With the summer season taking a toll, many people are rushing to buy an air conditioner. And once you encounter the situation where you have actually to decide the best air conditioner, things become a bit complicated.

One of the most common questions that buyers most often ask is whether they should buy an air conditioner with reciprocating or rotary compressor.

Today, we will give you the answer for it but first, let us know a little something about the compressors.

How Important Is the Compressor in An Air Conditioner?

An air conditioner consists of three essential components, and these are a compressor, condenser, and evaporator.

The warm air passes through all the three pillars, and then finally you get to have the cool and comfortable air in your room. The compressor compresses the refrigerant to high pressure. The highly pressurized liquid then passes through a condenser where the heat from the liquid is removed, and it is transmitted to the surrounding. The highly pressurized cool liquid then passes through the expansion valve which converts it to gas. The cool refrigerant in the gas form now passes through the evaporator coils, which absorb the heat from the room.

A compressor plays a vital role because it ensures the compression of the refrigerant gas to a high-pressure liquid.

Now, let us have a look at the types of compressors.

Currently, two types of compressors are popular, and these are the Reciprocating and Rotary compressor. We will give individual focus to both the compressors now.

Reciprocating Compressor

Reciprocating or piston compressors have a linear arrangement of the cylinder and pistons. You can visualize the setting of the reciprocating air compressor as something similar to the engine of an automobile. The piston moves in a back and forth motion which compresses the gas before discharging it.

Reciprocating Compressor
Working of a Reciprocating Compressor

Advantages of Reciprocating Compressor

  • It is easy to maintain.
  • It works efficiently at high pressure.

Disadvantages of Reciprocating Compressor

  • It has a noisy operation.
  • The temperature of the air coming out of it is very high.

Rotary Compressor

A rotary compressor consists of a pair of rotors. These rotors have a special design, and they are placed in a manner that there is very little clearance between both the rotors. The rotors then rotate in the opposite direction. The air passing through the space between the rotors gets highly compressed. And that’s how a rotary compressor works.

Rotary Compressor
Working of a Rotary Compressor

Advantages of Rotary Compressor

  • Produce less noise in comparison to a reciprocating compressor.
  • The out-coming compressed air is of low temperature.

Disadvantages of Rotary Compressor

  • It is expensive.
  • A minimum amount of air-usage per day is required for its proper functioning.

Should I Buy a Reciprocating or Rotary Compressor?

Now that you have an idea of both the pros and cons of the different types of air compressors, it will be easier for you to decide which one will be the best for you.

However, just having a look, at the pros and cons of both the air compressors, is not important. The type of air compressor that you should buy highly depends on your requirement.

If you want to buy an air conditioner to cool a small space like a room in your home or office, then you should buy an air conditioner with a reciprocating compressor. This compressor doesn’t need any high maintenance and is perfect for a small space.

However, if you want to buy an air conditioner for cooling a large space that needs long continuous working, then go for the air conditioner that comes with a rotary compressor.

It is because a rotary air compressor requires a minimum amount of usage to increase its durability. If you do not use your air conditioner frequently, the compressor will face the problem of corrosion because of the formation of the air condensate.


When you want to decide the type of compressor that you need in an air conditioner, you need to take care of two factors.

The first one is, of course, the size of the space that you want to cool and the second thing that you need to consider is whether you would be using it frequently or not.

Once, you have a clear idea of these two things; it will be easier for you to decide whether you need to buy an air conditioner with reciprocating or rotary air compressor.

An air conditioner with reciprocating air compressor is best for small space or not so frequent usage. While the air conditioner with a rotary air compressor is best for large areas that require frequent usage.

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Written by


Buying Made Easy. Mr10 India