How long do air compressor tank last

Air compressor tanks are made out of steel or aluminum. It stores the compressed air for the machine. Compressed air is used for many different work activities, such as powering pneumatic nail guns and spray painting.

However, compressed air is also used for other purposes, such as powering an air-powered engine or pneumatic tools like impact wrenches.

If your old air compressor starts to show its age, you may be wondering how long air compressor tanks last. An air compressor tank’s lifespan will depend on various factors, including how often it is used and the temperature of its environment. 

A compressor tank can last anywhere from 10 to 30 years, depending on how often the air compressor is used. Mostly smaller tanks tend to wear out sooner than larger ones. This is because smaller tanks need to refill more often, whereas larger tanks can go longer without refilling.

The temperature also affects the life of an air compressor tank. Tanks used in harsh environments, such as extreme cold or hot conditions, will not last as long as air tanks used in warm or moderately cold conditions.

For additional information on how long air compressor tanks last, check out the rest of this article. We will explain why air compressor tanks last for different amounts of time and what you can do to keep your tank in good shape.

Comparing the life of air compressor tanks

The type of tank depends on the type of air compressor you have. There are two different types of air compressors: rotary screw and reciprocating.

Rotary screw air compressors are famous for heavy-duty tasks. These compressors require less maintenance and have a longer lifespan. Rotary air compressors last about 10 – 30 years. However, rotary screw compressors are also more expensive than reciprocating compressors.

Reciprocating air compressors are lighter used for small work tasks. They are not designed for continuous heavy use and will not last long if used for such purposes. Reciprocating compressors last between 10 – 15 years, depending on how often they are used.

What Factors Affect Air Compressor Tank Life?

Many air compressor owners wonder how long do air compressor tanks last. This is because the tank could break down at any moment, rendering the entire machine completely useless. There are some factors, however, that can determine how long an air compressor tank lasts.  


 Earlier, we mentioned that a compressor’s tank life is affected by the temperature. The extremes of either heat or cold will stress the air compressor tank. Therefore it will not last as long when exposed to these types of conditions.

Cold weather stresses the steel, making it more brittle and more likely to break. On the other hand, high heat can make the steel expand beyond its limits, which can also cause the tank to break or crack.

The tank, therefore, will not last as long if it is used in extreme temperatures.

If you live in a very extreme weather place, it may be best to invest in two air compressor tanks to alternate between. This will ensure that the air compressor tank doesn’t wear out too quickly due to temperature.

Tank size 

The size of the air compressor tank also has an impact on how long your air compressor tank will last. Smaller tanks tend to wear out sooner than larger ones. A smaller tank needs to refill more often, which causes the pressure in the tank to be cycled more often.

If your compressor needs a lot of refills throughout the day, this could cause the tank to have a reduced lifespan and may need to be replaced more often. The size of the tank also contributes to its weight. Smaller air compressor tanks tend to be lighter, while larger ones are heavier.

Not Properly Maintained

How well an air compressor tank is maintained also affects its lifespan. If you do not clean out the debris from the inside of your tank, it will begin to rust and corrode. Once this happens, the steel will be very brittle and more likely to burst.

The tank also won’t fill with air as easily if it is full of debris and gunk, which will cause it to lose pressure and not fill correctly.

If you ever notice that your tank is losing pressure, immediately clean it out to increase its life. It is a good idea to check the tank for debris every time you refill it and wipe it down with a cloth. Also, make sure to drain the tank at the end of each workday, so that moisture can dry out.


 The frequency of use is another factor affecting the life of air compressor tanks. If the compressor tank is used very frequently, it will not last as long because the pressure cycles applied to the tank are more frequent, and it will have less time to relax between them.

For example, if the air compressor is used for 3 – 5 hours, then left alone for an hour before being turned on again. However, it is worth noting that some compressors are designed to make very quick on/off cycles, which would not wait for the tank to cool down completely.

These types of compressors can be used for shorter periods, but they will reduce the tank’s lifespan.


Lastly, air compressor tanks last longer if they are routinely lubricated. When an air compressor tank is lubricated, it relieves some of the stress due to the pressures being applied. This reduces the chances of cracks or breaks, which will further reduce the tank’s lifespan.

What is the best size for an air compressor tank?  

The generally recommended size is 6 – 10 gallons for most applications. However, for an air compressor to be used continuously and take a beating, it may need a slightly larger tank.

If you work in construction, you may need a tank that can hold up to 20 gallons. Because a larger tank allows you to work for longer periods before refilling, this is a good choice if you plan to use the air compressor for many hours at a time.

However, if you have a very large tank on your compressor, moving around may not be easy and transporting to different working locations. Large tanks are also heavier, making it more difficult to move around your work area.

If you only inflate tires and use the air compressor once in a while, then a tank with slightly less capacity, such as 3 gallons, may be better suited for you.

Why do some air compressors have two tanks?

There are many advantages of having two air compressor tanks. One tank can be used while the other is being refilled, which maximizes the efficiency. Also, having two tanks can greatly extend the life of each tank since they will not be overused.

Furthermore, some air compressors like Twin-Stack P1IU-A9 have a combined tank, which has a total capacity of the sum of both tanks. This is advantageous because it can hold more air at one time. If you want to increase the cfm of your air compressor, you can also add an extra tank by yourself.

Read this article to learn: How to connect two air compressor tanks.

When to Replace Your Air Compressor Tank 

When it comes to replacing your air compressor tank, several warning signs can tell you when you need to replace it.

First, examine the tank carefully for any cracks or blemishes. You may see rust forming around the bolts of the compressor if water has collected in the tank. Rust can cause cracks in the steel and weaken the tank.

Also, make sure to examine the valves on your air tanks periodically. If they stick, it can cause pressure loss and may need to be replaced.

If you cannot find any signs of damage after checking your eyes, you should use soapy water to test for leaks. Put a few drops on the suspected area and look for soap bubbles. If there are any bubbles, then you have a leak that needs to be addressed immediately.

How often should I change the oil in my tank?

It is recommended to change the oil in your tank every three-six months. But it depends on your usage. This is because, over time, the oil becomes contaminated and less effective.

The oil in the tank will pick up dirt and other particles from the air that passes through it, reducing its ability to function properly.

A compressor tank that is not properly lubricated can cause problems. The oil in the tank provides lubrication for the moving parts of the air compressor.

The oil also traps moisture, which is used for cooling the compressor when it gets too hot. When you have a problem with your compressor tank, you should change the oil.

Do air compressor tanks expire?

Yes, air compressor tanks do expire. If you want to use them for the long term, replacing the tank every 10 years is recommended. However, this lifespan can be increased if drained after every use and if the tank is stored in a dry and cool environment.

If an air compressor tank is not drained, moisture can build inside the tank over time and will cause corrosion or rusting. This can make it hard to refill the tank properly and reduce air pressure.


Air compressor tanks have a long lifespan, but lack of maintenance and overuse can decrease that lifespan. If your air compressor tank is damaged or broken, it is important to repair or replace it immediately. Our article has answered all the queries related to air compressor tanks. We hope you like it. Thanks for reading.

By Matthew

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *