Tips and Tricks

Little Known Uses for Air Compressors

Written by Eric Johnson

Air compressors have a multitude of uses. You may not realize that you run into air compressors fairly often during your everyday life. Even outside of visiting a car repair shop or getting industrial work done around your home or business you have regular interactions with air compressors. The little can of air that you use to clean your keyboard? That’s actually a miniature air compressor. When you stop by the gas station and take the extra few minutes to fill up your tires because they were running low? Again, you’re using an air compressor. They’re all around us, from powering jackhammers and other powerful equipment to hiding in plain sight around the office. But besides these more obvious uses for air compressors, what else can they be used for? And why would the average person want to have one around their house if not for large jobs with heavy machinery?

Inflate everything

To answer that question you first have to set aside the visual of air compressors only being used on the building site or in the hands of a burly workman. With a creative outlook it’s easy to see other uses for air compressors. A home air compressor is a wonderful way to keep your car tires inflated without having to stop by the gas station, sure, but it will also blow up the tires on your kid’s bike with hardly any effort. A deflated basketball or soccer ball is no match for the power of an air compressor and you won’t have to stand and pump for a long time to get the same result. A backyard kiddie pool? Air compressor. Air mattress? Again, the power of the air compressor gets things done.

Get in touch with your artistic side

Ok, you can use it to fill things with air, but what else can an air compressor do? For the more creative people an air compressor opens up the world of airbrush painting. Not just for t-shirts anymore, airbrushing can mean working on large scale art, motorcycles, cars, and even cool custom helmets. Having an air compressor is a quick way to allow your creativity to flow when you’re working on these projects. You won’t have to worry about a small one that comes in a kit, hooking up your airbrush equipment to a larger air compressor means you can tackle even the largest creative endeavors without running out of the power you need to finish the project.

Holiday fun

Not everybody is looking to paint with their air compressor, however. Maybe you and your family have been dreaming of a white Christmas and are about to be very disappointed when it’s cold but there’s no snow on Christmas morning. An air compressor is perfect for hooking up to a snow machine and having a blizzard in the back yard. Depending on how cold the air and ground are, your snow many not last for a long time but it will sure look pretty coming down. You’ll definitely score points with your kids with this one!

Cleaning and fixing


Pressure washing your driveway and sidewalks can be addicted. Pretty soon you’ll be turning to the front steps, washing away years of grime and moss, and you’ll become the envy of the neighborhood. How are pressure washers powered to get the best and hardest spray? That’s right – air compressors. Without the power of a strong air compressor your water will come out weak and ineffective. Just always use caution when operating a pressure washer – you never want to accidentally spray someone. It can cause a serious injury!

If you’re a handyman who likes to build on to your house you understand the importance of a strong nail gun. An electrical one or one that you work with only your strength is never going to have the power of one that’s hooked up to an air compressor. By using the air compressor with the nail gun you’ll be able to work all day without tiring out your arms trying to get the manual nail gun to work as well as it can. You’ll quickly be able to put together that new deck or dog house.

Most handymen also have a sander or two around the house or garage. These are perfect for smoothing down rough edges or splinters on wood and are necessary for the woodworker to have. They’re also used to sometimes clean up metal pieces – either by removing rust or smoothly out the rough edges that can so easily occur on metal. Unfortunately, the ones powered by electricity can get really, really hot. This means taking breaks while the sander cools down – creating lost time when you could still be working. When a air sander is used (a sander powered by an air compressor) there’s no heating up of the sander and therefore no breaks to allow it to cool back down to safe levels. You can work for as long as you want without being forced to stop.

Sandblasting is similar to pressure washing in that you spray a substance at something to clean it off. But in this case, instead of water, you’re spraying sand at an incredibly high speed and rate. It’s wonderful for removing rust and other debris from both wood and metal and has a special place in a lot of work shops when the handyman knows how to use it. Think of it as a mix between sanding and pressure washing. You get the power of the air compressor doing the work for you and the wonderful result of sanding without all of the hard work normally associated with such a great end result.


Hopefully, you can now see some of the other offbeat uses for an air compressor. By expanding your thinking when you imagine what one can be used for it’s easy to step out of the regular comfort zone of them being mostly used to power large equipment. Although they are invaluable for blowing up car tires they also have a lot of need uses that don’t involve your automobile.

About the author

Eric Johnson

Currently residing in San Diego, CA, Eric is a football lover, handyman, and creative consultant. Working to share my experiences in construction both online and in real life.

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