Best Air Compressor Filter Dryers (2021 Reviews)

Cody
| Last Updated: January 30, 2021

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Think air is everything that enters your air compressor? If you were to install an air compressor filter dryer, you’d actually be shocked to see how much water, oil, rust, and other dirt particles end up inside your compressor!

By now, you must already be interested in getting one of these, so let us show you how to start your research.

Hoping to cut right to the chase? Below are the best air compressor filter dryers:

  1. PneumaticPlus PPC3C-N02G
  2. Campell Hausfeld PA208503AV
  3. Nanpu DFR-03

Comparison Chart of the Air Compress Filter Dryers

Product

Our Rating

Price

PneumaticPlus PPC3C-N02G

  • 250 PSI
  • 16 CFM
  • Metal and polycarbonate

Read Customer Reviews

Campell Hausfeld PA208503AV

  • 150 PSI
  • 80 CFM
  • Steel

Read Customer Reviews

Nanpu DFR-03

  • 145 PSI
  • 70 CFM
  • Aluminum/Plastic/Brass

Read Customer Reviews

Campbell Hausfeld PA212103AV

  • 150 PSI
  • 57 CFM
  • Steel

Read Customer Reviews

Le Lematic AI303-2

  • 90 PSI
  • 18 CFM
  • Aluminum

Read Customer Reviews

What is an Air Compressor Filter Dryer? 

An air compressor filter dryer is a system that you attach to your air compressing system with the purpose of filtering the air. It typically relies on an oil filter and a desiccant that collects the water. Its purpose is to provide you with a clean, dry air that will allow both your air compressor and your air tools to function better and have a longer lifespan.

What to Look For When Buying a Filter Dryer 

Buying a filter dryer implies looking into its main features. You’ll want to know exactly how much pressure and airflow it handles. But the material it is made of is also important in determining its reliability and any potential maintenance requirements.

Typically, a filter dryer that can tackle a maximum PSI of around 250, with a 16 CFM volume, will do a very good job. If it also brings in a 5-micron filter, you can expect it to catch over 99% of the oil aerosols and other particles. 

Review of the Best Air Compressor Filter Dryers 

Now that you know what a filter dryer is and how to pick one, let’s move on to the specific options you’ll encounter. Consider the following air compressor filter dryers and their specs while you do your own research:

Best Overall:
PneumaticPlus PPC3C-N02G

PROS

  • Blocks 99.7% of oil aerosols
  • Effective 3-stage air drying system
  • No moving parts and no adjustments required
  • Unique design, with the regulator sitting either up or down
  • Can be installed in any location on the piping arrangement

CONS

  • Not the cheapest model you’ll find on the market
  • Filters require regular maintenance for optimal performances

Our Review:

The best overall air compressor filter we’ve got to test comes from PneumaticPlus. As it relies on a 3-stage filtering and drying process, it can block around 99.7% of the oil aerosols and offers the added benefit of fitting any part of your piping setting.

The special design allows it to function just as effectively regardless of whether you place it up or down. And the metal bowl from the box will come in handy for pressures of over 150 PSI. Performance is ensured by a 5-micron element particulate filter along with a 0.3-micron element coalescing filter.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

This three-stage filter dryer from PneumaticPlus is smaller than you’d expect it to be, but it features the highest power output in terms of maximum PSI. Professionally built, with quality materials and effective filters, it’s a game-changer whenever you add it to your air compressing system.

Runner-up:
Campbell Hausfeld PA208503AV

PROS

  • Air dryer with built-in oil filter
  • Excellent for oil-free and moisture-free jobs
  • Features metal guards for extended protection
  • Equipped with quick-release bowl around the fluid level
  • Practical desiccant system changes color when it needs replacement

CONS

  • Plastic release valve
  • Not necessarily a budget-friendly option

Our Review:

Your second-best air compressor filter dryer choice comes from yet another reputable manufacturer. Campbell Hausfeld designed this product to handle a lower maximum pressure, of 150 PSI, compared to the best overall. Yet the 80 CFM volume and the sturdiness of the steel from its structure are still making it a superior option.

