Pros and Cons of Air Powered Pumps

Submitted by Iwaki Air
Pros and Cons of Air Powered Pumps
When designing a pump system, the way the unit is powered must come into consideration. The two most prominent ways of powering a pump are via electrical power or compressed air. Let’s look at some pros and cons of powering a pump with compressed air.


  • No need to hire an electrician – just run an air line
  • No polluting – little environmental impact
  • Potential energy from the compressor can be stored in receiver tanks
  • Speed can be controlled by a low cost actuator vs. a high cost variable frequency drive


  • Very inefficient power transmission – as low as 15% of an electrical motor
  • Compressed air must be cleaned and dried and air lines must be maintained
  • Compressed air is expensive to produce
  • Limited control of pump flow as compared to an electric variable frequency drive
During your pump system design all of these factors should be considered before making the investment into either electrically driven or air powered pumps.

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