If you spend time doing DIY, you may have started to think that you need an air compressor. You see them in DIY shops but you may be wondering what people use them for. You may also be asking yourself if you need one and should you buy one.

Although I am sure you have used the air compressor at your local garage to top up your tyres, they have many other uses. But what is an air compressor?

What is an Air Compressor?

An air compressor is another power tool. It creates pressurized air, which can then be used to power different types of tools. It sucks in the air, then compresses it into a small space so it comes out under force. Pressurized air is measured in pounds per square inch, known as PSI. The air compressor is plugged into an electric or gas supply, then pressurizes the air. Once it reaches the required PSI it is then released into another tool or into your tyre.

There are so many different styles of air compressor if you are looking to buy one you really need to do your research. I would recommend you visit Air Compressor Scout as they have reviewed many compressors and can give you a recommendation based on your requirements. They also have some great information so you can find out more about air compressors.

Type of Air Compressor.

There are 3 types of air compressor:

  • This uses a piston in a cylinder to compress the air.
  • Rotary screw. The rotating spiral gradually reduces the space which compresses the air.
  • This uses a spinning impeller to compress the air via momentum.

Air compressors are normally electric or gas powered. Unless you have a certain preference, think about where you will be using it, before you decide which one to buy.

Now you know what an air compressor does, what sort of equipment can you use it with? Here are some common uses of an air compressor.

Inflate Tyres.

As you have seen in your local garage, an air compressor can inflate your tyres to the correct PSI easily. You can use it on bike tyres, car tyres, and trailer tyres. You can even blow up a ball with it.

Pneumatic Nail Gun.

There are many movies that show people using an air compressor powered nail gun! A pneumatic nail gun powered by compressed air shoots nails out with great force. This makes it so much quicker and easier to complete the job. Make sure your nail gun is compatible with the compressor you buy.

Pneumatic Stapler.

As with the nail gun, you can run a staple gun on compressed air. This makes using heavy duty staples that much easier.


You can use an air compressor with a spray gun to speed up your painting. Not only will you be able to paint quicker, but you will get much better results than with a brush. You can paint your kitchen, but you can even paint more intricate things like a motorcycle helmet.


An air compressor can power an air blower so you can clean up far easier. A short burst will quickly clean up mess and debris. Just be very careful where you point it.


An air compressor can also power a pressure washer. The air pressure ensures that the water comes out under force thus giving your floor or car a deep clean.

Clean Equipment.

You can use compressed air to clean equipment such as containers, trailers or other pieces of equipment. Ensure you try it on a low setting first though.

Air Compressor Features.

Air compressors have many different features such as portability, noise, air delivery rate, and even style of tank. Before you buy an air compressor, you need to know what you are going to use it for, what tools you are going to use with it, and also what size you are going to need.

  • There are many different sizes of compressor tanks so you do need to do some research. They range from a small tank on a portable compressor to a very large tank. Don’t think that you have to choose the largest tank as this may not be the best option for you. Yes, there is more air available so you don’t have to wait for the tank to fill up but it will also be more expensive and more difficult to move. If you are only going to use power tools like a nail gun, this doesn’t use much air so the tank can refill. This is why you need to know what you are going to use it for. If it will always sit in the corner of your garage and never move, then size may not be important.
  • Air delivery rate is probably a more useful measure than horsepower as the power does not really indicate how effective the compressor will be. Better to check the volume of air and the pressure value it will be delivered at.

You may not want to use hand tools again after reading this! As you can see, the air compressor is surprisingly versatile. However, if you are thinking about buying an air compressor, ensure you find the one that will suit your requirements. They are available with so many different features that you must make sure the one you select does everything you need.