This filter is ideal for a wide range of air-compressing jobs where dry air is essential, like painting, in particular. And the quick-release design of the bowl, along with the metal guards that allow checking the fluid level at a glance while ensuring impact protection, certainly make it a reliable filter system. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

Yet another high-performance air compressor filter dryer, this model from Campbell Hausfeld is both effective and practical! While it can trap up to 99.9% of the oil aerosols, its desiccant system will let you enjoy worry-free operation, knowing it will automatically change its color when it’s time for a replacement.

Best for the Money:
Nanpu DFR-03

PROS

  • Features 2 NPT fittings at 3/8-inch
  • Makes a budget-friendly, reliable option
  • Provides surprising filtering performances
  • Includes gauge and bracket in the package
  • Designed with double air filters and regulator

CONS

  • Not as thick as you’d like it to be
  • Doesn’t come with instructions in the box

Our Review:

Ready to handle a pressure of up to 145 PSI with a 70 CFM volume, Nanpu’s air drying system with poly bowl and semi-auto drain is one of the best for the money choices you can make! One of the reasons why it is so affordable is the combo of aluminum, plastic, and brass, but you’ll quickly see for yourself it’s a product that still provides you with great value.

At its core, this model is a piggyback air filter and regulator combo. The connection type it supports is 3/8-inch NP. And the 5-micron brass filter element it relies on performs well and is meant to last.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

Thanks to the piggyback design, this air-drying system with double filters and a bowl to purify the compressed air makes for a very practical choice. You don’t need to add oil yourself; it takes little maintenance while giving you great performances, and the value it brings for the money is even greater.

Editor's Pick:
Campbell Hausfeld PA212103AV

PROS

  • Includes an oil-removal filter
  • Features a quick-release bowl
  • Allows checking fluid level quite easily
  • Prevents desiccant particles from entering the airstream
  • Does a good job at cleaning the air and removing the water

CONS

  • Plastic drain valve
  • Occasional draining reliability issues

Our Review:

Built to handle up to 150 PSI pressures at a 57 CFM volume, this steel air filter from Campbell Hausfeld fairly won a place on this shortlist of the best air compressor filter dryers. It removes the oil from the air, but also the water, through an effective desiccant system.

The construction is sturdy enough to keep the desiccant particles away from your airstream. And the actual filter relies on a sturdy quick-release bowl with easy view on the accumulated fluid level. Easy to install and providing decent value for its price point, it is worth taking more than a look at!

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

Our editors noticed the efficiency that this no-fuss Campbell Hausfeld air compressor filter brings to the table. Much simpler than anything else you’ve seen so far, it will give you clean, super-dry air for quality spray painting or anything else that requires moisture and oil-free air. The promise of trapping 99.9% of oil aerosols will boost your confidence in trying it!

Honorable Mention:
Le Lematec AI303-2

PROS

  • Drain valve works at the push of a button
  • Nice addition of Teflon tape in the package
  • Cost efficient and effective in both water and oil filtering
  • Compatible with all makes and models of compressors or tools
  • Shock-proof construction, suitable for any working environment

CONS

  • Not the most durable air compressor filter out there
  • Occasional reliability issues reported on the relief valve

Our Review:

This 3 in 1 dirt, oil, and water filter from Le Lematec is small but mighty! Designed to match literally any make or model of air compressor or air tool you’d want to pair with it, the filter makes a cost-effective and reliable option.

It features a shock-proof construction, it is designed for easy cleanup, and the drain valve is conveniently accessible at the push of a button. Add the sturdiness it brings to the table, and you’ll see why we’ve considered it a more than honorable mention among our best air compressor filter dryers.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

This is an incredibly small air compressor filter dryer, which makes its increased efficiency even more surprising. The combination of aluminum, for the body, and the built-in drain valve, respectively brass fittings, is also making it a long-lasting choice. Not to mention that the Teflon tape included in the package for your convenience proves the manufacturer’s attention to detail.

Hold up, are you interested in other topics related to air compressors? If so, these might be something to check out: 

Are All Filter Dryers The Same? 

If all filter dryers were the same, you wouldn’t need a guide on picking the best air compressor filter dryer. And after looking at the top-rated products we’ve carefully reviewed above, the differences are obvious.

