Best Rotary Screw Air Compressors of 2023

Best Rotary Screw Air Compressors of 2023

Top-Rated & Best-Selling Rotary Screw Compressors

Melissa, the Air Compressor Expert
By 
Air Compressor Expert

Rotary screw air compressors are the whales of the air compressor world. They offer unmatched power and efficiency, yet are extremely quiet, making them perfect for the heaviest commercial and industrial applications.

If you're in the market for a rotary screw but aren't sure where to begin, I've compiled this list of the best rotary screw air compressors. Even if you're not in the market, keep reading for all the great benefits these machines offer. Click on each air compressor below to view the product page filled with more features, specs, reviews, and other great resources.

The Best Rotary Screw Air Compressors

Best Rotary Screw Air Compressor (Variable Speed) Best StationaryRotary Screw Air Compressor Best Small Mobile Rotary Screw Air Compressor Best Towable Air Compressor Best Skid-Mount Rotary Screw Air Compressor

EMAX ERVK100003 Air Compressor

EMAX ERVK100003

Quincy QGS Air Compressor

Quincy QGS

ABAC AS-3D152W Air Compressor

ABAC AS-3D152W

EMAX EDS185TR Air Compressor

EMAX EDS185TR

X Air SC90D Air Compressor

X Air SC90D


How We Picked the Best Rotary Screw Air Compressors

When recommending rotary screw air compressors, we take five features into account.

Power

We start with the amount of power the air compressor can produce. There are two main characteristics of air compressor power: Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM) and Pounds per Square Inch (PSI). CFM refers to how much air the air compressor can deliver per minute (the volume), while PSI measures the force of the air. These two characteristics work together in a crucial balance to satisfy the needs of your application.

For example, if you're using a tire inflator, airbrush, or dental tools, then having high pressure is more important than high volume. The opposite is true for paint sprayers, nail guns, and other tools where you need more volume. Finally, both CFM and PSI are determined by the motor's horsepower, which is another aspect of power we consider, along with the voltage requirements.

Reliability

A rotary screw air compressor is a sizable investment in your business, so it should last years. That's why reliability is so important when making our best picks. We start with the overall construction and design. What is it made of? Does it have a high-quality rotary air end? How does it stand up to harsh environments and heat?

One critical point to consider when buying a rotary screw air compressor is whether it has a built-in air dryer. Dryers are critical in many quality-sensitive industries for purifying the compressed air of moisture and contaminants. Beyond this, there's the big question: How many years will this air compressor last? By examining reliability and durability, we're making sure you don't have to buy a replacement every few years.

Efficiency

We measure efficiency by how well an air compressor can deliver your air needs with minimal downtime, and at the lowest cost to you as possible. Compressors that can do both very well rank highly because they perform almost continuously, don't slow down your performance, and save you money.

For rotary screw air compressors, we look for a variable speed drive that will continuously calculate air needs and adjust the motors to only work as hard as necessary for the task. Soft start technology is also important for reducing the amount of energy needed for initial startup. Additionally, we consider design aspects such as how integrated the components are and the compressor's overall physical footprint.

Noise

Although rotary screw air compressors are quiet by nature, some are still louder than others, and this could make a difference in sound-sensitive workplaces. That's why we consider noise in our rankings, although it's not as significant a factor as in louder, reciprocating air compressors.

It's important to point out that the measurement of loudness in decibels is not standardized across the industry, and different manufacturers may test the loudness of their compressors differently. To combat the discrepancies, we typically consider brands that pledge to test their loudness consistently through organizations like C.A.G.I. or publish their testing standards so we can fairly compare them with other compressors. Of course, the best and most accurate way to know is to listen to as many compressors as we can in person and make determinations on our own.

Overall Value

Taking all the above criteria into account, along with price, leads us to an overall value appraisal for each air compressor recommendation. We don't go by the "cheapest" air compressor alone because you're going to get what you pay for, and we prioritize performance and quality. The sweet spot of affordability and performance is what we're after.


Best Rotary Screw Air Compressor (Variable Speed): EMAX ERVK100003

EMAX ERVK100003 Air Compressor

I picked the EMAX ERVK100003 three-phase rotary screw air compressor as the best. It's our most popular rotary screw unit, and for good reason. Unmatched power, efficiency, and filtration make this 120-gallon compressor the leader for heavy industrial and manufacturing applications.

This 10-horsepower air compressor provides 45 CFM of airflow at 100 PSI and a maximum of 150 PSI. Its 208/230-volt variable speed motor runs at 1750 RPM and has soft start technology to help reduce energy demand by up to 33%. Noise is a non-issue, with a heavy-duty sound attenuated cabinet bringing it down to only 64 decibels. A PLC controller monitors maintenance, temperature, oil level, and other functions to ensure smooth operation. The integrated electronic drain valve automatically removes condensate.

