Single-stage Vs Two-stage Compressor : Pros and Cons, Differences

Difference Between a Single Stage and Two Stage Compressor

Single-stage Vs Two-stage Compressor

There are some compressors which come in two forms; single-stage and two-stage. Here we discuss in detail Single stage Vs Two stage Compressor.

The single-stage compressor is the one in which the air is compressed once.

These(single-stage compressors) are also known as piston compressors. The trapped air can be compressed in a single stroke with the help of a piston at usually about 120 psi.

The two-stage compressor is the one in which the air is compressed twice to double the pressure.

Air compressor

An air compressor may be defined as a pneumatic device that can convert power(with the help of an electrical motor, diesel or gasoline engine, etc.) into the potential energy stored in the air that is pressurized(compressed air). Air compressors can force more and more air into a storage tank, increasing pressure by using any one of the several processes. The air compressor will shut off when the pressure in the tank is reached up to its upper engineered limit. The pressurized air(compressed air), can then be held in the tank until it can be called into use. The energy present within the compressed air(pressurized air) can be used for a lot of work(applications), this process utilizes the kinetic energy of the air when it is released and then the tank is depressurized.

The air compressor is turned on again when the pressure of the tank is reached down to its lower limit and then the air compressor again re-pressurizes the tank. We must keep a difference between an air compressor and a pump, as a pump cannot work for any gas or air while, an air compressor can be used for any gas or air, while a pump can work only on a liquid.


What is the difference between single-stage and dual-stage air compressors?

To talk about the differences between the two compressors first we need to talk about them one by one individual to have a better understanding of their working, functioning, parts, tools, so let’s talk about them:

Single-stage air compressorsingle-stage-air-compressor

Let’s have a brief introduction about how a single stage air compressor works. The clear and main difference between a single stage and a double stage compressor is shortly described in the different ways of their working and performances. So, if we want to discuss about what are the differences between these two types of air compressors is, it is better to know their working principles to have a better understanding about how they work and their functioning.

If we talk about a single-stage compressor, the air can be sucked into the compression cylinder through the use of a filter present, by the action of both the inlet valves(2 inlet valves are present) and the movement of pistons towards the downside. Once enough air is drawn to the inside of the cylinder, the inlet valves are closed immediately and then signal the crankshaft to rotate which starts rotating, pushing the pistons to the upward and compressing the air while at the same time they push it to the exit valves. The air is then pressurized to a specific pressure (about 120 psi) and is then discharged into the storage tank until when needed. When needed air can be drawn from the storage tank for the purpose of functioning and can then be used.

Dual-stage air compressor

Two Stage Air compressor

The working and process of sucking and compressing air in a two-stage air compressor are pretty similar to that while using a single stage, but in the dual stage compressor, the compressed air has to go through a second phase of compression. This means that the compressed air is not immediately discharged to a storage tank directly after the completion of the first phase of compression. The compressed air has to be compressed further for the second time by using a small piston in the second cylinder. This is done to ensure that, the air is pressurized twice which leads to the double energy. The air then, after the completion of the second compressing process is discharged directly into the storage tank for use in various applications and then can be drawn for use whenever needed.

Main differences between single-stage and dual-stage compressor

We are going to talk about all the differences that about the function and working of the two compressors in the compression of the air. Actually, the main difference between single and two-stage compressors is the number of times that air gets compressed(we have already discussed about it) between the inlet valve(air is fed in) and the tool nozzle. In a single-stage compressor, the air is compressed singly, only one time while in a two-stage compressor, the air gets compressed twice before it gets discharged into the storage tank for further use and functioning.

We also call the single-stage compressors the piston compressors. The process of compression or air that takes place within a single-stage compressor just starts when the air is suctioned/pumped into a cylinder. Then, the air that is trapped is fed then to be compressed in a one stroke with a piston at roughly about a pressure of 120 psi. In the end, the compressed air is moved towards a storage tank which is stored to be used whenever it is needed to be used.

The process within a two-stage compressor is quite pretty much is similar to that of a single-stage, but with one variation: the air that is compressed is not sent to a storage tank immediately; before it is fed into the storage tank it has to be sent instead to a smaller piston for a second stroke and it is doubly pressurized, this time at roughly about at a pressure of nearly 175 psi. From there onwards, the double-pressurized air is then cooled down and then delivered to a storage tank to be stored, where it serves as an energy source for the vast arsenals of high-powered equipment. It can be drawn from storage for use whenever needed.