Not only do they vary in terms of pressure and airflow handling but also, in their core architecture. You’ll find plain filters consisting of one small unit that promises to handle it all. And you’ll find complex, 3-in-1 systems that handle oil and water at separate stages, delivering superior filtering results.

Typically, the simplest models are desiccant air dryers, whereas the more advanced ones are a combination of membrane and desiccant.

Pros and Cons of Air Compressor Filter Dryers 

Filter dryers are essential for maintaining your air compressor in good working condition. You may not realize how much of a difference they make until you get to use one and see with your own eyes what comes out of it.

Realizing that all that dirt would have remained trapped inside your air compressor or even get to your air tools will be enlightening. But before you go through such an experience, let’s outline the pros and cons for you:

Pros

Protects Your Air Compressor & Tools

Air has moisture and pollutants in it. The drain valve that your air compressor’s tank features can only do so much about removing some of the moisture that gets into the tank. But for the rest of it, which is a lot of water and oil droplets, dust, dirt, and even traces of rust, it takes a good filter dryer system to extend the lifespan of the air compressor and air tools you’re running.

Gives You Better Results With Your Projects

If you’re not concerned about maintaining your air compressor, you will certainly be about getting the best possible results. Say you’re using it for painting or polishing jobs, or in food production, you’ll soon discover it’s essential that you have at least one such filter connected in line with your air compressing system. It will give you dry and clean air for the best possible outcomes.

If Will Last You Indefinitely

As long as you keep it in good condition, the filter dryer system in itself will work indefinitely. It does come with some replaceable parts, depending on its design. But it really is such a small investment with a prolonged use that it makes a highly valuable purchase, too.

Cons

Requires Maintenance

This is the trick that allows you to enjoy benefit number 3 from above. To make your filter dryer last you indefinitely, you’ll want to keep an eye on it and see if or when it needs to be cleaned. Some desiccant filters will change their color when it’s time for maintenance, so just monitor it closely, and you’ll make the most of your filter.

Conclusion

Unless you install a quality filter dryer, even the best air compressor will soon get rusty. Now you have all the details that make a filter dryer a perfect choice, so go ahead and pick one for your air compressor. It’s one of the best possible investments you can make to protect your tools for as long as you can!

People Also Ask

If you do your research with care and commitment, chances are you’ll bump into a few tiny hurdles. Don’t know what to make of the following terms and the differences between them? Here are some extra valuable details to keep in mind:

What Is An Air Compressor Desiccant Dryer?

An air compressor desiccant dryer is a filter dryer that relies on a material with high water-soaking properties. The desiccant isn’t a specific material in itself, but rather a material with this absorbing particularity. It can be clay or something granular like sand. And anytime water gets in contact with it, it will stick to its surface.

While a very effective option for water filtering, a desiccant dryer will eventually reach its maximum absorbing properties. When that happens, it needs to be regenerated or dried in order to continue being usable.

Where To Install Air Filter And Dryer In Compressor?

There are plenty of places where you can install your air filter and dryer on a compressor. The rule of thumb is to keep it as far away from the compressor as possible, to allow the air that it filters to cool down and facilitate the moisture trapping. Also, you should refrain from placing the filter on top of the compressor because it will soak up all the vibrations coming from the unit.

Water Separators vs Filter Dryers - What’s The Difference?

The difference between water separators and filter dryers is in the complexity of their functioning. The water separator is only effective for water removal. The filter drier will handle both the water removal and other essential filtering tasks, resulting in a much cleaner air than you’d get from a water separator only.

How Long Will a Filter Dryer Last?

The typical timeframe a filter dryer will work on optimal parameters is about two years. Nevertheless, you should always keep an eye on the manufacturer’s recommendations to see what else can be done to expand its lifespan.

Cody

My name is Cody and I've been a writer for Tool Tango for quite some time now. I've always had a knack for building things with my hands and creative writing, so being able to combine the two has been great. I love being able to give back to the DIY-community, while also learning a thing or two along the way. When I'm not writing, I enjoy watching Netflix with my girlfriend, fishing, and working in the shop.