Difference Between Single-Stage and Two-Stage Air Compressor

Sometimes when we throw out the terminology associated with air compressors, new clients look at us like we have two heads.  One of the explanations that draws the most follow-up questions is the difference between one-stage and two-stage compressors.

The answer is actually simple, but it also brings up other questions, so let’s clear up what we can here.

The big difference between a single-stage compressor and a two-stage compressor is the number of times air gets compressed once it is taken in.  A single-stage compressor compresses once, a two-stage twice.  Easy enough.

Two-stage compressors can manage larger loads, up to 200psi.  Single-stage compressors are generally used in smaller operations with lower psi requirements.

Follow-up questions usually include the best uses of each compressor.

Two-stage compressors produce more power which makes them ideal for larger-scale operations, and in facilities that require a constant supply of compressed air. Two-stage compressors are also more expensive, making them primarily used in large factories and professional workshops, rather than in the weekend craftsman’s wood shop.

When we’re deciding which compressor might be best for your facility, we ask several questions- starting with the operating pressure your facility will be working with. The larger that number is, the more likely your operation will require a two-stage compressor.

Does your compressor need to be permanently installed, or will you need to move it around? Higher pressure needs and larger capacities will necessitate a two-stage compressor.  Single-stage compressors are smaller and more portable.

Single-stage compressors also lend themselves to gasoline power, where two-stage compressors tend to be electrical.

If you still have questions about single-stage versus two-stage compressors beyond “what’s the difference?” we can absolutely help you navigate this decision and place the exact correct air compressor in your facility- whether you are managing a giant facility or a small garage wood shop. We’ve got the just the right compressor for you.

About Air Components

Air Components

Air Components & Systems is the leader in providing efficient compressed air systems, parts, and repair. With locations in Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina, we are able to assist with your compressor needs right away. Call us at (866) 413-8077.