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Direct Drive vs Belt Drive Air Compressors

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    It is important to understand the differences between belt drive air compressors and direct drive air compressors. Using the right compressor will optimize the performance of your air tools and save you a lot of energy and money. 


    Close up air compressor engine machine. industrial engineering concept.

    Belt drive and direct drive air compressors are two types of piston air compressors that are commonly used. Factors to consider when deciding which air compressor to purchase include:

    • Pressure and speed

    • The price of the machine

    • The quality of the machine

    • Maintenance

    • Selling popularity

    Whether belt driven air compressor or direct drive air compressor, both types of air compressors have advantages and disadvantages to help you decide your choice.

    What is a belt drive air compressor?

    Belt driven air compressors have a belt connected to a motor. When the motor is running, the belt moves the pump through the pulley.

    Advantages of Belt Driven Air Compressors

    A belt driven air compressor is a good choice for a home workshop. It is also suitable for indoor stores with multiple workspaces. The lubricated belt system will run efficiently, smoothly and quietly. This quiet and efficient belt conveyor from BISON allows your guests to avoid a lot of trouble with their neighbors.


    Guests may prefer the flexibility of the belt driven model if the air compressor is used intermittently at different speeds and power. For example, you might want to change the pressure set by the manufacturer.

    Our belt driven air compressors have a maximum rating of 115 PSI, which is basically a pneumatic tool that can meet in many conditions. BISON’s compressor pulleys are sized to meet air pressure requirements for most tools, as well as HP and RPM. The best example is this flexibility that makes belt-driven compressors ideal for woodworking or auto repair shops.

    Simple maintenance

    Buying and installing a belt driven air compressor is economical and simple. Maintenance of this type of compressor is relatively simple and generally requires lubrication and monthly belt tension checks. Under normal circumstances, it is recommended to replace the oil and filter every 500 to 1,000 hours of use. Each of BISON’s belt-driven air compressors has been tested for its durability and is designed to prevent oil leakage. Each time the oil is changed, it can be used for an additional 500 hours, but also bring beautiful and clean using feelings to the guests.

    Disadvantages of Belt Driven Air Compressors

    Belts can wear out or even break and need to be replaced, which is the biggest problem of belt driven air compressors.

    Pulley misalignment and belt tension

    You must periodically check the alignment of the pulley and belt to ensure proper tension. Improper alignment can cause the motor to run with too much or too little stress and overload.

    Sensitivity to the environment

    Belt-driven air compressors cannot withstand harsh environments or extreme temperatures. Compressors of this type should not operate at temperatures below 0°C or 40.5°C or higher.

    What is a direct drive air compressor?

    Direct drive air compressors have a crankshaft that is directly connected to an electric motor.

    Advantages of Direct Drive Air Compressors

    If you are a professional who uses air compressors a lot on the job, the direct drive model is the best choice. Since the crankshaft is directly connected to the electric motor, less energy is lost during operation.

    This energy efficiency makes it an economical option for heavy industrial uses such as jackhammers and building construction.

    Fewer replacement parts

    Compared to belt drive compressors, direct drive air compressors have fewer moving parts, so they don’t require many parts to be replaced due to wear and tear. Sometimes they are better able to withstand constant use in industrial environments.

    With no pulleys, direct drive compressors do not require regular lubrication, other than regular oil changes and weekly top-ups. In general, the oil should be changed every 100 to 500 hours, depending on the type of oil. Every BISON air compressor needs oil

    Withstand harsh environments

    If guests are working in harsh conditions or extreme temperatures, a direct drive model air compressor can be recommended. This type of compressor is designed to withstand temperatures below 0°C and up to 40°C. Synthetic oil is recommended for use in summer and winter as it does not change properties in extreme temperatures.

    Disadvantages of Direct Drive Air Compressors

    You can vary the outlet pressure range by a bar or two, but direct drive compressors do not have the flexibility of belt driven air compressors. Since there is no pulley mechanism between the crankshaft and the motor, pressure or speed cannot be easily adjusted.

    Expensive and complicated repairs

    A direct connection between the crankshaft and the motor would make repairs more expensive and complicated when they occur. For example, a malfunctioning motor can damage connected components. Other expensive and time-consuming repairs include damage to bearings, shaft seals and gearboxes due to oil leaks.


    In some environments, excessive noise can be harmful and detrimental to health. You don’t want to use a direct drive compressor indoors near a garage or other workstation.

    Since the crankshaft is directly connected to the motor, it doesn’t run as smoothly as a lubricated belt-driven compressor. Noise levels may disturb neighbors or people at nearby workstations.

    Higher cost

    Hope our distributor’s equipment purchases fit the budget and the long-term needs of our guests. The higher initial cost of direct-drive models is a disadvantage for home woodworkers. While this investment can pay for itself with continued industrial use, it’s not worth it for intermittent use.

    Maximize performance and security

    Performance and safety are equally important considerations when choosing an air compressor. An air compressor without the PSI capacity for your tool may result in property or equipment Damage or personal injury.

    The type of compressor you choose affects your energy bills, work flexibility and safety. The difference between belt drive and direct drive air compressors is worth learning.

    At BISON Air Compressors, we can help you source the best air compressor for your guests’ specific needs. If you would like to learn more about direct drive or belt drive air compressors, feel free to contact us or email us at [email protected]

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    Direct Drive vs Belt Drive Air Compressors

    If you have any enquiries about the BISON air compressor, we would love to hear from you.

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