3 Best Air Compressor Filters

Air compressor filters are one of the most essential parts of an air compressor. A filter prevents dust and debris from entering, allowing for smooth operation. But not all filters are the same.

Different air compressors may need different air compressor filters. And those particular filters require different maintenance.

Here at Air Power Equipment Co., we’ll break down some important questions about filters for air compressors, as well as take a look at the different types of air compressor filters out there.

As always, feel free to give us a call or visit the rest of our website if you have any questions.



Do I Need a Filter On My Air Compressor?

Yes, you need an air filter on all air compressors.

Providing clean air to your air compressor is essential in so many ways. It extends the lifespan of the compressor, the tools you use with it, and ensures your compressor operates at maximum efficiency.

When Should Air Compressor Filters be Changed?

While every compressor and filter is different, it is common practice to change your compressor filter every 2000 hours of use at a minimum.

Now, 2000 hours is a general rule. But a good eye test can often tell you if a filter needs replacing. If it looks dirty, it is and probably should be replaced. You can dust it off to give it more use, but understand you’ll need to make a trip to the compressor store soon.

If dirty filters become a recurring issue, consider where you use your compressor. Is it in an area that gets more dust and debris than usual? Consider moving to a place with clean air.

Air Compressor Types

The four most common types of air compressors are:

Rotary Screw Compressors

These compressors have an internal cooling system, making them easier to maintain. A rotary screw compressor is a large, industrial-sized compressor that can run with or without oil lubrication.

Two internal rotors turn in opposite directions to generate energy in this compressor. Air gets trapped between the two and builds pressure. These compressors can run for a long time because of the internal cooling system and are great for industrial jobs where constant air is needed.

Reciprocating Compressors

Reciprocating compressors are useful for smaller jobs and home projects. However, reciprocating compressors aren’t designed for prolonged use and need oil to lubricate the internal parts.reciprocating air compressor

This compressor uses a piston and a cylinder to compress air. Reciprocating compressors come in single-stage and multi-stage variations, with single-stage being the less powerful of the two.

Axial Compressors

Axial compressors are massive and typically used in aerospace applications.

Centrifugal Compressors

Centrifugal compressors use multi-stage compression to build pressure efficiently and in a relatively small machine. As a result, they require less maintenance and sometimes don’t need oil lubrication.

Centrifugal compressors can reach roughly 1,000 horsepower and are fit for construction sites.

What is The Best Air Compressor Filter for Painting?

A filter on your air compressor is essential for painting. Otherwise, humidity and moisture in the air can pass through your compressor and dilute your paint with water. The section below will highlight different types of air compressor filters that could be compatible for painting with your air compressor.


air compressor painting

Different Uses for Air Compressor Filters

Keeping Out Water

Filters can do a lot to help keep moisture out of your compressor’s tank.

Keeping Out Particles

Particles like dust, dirt, and even insects can enter your air compressor without a proper filter. As you can imagine, these particles can cause quite a bit of damage to your air compressor and potentially clog it.

Different Types of Air Compressor Filters. How do I Choose an Air Compressor Filter?

Coalescing Filters

A coalescing filter removes water and aerosols, including oil up to 0.01 microns in size. Brands like Arrow and Watts make this kind of filter.

What is The Best Use of a Coalescing Filter?

The best use of coalescing filters is in air compressors used for paint spraying, paper manufacturing, and food preparation.

How to Change a Coalescing Filter

To start, clean debris and dust around the manifold block to prevent contamination.

Take the filter out by unscrewing it with a wrench. Once it’s out, check the exposed area for contamination and clean it as necessary.

Have your new filter on hand. Coat the cleaned area with filter oil, spin the new filter, and turn it tight. But be careful not to make it too tight!

When Should I Change a Coalescing Filter?

A coalescing filter needs changing roughly once a year if properly installed and fitted.

How to Clean a Coalescing Filter

If your coalescing filter looks like it needs cleaning, it is best just to replace it to ensure maximum results.

Vapor Removal Filters

Vapor filters remove vapors, chemicals, and sometimes oil from the air through an absorption process with activated carbon.

What is The Best Use of a Vapor Removal Filter?

The best use of a vapor removal filter is in coordination with a coalescing filter.

Because of a vapor removal filter’s design, absorbing water will cause the filter to use itself up very quickly. Therefore, a coalescing filter must come before the vapor filter.

How to Change a Vapor Removal Filter

Always consider your filter’s user manual for changing instructions. If those aren’t available and you need to replace them, turn off the compressor and let it cool completely.

Remove the filter top cover from the filter base. Then, remove the filter. Secure the new filter in its place, and attach the filter top cover.

When Should I Change a Vapor Removal Filter?

A vapor removal filter needs changing roughly every 2,000 hours of use.

How to Clean a Vapor Removal Filter

You can clean a vapor removal filter by removing it and blowing air directly through it to clear out debris. However, replacing it with a new one is the best practice.Air Compressor Filters

Dry Particulate Filters

Dry particulate filters, like the FS Curtis High-Temperature After-Filters, remove desiccant particles after an absorption dryer. You can also apply dry particulate filters at the point of use to help filter particles out of the compressed air. A dry particulate filter works similarly to a coalescing filter.

A coalescing filter takes out water, and a dry particulate filter takes out dry particles.

What is The Best Use of a Dry Particulate Filter?

The best use of a dry particulate filter is to be the last step in your air filtration process. It is helpful to ensure that the air coming out of your compressor is pure and clean. In addition, painting projects may require a dry particulate filter.

How to Change a Dry Particulate Filter

Always consider your filter’s user manual for changing instructions. If those aren’t available and you need to replace them, turn off the compressor and let it cool completely.

Remove the filter top cover from the filter base. Then, remove the filter. Secure the new filter in its place, and attach the filter top cover.

When Should I Change a Dry Particulate Filter?

The best practice is to change a dry particulate filter when you change your other filters.

How to Clean a Dry Particulate Filter

There are a couple of ways you can clean a dry particulate filter.

You can clean it by hand gently between the filter ridges and clear out the debris. You can also take compressed air to force out the debris.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Air Compressor Filter

There are many types of air compressor filters, and it’s important to keep them all properly maintained to ensure the best performance out of your air compressor.

If you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to contact our customer service team! They’ll be happy to help!

Air Power Equipment Company in Oklahoma City (OKC), is the leading source for new air compressor sales and used air compressor sales throughout the country. We specialize in rotary screw air compressor sales and reciprocal air compressor sales. Air Power Equipment Company is also the best source for air compressor service and air compressor parts in Oklahoma.  If you are looking for new air compressors, used air compressors, air compressor parts, or air compressor service call Air Power Equipment Company OKC. We are experts with all brands of air compressor equipment and we are a stocking distributor of air compressor brands like FS Curtis Air Compressors, Champion Air Compressors, Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressors, Kellogg Air Compressors, American Air Compressors, Quincy Compressor and many more. Call us at (405) 445-1216 – we have what you need, and at the best price you will find.