Compressor Accessories

What's out there in terms of air compressor accessories for your new compressor?

This page is here to help you to understand what air compressor accessories are available, and to determine if a particular compressor accessory that may not have come with your air compressor is one that you want or need.

Some manufacturers show as standard compressor accessories that other firms list as extra. Some of these add-ons you really must have, some you might not need for your particular compressor.

A range of compressor accessories are listed in alphabetical order.

Accessibility Accessories

Access points to your compressor's innards aren't necessarily an accessory, but are sure necessary.

if the compressor you have selected is an enclosed (shrouded) unit ensure that you understand how to access all the components that require regular maintenance, for ease of change out. It doesn't hurt to have the compressor dealer demonstrate the process for you as well.

In the case of the smaller DIY type air compressors, as shown below, removing the shroud that covers the user serviceable parts is often a challenge. Often your manual will show how to remove the shroud. If not, maybe before you buy you ask the sales person at the store to show you? You will have to get into the guts of the compressor eventually.

Smaller DIY type air compressor

If you are building an enclosure for your air compressor in order to reduce compressor-generated sound levels or to prevent unauthorized access to it, make sure you install adequately sized access doors for your regular and emergency maintenance.


The compressor will generate heat. Depending on the size of your air compressor, it could generate quite a lot of heat.

An aftercooler, integrated with the compressor, will solve some of those heat issues by cooling the hot compressed air (and ridding it of much of the water load) before that air gets to your tools and equipment.

More information on heat related water problems can be found here.

Aftercoolers can be electrically operated, water driven, or simply be a dwell tank in which the compressed air can sit and cool before use. If you feel an air compressor after cooler may be beneficial, moreinformation on aftercoolers can be found on this page.

Auto Drains As Compressor Accessories

An auto drain is a compressor tank accessory that is, in my opinion, a "must have" for air compressors that are used regularly.

Here is much more information on auto drains.

electronic compressor tank auto drain

Automatic Belt Tensioner

For belt driven air compressors, a slipping drive belt will cost you considerably in lost energy to drive the compressor motor, as much of the energy used to cycle the belt will be lost as the belt slides through rather than turns the compressor drive sheave.

An automatic belt tensioner will help alleviate that concern and improve the overall efficiency of your unit. This will save you money!

Heavy Duty Air Ends

Air ends are the drive parts of the compressor that contain bushings or bearings that allow component rotation.

In doing your research before you buy, you'll note that there is a real concern about the longevity of the bearings at the air-end of rotary screw compressors.

This issue of "air end reliability" is referred to so frequently in compressor literature and on compressor manufacturer's websites, that you want to be sure to discuss air-end feature of their units with each manufacturer. How do they address the air end reliability of their compressors?

Belt Guard

It is hard to believe that a company would sell a compressor with a belt drive, and not ensure that there were enough belt guards to meet reasonable safety requirements.

Do yourself a favor and make sure that if the compressor you select is belt driven, that the belt drive is shielded. If you can get to the belt while it's moving, you can expect that sometime, someone else will, with potentially serious results.

Compressor Control Panel

A pretty broad topic, compressor control panels. If there is a control panel with your new compressor, you'll want to know exactly what is controlled by that compressor panel.

Some control issues (but by no means all) are:

  • Is the compressor variable speed to react to downstream demand?
  • Can the panel control more than one compressor so that a back-up unit only fires up on demand?
  • Does the panel display operating temperature, with alarms if there's a condition on the compressor that's a cause for concern?
  • Will it 'flag' regular maintenance?
  • Is there control logic in the panel, and if so, what PLC is used?
  • Is the PLC language one that you can learn, have a technician modify or correct, or is it unique to the vendor?
  • When there is a fault on the compressor (and yes, eventually there will be) what information does the panel provide to help you diagnose and fix that fault?
I can't possibly list every item a compressor control panel could oversee. You need to spend time with your compressor vendor to be sure you understand the details of any control panel on your compressor.

Air Dryers

Some compressor manufacturers offer "packages" with their air compressor, including aftercooler and air dryers.

To better understand why compressed air dryers are needed, here is information on what causes compressor water, and if you follow the links, information on various dryers for compressed air.