Know-a-Compressor » How to know whether a Piston Air Compressor is a Single Stage or Two Stage machine by looking at it?

 

Single and Two Stage Piston Air Compressors

Some common questions:- 
  • How to know whether your Piston Air Compressor is a Single Stage or Two Stage machine by just looking at it? 
  • Difference between Single and Two Stage machines Piston Air Compressors. 
  • What do you mean by Single or Two Stage Piston / Reciprocating Air Compressor?

Stages of Compressor means that in the machine how many stages of compression that a particular air molecule or a set of molecules has to go through. If air is sucked in by one piston and then directly sent to the tank / air receiver through a pipe is a single stage machine. But if air is sucked in by one piston and then sent to another piston through interconnecting pipes or otherwise then this is a two stage machine.


In a Single stage machine a single piston has to develop the desired pressure generally around 8.6 bar (g) is maximum what a single stage machine can develop. In a Two Stage machine the total pressure of say around 12 or 14 bar (g) has to be developed by a total of 2 pistons. The first piston usually pressurizes the air to 7 bar and the second piston takes in air at 7 bar and further pressurizes it to 12 or 14 bar.


Single Stage machines usually come in 1, 2 or 3 pistons. You will notice that all the pistons have their own suction inlet filter and the diameter of each piston will be exactly the same. Below pictures are example of single stage machines.

 
Single Stage Single Cylinder Piston Compressor
 
Double Piston Single Stage Air Compressor

Two stage machines usually come in 2 or 3 piston arrangement  (Never a single piston). In a 2 piston arrangement you will notice that the suction filter is on only 1 piston and the diameter of this piston is bigger than the diameter of the second piston. The diameter of the second piston becomes smaller because the compression ratio has to increase. Something like shown in this picture below.

Two Stage Double Piston Air Compressor

In a 3 piston arrangement, there will be 2 pistons which will have their own suction filters and the diameter of these pistons will be exactly the same and they will send the air to the third piston which will be of smaller diameter. Something like shown in this picture.

Three Piston Two Stage Air Compressor

Even three stage compressors are available where the pressure that needs to be developed is above 30 bar. Usually pet bottle blowing industry use these kind of machines. Like the below picture.

Three Stage Piston Air Compressor

300 bar options are also available in three stage machines. Usually breathing air compressors for underwater diving / deep water diving need these kind of machines.


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