The air compressor intake filter

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All compressors work by pulling air into a compression chamber of some sort, and since the air we breathe is pretty full of dust etc., and given the amount of air many compressors need to generate the outgoing flow necessary, the air compressor intake filter is a pretty important part of an air compressor.

The intake filter on many smaller DIY type air compressors is usually quite visible. It’s only the really small, completely covered compressors,which may make it difficult to see a compressor intake filter and, the really small air compressors often don’t have one at all.

Air compressor intake filter
Intake filter circled in red.

What’s inside an air compressor intake filter?

Many of us have popped the top off of the air cleaner in the car and seen an air intake filter inside. They vary in shape an size depending on the car they are on.  One thing is for sure. They are able to fit a high volume of air to be able to feed the combustion chambers in a car engine, particularly when that car is going at a high rate of speed.

Here’s an example of an automotive intake filter:

EPAuto GP013 (CA10013) Extra Guard Rigid Panel Engine Air Filter

The innards kind of look familiar, don’t they? The media is more compact in the vehicle filter, but then, it’s hugh as compared to the 3 1/4″ diameter of the compressor air filter.

The compressor doesn’t care what the filter looks like!

This site gets questions from people about an OEM replacement for a compressor air filter. And I understand if some folks want the identical filter housing so that their compressor looks like it did when it came out of the box.

That’s some folks.

Me, I don’t much care. As long as the compressor works properly, that’s all I care about. If I have to put on an air filter that is Original Equipment Manufactured and that actual OEM equipment is unavailable or in short supply as happens with so many makes of lower cost compressors, I’ll put on something that works from another source.

And in that vein, here’s what you can do if you break the air compressor intake filter.

By Ashley Pearce

As a passionate manufacturing and mechanical engineer, I've had my fair share of run ins with air compressors and compressed air systems. With over a decade of experience in the industry, I have both a fresh perspective and time-served hands and mind to help you with your compressor problems (along with our able community!)

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