Scroll Compressor and Rotary Screw Compressor - Everything to Know - Air Power Equipment OKC

Scroll Compressor & Rotary Screw: A Guide to Picking Your Compressor

Scroll Compressor vs Rotary Screw

Air compressors have many industrial uses because they generate and store compressed air. The choice between a scroll compressor and rotary screw systems can be significant for those seeking efficient and reliable solutions. At Air Power Equipment Co., we understand the importance of making an informed decision. This guide will delve into the key differences between these systems, offering insights that cater to both the technically inclined and those new to air compression. While both options have their merits, our focus here will spotlight the often-overlooked benefits of scroll air compressors, offering potential buyers a comprehensive understanding to make the best choice for their needs. This article will give you the knowledge you need to invest confidently.


Positive Displacement

Both fall under the category of positive displacement compressors, which means they work by decreasing the air volume to elevate its pressure. This characteristic makes them well-suited for applications demanding high pressure and low flow rates. Scroll compressors achieve this through their unique orbital motion mechanism. In contrast, screw compressors employ interlocking helical rotors, delivering the required pressure for various industrial needs.

Oil Lubrication

Another shared aspect between scroll and rotary screw compressors is their reliance on oil lubrication for smooth operation. While they can technically operate without oil, lubrication significantly enhances their performance and durability. Oil reduces friction, dissipates heat, and ensures airtight seals. Without proper lubrication, the components have increased friction, wear, and tear – potentially leading to reduced efficiency and a shorter lifespan. At Air Power Equipment Co, we emphasize the importance of proper oil lubrication to maximize the longevity and effectiveness of your compressor investment.


While a scroll air compressor has a higher efficiency than a rotary screw, both have higher power conversion efficiency than when you operate reciprocating compressors. They positively lead to a significant reduction in energy costs.

Rotary screw compressors employ interlocking helical rotors, and scroll ones use two spiral-shaped scrolls that enhance efficiency by precisely compressing air in a continuous, synchronized motion. Reduced friction and leakage in the compressors contribute to their improved efficiency.

Industrial Scroll Compressor APEC OKC


Compression Mechanism

A Scroll compressor mechanism is at the top of the vacuum pump. It keeps things tightly sealed so it does not waste energy and squeezes air effectively. In a scroll compressor operating/scroll compressor working process, a spiral-like fixed scroll stays still, and another spiral-like orbiting scroll rotates. When the orbiting scroll compressors move, there is a suction and discharge motion. It forms varying gaps between the two scrolls, enabling air to be sucked in and compressed before it’s ejected through a specific opening with high discharge pressures.

A rotary compression mechanism is at the bottom of a vacuum pump. It has two helical-shaped screws fitted together but rotating in different directions. They move the air or compressed gas from the inlet, compressing it and creating a low pressure at the outlet.

 Compression Process

A scroll air compressor compresses air without gaps or pauses, making the airflow steady and strong.

On the other hand, a rotary compressor compresses air with some gaps or pauses, so the airflow is uneven and weak.

Volumetric efficiency is how well a compressor squeezes air or gas compared to the power used. A 100 volumetrically efficient process means the compression wastes no energy or power. But scroll compressors are closer to this than rotary screw compressors, with an optimal efficiency of up to 94%.


A rotary compressor is more complex because it has more parts requiring careful alignment and maintenance. A scroll compressor has fewer parts, and maintenance is not a big deal. However, when it malfunctions, it’s not easy to fix it, and you may have to replace it. It has a higher risk of leakage due to the gaps between the scrolls, unlike the rotary screw.

Size and Output

A scroll compressor is more compact and less powerful than a rotary compressor because it compresses less air and takes up less room. It is ideal for tasks that require low to medium air output and high efficiency. On the other hand, a rotary compressor is more bulky and more powerful because it compresses more air and takes up more room. It is ideal for high-air output tasks in industrial and commercial settings.

Noise Levels

A scroll compressor is quieter than a rotary compressor because it shakes less and makes less noise from the moving parts since it has no valves. It is perfect for jobs requiring silent operation and low environmental impact. A rotary compressor is louder than a scroll compressor because it shakes more and makes more noise from the moving parts since it has valves. Though quieter than other compressors, a rotary compressor may require extra noise reduction methods for jobs requiring low noise levels.

Scroll Compressor Pressure Output Air Power Equipment OKC

Is a Scroll Compressor Right For You?

How do you choose between a rotary screw and a scroll air compressor? It depends on what you need and how much you can spend. Both have advantages and disadvantages, and your current needs can guide your decision. If you need a lot of air output and space is not a problem, you can pick a rotary compressor. A scroll air compressor can work if efficiency and cooling power are your main concerns. Their smaller size will save you space and make them easier to install and maintain. However, scroll air compressors cost more than screw compressors, but their efficiency compensates for that.

About APEC

You have come to the right place if you need a reliable and efficient air compressor. Air Power Equipment Co. has the best rotary screw and scroll air compressors from leading brands like Jenny, Gardner Denver, IR Ingersoll Rand, and Atlas Copco. We have been serving our customers since 1979 and have the experience and expertise to help you find the perfect air compressor. We also service and maintain air compressors on-site, using our vastly experienced, factory-certified experts. We have a locally owned shop in Oklahoma and earned the gold award for two years straight. Don’t miss the opportunity to choose APEC for your air compressor needs. Contact us today and discover why we are the best in the industry.

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.