Product knowledge

The difference between screw compressor and reciprocating compressor

Screw compressor VS Reciprocating compressor:

screw compressor and reciprocating compressor
Screw CompressorsReciprocating (Piston Type) Compressors 
Screw compressors use two meshing helical screws, to compress the air.Reciprocating compressors use pistons driven by a crankshaft to compress the air.
The screw compressor has two moving parts that do not touchThere are many moving parts like piston, piston ring, crankshaft, connecting rod, valves, etc. that cause wear and tear.
The internal air-end (screw component) operating temperature is approximately 80 to 99 ℃The internal temperature at which the pistons operate is around 150 to 200 ℃. This is because of the friction generated by the piston rings in contact with the cylinder wall.
Suitable for 24 hours (continuous operation)Suitable for intermittent use. Avoid overheating and wear.
very low wear & tearHigh wear & tear
Structure compact. Very small space is required and the machine is very compact.More space is required.
Screw compressors are available in low-noise version [noise levels are within 75 dB(A)?3 which can be kept in workshop.Noise levels can be up to 100-dB (A)
In the Screw Compressor, capacity is not lost/loss is very small for a period of time.In reciprocating compressor, capacity drops over a period of time due to wear on cylinder crank case, piston rings, pistons and valves.
Cooling system- Screw compressors can provide air cooled, in most cases water cooled is not required.Small compressors are air cooled, but large machines of 30HP and above are just water cooled, which will increase operating / maintenance / capital cost.?

The Features of screw compressor and reciprocating compressor:

Screw compressor

screw compressor features:

  1. Optional designs and enclosures to reduce noise
  2. More energy efficient
  3. Produces less heat
  4. Works well in extreme temperatures
  5. Safe and relatively small size
  6. Continuous operation without piston cooling
Reciprocating compressor

Reciprocating compressor features:

  1. Generate high power and high pressure
  2. No oil residue
  3. Larger compression range
  4. More suitable for intermittent operation
  5. Most commonly used compressor
  6. Lower initial set-up cost

Bitzer screw compressor and reciprocating compressor, which one is better?

For screw compressors, there are many brands available, such as German Bitzer, German Grasso, China Hanbell, Japan Mycom, and so on. Now we’ll take German Bitzer for example.

Bitzer screw compressors are efficient, robust, and durable. With the normal operation, roller bearing service life could be up to 40,000 hours. It means that within 4~5 years, no problems with these compressors.

Screw compressors are much simple, while very complicated to fix. So just replace it with the new compressor in due time.


But still, many customers prefer reciprocating compressors.  It’s very easy to fix any problems. So do you know which one is better for you now?

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