One of my favorite aspects of this compressor is the built-in refrigerated air dryer, which efficiently filters the air of all solid particles 0.01 microns and larger. By keeping these contaminants out of your air, the dryer will prolong the life of your machinery and tools. It's enclosed in a heavy-duty steel cabinet for durability.

If you want a cream-of-the-crop rotary screw air compressor, the EMAX ERVK100003 is it. Plus, you'll get a generous 10-year warranty on the air-end, 5-year warranty on the cabinet and motor, and a 2-year warranty on the electrical system. It's an investment you should make for serious industrial air applications that will pay off for years to come.

Spec Details Rating
Power 45 CFM @ 100 PSI; 150 PSI maximum;
10-HP 208-230V AC Motor
5 Stars
Reliability Precision engineered rotary air end; 58 CFM Refrigerated air dryer w/ inner cooler (115V); Electronic drain valve; Coalescing air filter 5 Stars
Efficiency Continuous 100% Duty Cycle; Variable speed, 1750 RPM motor; Standard Y/Delta soft start motor provides reduced energy demand on startup; 120-gallon tank 5 Stars
Noise 64 decibels 5 Stars
Overall Value Powerful, efficient rotary screw compressor that will last years 5 Stars

Who It's For:

  • Manufacturers
  • Food Processors
  • Energy Producers

Who It's Not For:

  • Homeowners
  • Contractors

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Runner Up:Atlas Copco GA11

Atlas Copco GA11Our runner-up for best rotary screw air compressor is the Atlas Copco 8153038289, which comes with variable speed operation and a built-in dryer. It'll save you up to 50 percent in energy compared to other units thanks to its high-efficiency, 15-horsepower motor. Able to provide 68.8 CFM at 102 PSI with a maximum PSI of 175 and a noise level of only 63 decibels, this tankless compressor will handle your industrial-grade air needs without disturbing the peace.


Best Stationary Rotary Screw Air Compressor: Quincy QGSQuincy QGS Air Compressor

Providing 20.4 CFM at a whopping 150 PSI and a 100% continuous duty cycle, the 7.5-horsepower Quincy QGS is the best stationary rotary screw compressor for applications ranging from paint booths and component assembly to long-running industrial installations.

Packed with premium standard features, the QGS is perfect for small-footprint, quiet operations that require clean, dry compressed air. To this end, an integrated refrigerated air dryer condenses the air to remove moisture, dirt, and oil. Pre-package filtration ensures low pressure drop while preventing oil contamination. A quiet enclosure brings decibel levels on this compressor down to 64 dBA, or quieter than a normal conversation.

Quincy ensures many years of operation with premium synthetic lubrication that's rated for 8,000 hours and a V-belt drive for reliability. The high-flow, low-consumption fan includes a wide heat exchange surface that improves efficiency, safety, and longevity. A soft start motor further reduces energy use and component wear. Operators will love how easy it is to access the unit and perform maintenance, specifically the hinged doors, detachable panels, and simple fluid monitoring. All this, plus an attractive extended warranty option, makes the QGS a wise capital investment, and I highly recommend it for your business.

Specs Details Rating
Power 20.4 CFM @ 150 PSI; 150 PSI maximum;
7.5-HP 230V AC Motor
4 Stars
Reliability Integrated refrigerated air dryer; Premium synthetic lubrication rated for 8,000 hours; Long Life V-Belt Drive 5 Stars
Efficiency Continuous 100% Duty Cycle; Fixed speed motor; 60-gallon tank 4 Stars
Noise 64 decibels 5 Stars
Overall Value Good-value stationary compressor for factories and shops 5 Stars

Who It's For:

  • Manufacturers
  • Food Processors
  • Energy Producers
  • Autobody Shopowners

Who It's Not For:

  • Homeowners
  • Contractors

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Runner Up:Atlas Copco G7

Atlas Copco G7 Air CompressorThe Atlas Copco G7 71-gallon rotary screw air compressor provides 39.6 CFM at the maximum 125 PSI and includes a 10-horsepower variable speed motor for efficient performance. Its built-in refrigerant dryer cools the compressed air and removes moisture to increase longevity. Although extremely robust, this compressor is also quiet at 64 decibels and will fit perfectly into small and medium commercial applications.


Best Small Mobile Rotary Screw Air Compressor: ABAC AS-3D152WABAC AS-3D152W Air Compressor

Thanks to the ABAC AS-D152W, you can get a small, wheeled rotary screw air compressor for on-the-go needs like one-person construction jobs or commercial automotive applications. This 52-gallon compressor provides 11.3 CFM at 123 PSI and is powered by a 3-horsepower, 230-volt AC motor (power plug not included).

