This is the featured image for the article Why Does my Air Compressor Need an Air Dryer? 

Air compressors are helpful machines that power tools and appliances around the business and home. When regularly using an air compressor, an air dryer can help remove the water constantly being created by the compressed air. Utilizing a thorough drying system like an air dryer can prolong the life of the air compressor and minimize future costs. Learn more about air dryers and why they’re necessary for every air compressor. 

How do I choose an air dryer for my air compressor?

The best air dryer option depends on the use of the air compressor. When looking for a compressed air dryer, make sure to take note of the maximum amount of pressure and capacity or liters per second of air. Cost is also important in yearly energy needs and hidden costs that you may not realize at the time of purchase. 

It’s important not to compromise when determining the best tool for the job. Have an understanding of how the air dryer regenerates and the increased costs associated with that process. An air dryer will keep an air compressor safely functioning without rust or damage. Any costs cut by purchasing a cheaper air dryer can double or triple when replacing the whole compressor. 

What are the different types of air dryers?

The three most common air dryers are refrigerated, desiccant, and deliquescent.This image is of a refrigerated air dryer for a compressor

A refrigerated air dryer can be used in compressors that do not require special requirements like a lower dew point. Refrigerated air dryers are the standard option for most air compressors. They are easy to install without much worry for consistent maintenance. This type of dryer will take in warm, wet air and use refrigerant and an evaporator to cool it down to three degrees Celsius. This average dew point works for most compressors. The water condenses, then is removed from the compressor before the air is reheated back to room temperature and can be used for tools. 

Refrigerated compressed air dryers can be either cycling or non-cycling. 

  • A cycling air dryer will fluctuate the cooling capacity based on on-air usage, making it the most energy-efficient version.
  • The non-cycling type doesn’t fluctuate power and is the most common due to its reliability and minimal maintenance requirements. This is an infographic about the 3 most common air dryers for an air compressor.

A desiccant compressed air dryer uses a unique material to collect water. This water is dried out in the regeneration process so the compressor can reuse the material. This dryer uses desiccant, often inactivated alumina or silica gel, to collect water from the air. Two desiccant towers are used, while one constantly collects moisture, and the other dries out.

The regenerative process allows the desiccant to dry out the tower, not being utilized through dried compressed air or hot air. The hot air method will use a heater to pull air from the room and blow it over the desiccant. Suppose the dryer uses dried compressed air to dry the desiccant. In that case, less air is used by the compressor and, by extension, any tools or devices. Special dryers also use rotating drums to better utilize the air compressor’s heat for drying the desiccant. 

The desiccant compressed air dryer can have several hidden costs in the regeneration process. First, the pressure drop and the actual desiccant will need replacement after it wears down. 

A deliquescent compressed air dryer is the perfect option for significant drying needs. This dryer uses salt tablets inside a pressurized vessel that absorb water from the air. A brine solution forms as the moisture separates from the compressed air. Deliquescent air dryers don’t use electricity or moving parts and have low maintenance needs. They’re best in colder climates to remove water from pipes that may freeze. However, this type of dryer is not as efficient at suppressing or maintaining the dew point as the other two options. 

These air dryers can help remove moisture from an air compressor and keep it running safely.

Do I need an air dryer?

Every air compressor needs an air dryer to keep the machine running smoothly and without issues. All compressors create water that can be drained but remain an aerosol inside the machine. If this water is not separated, it can damage and corrode parts of the air compressor. To avoid further damage to tools and costly machinery, utilize an air dryer to remove the water you can’t easily spot.

Accumulated moisture can manifest in many ways in an air compressor. Pipes may begin to rust, water will come out of hoses, and air tools can begin to display water spots. Many compressor manufacturers specify that the machine needs frequent dry air to remove water and keep it running smoothly. It’s essential to purchase and install an air dryer before moisture accumulation negatively affects the compressor. 

How do you get the moisture out of your air compressor?

Businesses and homeowners have many options when removing from their air compressors. You can drain the tank to remove created liquid from the machine. A compressor can also use a piping system for air drying. The storage tank cooling method and absorption drying are also excellent choices. There are many physical ways to remove liquid and vapor from an air compressor before it starts to cause damages. 

An air dryer for an air compressor is one of the best options. Many require little maintenance and ensure water is removed constantly from the air. However, it’s essential to address the liquids accumulating in the machine and the aerosol or vapor that is not easily seen. Take the time to research the best air dryer options for specific environments and compressors. There are many options to ensure a compressor isn’t being corroded or damaged by excessive water in the machine. Visit our Air Power Equipment OKC website and help extend the life of your air compressor.


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.