Difference Between Refrigerated Air Dryer and Desiccant Air Dryer

Refrigerated air dryers and desiccant air dryers play important roles in the industry. And what’s the difference between them? This article will help you find it out.

What is A Refrigerated Air Dryer?

We design the refrigerant air dryer to reduce the moisture in the compressed air via cooling. And it can effectively solve the problem of harmful water in the compressor system. Finally, provide customers with dry and clean compressed air.

It is a kind of internal water separator. Because the refrigeration air dryer can collect liquid water and sends it to a drain. The working principle of the refrigerated dryer is to remove moisture by cooling the compressed-air temperature. And make air condensation. Finally, discharge them as liquid water.

The refrigerant dryer has wide applications in many industries, such as food, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, chemical, and beverage. Why is refrigeration air dryer popular? Mainly because it uses mature technology to get the guaranteed pressure dew point. The typical pressure dew points that a refrigerated air dryer can generate air is between 35 and 40°F. As long as the installation and maintenance are proper, there will be almost no problems in the later use of the project.

refrigerated air dryer

What is A Desiccant Air Dryer?

The function of the adsorption air dryer system is to purify compressed air by absorbing moisture. Its working principle is different from that of refrigerated air dryers. And below is the introduction.

It mainly uses desiccant beads to adsorb moisture from the compressed air. The water vapor in air compressor equipment can cause many problems, such as premature corrosion, aging, and quality problems. So we must take compressed air drying seriously. The desiccant dyer system is a kind of compression heat dryer. These are special compressed air dryers. And it can reuse the heat from oil-free air compressors. So it is highly energy efficient. They can reach quite a low dew point. So a regenerative air dryer is a good choice when there requires arid air. And there are two types of desiccant air dryers: heatless and heated.

Desiccant Air Dryer

A desiccant air dryer system is essential to any industrial operation that requires high-quality compressed air. Most air dryers consume electricity. However, because they are used continuously, they may represent many operating expenses over time. Heatless desiccant dryer put the adsorbent material in A/B towers. That is, the drying tower and regeneration tower. Compressed air with moisture enters the drying tower. Then it passes over and binds to the porous desiccant beads. Finally, it can obtain arid air, with pressure dew points of –40 to –100° F. They exit from the dryer.

Commen Sense

How does the cooling system of the refrigerated air dryer work? Firstly the compressor draws the low-temperature and low-pressure refrigerant air from the evaporator. After compression, the pressure and temperature will rise. At the time, the high-pressure refrigerant air will enter into the condenser. So the compressor can compress and deliver the refrigerant.

1. Application Common Sense of Refrigerated Compressed Air Dryer

The condenser makes the refrigerant air with high temp. And pressure will into liquid refrigerant. Because it can exchange heat with the environmental air of lower temperature. Then, the liquid refrigerant goes through the throttle device to reduce the pressure and temperature. Finally, it enters the evaporator. And there, it will absorb the heat of the compressed air and vaporize.

So the compressed air will be cooled. At the same time, the refrigerant air will be taken away by the compressor to start the new cycle. So, it completes an entire cycle. By continuous refrigeration process, it achieves refrigeration.

2. Application Common Sense of Regenerative Desiccant Air Dryer

After going through the desiccant air dryer, the air will be arid. It is typically in the -40°C dew point range. So it is high-quality air for instrumentation.

The purge air discharges out from the outlet side of the adsorption air dryer. So the regenerative air dryer will consume the compressed air. One important thing: the purger air flow is relative to the rating of the air dryer and is not the percentage of the air flowing through it. For a 1000 cfm heatless air dryer, the 15 to 20 percent purge air loss would be between 150 and 200 cfm. At 10 cents per kWh, this purge would cost between $26,000 and $35,000 annually in annual electrical costs.

It can use a micro-heat adsorption air dryer to increase the effectiveness of the blowing and reduce the consumption of compressed air. It uses an external electric heating element. So compressed air consumption can be reduced.


The central systems of refrigerated and desiccant air dryers are different. The refrigerant air dryer uses a moisture-compressed system, which works through forced cooling. But the regenerative adsorption air dryer absorbs the air’s moisture. So if you need a compressor air dryer, you can choose them as your requirements.

Desiccant Air Dryer Refrigerated Air Dryer
Usage Metal fishing and other ultra-dry applications Manufacturing that doesn’t require ultra-low Fahrenheit
Typical Dew points -40 to -100 degrees Fahrenheit +38 degrees Fahrenheit
Initial Investment Cost High Low
Operating Cost High to Moderate Relatively Low
Maintenance Cost Moderate Low

Zhongshan Lingyu Machinery Co., Ltd. It is a company specializing in the manufacture and sale of compressed air dryers for different industries, such as petroleum, chemical industry, electric power, food, health care, biopharmaceutical, textile industry, etc. And we are China’s most famous complete compressed air treatment service provider. Please get in touch with us if you have any questions or needs about the air dryer.

compressed air dryer