What Is An Air Compressor Used For – Step By Step Complete Guide

Gone are the times when an air compressor only belonged to a service station. It has become a necessity even in homes now. If you’re not sure what an air compressor is then let us help you out. An air compressor stores potential energy in the form of compressed air which is then used to run devices and inflate tires and pools etc.

Now the question is, what is an air compressor used for? Air compressors allow you to drive equipment and tools on your work site. This helps reduce maintenance costs and saves you the effort of hiring someone else to do it. However, this is not all that air compressors have to offer. Let’s learn about all the unique applications of air compressors.

Classifications of Air compressors

There are three types of air compressors available on the market:

  • Consumer-grade

These are the single-stage or pancake models which you see on the market. They can be used for simple household tasks like powering small tools like brad guns and staplers and inflating inflatable products as well as tires.

  • Professional-grade

These are bigger in size as compared to consumer-grade units and provide higher pressurized air and more power. They could either be rotary screw models or two-stage reciprocating models. They can easily run multiple air tools simultaneously for a short time.

  • Industrial-grade

These are the biggest in size and provide the most amount of power. They are commonly used on oil rigs or manufacturing plants. They can deliver high-pressure air for long periods which allows them to run heavy and maintain heavy machines. You can easily customize them in order to improve reliability, efficiency, and performance.

Household applications of air compressors

What is an air compressor used for in households? Consumer-grade air compressors can get a lot of work done at your home. These applications include:

  • Inflating tires and other inflatables

You can use these small air compressors to fill up the tires of vehicles and bikes. They can also fill up inflatable pool accessories and balloons at home. Inflate air mattresses or even top off sports equipment using this incredible machine.

  • Pressure washing

Air compressors can also be used to force out pressurized water in pressure washers. They can then be used to clean up brick, siding, and sidewalks in residential areas. Refresh the appearance of your patios and decks using these units. This is a safer alternative to chemical treatments.

  • Carpentry

If you like doing the maintenance work at home by yourself then a small air compressor will help you achieve that. You can complete tasks like sanding, removing rust, and cleaning up metal and wood.

Applications in small businesses

Air compressors also have various applications in small businesses where they are used to power pneumatic tools carry out other pressure-related tasks with efficiency. Following are some of the jobs that can be completed using air compressors for small businesses.

  • Paint jobs

You can use air compressors to paint cars and other things in an auto body shop. This helps provide accuracy and the perfect finish. You will also be able to save up on paint.

  • Pneumatic tools

Power tools like nail guns require the use of air compressors.

  • Dental services

Dentists need to use air compressors to operate their equipment. Therefore, small air compressors are quite useful to them as well.

  • Sanding in shops

Air compressors help you complete sanding jobs in woodworking or in auto body shops. You can also use them for sandblasting in manufacturing facilities and machine shops.

Industrial applications

The major uses of air compressors are in industries. Following are some of the most common applications.

  • Agriculture

Air compressors are used for spraying crops, operating power handling materials, powering dairy machines, and glasshouse ventilation systems in farming industries. They help make the job easier and much more efficient for farmers.

  • Manufacturing

An air compressor is a central power source in assembly plants and refineries. It helps complete jobs like operating automated machinery and air tools. These units help improve the efficiency and accuracy of the jobs.

  • Dry cleaning

The dry-cleaning industry requires a reliable pressurized air supply for a proper operation. It is needed for operating steam cleaners and laundry presses. It also helps deliver chemical applications using cleaning guns.

  • Pharmaceutical

Air compressors are used for packaging and bottling products, maintaining pressure in holding and mixing tanks, spraying coatings, and moving conveyor systems in the pharmaceutical industry.


Air compressors have become a necessity almost everywhere now. Be it households, small businesses, or huge industries, air compressors are needed for completing various jobs and operating tools. They help achieve the best accuracy and also improve efficiency so you end up saving money. This makes them a great unit to invest in. We hope our article helped you understand what is an air compressor used for. These are just some of the applications of these amazing machines. You will find many more in the world. Let us know if you have any other questions. Until then, good luck and goodbye!


  1. What is the power output of an air compressor?

Answer: The power rating of air compressors is usually measured in horsepower and it ranges between 1.5 and 6.5. This value can also go up to about 15 HP if you are working with industrial air compressors.

  1. What does an air compressor cost?

Answer: This depends on the type of air compressor that you are getting. Small household air compressors can be for as low as $500 while industrial air compressors can go up to about $2000. Decide on your requirement and then pick an air compressor that suits you best.

  1. How efficient is an air compressor?

Answer: Air compressors have an efficiency of about 10 percent. This is because they lose most of their energy in the form of heat. You can use a heat recovery system to recover this power and use it for other purposes.

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