Chapter 3: Uses of Air Compressors

Chapter 3: Uses of Air Compressors

Air compressors have numerous applications, making them an excellent option for all industries. Air compressors are likely even present in your home, even if you don’t know it. Your refrigerator and HVAC system relies on air compressors to operate as expected. Most air compressors come in one of two designs — reciprocating piston air compressors and rotary screw air compressors.

With just these two designs, numerous models and tank sizes are available to meet your needs. Learn more about the many applications of air compressors.

Air Compressors in the Home

If you’re serious about DIY — whether it’s carpentry, car repair or another pneumatic tool-driven hobby — you’ve likely considered buying your own air compressor at some point. A home air compressor can be a big investment.

When considering your home air compressor options, look for a manufacturer you can trust who stands behind their products. That’s the best way to ensure your purchase will deliver a lifetime of reliable use. As you search for the best air compressor for your home, consider the following.

What to Look for in an Air Compressor for Home Use

There are four important numbers to look at when shopping for a home air compressor:

  1. PSIG: Pounds per square inch gauge (PSIG) measures of the amount of air pressure a compressor can produce. Most power tools require at least 90 PSIG to run properly.
  2. CFM: Cubic feet per minute (CFM) refers to a compressor’s capacity. A higher capacity means a machine can deliver a greater air volume at a given PSIG. If you plan on running multiple tools at once, the best air compressor will be the one with the highest CFM.
  3. Horsepower: We rate compressor motors by horsepower, just like car engines. With a compressor, however, higher HP doesn’t automatically mean higher pressure or greater capacity. Be sure to check the PSIG and CFM ratings.
  4. Tank size: Most compressors have a tank to store compressed air, typically measured in gallons. While a larger tank can hold more air, it also takes up more space. Consider your needs, and choose a size accordingly.

Numbers alone don’t tell the whole story when buying a compressor. Here are some other questions you should ask yourself while shopping around:

  • Single or two stage? A compressor’s “stages” refer to the number of cylinders in its pump. Single-stage compressors are simpler but better suited for intermittent, light- or medium-duty use. If you plan on using your machine for high-demand applications, such as auto repair, the best compressor for your home may be a two-stage unit.
  • Portable or stationary? Portable compressors can move from spot to spot. If you use your compressor for multiple purposes, portable may be best. If you require a heavier-duty machine and work primarily in one area, a stationary compressor is likely to offer better overall value.
  • Electric or gas? Gas compressors are generally more powerful. However, they require fuel and a ventilated area. Electric compressors cost less to run, but they may not deliver the power necessary for heavy-duty use.

Best Uses for a Home Air Compressor

What can you do with an air compressor at home? Many things, as the machine is very versatile, particularly if you’re into crafting or DIY. Some ways to use your air compressor around the house include:

  • Pumping tires: Consistent air pressure in your vehicle’s tires helps ensure a smooth ride and prevents a flat while driving. You can also easily add air to bike tires to keep you moving as you please.
  • Inflating things: In addition to inflating your tires, you can use air compressors to inflate other items, such as air mattresses, sports equipment or pool toys and floaties. Air compressors make it easier to complete these tasks than rely on other tools that don’t work as efficiently.
  • Pressure washing: Pressure washers use air compressors to provide high water pressure to complete various tasks, including cleaning the home’s exterior, removing chemicals or improving the appearance of worn-out patios. Pressure washers speed up these tasks that would otherwise take hours to do using different tools or by hand.
  • Performing carpentry: Carpentry has many tasks that require air compressors, such as powering nail guns and other tools, preparing different surface types for treatment and removing rust or dust from items or your workstation. Without air compressors, you would have to rely on traditional methods to get the job done, which are limited and time-consuming.
  • Crafting: Many people enjoy crafting in their free time or use it as a source of income, and air compressors help get many jobs done efficiently. Many air compressors are lightweight and portable, allowing you to carry them around the home wherever you may need them. You can use air compressors for airbrushes, paint sprayers and air-blow guns for cleaning up after a busy day of crafting.
  • Completing yard work: Yard work is a menial task many avoid, but air compressors simplify various outdoor jobs. Professional groundskeepers or gardeners often use air compressors in their work, and the average homeowner can do the same. Different ways you can use an air compressor for yard work include shifting pooling water, sweeping debris or spraying weed killers across large yards.