The cornerstone of this air compressor is an integrated block design that makes the unit's compactness and portability possible. The integrated block consists of internally casted channels, integrated valves and fittings, and a robust, single-piece compression and separation system. Minimal parts mean minimal failure points, and you get a highly reliable compressor that eliminates the possibility of leaks.

Beyond this, you get extra durability with a high-density aluminum block that decreases porosity and corrosion, spin-on vertical oil separation that minimizes the risk of damage to equipment, and a C43i rotary air end that reduces vibration and noise. Speaking of noise, the AS-3D152W puts out only 59 decibels, making it one of the quietest on the market. Its compact design lets it fit in a wide variety of locations.

This is one of my favorite air compressors. Period. It's also one of the most unique I've seen. If you want the continuous power of a rotary screw without having to sacrifice portability, you should definitely consider investing in this ABAC unit.

Specs Details Rating
Power 11.3 CFM @ 123 PSI; 130 PSI maximum;
3-HP 230V single phase AC motor; 18-amp draw
4 Stars
Reliability Spin-on vertical oil separation minimizes damage; C43i rotary air end reduces vibration; Fan-cooled motor operates at ambient temperatures up to 115°F 4 Stars
Efficiency Continuous 100% Duty Cycle; Integrated block design minimizes parts and footprint; Energy efficient IE3 electric motor; 52-gallon tank 5 Stars
Noise As low as 59 decibels 5 Stars
Overall Value A revolutionary portable rotary screw compressor that can transform how you work 5 Stars

Who It's For:

  • Autobody Shopowners
  • Construction Workers

Who It's Not For:

  • Homeowners

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Runner Up:X Air SC70 by Con X Equipment

X Air SC70 Air CompressorThe X Air SC70 by Con X Equipment is a reliable runner-up if you need a small, mobile rotary screw air compressor. Producing 70 CFM at 100 PSI with a maximum PSI of 125 and protected by a rugged frame, it's perfect for construction or auto-body air applications like sandblasting, painting, nailing, and more. It is relatively lightweight, quiet at 74 decibels, and offers variable idle control for economic performance. Move it easily around the job site with its retractable handle and pneumatic tires.


Best Towable Air Compressor: EMAX EDS185TR

EMAX EDS185TR Air Compressor

This commercial-grade rotary screw air compressor offers a beastly amount of air power on virtually any job site. The EMAX EDS185TR is towable and will serve you continuously on heavy-duty construction, roadwork, agricultural, and mining applications. In fact, it's DOT-certified for highway use.

You can expect 185 CFM of airflow at 100 PSI and a maximum pressure of 145 PSI. Behind this power lies a 45-horsepower Kubota diesel engine with electric start. One of the best parts is the compressor's variable speed design, which matches air pressure to whatever the job demands and maximizes efficiency. The closed air valve starting system further helps the compressor save energy when first starting up.

Other great features include the compressor's ability to operate at high ambient temperatures, a three-step air-oil separation design that protects key components, and removable side panels that make maintenance access easy. Conveniently located air outlets simplify air-line connections, and an auto adjustable-height tow bar makes connecting the unit to your truck a breeze. There are also extended warranty options. Chances are you already know if you need a towable air compressor and understand the investment. Trust the EMAX EDS185TR to reliably serve your commercial needs for years to come.

Specs Details Rating
Power 185 CFM @ 100 PSI; 145 PSI maximum;
45-HP Kubota diesel engine (12-volt key start)
5 Stars
Reliability Precision engineered rotary air end; 3-Step Air-Oil Separation protects components 5 Stars
Efficiency Continuous 100% Duty Cycle; Variable speed design; Closed air valve starting system; Operates in high ambient temperatures 5 Stars
Noise Estimated 80 - 90s decibels 4 Stars
Overall Value For those who need towable air power, this unit can't be beat 5 Stars

Who It's For:

  • Construction Workers
  • Road & Infrastructure Repair Professionals

Who It's Not For:

  • Manufacturers
  • Homeowners

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Runner Up:ELGi D300T4F

ELGi D300T4F Air CompressorAnother great towable option is the ELGi D300T4F 24-gallon rotary screw air compressor. The powerful, 73.6-horsepower diesel engine provides 290 CFM of airflow at a maximum of 100 PSI to handle the most demanding commercial construction jobs. A single tank of fuel provides more than nine hours of runtime to handle a full day's work. Expect it to last years thanks to low-speed RPMs, a protective metal enclosure, and spin-on oil filters.


