An air compressor is a handy tool to have in your DIY toolkit.
By 2024 it’s estimated the global air compressor market will be worth a staggering $9bn. If you search online you’ll find plenty of websites with air compressors for sale, but what kinds of jobs, DIY or not DIY-related, can you use them for?
Here are five different ways below.
Here in the UK, you’re usually not too far away from a petrol station. If you discover your tyre pressure is a little low you can top it up fairly quickly. But what about when you’re driving at night, or along country roads or you live miles away from a petrol station?
Having a 12V portable air compressor in the boot of your car could save you a lot of stress, hassle and worry. You can pick a decent one up for less than £50. If your budget won’t stress that far, cheaper models in the £20+ range are also available.
They’re perfect for using on both cars and motorcycles, just make sure you know the recommended pressure for your tyres (if you don’t, use this site). Smaller models can also be used on bicycles and can fit inside a backpack with ease.
We’re all used to painting walls and ceilings by hand, either with a paint brush or a roller. But there are times when it makes sense to use an air compressor and spray gun. Cars and other vehicles are obvious examples. But you can also use one for painting garage doors, exterior walls, glass, metal and most other surfaces.
The biggest advantage to using a spray gun for painting is the finish. Providing you’ve done everything correctly, you’ll end up with a lovely smooth finish.
You can also use a small airbrush and air compressor combo for creating paintings and canvases to hang on your walls.
Lighting a fire
From barbecues to campfires, an air compressor can really help get those coals burning.
All you have to do is aim for the bottom of the fire, turn the pressure down and use the air compressor to stoke the flames. In a few moments, you’ll be good to go. Ensuring the pressure is low is extremely important to keep the fire burning. Turn it up too high and you’ll extinguish the flames!
Nail or staple gun
If you do a lot of heavy construction jobs or you often work a long way from a power supply, an air compressor with an air gun kit will make work easier. These things come with a gun that can be used for nailing or stapling. However, depending on how you’ll use this type of machine, you might prefer to buy a gun dedicated to one task, either nailing or stapling.
Using an air compressor should allow a normal nail gun to drive up to sixty nails per minute. Quite the time-saver.
If you’ve been working on a construction job, doing a spot of DIY or carpentry this will help to reduce your clean up time. Just use it to blow away the fragments left behind and you’ll be done in no time – just be sure to wear safety goggles.
Air compressors are most commonly powered either by an electric motor or petrol engines and come in a variety of sizes. Electric models generally require less maintenance and work quietly. Petrol air compressors, however, will generate more noise but have the added benefit of having a much larger capacity.
Smaller models are better suited for home improvement and hobbies that do not require large amounts of air displacement. These units are generally low maintenance and portable. Larger air compressors are usually found in garages and working environments and used for air tools such as nail guns, ratchets and rotary tools.
Compressors ranging from 200-500 litre capacity tanks remain stationary.
Benefits of using air compressors include low weight and easy to use tools. They are generally safer for the user and more economical as they cost less than their power tool counterparts.
When investing in an air compressor it is important to understand what you need it for and how to use it. Finding out the required air flow or standard cubic feet per minute for your air tools, for example, will help you better understand the type of air compressor you require. Most air tools will come with guides or manufacturer notes to help you identify how to run the unit at optimum capacity.
No matter what you’re thinking of using one for, an air compressor can help with many different things. Once you’ve invested in one it’ll probably become that accessory you never knew you needed, but can’t live without.