Which is a better rotary compressor or reciprocating compressor?

Portable Compressor
Portable Compressor

The compressor is a very important machinery item for Air Conditioner. There are many kinds of compressors used in AC. A reciprocating compressor and rotary compressor is one of them.

Definition of Rotary Compressor:

It is positive displacement machinery that is used to compress the content of gas or fluid and displace them by the positive movement of rotating elements.

Working method:

The rotary compressor contains two helical blades or screws of a rotor with an interlock. When the rotors work, the pressure increases and the volume of content decreases. 

Types of Rotary Compressor:

There are two types of ROTARY COMPRESSOR, such as

Rotary screw compressor:

It is a compressor made of two rotating helical screws that force the gas into a little space and it makes the compression of gas though the machine can work. They are commonly seen in commercial and industrial machinery. Its power range is huge, it can be 3 to 1200 hp. It also has some types such as oil-flooded, water flooded and dry type. The efficiency of the compressor depends on its internal air drier. 

This type of compressor is very best for any kind of AC. It can make a vast amount of air cooling as it’s two rotors move helically to move the air.

Rotary vane compressor:

This type of compressor contains some blades in the rotor. The blades slide in and out in circular or complex paths. It also has three types- oil-flooded, water-flooded and dry types. Dry types are used for huge materials works. It is one of the oldest creations of machines in the world of technology.  

This type of compressor is small and it has a very important necessity in the type of noiseless AC. It’s a kind of quiet compressor because the blades rotate inside the gas-containing cylinder.

Rotary Compressor
Rotary Compressor

Reciprocating Compressor

Definition of Reciprocating Compressor: 

Reciprocating Compressor is a kind of piston compressor. It’s a pump with a hydrogen gas compressor which is based on a nonmetallic piston. The piston is made of any kind of positive ionic liquid.

Working method:

It is also a positive-displacement compressor. It uses a piston to deliver content gases or liquid at high pressure. 

Difference Between Rotary Compressor And Reciprocation Compressor

There are many differences between rotary and reciprocating compressors. We can divide the differences between two categories such as,

  1. Constructional difference between rotary and reciprocating compressors.
  2. The functional difference between rotary and reciprocating compressors.

We are discussing the differences between Rotary compressor and Reciprocating compressor.

Reciprocating Compressor
Reciprocating Compressor

Constructional Difference:

  • The rotary compressor uses two rotors such as blade or screw, the reciprocating compressor uses a flexible piston.
  • Rotors and screws of rotary compressors can’t move but the piston of a reciprocating compressor can move rapidly.

Functional Difference:

  • Rotary ones can produce large volume and high-pressure air but reciprocating compressors only can increase air pressure.
  • A Rotary compressor is very much energy-efficient but the reciprocating compressor isn’t that much energy efficient.
  • Rotary ones use minimum residual oil but reciprocating compressors use much oil as well.
  • Rotary ones don’t need much maintenance, though reciprocating compressors need high maintenance.

Causes Of Using Rotary Compressor Except For Reciprocating Compressor In Air Conditioner:

Which kind of compressors is the better one for using in AC? Which one should be the right option for while purchasing an Air Conditioner? Though it is very much tough to distinguish between the two types of compressors. However, here are some fair ideas and documents about the merits and demerits of both these types of compressors.

Advantage of a rotary compressor

  • This type of compressor basically suits a huge cooling system and a big unit of AC.
  • Rotary compressors make much noise while operating the air conditioner.
  • The out-coming air from the AC is not as hot as a reciprocating compressor AC gives. It is quite a low temperature producing compressor.
  • Rotary compressors are more efficient to work in large industrial and factory uses.
  • It can be used for the long term, it is 100% continuous.

Disadvantages of a rotary compressor

There is only one disadvantage of this compressor, these are comparatively quite expensive.

Advantages of a reciprocating compressor:

  • Though the pistons and accessories of reciprocating compressors require some more maintenance, the maintenance is very easy to do and it is not a much expensive procedure too.
  • The reciprocating compressor is capable of working at extremely high pressure.

Demerits of reciprocating compressor

  • The process of working with a piston releases the excess air at a higher temperature which is somehow problematic.
  • The mechanical work of the piston compressor gives vibration and high noise while the compressor functions of AC air.
  • They are not capable of working in large air conditioners of factorial use.
  • Its reliability is low
  • The use of a reciprocating compressor is vulnerable to liquid and dirt particles.
  • It defuses excessive carbon particles.
  • It can’t work continuously for a long term.

So we can realize that there are more disadvantages of using a reciprocating compressor than it’s an advantage for large and huge work done.  Though the total system of a rotary compressor is much expensive, it is most useful for any kind of long term AC.


  • Which kind of compressors can be used for making an Air Conditioner?

Ans: There are many kinds of compressors for many types of machines. Some of them can be used to make AC such as- reciprocating compressor, rotary screw compressor, rotary vane compressor, centrifugal compressor, and scroll compressor. 

  • Which compressor is best for AC?

Ans: If an AC is required for a room or a small place, or less ton of AC, then the Reciprocating compressor will be best for purchasing.

If an AC is required for official and industrial purposes then one should fetch for a Rotary compressor large unit Air Conditioner. 

  • Which type of compressor is commonly used for a home AC?

Ans: Up to 2 units of AC for home is made of a Reciprocating compressor

  • What are the causes of failing an ac function?

Ans: There can be some fault of compressor for failing an AC function like-

Block in section lines

The refrigerant charge becomes low

Inadequate lubricant

Wrong size of a section line 

Dirty or faulty coils

Except for all these causes, contamination of the system and electrical problems can make an AC fail. 

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