Air Supply UK: Specialist Compressed Air Engineers

Published: 25/04/2023

New air compressors vs used air compressors: how to decide

If you’re considering investing in an air compressor for your business, you might be faced with choosing a cost-effective used compressor or a brand-new one. Both options have their own pros and cons, and it can be tricky to know which is right for you and your business. 

This blog will tell you everything you need to know about new and used air compressors so you can make an informed decision. We’ll cover the differences between new and used compressors, the pros and cons of both options, and how to make your final decision.

Differences between new and used air compressors 

Before deciding, it’s important to understand how used and new compressors differ. 

Age and condition

When you buy a new air compressor, you don’t need to worry about how previous owners have treated the machine or the condition that it’s in. Buying a used compressor means you’ll get an older machine in possibly worse condition than a new one. The condition of the used compressor will depend on its age, how much it has been used, and how regularly it was serviced. 


The cost is likely the primary reason you’ll think about getting a used compressor. Buying a second-hand model can be significantly cheaper than buying a new one. This means you can afford a machine with a larger capacity or a higher specification than buying a new machine. 

Options and availability 

Buying a new compressor means you can choose from the vast range of models available, and you can often customise your machine with optional extras and add-ons. When buying an air compressor used, you’ll have fewer options. If you have a specific specification, finding a used machine that’s the perfect fit might be challenging.  


Pros of buying a new air compressor 

Buying a new compressor has many advantages compared to a used one. You’ll benefit from the latest technology and a high-quality, highly efficient machine. 

Newest technology

Buying a new compressor means you benefit from the latest technology. New compressors will be made from modern, high-grade materials. They’ll be highly efficient and produce high-quality compressed air. This will keep your business running smoothly and will reduce lead times.   

Greater range of options and models

If you choose a new compressor, you can select your perfect model from the massive range available. You’ll be able to choose the exact type, size, PSI, and CFM you need for your specific business needs.

Longer life span

Used compressors will have lower life spans than new machines because they’ve been used for several years before you purchase them. However, new models will have a much longer life span and can last for years, especially if properly maintained and serviced. 

For more information, check out our blog on the life expectancy of air compressors

More efficient 

A new machine will be more efficient than a used machine. This is because new models benefit from superior technology and have no previous wear and tear. So, a new compressor can be more cost-effective to run.

More reliable 

Because new compressors haven’t been used previously, they’ll be more reliable and less likely to break down than used models. You might encounter issues, such as leaks, more quickly with a used machine than with a new one.

Option for a warranty 

When you buy a new compressor, they often come with an automatic warranty or the option to purchase one. This will cover manufacturing defects and any problems you encounter within a specific time frame. A warranty gives you peace of mind about your new machine and can significantly reduce or eliminate costs of labour or replacement parts if your machine breaks down. 

Cons of buying a new air compressor

There’s only one disadvantage of buying a new compressor: the cost. However, this can be one of the most significant factors when buying any machine for your business. 


You’ll pay a lot more for a new compressor than you would if you purchased a similar second-hand model. The value of a new compressor will also depreciate as soon as you start using it, so if you need to sell the machine in the future, you’ll likely get a lot less than you paid for it. 


Pros of buying a used air compressor 

There are also many benefits to buying a used machine. This is especially true if you buy from a trusted and reputable supplier of used air compressors. 


The lower price of used models is the biggest advantage over purchasing a new machine. This means you can afford a machine with a better specification or higher capacity than if you purchased a new one. Used machines can also be a fantastic option for businesses buying their first compressor. These businesses might be unsure how much the machine will be used or don’t have the funds to purchase a new machine. 

Less depreciation 

As soon as you buy and start using a new machine, its value dramatically decreases. So if you realise you don’t need a compressor or the machine you’ve purchased doesn’t work for your business, it’ll be difficult to recoup all of your investment. Buying a used machine means its value depreciates much slower than a new model, and if you decide to sell it on because the machine isn’t right for your business, you’re likely to lose less money than you would have if you bought a newer model. 

Serviced machines 

If you buy from a reputable used compressor supplier, then their machines will be in top condition. These machines will have undergone full servicing, so you can be assured that they’ll be in full working order. This significantly reduces the risk surrounding buying a used machine. 


Cons of buying a used air compressor

However, buying a used machine is not without its drawbacks. Although you’ll benefit from a lower price, used machines have a lower lifespan and are more likely to break down than new machines. 

No or limited warranty 

Although some suppliers might sell used compressors with a warranty, it’s not as common as when buying a new machine. If you don’t have a warranty and your machine breaks down, you might have significant repair costs to get the machine up and running again.  

Fewer options 

If you decide to buy a used machine, you’ll have fewer options to choose from. You’ll only be able to choose from the used stock a supplier has at that moment in time. If there are no used models that match your needs, then you’ll have to delay your purchase or buy a new machine instead. 

Lower lifespan 

Used machines will typically have lower life spans than new models. Of course, this will depend on how old the machine is and how frequently it was used. For some used models, you’ll receive a detailed service record so you can see how frequently the machine was maintained. This will give you a better idea of how long your used machine will last. 

Need for more maintenance and repairs 

Regular maintenance and servicing are essential for any compressor, especially used machines. If you buy a used model, you’ll need to have it serviced regularly to ensure it runs smoothly and efficiently. A used machine will also typically need more frequent repairs than a new machine. 

Potentially outdated technology 

Buying a used machine means you won’t benefit from new technology or the latest, high-quality materials. This could mean your machine is less efficient and potentially less cost-effective than a new model.


How to decide which option is right for you 

After reading our pros and cons, you should hopefully have a better idea of whether a new or used machine is right for you. When making your decision, you should consider your specific business needs to ensure you make the right decision. 


You should consider both your initial budget for purchasing the machine and your budget for future maintenance and repairs. If you buy a used model, you should ensure that you have enough budget for regular servicing and repairs if the machine breaks down. 

Your specifications 

You’ll need a clear understanding of your business’s compressor needs. This includes the amount of air and the pressure you’ll need to operate your tools. Don’t compromise just so you can afford a new compressor that will be unsuitable for your business long-term. If you can’t afford the new model you need, you might need to consider a used machine instead. 

How frequently you’ll use your compressor 

You should consider how often you’ll use your compressor. If you’ll use it multiple times a day to power various tools, a new machine with a long life span and maximum efficiency might be the best option. However, a used compressor might be the most cost-effective option if you’ll only need to use the machine occasionally. 


How Air Supply can help

At Air Supply, we have decades of experience selling, servicing, and repairing a huge range of air compressors and compressed air equipment. We stock a variety of both new and quality used air equipment for sale and hire. 

Established in 1995, you can rely on Air Supply for high-quality, refurbished used compressors and a great range of new compressors. You can easily search for a particular make or CFM and filter according to your specifications so you can find the perfect fit for your business! Air Supply also offers servicing and maintenance, so we can ensure your new or used model is running efficiently. Plus, if it ever breaks down, we can repair your machine on-site or at our base in York. 

If you’re still unsure if a new or used compressor is the right option for you, get in touch with our friendly and professional team. We’ll happily share our decades of experience with you and offer honest advice about the best choice for your business! 



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