As a DIY enthusiast, one of the commonest maintenance work you’d likely do on your automobile engine from time to time is piston ring replacement/installation. You simply can’t afford to keep visiting the mechanic shop now and then for such a minor task you can simply handle with a reliable piston ring compressor.
To keep your engine in top shape, you need to replace the piston exactly as recommended by the service manual of the engine. And, of course, you don’t need just any piston ring compressor, but the best type to ensure a well-done job!
In this piston ring compressor review, we’d help you select the best piston ring compressor on the market. And also provide you with some buying guides to that effect.
But before we get right on to that, let’s first understand the basics:
Best Piston Ring Compressors Reviews
The piston, piston ring, entire piston assembly, and everything within the combustion chamber are very crucial to the operation of an engine. That’s why it’s safe to say that the sophisticated operation of the engine largely depends on how well the piston (and ring) is installed.
Bearing the above notion in mind, we carried out a thorough market survey to identify the best piston ring compressors on the market, which shall be discussed in this piston ring compressor review.
1. Performance Tool W80572 Piston Ring Compressor
If you are looking for an adjustable racket roll piston ring compressor tool, then the Performance Tool (W80572) is your go-to tool.
This is one of those versatile products that are compatible to install pistons on most passenger cars. The Band Diameter size is SAE 2-1/8 inch to 5 inches (Metric 53 millimeters to 127 millimeters). To add to this wide compatibility and adjustability, the tool offers a positive compression and features a dimpled bottom edge to keep the tool from slipping into the cylinder during piston (and rings) installation.
Some other interesting features of the Performance Tool W80572 is the quick release pawl that helps you expand the tool for adjustments; the ratchet tension screw and the ratchet key are also important to fasten the tool and compress the piston rings before installing them in the cylinder bore.
- Highly adjustable
- Fairly versatile
- Compatible to install piston rings on most passenger cars
- Features a dimpled bottom edge that prevents the tool from slipping into the cylinder during piston rings installation
- Fairly easy to use, thanks to the quick-release pawl and ratchet key
- Sells at a budget price
- Not quite precise and could result in an inaccurate installation
- Tends to break the rings if you push the piston assembly too hard into the cylinder bore during installation
2. YEHAM 3″ Piston Ring Compressor Tool
Another budget-friendly option we have on the list is the YEHAM 3″ Piston Ring Compressor Tool; however, unlike most low-budget tools out there, the low price doesn’t affect the functionality and efficacy. Matter of fact, the tool is made from Carbon Steel and alloy steel handle materials which are tough enough to stand the test of time while delivering high-quality piston ring installation.
It’s also not very common to come across a compressor that features many measures to ensure that the installation of piston rings is as easy, precise, and safe as possible. Besides, the tool is adjustable from 2-1/8″ to 7″ (53mm – 175mm), giving you wider compatibility.
Another amazing aspect of the YEHAM 3″ Piston Ring Compressor Tool is the sprung mechanism that offers you precise control for the accurate installation of the piston/ring. It also features a carbon steel plier to help you expand the rings and fit them appropriately around the piston grooves. Of course, not every ratchet roll compressor comes with a ring expander. And considering the low price of this package, it’s an enormous value, to say the least!
- Crafted from high-quality material for durability and efficiency.
- Designed to offer safe and precise piston ring installation
- Easy to use
- The sprung mechanism enhances control and accuracy
- It’s adjustable and compatible with many vehicles.
- Offers real value for a low price.
- The edges might feel sharp, so you would need to be in protective hand gloves
- The level of precision might be inconsistent.
3. Alltrade — 940387 Piston Ring Compressor KIT69
When it comes to the best piston ring compressor, the Alltrade brand is a name you just can’t ignore in a haste. It’s just about one of the best plier-based tools you can find in the market and is tested for durability and quality.
The Alltrade piston ring compressor is typically designed for both small and larger engines, ranging from motorcycle engines to passenger cars, or even bigger vehicles. It features multiple ring bands which can be adjusted to install piston rings measuring 2.875 inches to 4.325 inches.
Interestingly, the tool helps you achieve outstanding precision and accuracy when it comes to installation. All you have to do is hold the band of the right piston size with the ratcheting plier to compress the rings securely in position, then guide the piston (and rings) into the cylinder bore seamlessly and accurately.
With this tool, piston installation is not only easy but largely safe and precise. To add to this, it comes with all the needed instructions you’d need for the process. That’s why we recommend this tool for both professional mechanics and DIY enthusiasts.
- Made to meet the highest industry quality standards
- Tested for durability (built solid)
- Applies to a wide range of engine sizes, thanks to the multiple ring bands (between 2.875 to 4.325 inches)
- Comes with 6 compression rings plus heavy-duty pliers — all in a storage case.
- Offers a fairly precise and secure installation.
- Fairly expensive.
