Tips for Transporting a Vertical Air Compressor: Can You Lay Upright Air Compressor on the Side?

Tips for Transporting a Vertical Air Compressor: Can You Lay Upright Air Compressor on the Side?

Different freight shipping commodities require different shipping techniques; some kinds of cargo, in particular, require extra care with transportation. Transporting a vertical air compressor, for example, is no easy peasy job.

An upright air compressor is tall, heavy, and quite challenging to carry about. Therefore, moving it requires an adequate level of shipping experience, proper planning, plus extra care to ensure it is shipped to the designed location in excellent shape.

Can You Lay an Upright Air Compressor on Its Side?

People often ask, “Can I lay my air compressor on its side?” Although this is a genuine question, there is no direct answer. Whether you can lay an upright compressor on its side is a function of whether it is new or used, as you will soon find out.

Can You Lay a Brand New Air Compressor on Its Side?

If you are transporting an upright air compressor that has never been used, it is possible to lay it on its side without any trouble.

A brand new vertical compressor usually has no oil in it; neither does it have any condensed moisture. Therefore, there is no risk of fluids seeping out to problematic areas when you lay the upright compressor on its side.

However, there is a way how to move an air compressor, especially when laying it on its side. Make sure the compressor is placed securely with no room to slide or bounce about during transportation.

Can You Lay Used Air Compressor on Its Side?

upright air compressor

With frequent use, your air compressor begins to build up condensed water and dirt on the inside. All of this will move to the bottom of the compressor tank, forming dirty gunk or sludge.

Laying a used upright air compressor on its side can therefore be a risky venture. The sludge will be free to move around the tank in that position, causing potential damage to critical areas of your compressor, especially the tank check valve.

The sludge can slow down the valve's motion or prevent it from moving altogether. The moving fluid can also trigger a series of other complications. Summarily, transporting a used vertical compressor on its side is not something you want to try.

Can You Lay an Oil-Lubricated Air Compressor on Its Side?

Air compressors are configured to be either oil-lubricated or oil-free. Oil-lubricated compressors require users to manually add oil to the sump after purchasing.

However, this feature comes with a caveat – you should not lay the oil-lubricated compressor on its side after adding oil to the sump. Doing this lets oil from the sump, which will usually have mixed with some dirt, flow into undesired areas. And as you may already know, getting dirty oil in certain areas can knock engines down.

Can You Lay an Oilless Air Compressor on Its Side?

An oilless air compressor, unlike the oil-lubricated type, is manufactured to require no oil lubrication. Therefore, it is quite safe to transport an oilless upright air compressor on its side.

The only caution with this is to make sure the compressor has no moisture in it. Better still, it would help if you did not lay a used oilless vertical compressor on its side, as there is a high probability of moisture already accumulating in the compressor.

Additional Tips for Upright Air Compressor Transportation

These additional tips will help you transport your upright compressor safely:

upright compressor

Use a Ramp for Loading the Compressor

Using a ramp will make lifting the air compressor into a pickup truck easier. It would also make getting it off easier. Consider using a hand truck or furniture dolly to carefully push the compressor up the ramp. If the compressor is super-heavy or bolted to a pallet, using a dolly may not be feasible.

Secure Your Upright Air Compressor

It is essential to keep air compressors properly secured irrespective of how you are transporting them. Vertical compressors that are transported upright typically tend to be top-heavy. Any slight tipping would make them go all the way down, causing damage to the compressor with the risk of damage to the vehicle as well.

You should bolt upright air compressors to a pallet, as this promises extra stability. Thankfully, some compressors come bolted to pallets.

Once you get the compressor into the truck and position it as required, strap it down with no less than four heavy-duty ratchet straps. The straps should connect to all four corners of the truck bed and should be tightly attached.

Consider Disassembling the Air Compressor

upright air compressor

If you prefer to transport your upright air compressor on its side, it will be safer to disassemble it. This will prevent any oil-related mishap from occurring. Of course, you should still drain the oil in the pump before transporting it.

Consider Hiring a Professional Shipping Company

If you think this is too much to deal with yourself, you should consider hiring a professional shipping company. This may be your safest option after all. Hiring a good freight shipping company may be pretty expensive, but they promise your convenience and the safety of the vertical compressor.

Hot shot trucking services may be the best fit for transporting your compressor. Your cargo gets delivered in no time, and there is a special consideration for its delicate nature.

Meanwhile, working with a professional shipping company saves you the stress and expense of renting a trailer and buying ramps or ratchet straps.


You need to weigh all factors that come into play when deciding if you will transport your vertical compressor yourself or use a shipping company. Shipping companies have the experience required for special cargo like air compressors. On the other hand, shipping it yourself allows you to monitor the process carefully if you think that is necessary.

If you decide to use a shipping company, select one with a successful track record shipping heavy and delicate cargo. Cowtown Express is incredibly popular for its top-quality hot shock trucking services. Do reach out to the company to get a quote for compressor shipping.

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