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What Can An Air Compressor Be Used For?

Air Compressor

From powering construction tools, such as jackhammers and grinders, to being used for filling tires, air compressors are very diverse machines with a variety of uses. Before we jump into the many ways you can use an air compressor, let’s start by looking at how it works.

How an Air Compressor Works

Instead of relying on a chunky motor, air compressors make use of a single, small motor that converts electrical energy into kinetic energy. Through a system of pistons, cylinders, and crankshafts, the air is driven from the compressor to the tool you’re using. The motor ensures that the air pressure remains consistent as you work.

What are the Different Types of Air Compressors?

Air compressors may either be electric or gas-powered. They can be used to power several tools simultaneously, which helps save energy. They may be used:

  • Commercially on a large scale at construction sites, gas stations, etc.
  • At small workshops, in-home stores, etc.
  • At home to power your tools if you’re working on a DIY project.

They may power anything, from nail guns and power drills, to any other power tool you have on hand.

What Are The Uses of an Air Compressor?

Air compressors are a great tool, whether you’re looking for one for commercial use, or you have a serious DIY project in motion.

Air Compressor Uses for Small-Scale Tasks


If you’re tired of sitting at home and doing nothing, you might have considered repainting some old furniture, or painting a fun mural on an empty wall. While you can use a paintbrush, if you’re working with finicky items such as cabinets with carvings or embossed designs, a sprayer will give you a smoother finish.

Using an air compressor to power your spray gun will help you get the job done in less than half the time (and less than half the cost of getting the job done by a professional).


Whether you’re putting together a treehouse for your children or building a tool shed in your backyard, nail guns make the job much easier and faster. Of course, battery-operated, wireless nail guns are a great option, but they can set you back by around 500 USD as opposed to a nail gun powered by an air compressor that starts from around 50 USD (although the premium options may go up to 300 USD).

These nail guns also have the benefit of being more lightweight and providing consistent air pressure for a longer time period.

Auto Repairing

You don’t necessarily need to hire a mechanic for small tasks, such as performing a car tune-up or changing a filter. With the help of a power ratchet attached to an air compressor, you can easily remove any bolts. Just remember, that auto repairs can be a bit tricky so have a handy instruction manual or video tutorial guiding you through the steps.

Other Small Personal Tasks

You never know when an air compressor can come in handy. It can be used for the smallest tasks such as:

  • Inflating balloons for your kid’s birthday party
  • Adding air to a flat tire
  • Cleaning items/furniture with lots of nooks and crannies
  • Cleaning your garage after a dust storm
  • You can even treat an air compressor as a makeshift leaf blower.

Large Scale Uses of an Air Compressor

Compressed air energy is much more efficient and power-saving than electrical energy. This is why it has been seen as a popular power source for a number of industrial uses.


Compressed air can make farming more efficient by helping out in tasks such as:

  • Spraying crops with pesticide
  • Providing ventilation for barns and greenhouses
  • Powering machines, etc.

Manufacturing Plants

Whether it’s an assembly plant or an oil/ gas refinery, air compressors are used for numerous tasks:

Pharmaceutical Plants

Air compressors are very useful in the pharmaceutical industry. From assisting the coating process to helping maintain air pressure in mixing and holding tanks, air compressors are a necessary machine at almost every stage of production.

The Food Industry

In the food and beverage industry, keeping the environment free from contamination is the number one rule. Compressed air helps in cooling and freezing products, packaging, filling and so on. It also prevents moisture and pollutants from entering the production environment.

Power production

Air compressors play an important role in energy-generating plants. They help power ventilating systems, control steam valves, and so on.

Other Uses of Air Compressors

The list of how air compressors can be used is endless. Here are a few more places where air compressors can/are being used in other ways than what they were initially designed for:

  • Air compressors may be used to deliver oxygen to patients
  • Paintball guns use air compressors to fire paintballs
  • Chilling units use air compressors to keep the air consistently cold inside
  • Scuba divers’ tanks are powered by air compressors to transmit oxygen to divers underwater
  • Roller coasters and other automated attractions at parks and amusement parks are powered by compressed air

What to Consider When Buying an Air Compressor

Before you get an air compressor, there a number of factors that you need to keep in mind:


Before you go out and buy a massive air compressor, you need to check how much storage space you have. If you live in a studio apartment, your air compressor will also be tiny. However, just remember that the smaller the compressor, the lesser its power. If your task requires a high-powered compressor, you’ll need to make arrangements for proper storage space.


The size of your project will determine the type of air compressor you get. For small tasks such as inflating bicycle tires or blowing up an inflatable mattress, a small unit is sufficient. However, if you’re involved in a serious crafting project or you’re remodeling an entire unit of your house yourself, a high-powered air compressor will be needed to power your tools.

Power Source

Air compressors may either be electric or gas-powered. Electric ones are suitable for indoor use since they don’t release any fumes, unlike the gas-powered variant.

Tank Size

For bigger tasks, you’ll need a large tank that can run for a long time. For small tasks, such as powering a small nail gun to put together a dog house, a small tank will be more than enough.

Air Compressors- An Essential Item for the Serious Handyman

It doesn’t matter if you’re a DIY-er or the owner of a small auto-repairs garage, air compressors are a part of your basic arsenal. Even if you’re not one of these and you usually hire someone for any repair work, etc., an air compressor can still come in handy if you need to fix a deflated tire or have a balloon animal emergency.


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