Pros and Cons of Air Powered Pumps


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 airline
  • 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 airlines 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.

Iwaki America has a complete line of both magnetically driven centrifugal pumps and air-operated double diaphragm pumps.  Learn more at and

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