for reassurance in choosing the best suited used air compressor for your application, reach out to us! The experienced team at Air Handling Equipment will ensure you’re meeting your budget while maximizing your compressor’s potential.

Ensuring Proper Installation and Set-Up

Correctly installing and setting up a used air compressor will help prevent any operational issues down the line. In addition, Incorrect installation can be hazardous.

Hiring a professional technician to help with the installation process can save you valuable time and resources. Air Handling Equipment has a fully staffed install team, available and prepared to provide turnkey solutions for any application. Our technicians will ensure the correct positioning of the compressor, proper electrical connections, and setting the pressure setting requirements. Furthermore, we can supply/replace/add compressed air pipe based on new production lines or volume requirements. Often times, we see that with upgraded systems, velocity is impacted. Supplying the properly sized compressed air line is critical for delivering required CFM at the proper PSI level. Lastly, we can also assess the need for any additional accessories, such as refrigerated air dryers, desiccant air dryers, filtration, or oil water separators, that might be necessary for optimizing and protecting your compressed air and production equipment, as well as, maintaining proper compliances for your specific application.

Used air compressors also have the option to take advantage of innovative compressed air technology. Just because you’re purchasing a used air compressor doesn’t mean you can’t maximize its potential. Technology add-ons have been designed to fit a variety of air compressors and can increase the life-span of your equipment. If you’d like to read more about the role of technology in compressed air systems, check out Compressed Air Management – Partnering with Technology to Optimize Your Compressed Air System.

Maintenance Tips for Your Used Air Compressor

Proper maintenance of your used air compressor is crucial in ensuring its longevity and efficiency. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations, which may include regular inspection of the compressor’s components, changing the oil, and replacing filters as needed. In addition, it is vital to keep a record of maintenance activities performed, helping you identify potential issues and avoid unexpected downtime.

Another area to properly maintain is your compressed air lines. If you believe your air compressor is running non-stop, even during breaks, this could be pointing toward air leaks within your compressed air system. Wasted air is one of the most costly factors associated with owning compressed air systems. This is a common issue but often neglected. Early leak detection is important for protecting your system and your budget. As part of Our Services, the technicians at Air Handling Equipment are professionally trained to identify leaks and potential problems.

Like the rest of your equipment in your facility, compressed air equipment is subject to normal wear and tear. Used air compressors come with additional wear and tear, making preventative maintenance extremely important for protecting your investment and minimizing costly repairs and unscheduled downtime. Ask us today about our UPTIME performance and how you can benefit from customized plans.


Opting for a used air compressor can present significant cost savings and operational advantages for industrial manufacturers. Understanding the selection of used air compressors can ensure that you invest wisely and make the most of your equipment. By considering this guide, you can maximize the potential and productivity of your used air compressor.

With office locations in Sidney, Milford, and Gahanna, Air Handling Equipment has been providing compressed air system solutions to the Midwestern and Southern Ohio markets since 1977. This includes proudly serving the greater Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Lima and Findlay, Ohio areas. For questions about our selection of used air compressors, call one of our locations or fill out our online contact form and someone from our team will get back to you as soon as possible.