Dual-stage air compressors produce a greater and higher air power in comparison with the single stage compressor, which makes it a better option for large-scale uses and applications and continuous operations, and larger purposes. However, two-stage compressors are also more expensive and not easy to afford, which makes them better suited for factories and industries and larger scale jobs and workshops than private use. For an independent craftsperson and single or individuals use, a single-stage compressor can power many different handheld pneumatic tools that can not exceed the pressure of 100 psi. Whereas in the industries, workshops and auto shops, pressing plants, and many other settings in which complex arsenals of air-powered machinery are used, the higher capacity and greater precision of dual-stage compressor units are the more preferable and a much better option.

Uses of single-stage vs dual-stage air compressor

  • Woodworking:Woodworking By Air Compressor

For independent woodworkers or the owners of crafts lines which involve the handling of the smaller level of work, a single stage air compressor would help them to make products at a faster pace, in a better ways, and with a greater efficiency. If someone manages a large scale work crew such as a large pressing plant, a two stage ait compressor could be a better option to be used to do heavy-duty aspects.

●     Metal workMetal work by air compressor

Metal working is also done efficiently using the air compressor as it can provide larger power, it always depends on the industry and the work crew as to whether to use a single stage or a dual stage air compressor.

●     Auto assembly and maintenanceAuto assembly and maintenance

In auto industries or auto shops dual stage air compressor would be better to use whereas auto maintenance at the smaller or individual level for example at home single stage air compressor would be a better choice to be used.

●     Beverage manufacturingair compressor in Beverage manufacturing

Beverage manufacturing is mostly done at a larger scale in industries and requires a larger work crew and faster work done, so it requires greater power, in this situation using a dual stage air compressor would be a better option.

●     Aerospace and militaryAerospace and military

A dual stage air compressor is used for this purpose as for the manufacture of aerospace crafts and military objects very high level and heavy machinery is used and so very high power is needed.

Which is better: single-stage or dual-stage air compressor?

The dual-stage air compressor has high power and so it is more efficient and useful for the large amount of work on the large scale it is more useful for the industrial work. Whereas, the single-stage air compressor is useful for a small amount of work on a smaller scale.

How many compressor stages do I have?

Choosing the type of compressor is the very important thing, as it depends on the scale on which it is being used, for household and smaller scale needs, the single-stage compressor is a better option whereas, for a larger scale such as industries, etc. dual-stage air compressor is useful.

Is a single stage air compressor more expensive or a dual stage?

The dual stage air compressor provides very high power as compared to single stage and it is used for heavy jobs for large scale work and hence dual stage air compressors are more expensive.

Which is better: single-stage or dual stage air compressor?

The main question which is usually asked by, everyone who wants to buy an air compressor, is that which one of these two types of compressors are more reliable and better for me? Generally, the two-stage air compressor is better when it comes to high power output and is more efficient, runs cooler and it also delivers more of the CFM than does the single-stage air compressor. While it may seem like a convincing argument against single-stage air compressors, it is very important to understand that they have a lot of advantages as well. Single-stage compressors are mostly less expensive, lighter(weigh less), and are generally electric models they usually draw less few amperes. Which type of air compressor is good for you depends on the amount of work you want to do and the amount of power you need to put in.

Single-stage models are better for individual work or craftsperson or tradesman or small crews who are framing, sheathing, roofing, or doing trim work that does not require a huge amount of power. For larger construction crews or applications e.g. industries or auto shops that require very large amounts of air over extended periods of time so that a large amount of power be put into work, the two-stage compressor is the best option to be used.

DEWALT air compressorWhat is an air compressor?

DEWALT air compressors are built on a specific purpose to perform. It is a category of air compressors, in which a wide range of corded air compressors are used for delivering powers for big jobs, more work and in this category a new type

FLEXVOLT®, a cordless air compressor type, offers great versatility to the work anytime and anywhere. DEWALT air compressors are in a high demand these days and these are also reliable and are gas-powered air compressors.

LOWE’S air compressorsLOWE'S air compressors

These are a very wide range of oil free air compressors, that can be selected to enhance the productivity of your work. These are oil free compressors for dental work.

