An air compressor is one of the most useful tools in any workshop, but air compressors require regular maintenance and occasional repairs. While repairing an air compressor, you may find yourself asking, “Why use synthetic air compressor oil instead of petroleum-based air compressor oil?”
Synthetic air compressor oil is a better choice because it is made to work at higher temperatures and higher pressures than petroleum-based compressor oil. Synthetic oil is a more resilient lubricant that will protect your air compressor for longer.
The main job of the compressor oil is to keep all the moving parts of your air compressor moving. Synthetic air compressor oil is a better choice for this job because it is more resistant to high heat and high pressure.
Why Use Synthetic Air Compressor Oil
Synthetic compressor oil is made to perform better and last longer than conventional compressor oil—which is made from plant-based products that break down over time.
These synthetic compounds are designed to provide extreme resistance to oxidation and contamination and are often blended with additives to provide additional protection against rust and corrosion.
In addition, they can provide a higher lubrication film thickness—which will reduce the amount of wear and tear on moving parts—and have a higher flash point, which means they’re less likely to combust or explode under pressure.
What Are the Benefits of Synthetic Air Compressor Oil
A synthetic compressor oil is less likely to generate an unpleasant smell than mineral oil. As a result, your equipment may smell less over time.
Less Sludge Build-Up
Synthetic compressor oil has a higher flash point than mineral oil. This means it is less likely to turn into sludge and cause damage to your equipment.
Synthetic compressor oil lasts longer than mineral oil. You may need to change it less frequently with synthetic oil than mineral oil.
Less Expensive Over Time
Synthetic compressor oil is more expensive upfront than mineral oil, but it is cheaper to maintain over time. Mineral oil must be changed more often and may cause damage to your equipment over time—leading to more expensive repairs.
Overall, synthetic compressor oil can provide benefits to your equipment—such as less odor, less sludge build-up, and longer-lasting. It may cost more upfront but may save you money in the long run.
What Are the Disadvantages of Synthetic Air Compressor Oil
Useless In Most Applications
Synthetic air compressor oil is not compatible with most types of air compressors, and is only useful in specific applications—such as industrial or commercial use. It is not usable in household air compressors.
More Expensive than Regular Oil
Synthetic air compressor oil is more expensive than regular oil. It can also be difficult to find—and may not be available in local stores.
Less Effective than Regular Oil
According to some experts, synthetic oil performs worse than regular oil in some regards. It can leak more easily, may not lubricate as well, and can damage the compressor over time.
Less Reliable than Regular Oil
In some cases, synthetic oil can damage the air compressor—and can be less reliable than regular oil. It may leak or become less effective over time.
What Synthetic Air Compressor Oil Is Best
Synthetic air compressor oil is best for high-efficiency compressors—such as those used in air-conditioning units. It’s designed to provide superior lubrication over time and protect the compressor from wear.
Some air compressor oils—such as those based on conventional mineral oil—can clog filters and cause inefficient operation.
It’s important to check the manufacturer’s recommendations when choosing an air compressor oil. Synthetic oils are generally recommended for high-efficiency applications, while mineral oils are suitable for lower-efficiency compressors.
Types of Synthetic Air Compressor Oil
Synthetic air compressor oil has many advantages over traditional mineral oil. It has a longer service life and better protects the air compressor’s seals and moving parts. It also can be used in a wider range of temperatures—from –40 to +120 degrees Fahrenheit—than mineral oil.
Since synthetic air compressor oil can be used in a wider range of temperatures, this means it can be used in hotter weather and during startup when mineral oil’s viscosity may be higher. This helps prevent compressor damage caused by overheating.
Additionally, synthetic oil does not become acidic when it is exposed to air for long periods of time, unlike mineral oil. This means it does not need to be changed as frequently or flushed out as often.
How Often Should You Change Synthetic Air Compressor Oil
Synthetic compressor oil is much more stable than regular mineral oil, so it has a much longer life and can go longer between changes. However, it’s still recommended to change the oil in your air compressor regularly—at least every season.
Overall, synthetic oil has higher viscosity and temperature stability than mineral oil does, so it’s less likely to evaporate or become contaminated. This means it will be better protected against wear and tear, and last longer between changes.
However, over time, the oil will still become thick and dirty, which can lead to decreased efficiency and performance. Changing the oil regularly will help avoid this issue.
Synthetic air compressor oil is better than petroleum-based air compressor oil because it is made to work under higher pressure and higher temperatures. It is also a more resilient lubricant that will protect your air compressor for longer.
We hope you found this article helpful and that you have a better understanding of the differences between synthetic and petroleum-based compressor oils. If you have any comments or questions, please leave them in the comment section below.