Reciprocating vs Rotary Compressor in Air Conditioner

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India’s summers can be very hot. AC is a must-have accessory in every home. The AC can be turned on and you will enjoy a cool experience.

Before you can enjoy the cool air, there are many processes that go into the AC machine. Before we get into the AC compressors, let’s first look at the basics of air conditioning.

Reciprocating vs Rotary Compressor in Air Conditioner

Air conditioning – The basic principle


An AC unit is made up of three components: the compressor, condenser, and evaporator. The heart of an AC unit is its compressor.

The compressor’s primary function is to draw cool, low-pressure refrigerant gases and compress them. This converts it into a higher temperature and pressure, resulting in the emission of hot, high-pressure gases.


Fans take control by blowing cold air on the coil, extracting heat, and then transferring it to the outside air. Once the heat has escaped from the gas, it will condense into a warm liquid.

The liquid is then allowed to flow under high pressure to an expansion valve, where the liquid’s temperature drops significantly.


The liquid passes through the evaporator coils, where the pressure is very low. Another set of fans blows warm air through these coils, resulting in heat transfer reactions. This cools the air being supplied to the rooms.

This completes the cycle, and the refrigerant becomes a low-pressure gas. To supply cool air continuously to the room, the entire cycle is repeated.


Types of compressors

As we have already mentioned, the compressor is at the heart of an AC machine. Let’s take a look at the various compressors in an AC to understand their differences. We will also examine the advantages and disadvantages of each type of compressor.

 Reciprocating compressors 

The piston and cylinder arrangement are compressed by these compressors in a manner very similar to automobile engines. The piston works by compressing and discharging gas using a back-and-forth motion.

 Rotary Compressors 

This system has a pair of specially designed rotors with very limited clearance between them. They rotate in opposite directions. The rotors rotate in opposite directions so that the air emerges at high pressure.

There are a few other types of compressors available, including scroll compressors and screw compressors. The most popular compressors in this industry are reciprocating and rotary.


Reciprocating vs Rotary Compressor

Which compressor is better? Which compressor should you choose when buying your AC? It can be difficult to tell the difference between them as a layperson. It is possible to get an idea of the pros and cons of each type of compressor by listing them.

 A reciprocating compressor has many advantages 

  • Maintenance is required for the shafts and pistons, but it’s easy to do so. This is not a costly procedure.
  • The reciprocating compressor can work at very high pressure.

 The merits of a reciprocating compressor 

  • This allows the air to be emitted at a higher temperature.
  • While the compressor is operating, you will feel vibrations and high levels of noise.

 The advantages of a rotary compressor 

  • This compressor is ideal for large-scale cooling, such as offices, factories, or industries.
  • The reciprocating compressor produces less noise than you do with the reciprocating compressor.
  • The out-coming air isn’t as hot as the reciprocating compressors.

 Rotating compressors’ disadvantages 

  • These compressors can be quite expensive.
  • These compressors should only be used for a short time each day or week. They are therefore better suited to offices and other establishments.

Why is it important to only use the rotary compressors for a short time?

If the compressor is not used for a minimum amount of time, the system can create water condensate. This can cause corrosion and damage to motors.

The compressors should be understood by customers. The customer’s choice will depend on how the compressors are used.


Before you decide on the type of compressor, it is important to consider how the AC Conditioner will be used. The reciprocating compressor is better if you’re buying an AC for a house that will only use it intermittently. If you have an office, shop, or other business that requires frequent air conditioning, it is a good idea to choose an AC with rotary compressors.

Now you know the differences between the two types of compressors. You don’t have to make this choice because domestic air conditioners come with reciprocating compressors. A little knowledge can be helpful.

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