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A Buyer’s Guide to Rotary Vane Air Compressors


Buying an air compressor can be a difficult given the variety available today. There are so many options when it comes to configuration, size, capacity and brand that potential buyers can end up confused about which compressor is right for their business.


Rotary pumps are widely used across industries and applications, from supercharging and power steering in cars, to providing the pressure for soda dispensers and coffee machines.

Here is a brief look at the mechanical structure of rotary vane air compressors.

The rotary vane compressor comprises of a cylindrical rotor that is placed inside a cavity or a housing. The rotor also has a few grooves or slots inside which the vanes are placed. The rotor is intentionally placed in a position where it almost comes into contact with the housing it is encased in. This off-center placement allows the vanes to be pushed out through the use of centrifugal force, allowing air to be trapped between them. This air is then reduced in volume and pressurized by the rotating motion of the rotor.

At Compressor World, we want our customers to get the most value for their money and this can happen only when you are rightly informed about any product we offer. So we have prepared a rotary vane air compressor buying guide that will help you consider important factors you should know before buying rotary vane compressors.

Read this guide before you invest your money, and understand which factors matter most in your context and to decide if rotary vane compressors will suit your needs best or not.


Factors to consider when buying a rotary vane compressor

Duty cycle

The duty cycle is essentially the capacity for the compressor to run at peak performance before it starts to overheat or massively deteriorate. Typically measured as a percentage, the duty cycle is an extremely important factor to consider when purchasing a compressor. If you need something heavy duty to run for extended periods of time without issues, a high duty cycle percentage is a must.

Not all compressor configurations allow for a high duty cycle percentage. However, the rotary vane typically offers close to a 100% duty cycle figure. Lower revolutions and operating temperatures coupled with liquid cooling mean the rotary vane compressor can typically run at full tilt without causing excessive temperatures or wear in the moving parts.


The major maintenance for rotary vane air compressors comes from replacing the oil, cleaning out the oil filters and air filters, and replacing both the aforementioned filters at a certain point in time after continuous use. None of these components are too expensive, and they are relatively easily available and easy to replace. The rotary vane air compressor also tends to have a long operational life if its maintenance plans and schedules are followed accurately. The vanes are the main moving components in a rotary vane, and usually the moving components face the most wear. Not in this case though, because rotary vane compressors have oil films to protect the vanes. This means they don’t come in direct contact with either the grooves or the inside of the rotor during the compression process. As long as you ensure basic and timely maintenance for your compressor as mentioned earlier happens, you won’t need to worry about any short term expenditure that involve replacing or repairing moving parts.

Long term costs

We have already established that rotary vane compressors are relatively cheap to maintain. They are also low on power consumption, which is a good thing economically in the long run. A tight, leak-free air seal results in less air loss. Other types of compressors usually need to compensate for air loss at higher rotating speeds, but this is not the case with rotary vane air compressors. The speeds at which the rotor turns here is relatively low, typically between 1000-1500 RPM based on the compressor make and manufacturer. This results in lower power consumption figures of course, but also has the added benefit of lower temperatures and lesser noise from the device.

Initial costs

While rotary vane compressors are typically more expensive than regular piston compressors, if you want to run your compressor smoothly over long periods, the performance of vane compressors definitely justify the initial cost. At Compressor World we offer both finance solutions and a price match guarantee on a wide range of rotary vane air compressors.

Popular rotary vane compressor brands

Here are some of the most popular, reliable and respected brands that manufacture rotary vane air compressors.

  • Mattei Compressors
  • Hydrovane
  • Champion
  • Chicago Pneumatic Air Compressors


Now that you are up to speed on what a rotary vane compressor is, how it works, and what its primary attributes and advantages are, you will know exactly what you are getting for the money you put in to buying one. If you want the best rotary vane air compressors out there, you can only go to one place – Compressor World.

Check out our wide variety of compressors today, and if you have any doubts or need further assistance to decide the right compressor, contact our experts today.

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