4. Plum Garden Piston Ring Compressor Tool
Plum Garden Piston Ring Compressor is surely an option for you if you’re Looking for a fairly solid construction for a low price. The carbon steel material means it’s fairly solid, anti-corrosive, and can guarantee durability. But that’s not all, because the functionality is also never in doubt. The tool is designed to effectively remove and install piston rings up to 6.4mm (1/4″) without twisting. And is adjustable from 2-1/8″ to 7″ to enhance compatibility across a variety of engine sizes.
Another thing we like about this product is the piston ring pliers that make installation as easy as it can get, giving you the ultimate control you need to expand the rings for accurate placement around the grooves. The Allen wrench included in the package helps you fasten the tool until the ring fits properly around the piston groove.
In a nutshell, the tool is quite dependable when it comes to installing and removing piston rings — even at such a paltry price.
- Solid construction
- Anti-corrosive and durable
- Easy to use
- Highly adjustable and compatible with a wide range of piston/ring sizes
- Comes at a low and affordable price.
- The piston ring compressor tool is inconsistent in terms of precision.
- The ring could fit poorly around the groove or even slip out of position while shoving the piston into the bore.
5. MMonDod Piston Ring Installer Removal Kit
This is another under $15 piston ring compressor we have on the list: The MMonDod Piston Ring Installer/Removal Kit. Among the numerous advantages the tool offers, one of the most glaring features you would like is the carbon steel pliers and spring steel compressor. Of course, these well-built components are fairly resistant to corrosion and simplify piston ring installation/removal. However, you shouldn’t expect much when it comes to solidity and extensive durability.
The pliers are quite instrumental in expanding the rings and guiding them around the piston groove seamlessly. While the release pawl mechanism allows you to widen and adjust the compressor tool to accommodate most passenger car piston sizes. And with the Ratchet Allen key, you can fasten the tool and compress the rings to fit in accurately around the piston groove. This allows you to get the ideal diameter for a precise and easy installation.
Talking about diameter, this compressor fitting size ranges between 2⅛ inches to 7 inches, meaning that it can match many, if not most car engine pistons.
The only reservation you might have about this tool, however, is the overall solidity of the compressor, even though the pliers are quite reliable. But given the substantially low price, it won’t be a bad choice if you are on a budget.
- The ratchet roll tool is highly adjustable and compatible with most passenger car engines
- Features a positive compression and adjustable friction brake
- The carbon steel and spring steel material is resistant to corrosion
- Features a reliable piston ring plier
- Comes at a very affordable price
- Not the best in terms of solidity.
6. ABN Adjustable Ratchet Piston Installer Tool
Although many might argue that a ratchet roll is not the best option on the market, the ABN installer tool has proven to be a very good piston ring compressor.
Unlike most racket roll tools, ABN promises a very safe and damage-free installation, thanks to the switch lever lock mechanism, hex spanner, and adjustable safety screws. The tool is simply designed to offer simple ring compression without expanding, twisting, or damaging it at any instance. This, of course, allows the rings to fit perfectly on the piston; a positive locking action compresses the rings and allows for an easy installation of pistons into cylinders.
As would expect of any ratchet-based piston installer, the ABN tool is designed to be compatible with the most common piston diameter, measuring from 2.1-inch to 6.9-inch, since it’s quite adjustable.
Most importantly, with the right amount of lubrication, it’s safe to say that this is one of the most user-friendly ratchet roll piston removal tools. All you have to do is place the lubricated piston inside the cylinder, fasten the compressor, then gently tap the piston into the bore with downward pressure on the compressor.
- Constructed from spring steel for superior strength and longevity
- Resists corrosion
- User friendly
- Widely compatible with pistons within the size range of 2.1-inch to 6.9-inch
- Designed for reduced chances of damage (of rings)
- One of the least expensive on the list.
- Not as durable as most high-end options.
7. Lisle 21700 Wrinkle Band Ring Compressor Tool
Not everyone is a fan of wrinkle band tools, but if you are, Lisle 21700 is a good piston ring compressor you can rely on for fast, accurate, and safe installation and removal (of piston rings). Unlike the ratchet-based models, this tool doesn’t require an Allen key or plier — just a wrinkle band.
The Lisle 21700 compressor tool is made of premium grade heavy-duty steel and a centrifugal casting to guarantee longevity, anti-deformation, and anti-corrosion. Besides, this wrinkle band tool is designed for enhanced precision and wide adjustability to effectively install most (if not all) piston sizes. So you have nothing to worry about when it comes to compatibility.
Matter of fact, this tool is far more adjustable and minimizes friction during installation compared to ratchet roll compressors. This ensures the pistons slide easily and accurately into the right groove. While the rings secure the piston to ensure that they don’t slip into the bore after installation.