pressure washer use for air compressors

Air Compressors for Business

Small and large businesses can benefit from using air compressors for their many needs. Air compressors can even be necessary to keep specific businesses running as they should. Some companies use their compressed air as a regular power source, supplying power to different tools and equipment. Using an air compressor can help small and large businesses streamline their tasks, including industries such as:

  • Auto body shops: These businesses can use air compressors for numerous applications, including painting or sanding vehicles and powering different tools. Air compressors help speed up many of these processes, making it easier to complete various tasks promptly and efficiently.
  • Construction and carpentry: Air compressors are an important part of construction work and carpentry, powering essential tools such as drills and nail guns. These compressors can also clean different machinery, streamlining tasks and allowing workers to move on to the next project as soon as possible.
  • Dental and medical services: Air compressors are often used in the medical field, such as for the tools used at a dentist’s office for suction. These tools help ensure the cleanliness and efficiency of different medical procedures, making them an essential part of the industry.
  • Dry cleaning: A reliable air supply is a big part of dry cleaning businesses. Compressed air helps these businesses reliably clean clothes by assisting with applying chemicals through cleaning guns and operating different tools, such as steam cleaners.

construction and carpentry

Air Compressors for Industrial Use

Air compressors are the only option for safety requirements in some industrial fields. Air compressors have had industrial uses for years, and as technology advances, different types of air compressors have become available for specific fields. The various industrial sectors that use air compressors include:

  • Agriculture: Compressed air can help farmers save on costs and streamline processes. Compressed air is used in the agricultural industry to spray crops with insecticide, ventilate greenhouses and power different types of machinery. Air compressors help farmers keep their crops healthy and on track for distribution.
  • Manufacturing: Manufacturing covers a broad spectrum of businesses, but air compressors can assist in each one. Air compressors can assist in quickly performing basic tasks, operating various air tools, completing packaging and cleaning up mold or debris. Air compressors help manufacturers complete projects more efficiently and promptly, allowing them to distribute products sooner rather than later.
  • Pharmaceutical: This industry requires a high level of precision and cleanliness to create products ready for human consumption. Air compressors can help with pressure regulation in mixing tanks, bottling products and spraying medications or other products with a specific coating. Air compressors help streamline these processes so the pharmaceutical industry can deliver products promptly.
  • Energy: The energy industry requires air compressors to help with maintenance and can even prevent the need for repairs, helping save on costs. The different ways these tools are utilized in the industry include controlling valves or cooling circuits and powering ventilation systems and various tools. In the energy industry, air compressors help keep workers safe from harm.
  • Food and beverage: Air compressors are commonly used in this industry for keeping refrigerators cool, packaging products and maintaining equipment that fills drinks.

Other Air Compressor Applications

Apart from the above, you can do many other things with an air compressor, including leisurely activities and specialized industries. Some of the miscellaneous uses for air compressors include:

  • Diving: Scuba divers often use air compressors in their diving equipment to fill their oxygen tanks to very high pressures. Air compressors ensure the diver’s safety while underwater. Other professions also use air compressors to provide clean air, including firefighters, marine contractors and hospitals.
  • Amusement parks: Air compressors keep amusement parks up and running as they help keep roller coasters, animatronics and other devices operational. Without these devices, amusement parks wouldn’t be what we know and love. Air compressors also help ensure the safety and reliability of these rides, such as operating the braking system on a roller coaster.
  • Ski resorts: At ski resorts, air compressors are used for making snow, particularly when the weather has been stubborn or when things get busy at these resorts. Compressed air helps keep these businesses operating throughout the season, reducing the risk of lost profit due to unnecessary downtime.
  • Paintball: Another fun activity that utilizes air compressors is paintball. Paintball guns rely on compressed air to propel the paintballs forward, creating pressure behind the loaded paintball before launching it at the target. Without air compressors, the game of paintball likely wouldn’t exist as we know it today.

air compressors for amusement parks

Quincy Compressor serves all of these industries. If you’re looking for an air compressor to help you keep up with production or streamline existing processes, contact Quincy Compressor today or find a location near you!


Last Updated on August 28, 2023 at 1:45 PM