There is a misconception among people that air compressors are tools, but in actuality, an air compressor is not a tool it is itself a device. This device(air compressor) consists primarily of a piston and cylinder, this cylinder powers an array of tools by means of the air under pressure(pressurized air) for various applications. Many fields including the fields of construction, auto maintenance, furniture assembly, also the woodwork and the majority of applications and practical work require and rely on compressed air for speed and precision in everything and every aspect from drilling, bolting, may it be nailing to sanding or greasing and of course painting. This process of air compression is initiated by the air suction through the inlet valve. Once trapped, the air is then compressed by the piston and then passed into a tank where air then gets pressurized and this air in its new state, itself gets pressurized, and this pressurized air may serve as a source of energy for any of the given tool connected to the compressor.

This process can be measured by two variables;

  • The CFM- it is the rate at which the air moves through the compressor
  • The PSI- it is the amount of pressure measured that is created during the process of compression.

This technology can enhance so many applications, but still, there is no certainty about the tools that can be functioned using the compressed air.

The tools that can be powered by an air compressor include:

DrillDrill by air compressor

While talking about woodworking and construction, a few tasks need a greater precision than a hole drilling process. With only just one slip of an arm, a hole could wind up crooked and the whole process goes wrong or it may be compromised. By using a compressed air-powered drill, a hole can be drilled in just a small fraction of the time it would take while using an electric drill. Deep holes can be made in the boards of varying thickness, each within just a fraction of a second. The best feature of using an air compressed drill is that it can even drill holes through even metal and it very rarely overheats.

Requirements: An average of about 3 to 6 CFM and at 90 PSI.

Orbital sanderOrbital sander

Sanding is a process that is one of the most exhausting tasks in woodworking. The grains of a sand block leaves streaks over surfaces in usually one direction or the other direction, with each swipe. An orbital sander is the right device to solve this problem by moving varyingly in the random and circular directions, all of them for an effect that can prevent the marks from forming in even any single direction or the two directions on a given wooden surface.

Moreover, an orbital sander can also smooth out any kind of rough surface in just a fraction(one tenth of a second) of time, it would take very little time when compared with the time taken to make a rough surface smooth(plain) using a sandpaper. The most important thing is that an orbital sander can do all kinds of brisk motions.

Hold it above the surface and turn on the power whenever you need to make any rough surface smooth. It does not exhaust the wrist or does not strain the arm.

Requirements for orbital sander usage: About an average of 8 to 12.5 CFM at an 90 PSI.

Socket wrench(or rachet)Socket Or Ranch

In auto maintenance, construction, and metal work, wrenches used typically need a lot of arm effort and wrist movement. It may be equally troublesome in the fact that nuts are hard to open, sometimes it is not possible to manually open the nuts or remove the bolts during a very short time. Also, weather, effects of time, and the elements welde things so strongly in place that it is nearly impossible to remove bolts.

This dilemma has been solved by using a socket wrench, or a ratchet, they can do most of the turning work for you, but a pneumatic socket wrench goes several steps further, as it does the unbolting and rebolting faster and much more effectively. This means that no awkwardness or any kind of slip up that strips the groovers and sometimes a stubborn bolt that does not come out undone.

Moreover, we can fit a socket wrench with various circumferences, so that you don’t have to carry a lot of or many wrenches for differently sized nuts.

Requirements: An average of 2.5 to 3.5(¼”), 4 to 4.4(⅜”) CGM at an 90 PSI.

Air hammerAir Hammer

We can use an air compressor to power a lot of different tools, and some of these tools can be affixed with multiple extensions. One of such tools is the pneumatic air hammer, this hammer by itself can be used to carve stone and it is used to cut up the metal, both of these works can be handy if the person doing the work is a sculpture or a craftsperson. The possibilities of using this hammer do not stop there. This air hammer may also be affixed with a device called

separate-absorber chisel- this chis separates shock absorbers- as well as some of the other extension tools including:

  • An exhaust-pipe cutting device
  • A ball joint separating tool
  • Rubber bushing splitter tool

Requirements: an average of 3 to 11 CFM at an 90 PSI.

Brad NailerBrad Nailer

Regular nailing of the hammer and nail variants have their place with a lot of projects, where they stand out important, but there are also the applications where the fat and flat heads of nails would be unbecoming sometimes. For such household features for example a basic and decorative trim, we need thinner, and unassuming fasteners that would not require large holes or potentially crack thay delicate materials being applied. Brads are such an important thing for this kind of project.

The brads can move straight into the trimming and they leave barely a trace that can be seen by a naked eye. Whenever a brad nailer is powdered pneumatically, each and every brad applies in a split of a second.

Requirements: Approximately an average of 0.3 CFM at 90 PSI.

