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Pump vs. Compressor: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sumera Saeed || Published on February 12, 2024
A pump moves fluids (liquids or gases) by mechanical action, while a compressor reduces the volume of gas by increasing its pressure.

Key Differences

Pumps are mechanical devices designed to move fluids (either liquids or gases) from one place to another through various mechanical actions. They operate by creating a pressure difference, facilitating the fluid to move through the system. In contrast, compressors are specifically designed to compress gas and increase its pressure by reducing its volume. Compressors are widely used in systems where gas compression is required, such as air conditioning and refrigeration systems.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024
The functionality of a pump involves the transfer of fluid with little to no alteration in the fluid's inherent properties, like its pressure, temperature, or volume. Pumps simply relocate the fluid. On the other hand, a compressor not only moves the gas but also significantly changes its pressure and often its temperature. Compressors are essential in processes where gas needs to be stored under higher pressure than its original state.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024
Pumps come in various types, including centrifugal, positive displacement, and submersible pumps, each designed for specific fluid movement tasks. They are crucial in water supply systems, oil pipelines, and chemical processing. In contrast, compressors can be reciprocating, rotary screw, or centrifugal. They are key in pneumatic systems, refrigeration cycles, and turbochargers in engines, where gas compression is vital.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024
The operation of a pump is typically characterized by its flow rate, which is the volume of fluid it can move per unit of time. Pumps are selected based on the type of fluid, the required flow rate, and the desired pressure change. Conversely, the performance of a compressor is often described in terms of its pressure ratio and capacity, which relates to the volume of gas it can compress to a certain degree within a given time frame.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 12, 2024
Pumps and compressors serve distinct but sometimes overlapping roles in fluid handling and gas compression. Pumps are primarily used for transporting fluids without significantly altering their state, while compressors are dedicated to increasing the pressure of gases, often changing their volume and state in the process.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 12, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Function

Moves fluids (liquids/gases).
Compresses gas and increases its pressure.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024

Fluid Type

Handles both liquids and gases.
Primarily used for gases.
Huma Saeed
Feb 12, 2024

Process

Transfers fluid with minimal changes in properties.
Compresses gas, changing its volume and pressure.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024

Types

Includes centrifugal, positive displacement, etc.
Includes reciprocating, rotary screw, centrifugal.
Janet White
Feb 12, 2024

Typical Applications

Water supply, oil pipelines, chemical processing.
Air conditioning, refrigeration, pneumatic systems.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024
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Pump and Compressor Definitions

Pump

Transfer Mechanism.
The fuel pump delivers gasoline to the engine.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Compressor

Volume Reducer.
The compressor decreases the volume of air.
Janet White
Jan 19, 2024

Pump

Fluid Movement Device.
The water pump circulates coolant in the engine.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Compressor

Energy Transformation.
This compressor converts mechanical energy into pneumatic energy.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 19, 2024

Pump

Pressure Creator.
A pump is used to increase water pressure in the building.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Compressor

Pressure Increase Device.
A compressor is used in refrigeration systems.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Pump

Energy Converter.
The electric pump converts electrical energy into hydraulic energy.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Compressor

Gas Compression Unit.
The air compressor supplies pressurized air for tools.
Huma Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Pump

Volume Displacement.
This pump can handle 100 gallons per minute.
Harlon Moss
Jan 19, 2024

Compressor

Pneumatic System Component.
The compressor is essential for the operation of the pneumatic system.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Pump

A machine or device for raising, compressing, or transferring fluids.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 18, 2024

Compressor

A pump or other machine that increases the pressure of a gas.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 18, 2024

Pump

(Physiology)A molecular mechanism for the active transport of ions or molecules across a cell membrane.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 18, 2024

FAQs

What does a compressor do?

Compresses gas and increases its pressure.
Huma Saeed
Feb 12, 2024

What are common types of pumps?

Centrifugal, positive displacement, and submersible.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 12, 2024

Are pumps used for liquids only?

Pumps can be used for both liquids and gases.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024

What applications use compressors?

Air conditioning, refrigeration, and pneumatic systems.
Janet White
Feb 12, 2024

Can compressors handle liquids?

Compressors are generally designed for gases.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 12, 2024

Where are pumps commonly used?

In water supply, oil pipelines, and chemical processing.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024

What is a pump?

A device for moving liquids or gases.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024

What are the types of compressors?

Reciprocating, rotary screw, and centrifugal.
Harlon Moss
Feb 12, 2024

Do compressors alter gas properties?

Yes, compressors change the volume and pressure of gas.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024

How is pump performance measured?

By flow rate and pressure change.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024

Is a compressor necessary for air conditioning?

Yes, it’s essential for the refrigeration cycle.
Janet White
Feb 12, 2024

Can pumps be used in heating systems?

Yes, like in hot water circulation.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 12, 2024

Do pumps change the fluid’s properties?

Pumps usually don’t significantly alter the fluid's properties.
Harlon Moss
Feb 12, 2024

What powers a typical pump?

Electric motors, engines, or manual operation.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024

Are there manual pumps?

Yes, like hand or foot-operated pumps.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 12, 2024

What defines compressor performance?

Pressure ratio and capacity.
Janet White
Feb 12, 2024

Are pumps used in fuel systems?

Yes, like in fuel pumps for engines.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 12, 2024

How does a compressor store air?

By compressing it into a smaller volume.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024

Do compressors always require power?

Yes, they need energy to compress gas.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024

Can a pump increase fluid pressure?

Yes, but without compressing the fluid like a compressor.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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