Difference Between Pump And Compressor [PDF]

Both pumps and compressors do almost the same job. A pump moves fluid from one place to another. The compressor does the same job but with increased pressure energy. Let us learn more about the difference between pump and compressor in this article.

At the end of this article, there will be a link to download the difference between pump and compressor PDF copy which you can use for future reference.

What is a Pump?

In simple words, a Pump is a machine used for moving fluids from one place to another place. Now it can be a pure fluid or fluid with solid materials with different densities and temperatures. A pump uses the mechanical energy from an engine or motor to the fluid flowing through it. Electric motors are used to generate mechanical energy.


Types Of Pumps

There are basically two types of pump.

  • Positive Displacement Pump
  • Centrifugal Pump ( Turbo pump)

Positive Displacement Pump

Positive displacement pumps transfer fluid from one place to another with increased pressure and flow by reducing the volume of the chamber of the pump. This type of pump can transfer a low amount of fluid at a good altitude due to high pressure and flow rate.

positive displacement pumps

Centrifugal Pump Or Turbo Pump

Centrifugal pumps give pressure to the fluid with the help of rotating blades,. This type of pump gives high-pressure energy to the fluid but with a decreased flow rate. That is the reason this type of pumps is not used for hydraulics.

centrifugal pump

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What is a Compressor?

A compressor is a mechanical machine that increases the pressure energy of gas by reducing its volume. Ideally both compressors and pumps work in the same principle. Both increase the pressure and transfer the medium. In the case of a pump, it transfers fluids which are incompressible, whereas compressor transfer gas which is compressible.

Types Of Compressors

There are basically two type of compressors

  • Positive displacement compressors
  • Dynamic compressors

Positive Displacement Compressor

Positive displacement compressor increases the pressure energy of gas by displacement of the mechanical linkage which reduces the volume of gas. This type of compressor gets the gas through the inlet and reduce the volume to create more pressure.

Dynamic Compressor

Dynamic Compressor uses rapidly rotating blades to accelerate the air passing through it, thus converting the velocity head into pressure. Dynamic compressors are further divided into Axial compressors and centrifugal compressors.

Difference between pump and compressor

Pump transfer fluidCompressor transfer gas
The pump does not have any storage capacityCompressor does have storage capacity
Increases the kinetic energy of the fluidIncreases the potential energy of the gas.
Change of pressure is not necessaryChange of pressure is a must
The pump is mainly used for incompressible fluidsA compressor is used for compressible gas
The volume remains constant for incoming and outgoing fluidThe volume is not always constant.
Pump is cheaperCompressors are costlier than pumps
The pump is to transfer fluid and not to compressCompressor compress gas
Fluid can be liquid or gasA compressor can compress only gas

Conclusion: Difference Between Compressor and Pump

Here is a short article on the difference between pump and compressor. Many of us had this confusion between pump and compressor. Hope this article could able to solve that confusion. If you still have some doubts, please do write in the comment section and I will be happy to answer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is a pump?

Pump is a machine to lift fluid from one height to water using the kinetic energy that it generates from a motor.

What Is a Compressor?

Compressor is a machine to compress gas by increasing the pressure energy and decreasing the volume

What are types of pumps?

Positive displacement pump
Centrifugal Pump

What are types of compressors?

Positive displacement compressor
Dynamic Compressor


A 2004 batch Mechanical Engineering graduate From NIT, Agartala. Close to 16 years of experience in the field of consumer electronics and appliances domain as a Sr. Design Engineer and Team Leader in India and the United States. A GD&T practitioner, with expertise in Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma. Crazy about exploring CAD-CAM tools and in his free time love to go for a ride with his champ, Rian.