Grease GunGrease Gun

A Grease can make it possible for any kind of machinery to move. In any of the machines, the moving parts are made of metal pieces, none of which may be able to work without the application of grease because everything would then be grinding against each other due to the friction effects until it comes to the point of wear and corrosion.

Applying the exact correct amount of grease on hard-to-reach machine parts requires precision and hand-eye coordination to apply perfectly, but the whole process is easier with the use of a pneumatic grease gun, which can apply grease instantly within a fraction of the second and apply just the right amount. An air-powered grease gun is an invaluable tool that is used for lubricating engine parts.

Requirements: About an average of 4 CFM at 90 PSI.

Angle grinderAngle grinder

If there is some material present that is meant to withstand all force, it’s called a metal. That said, there comes a lot of times when metal itself requires to be trimmed, sometimes sawed, or maybe cut away. By the use of an air-powered

an angle grinder, we can trim off edges or we can also cut out shapes on the sheets of metal under use because metal is the one material that’s stronger than rocks or stones. For handling metalworking and construction, an angle grinder is a must-required tool that must be present. Angle grinders can also be used sometimes in rescue missions, for instance when victims are trapped in crashed vehicles or sometimes where the doors are rendered immobile.

Requirements: About an average of 5-8 CFM at 90 PSI.

Hydraulic riveterHydraulic riveter

There are the properties of the metal that are very much different than that of a wood or a drywall. As such, structures consisting of metal panels need different fasteners other than nuts, bolts, or nails. Rivets are actually the short metal pins that are used to fasten together different metal plates. In pre-made holes, the rivet is sometimes pushed into place with a riveter tool to perform the function, the most powerful instrument of which is the air-powered kind that mostly uses hydraulic oil.

Requirements: About an average of 4 CFM at 90 PSI.

Speed sawSpeed saw

The saw can be and has been used as an essential cutting tool since the start of construction and furniture making processes, but the use of compressed air has long since made the task of sawing the materials a whole lot easier and less time consuming as it happens fast. With a compressed air-powered saw, a worker’s arm is not required to be physically swinging up and down, back and forth in order for trimming the boards and 2x4s.

A pneumatic saw is not just used to give us cuts with very fine edges and great precision, the tool is also used to do so in just a fraction of the time(sometimes in nanoseconds) it would take to saw rather than the old-fashioned way. Moreover, since there’s no overexertion and tiredness of the wrists and elbows of the person doing the job, it’s much easier than we can maintain a straight line while sawing with a compressed air–powered tool.

Requirements: About an average of 5 CFM at 90 PSI.

Framing NailerFraming Nailer

For any person who has very less-than-perfect hand-eye coordination and focus, nailing things together can be a troublesome process. Sometimes you hit off target and it either bends the nail or damages the board due to one wrong shot. Other times the nail might refuse to go in all the way due to some other reasons. Such problems as described above are solved with the use of a pneumatic nailer, which can be used to send each nail in straight and all the way through the board or anything else, regardless of the measurement of the thickness, all in a fraction of the second. Within a quarter of a minute(60 seconds), we would have all the nails applied up and down in a given piece of furniture or wall application very precisely and accurately.

Requirements: About an average of 2.2 CFM at 90 PSI.

Needle scalerNeedle scaler

Wood may not be the only surface that may be in need of the sanding process. You may need a tool that can be used to cut through all the years long of corrosion and buildup and can reveal the original sleek surface on old steel panels that are encrusted with:

  • Rust or,
  • Soot or,
  • Barnacles

On a needle scaler, a clutch of the long, thick, powerful needles bristle away at thick paints and then the crusty residues that no sander device could ever tackle and remove.

Requirements: An average 8-16 CFM at 90 PSI.

Impact wrenchImpact wrench

Out of all the commonly dealt fasteners, the nuts are perhaps the most stubborn to deal with. In most applications, nuts are screwed on as tightly as possible with the assumption that they’ll never be unscrewed for any reason, but there can be a need to unscrew them sometimes. This very problem has become a great dilemma in the tool trade industry.

Add in cycles of moisture and heat, and ultimately a nut-bolt pair becomes inseparable. With a compressed air–powered impact wrench, however, the nut has met its match to be used. Not only will the wrench undo years of bonding and unscrew, but it will also do so in a fraction of a second. A pneumatic impact wrench is a perfect tool for car maintenance, whether you need to remove the engine parts, lights, hubcaps or any other components of the car that could be hard to unscrew manually(with hand) can be done very easily using this pneumatic impact wrench.