Best Skid-Mount Rotary Screw Air Compressor: X Air SC90D by Con X EquipmentX Air SC90D Air Compressor

If you need a powerful, quiet rotary screw air compressor that you can move between construction sites, then the X Air SC90D is your best skid-mounted option. It's perfect for sandblasting, painting, chipping hammers, graffiti removal, nail guns, staple guns, and more. It'll even handle two 60-pound jackhammers.

Such power is possible thanks to the 24.3-horsepower Kubota diesel engine, which provides 90 CFM at 100 PSI and a maximum of 123 PSI through an efficient and high-performance air end. The airflow and pressure are kept constant and continuous, making an air tank unnecessary. It does have a 6.5-gallon gas tank, though, that will let you operate it worry-free for a full day's job.

You can count on the X Air compressor for years to come. A rugged frame safeguards it in harsh environments. Fluid and oil separator systems remove water vapor for a longer lifespan. A sophisticated cooling and lubrication system maintains proper operation and temperature. The unit also includes an automatic full safety shutdown system that protects it from dangerous conditions.

Finally, the X Air is great for useability. A space-saving design and noise level of only 74 decibels minimizes its footprint on the job site. It has two 3/4" FNPT air outlets and easy-to-read gauges for convenient monitoring. Lifting hooks streamline movement around the job site. Overall, this skid-mounted powerhouse is a great investment and will be ready whenever duty calls.

Specs Details Rating
Power 90 CFM @ 100 PSI; 123 PSI maximum;
24.3-HP Kubota diesel engine
5 Stars
Reliability Rugged frame; Automatic full safety shutdown system; Compressor cooling & lubrication system; Fluid & oil separator systems remove water vapor 5 Stars
Efficiency Continuous 100% Duty Cycle; High-efficiency air end; 6.5-gallon gas tank lasts all day; 2-gallon oil compressor capacity 5 Stars
Noise 74 decibels at 23 feet 5 Stars
Overall Value Robust air compressor that can't be beat for heavy mobile commercial jobs 5 Stars

Who It's For:

  • Construction Workers
  • Road & Infrastructure Repair Professionals
  • Energy Producers

Who It's Not For:

  • Manufacturers
  • Homeowners

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Runner Up:EMAX EDS185ST

EMAX EDS185ST Air CompressorMy runner-up pick for the skid-mount category is the EMAX EDS185ST air compressor. It has a 45-horsepower Kubota diesel engine that provides 185 CFM at 100 PSI and a maximum of 145 PSI. A variable speed design and a closed air valve starting system ensures high-efficiency performance. Three-step air-oil separation protects key components, and high ambient temperature operation keeps the compressor running on hot days. Use it for virtually any truck or trailer-mounted application.


Rotary Screw Air Compressor FAQs

How Does a Screw Compressor Work?

A rotary screw compressor gets its name from two spiral screws that rapidly rotate to reduce the volume of air, thereby pressurizing it. This is called positive displacement. As the air travels through the two screws and beyond, a series of filters remove contaminants like dust and debris. After being fully pressurized and filtered, the air moves either into a reserve tank or directly into air equipment.

What are the Advantages of Rotary Screw Air Compressors?

Rotary screw air compressors offer several distinct advantages over reciprocating air compressors.

  1. They are all designed for continuous operation with a 100% duty cycle to handle nonstop air requirements.
  2. The internal screws never touch, which reduces friction and noise. There are also up to 70% fewer parts. The result is less maintenance, lower decibels, and longer lifetime.
  3. They run more efficiently, produce less heat, and use less oil than reciprocating units, saving significant energy.

Discover other benefits in our rotary screw air compressor buyer's guide.

Who Should Buy a Rotary Screw Air Compressor?

Rotary screw air compressors are primarily designed for applications requiring continuous, clean air power. This typically includes commercial and industrial uses in manufacturing, agriculture, energy production, food processing, and healthcare. Construction applications may utilize mobile or towable rotary screw air compressors.

About Melissa

Melissa has been fascinated by air power since childhood when she would help her dad with hobbies using his old compressor. Years later, she would heavily use compressors herself when powering air tools for building theater set designs.

Her ability to fuse her fascination with air tools with her passion for theater exemplifies how compressors can play a role in almost any profession-from brewing to auto work and dentistry to heavy industry. After designing sets for eight years, Melissa worked as a flooring and window treatments manager for seven years before joining the Air Compressors Direct team.

Today, as the air compressor expert, Melissa sets the stage for customers' success with a whole range of air applications. When not at work, she uses air compressors herself on various home improvement projects. Besides this, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, including her cats, outdoor activities, painting, gaming, and watching musicals.

You can count on Melissa to pull back the curtain on air compressors and answer all your questions and concerns!

Melissa, the Air Compressor Expert
By 
Air Compressor Expert
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