Top 10 Air Compressor Uses – Work, Home, Automotive, & More

| Last Updated: February 22, 2021

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Air Compressors are useful tools to complete various tasks around the home, workshop, or construction site.

Below is a list of tasks that can be completed with the help of an air compressor. 

What is an Air Compressor Used For? 

There are plenty of uses for an air compressor, many of which people forget is even possible. In the below article, we'll discuss various tasks and environments that an air compressor can be used.

We'll also discuss why you should spend the time researching for a high-quality air compressor instead of going for the bare minimum. 

Uses for an Air Compressor at Home     

Using an air compressor for any tasks around the home isn't uncommon. Your standard chores like cleaning gutters and inflating tires are all made easy with help from an air compressor. Many families would mainly benefit from buying a portable, small to a medium air compressor for easy storage. 

1. Shop Air Compressor 

The shop you've set up from home can be selling custom balloons, upcycling old furniture, or general maintenance. Whatever it is, there's a compressor for you.

If you're looking to use pneumatic tools, you'll be best with a larger tank size of around 60 gallons to 80 gallons as these will give you the continuous runtime these tools require.

Larger tanks are best installed in your garage. However, if you're looking at smaller tasks, portable pancake air compressors will do the trick. These can be transported easily wherever in the house you need them. 

2. Air Compressor for Woodworking 

Several tools are needed when working with wood projects. If you're going to be sanding or spray painting the wood, you'll need at least a 30 gallon tank or more to operate a continuous stream of pressurized air. 

If you're working with wood in terms of nailing, a standard 6-gallon tank will suffice as they only require short bursts of pressurized air. You'll also need to check the PSI and CFM rating of both the compressor and the tools, as things like your sander and spray painter require upwards of 20 CFM. 

3. Air Compressor for Bike Tires 

like a car, your bike tires have a suitable PSI level; you can find this out from your manual. Make sure that your ad the compressor, so it doesn't damage the tire when inflating. You can use a small compact air compressor like the ones you'd use on a car. 

They're easily stored in your car and can be plugged straight into the battery. Different tire types range between PSI levels: 

  • Mountain Bikes - 25 - 30 PSI
  • Road Tires - 80 - 130 PSI
  • Gravel Tires - 40 - 80 PSI 

4. Air Compressor for Painting

If you're painting small pieces of furniture, you'll be suited to a small - medium-sized compressor, between 15 - 30 gallons; it's only recommended if you're not painting regularly using an air compressor. If you're painting more frequently, like a few pieces per day, a larger tank would be beneficial. 

Oil-free compressors tend to have cleaner air and also don't have any chance of oil contaminating the paint, ultimately ruining your paint. This can be a common problem with oiled compressors.

Larger compressors have a smaller chance of tailing, which is when pressure suddenly increases or decreases, meaning you'd need a few moments for the compressor to catch up. 

5. Air Compressor for Painting a House 

Whether you're painting the inside or outside of a house, this is a huge task that requires some serious muscle in terms of air compressor capability. You'll most likely be completing the home in sections, with multiple coats. If you do this sort of stuff regularly as a job, you're best buying an air compressor; if not, hire one. 

Anything between 80 - 100 gallons would be best as this gives you a decent runtime between refills; try to find a compressor with a decent refill time. Otherwise, you'll be waiting for longer than its operating.

Due to the compressor's huge size, it'll probably be extremely heavy, try to install wheels, and have plenty of hose length when operating. 

Uses for an Air Compressor at Work 

When operating a compressor for work, you must know you can rely on a high-quality air compressor. Especially when using it along with medical devices. Below are some examples of when you can use an air compressor for work. 

6. Automotive Air Compressor 

A mechanic or bodywork expert will heavily rely on air compressors to effectively run their business.

A few tools in their arsenal, such as a body polisher, body sander, panel cutter, tire changer, and many more, can all be operated along with an air compressor to make tasks easier and completed faster. 

It's recommended that any air compressor used in a garage or body shop should have a long runtime with a large tank. These can get heavy, so it would be best installed into the workshop with a lengthy hose as moving it around is out of the equation due to weight. 

7. Medical Air Compressor Uses

Air compressors have long been used in medical, veterinary, and dental practices. They have a wide application for suction, respiratory, and surgical tools.

Most medical practices have strict rules on their compressors' capability, such as purification filters that remove any foreign particles to ensure the cleanest air possible. 

These compressors are mainly oil-free as to remove any risk of oil contamination. Standard air compressors used for small medical tasks such as dental checkups range between 10 - 30 gallons. Such a compressor's pressure rating should be at least 150 PSI with a CFM between 10 and 15. 

Uses for an Air Compressor for Car

Whether you're a professional mechanic or carrying out some maintenance on your car from the garage, an air compressor can be used by anyone to complete tasks on various types of cars, vans, RV's. 

8. RV Air Compressor

It's always best to carry a portable air compressor on your RV in case of emergencies. There are multiple uses, such as inflating your tires; you can get a portable 12V air compressor that plugs straight into your battery. 

Another use could be cleaning the RV with a power wash. Spend the time to look for something lightweight but also provide a minimum of 120 - 150 PSI. Due to your standard RV size, a 20-foot hose should be a minimum length when traveling in the RV. 

9. Off-Road Air Compressor

Traveling off-road is a serious task; anything can happen, and you could be miles away from any emergency help. Having a compact compressor will always be helpful as they can be stored in a small compartment; noise isn't as big of an issue as it won't take long to inflate tires. 

The main priority for your compressor should be how fast it can inflate off-road tires, and it's the weight. You should be looking for a 12V air compressor that can inflate your tires within 3 minutes. 

10. Air Compressor for Painting Cars

If you're looking to paint cars, you'll need an air compressor upwards of 60 gallons. It requires this amount as a minimum due to the requirement for a continuous supply of air. 

There are many steps to painting a car, all with different tools. You'll need a compressor that provides CFM of at least 8 and 150 PSI. Oil-free compressors are also best to avoid any oil contamination, which could spoil the paint. 

Advantages of Investing in a Quality Air Compressor 

Below are a few benefits of spending the time and money searching for the best quality air compressor that suits you. 


If you purchase an air compressor that is of high quality, you'll be rest assured it'll last a long time as long as it's taken care of. Whether it's being used as a work tool or to help with chores, a decent compressor will be able to handle whatever you throw at it. 

Plan B

We've all been there, on a road trip, and we stopped for a break, noticed a deflated tire, and instantly panicked because we are miles away from any help.

If you've got a compact 12V compressor, you can immediately start inflating and get back on the road within a matter of minutes. See your air compressor purchase as an investment for the future, because you never know when you might need it. 

Cut Your Work Time In Half

One of the most significant benefits of an air compressor is that no matter what the task is, you'll significantly reduce the time it takes using an air compressor compared to doing it by hand. That time is then spent on other projects and ultimately saves you money, making it great for work environments. 

Hold up, are you interested in other topics related to air compressors? If so, these might be something to check out: 


To summarize, there are many projects, tasks, tools, and environments that an air compressor can make life so much easier. So long as you know what you're using it for, you'll be able to pick out the air compressor that suits your needs accurately.