Requirements: An average of 2.5-3.5 (3/8″), 4-5 (1/2″), 10 (1″) CFM at 90 PSI.

Die GrinderDie Grinder

When we talk about or require joining two panels of metal together, there’s nothing more problematic and weird than mismatched hole sizes. A die grinder is the solution. This is a tool that can be affixed with carbide bits of varying circumference, either it is pointed or round–tipped, that we can use for widening the holes and filling the edges on pieces of metal under construction. A die grinder can also be used for honing curves very well and polishing edges on sheets and pieces of metal in a very precise manner, as well as on wood parts can also be managed.

Requirements: An average 4-6 CFM at 90 PSI.


Metal isn’t made to be cut like paper and it isn’t possible to be cut so easily as it has a great measure of hardness associated with it, but sometimes it is necessary to cut the metal. With pneumatic shears this problem can be solved, a blade cuts through sheet metal as much as we need and it does this in much the same way an X–Acto knife slices paper.

It depends on what you require, whether you wish to make a metal cutout for use in an art project, or a piece of furniture, the seemingly impossible can indeed become possible with a compressed air-powered, hand-operated, and precisely used shear. Each slice leaves behind a thin strip of spiraled metal “confetti,” by using shear which you can either discard or use as ornamentation depending on the needs of the person.

Requirements: An average 8-16 CFM at 90 PSI.

The inflator with gaugeThe inflator with gauge

Out on an open road, a car requires evenly and well inflated tires, any tire not properly and evenly inflated may cause problems. However, what may look even to us could really be some pressure points off where there is not proper pressure and not well inflated, which can mean a big difference to the axle alignment and also can lead to a disaster.

By the use of a pneumatic tire inflator tool and gauge, one can pump its car tires with the exact amount needed for uniform and even pressure along the fronts and backs to get the tires properly inflated. A pneumatic inflator would not only do the job very quickly and shortly, but it’ll also do all the pumping work without tiring your arm and without requiring the movement of the wrist. All you need to do is to stick the tool into each of the nozzles of the tire and then use the gauge to adjust the pressure according to the requirement so as to fill the tire properly and in an even manner.


Dust is a pesky nuisance and dirt when it comes to electronic and motorized equipment. Dust may cause some issues, and as we all know this, machines attract the dust and have an affinity for dust like fabric draws moths towards itself. From engine parts of the machinery and other parts too, dust and debris can cluster up in places that are vital to key functions and may result in dysfunctioning or lessening the efficiency of the working. As a result, the following events may happen:

  • Air flow may get blocked. The circuitry can get smothered. Components and parts of the machinery may overheat, slow down or burn out.

Dust can even accumulate in a lot of important key places that can’t be reached with a manual brush by hand, while other dust-encrusted and debris accumulated areas could be too hot or may have too much static for contact. For situations such as these, the best tool, a pneumatic blower, is an essential tool to clear away the dust and debris and restore vital machinery parts and enhance the functioning.

Paint sprayPaint spray by air compressor

Of all the precision based applications, a very few are as important when we talk about and it comes to outer appearances as paint jobs, for this we use paint sprays. On vehicles, even the slightest imperfection in any coat of paint could result in complaints and poor reviews for the service shop in question on the quality. Check our article on Paint sprayer for walls and ceilings.

For us, in order to get perfect coats that are really free of streaks, with no inconsistencies or brush strokes, compressed-air is an absolute necessity and it is a must. Most necessarily, the compressed air application must always be oil free and moisture free. For the use of today’s air compressors, perfect paint coats are very easy and simple to achieve with the hookup of optimal paint-spraying tools that paint evenly and perfectly within even a fraction of a second.


Regardless of the size of the job scope of a given application or operation, compressed air-powered tools are essential and better to enhance the productivity of craftspeople and work crews alike. If you are an independent woodworker or the owner of a crafts line a craftsperson or a tradesman with not so huge work load or work crew, a single-stage compressor could help you make products faster, and it is not so expensive and single stage compressors would be better and more efficient at a lower price.

If one has to manage a work crew at a large pressing plant, industry, or an auto shop a two-stage compressor could be used to power most of the heavy-duty, huge, and large aspects of the operation.

Hence, you always need to choose a compressor according to your needs. First, you have to know first your requirement of energy and power then you have to choose the device and stage you can use. Everything has its own pros and cons, you have to choose accordingly keeping your needs in mind.

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