- Made from superior materials to guarantee durability and efficient performance
- Wider adjustability and universal piston fitting
- Reduces friction and allows the rings to slide in swiftly
- Secure the rings so that they don’t slip into the bore.
- Inconsistent performance.
How To Buy The Best Piston Ring Compressors
Just like any other engine part or accessory, a lot of piston ring compressors are available for purchase. You have to choose from several models and variants, which can be very confusing. Plus these varieties all come in different qualities. Of course, you need to eventually arrive at the best out of the multiple options for top efficiency.
Let’s find out some important factors and qualities to look out for when buying the best piston ring compressor:
1. The Type Of Compressor
A good piston ring compressor, to a large extent, depends on the type. As we had said earlier, there are 4 broad types of compressors. Each of them offers varying degrees of functionalities.
Some questions you should answer before finally making a choice is, does the compressor require clamps, ratchets, or pliers? Also, make sure the overall quality and structure of the piston ring compressor tool are reliable before spending your bucks.
One awful reason people end up buying something unreliable is that they look to buy something cheap. But it’s always better to spend a little more to get a tool you can trust!
While considering the best piston ring compressor, you shouldn’t ignore looking out for user-friendliness. Ensure the compressor tool is foolproof and can tolerate possible mistakes without undermining the quality of your piston ring installation. Most tapered tools fall into this category because they’re easy to use and designed to prevent you from making unnecessary errors during installation.
Moreover, some versions of piston ring compressor tools are typically used with pliers to guarantee easy and comfortable handling, with better installation efficacy and reduced strain.
In a nutshell, no matter the tool you decide to buy, ensure the user-friendliness and ergonomics are top-notch.
Of course, some people intend to buy piston ring compressors for short-term usage. But as long as you seek something that’d last for as long as possible, then you need to go for a well-structured tool built strong enough to stand the test of time. Of course, this is even if it means paying a little more for the superior quality.
It also won’t be a bad idea to go for a piston ring compressor that includes a self-locking ratchet which helps prevent premature discharge.
4. Surface Safety
Safety always comes first; hence, another top consideration to make to arrive at the best piston ring compressor is surface protection.
We typically recommend tools that are made of pure steel, as they offer improved surface protection. Many other high-end tools are quite reliable in this regard, although they are more pricey.
5. High Precision And Compatibility
This is probably the number one factor to pay attention to if you want to end up with the best piston ring compressor. Before you make any purchase, you have to ensure the model you’ve selected suits your application.
Before making your choice, it is critical to consider the piston size (diameter). If you are looking to install pistons (and rings) in a variety of cylinder bore sizes, we recommend going for compressors with different-sized bands.
You can also go for any other piston ring compressor, provided it’s adjustable to effectively hold the pistons you’re looking to install. The whole aim is to achieve a very high precision, which makes installation as easy and as accurate as it can get.
Any of the products on this piston ring compressor review can easily be your choicest pick. It completely depends on the type of tool you prefer; the functionality you crave, and the budget you’ve mapped out.
We always recommend superior quality products that offer wide compatibility, work efficiently and precisely, don’t damage piston rings, and above all are durable enough to resist heavy-duty usage — Even if it means paying a little more. That’s why our best piston ring compressor (premium package) remains Alltrade — 940387 Piston Ring Compressor KIT69.
However, if you want to spend a little less on a good piston ring compressor, then YEHAM 3″ Piston Ring Compressor Tool would certainly be a great pick.
Hope you found this piston ring compressor review helpful?
NOTE: Any other piston compressor tool you might prefer from the above list other than our editor’s top recommendations is also quite reliable because we enlisted all the products after broad-spectrum research.
FAQs About The Best Piston Ring Compressors
1. What Is The Best Type Of Piston Ring Compressor?
Ans: The best piston ring compressor type largely depends on individual preference. While some prefer the wrinkle bands due to the multiple options they provide, others prefer the ratchet roll since they are cheaper. But in all, the tapered piston ring compressor works extremely well, because it’s strictly made for a particular piston size. However, you are required to buy a new tapered tool for each piston size you are looking to install, which is VERY fairly expensive.
2. Can’t You Install Pistons Without A Ring Compressor?
Ans: The simple answer is YES, you can install pistons without ring compressors. However, you stand a chance to misplace or damage the rings during such installation. You might also install the piston incorrectly, which could pose serious damage not only to the cylinder block but the entire engine.
3. Can You Run An Engine Without Piston Rings?
Ans: Pistons are normally manufactured and packaged without rings. The rings are only required during piston installation to ensure efficient engine performance. For an engine to work without rings, the piston must be the same size as the cylinder bore and must remain so operationally (which is virtually impossible).
4. What Causes Piston Rings To Fail?
Ans: Piston rings fail for many reasons including a wrong grade of cylinder oil or contaminated fuel oil. But the most common reason piston rings fail is the detonation of fuel from a leaky injector or the interaction of fuel with dirty air.