Air Pump Vs Air Compressor – What Is The Difference?

We usually confuse both terms when talking about Air Pump Vs Air Compressor. Many people think that air pumps and air compressors are the same, but this is not the case.

Although they look similar, they are different from each other. This post will discuss air compressor versus air pump differences in detail. You should be aware of all the differences between air compressors and air pumps, especially when you want to use the right tool for the job.

The main difference between a pump and a compressor is the operating method. Along with this, the air pump and air compressor are different inefficiencies.

What do you mean by Air Pump Vs Air Compressor?

An Air compressor is an incredible machine that uses the power of air pressure to complete different types of tasks. While using the air compressor, the air comes out from the machine through pressure or force to strike the particular element and then make it work.

So we can say that air compressors are similar to an impact wrench or nail gun. All these machines are very efficient in finishing the work within a few seconds. Therefore, air compressors are potential machines with various uses, such as spraying things or painting.

How to Setup Air Compressor in Your Garage?

If we talk about an air pump, it is a machine that gives air to aerate any element or fill up a crowded place. Air pumps are also used for various purposes, and basically, it is famous for inflating something.

We all know that air pumps fill up a bike tire or a car tire. Air pumps might be electric or manual, where their only purpose is to fill up the air in tires or balloons.

Air Pump Vs Air Compressor

Comparison Table

Air Compressor

Air pump

Very high output pressure

Much lower output pressure

High output pressure can be used in different power tools and fill big tires' air.

Low output pressure can only drive a few air tools, and it is also best for filling a low-pressure tire.

Air compressors can easily store pressurized air in a tank.

Air pumps do not store air.

Air compressors are expensive where prices range from 100 to 1000 dollars.

Air pumps are cheaper where the price ranges from 20 to 40 dollars.

Air compressors blow pressurized air when the tank is empty.

The air pump blows air continuously.

Air compressors usually work with the help of electricity or gas.

Air pumps are generally powered by electricity or by hand.

Air compressors give you excellent storage capacity.

Air pumps have no storage capacity.

1. Difference between pump and compressor based on its working

There is also a difference depending on its working. A vacuum pump typically works by taking air from a closed environment. Therefore, it gives the pumping process a positive discharge with no high pressure.

On the other side, air compressors take air from the open environment and compress the air with high pressure. So we can quickly evaluate that a vacuum pump works with low pressure whereas an air compressor works with high pressure.

The main similarity between the vacuum pumps and compressor is that both work by moving the fluid from one location to another. However, the vacuum pump typically uses less power.

2. Moving Liquids or Gasses? 

Compressors only use gasses where their primary function is to convert air into pressurized air. However, usually, people use Air pumps to move the gasses and the liquids through some systems.

Air compressors typically squeeze the volume before transfer. Therefore, the primary function of air compressors is to reduce the volume of the gas and then pump it to whatever place you want.

On the other hand, air compressors are not suitable for liquids because when you compress the liquids, it will be harder to move them, and it also requires a lot of power.

3. The Difference In Appearance

If we compare the difference between the pump and the compressor, the significant difference is the appearance. Air compressors typically consist of storage tanks, drain, casing, intake filter, valves, and a motor.

However, on the other side, the air pump consists of simple essential parts, such as a volute, impeller, shaft, casing, and motor. The air is forced into the desired space with the help of a piston in an air pump. Forcing the air with the help of a piston is the best way to inflate the object.

4. Maintenance of Air Pump & Air Compressor

If we talk about the maintenance of the air pumps and air compressors, then air compressors require regular maintenance. The reason is that in an air compressor, delicate parts are present. These delicate parts are crankshafts and pistons mostly.

There is always a regular need for the lubrication of the air compressors. Usually, people lubricate the air compressors after every 120 hours or at least once a year, depending on the work and uses.

It is highly recommended to use high-quality lubrication purposes, which increases the longevity of the air compressor. On the other hand, air pumps do not need any maintenance, and they can efficiently work as long as possible.

Air compressors work with the help of professional supervision and maintenance, But air pumps do not need any services and are also easier to maintain.

5. Output Air Pressure

There is also a difference in pressure in both devices. So air pumps can quickly produce 30 to 50 PSI pressure, whereas air compressors can produce up to 200 PSI pressure.

So we can say that air compressors are primarily ideal for heavy-duty work compared to air pumps. Air pumps are typically used for compressing gasses in their applications.

So from the above discussion, we have concluded that Air pumps are not very powerful compared to air compressors. But still, they can inflate tires and be used in other types of applications.

6. Prices

As discussed earlier, air pumps are not as powerful as air compressors. Therefore they are available at cheaper rates. So the price of air pumps ranges typically from 20 to $40, whereas air compressors are available at costly prices from hundred to thousand dollars.

As it is a matter of your job, you should not compromise on quality. According to manufacturers, you should purchase a high-quality product that could last long and give its best performance every time without any problem.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the primary difference between an air compressor and an air pump?

The primary function of an air compressor is to squeeze the volume of the gas and then pump it out anywhere. On the other side, the primary function of an air pump is to move the liquid or gas from one place to another. So in air pumps, you can use liquid or gas, whereas the compressor is only confined to the gasses.

At what time should we use the pump and compressor?

Usually, we use compressors by increasing the pressure of a gas in a motor-driven machine. On the other side, a pump expands energy and transports it to compress the fluids like liquid or gasses.

Why is the air pump primarily used for gasses?

Air pumps are mainly used for gasses because gasses can be compressed. When we introduce something to a fluid, a pressure is generated, responsible for fluid motion. On the other hand, the pressure waves are fragile in the case of gasses, and therefore they can be compressed very efficiently.

Final words

This post discussed what air pumps and air compressors are and the main differences between them. There are some similarities between the pump and compressor and the differences.

The primary difference is that an air compressor compresses the air and stores it in a high-pressure tank, whereas an air pump takes air from one point to another.

So before purchasing an air pump or air compressor, make sure you know your needs. I hope this article will help you clear your view about the difference between an air compressor and an air pump.