Reciprocating VS Rotary- Air conditioners Compressor

Reciprocating VS Rotary- Air conditioners Compressor

Air conditioner is a system or a machine that is habituated with our modern lifestyle. Usually, it enclosed area via a refrigeration cycle in which warm air is removed and replaced with cooler air. To run the system air conditioner needs some components. The compressor is one of them.

What Is a compressor?

A compressor is a mechanical device that increases the pressure of gas by reducing its volume. Compressor is similar to pumps, both increase the pressure on a fluid and both can transport the fluid through a pipe. Liquids are comparatively incompressible; while some can be compressed, the main action of a pump is to pressurize and transport liquids.

Purpose Of Compressor?

  • It reduces the volume of gas and increase the pressure of gas.
  • It transports liquids.
  • An air compressor is a device that converts power by using an electric motor, diesel or gasoline
    engine etc into potential energy stored in pressurized air.
  • An air compressor forces more and more air into a storage tank to increase the pressure.
  • It raises the temperature and pressure of the vapor refrigerant that leaves the evaporator coil.
  • The air being cooler outside allows the heat to transfer to it in the refrigerant when it goes
    through the condenser coils.

In this article you will know about two types of compressors named reciprocating and rotary compressor. You will also get to know the differences between them and which will better for you.

Reciprocating compressor :

It is usually meant for sporadic use, especially when you need a smaller amount of air. This type of compressor is better for homeowners well. It is the best and most appropriate to serve the needs of the home owners, workshops, small business entities, construction works, etc. The compressor compresses the air with the pistons that always move up and down inside the cylinder.

Pros :

  • It is easy to maintain the piston and the shafts since they both require care and maintenance.
  • The compressor and the components of this is not much costly. So easy to bear.
  • The reciprocating compressor has the capacity to work at very high pressure.

Cons :

  • This entire process releases the air at a very high temperature.
  • When the compressor is functioning, you may experience vibration and very high noise which
    irritates the ears.

Rotary compressor :

The rotary compressor consists of a pair of rotors of a special design having very little clearance between each other. These rotors rotate in opposite directions and the air is passed through them to emerge at a higher pressure than before. They trap the air between causing the compression to occur. It is designed in a way that it needs continuous air. These types of compressors are the best choice for commercial and industrial users that requires Constant demand of air.

Pros :

  • The compressor is mailnly designed for large-scale cooling. It’s the best for offices, factories,
    and the industries.
  • It is very friendly it doesn’t produce much noise as compared to reciprocating compressor.
  • The out-coming air is also good as it’s not as hot as the one you experience with the
    reciprocating compressors.

Cons :

  • This type of compressor is very expensive compared to reciprocating compressor.
  • This type of compressor is only used for a specific minimum period of time. It can’t be used throughout. It is better suited in offices and any other business enterprises.

Differences between reciprocating and rotary compressor :

There are some differences in the design and use of these compressors.

Use of area :

The Reciprocating compressor is used for small space like homes or small workshops. Rotary compressor is better for big space as like industrial and commercial area.

The pistons

One major difference is that, the reciprocating compressors use pistons while the rotary compressors don’t. A reciprocating compressor has its piston to move up and downwards, the movement helps to reduce the pressure in its cylinder by creating a vacuum. The difference in the pressure formed tends to force the cylinder door to open to bring the gas in. When the cylinder goes back up, the pressure is increased by forcing the gas back out. The up –and- down motion is known as the reciprocating motion.

3. The rollers:

The rotary compressor has rollers. This roller usually sits slightly off center in the shaft of with one of its side touching the wall. They normally move at a very high speed and achieve the same objective just like the reciprocating compressor. The one part of the shaft is usually sets at a different pressure than the other. So this enables the gas to enter at a very low pressure than the other and exit at a very high pressure point. So, these two compressors have two different ways to use. You have to select your purpose first then you can make your choice.


It’s always very important that the customers should study before buying and get to know better how the AC compressors operate and function. The choice of the customer will be determined by the use. Improper use of the compressor might lead to corrosion of the metals. It will cause a huge damage to the motors.

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