Why Your Garage Needs an Air Compressor

A metal air compressor on a workbench.

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Having the right tool can make all the difference when a project that really challenges you comes along. If you think that air compressors are just for guys who want to show off by changing their tires with an impact gun, think again. A steady supply of compressed air can transform your garage.

Just about any tool you can use for working on a car can be attached to the end of an air hose. That means you’ll take years of wrenching off your life — and probably a visit or two to the chiropractor — just by owning a compressor. Plus, compressors have the added bonus of being handy for many jobs outside of the typical automotive repertoire.

Air Compressor ABCs

Now that you know you want a compressor, you’ve got to make a few decisions about which one is right for your application. The most powerful compressors are upright, piston-type tools that store a supply of air, making access instant.

Portable compressors are also available. While they don’t have the same ability to hold air as a piston-type compressor, there are few jobs you can’t do with a portable rig. Of course, the advantage of this setup is that you can take it with you to a project at a friend’s house or abroad.

In addition to selecting the type of compressor, consider how much power you want to have — higher-power versions can compress more air more quickly — and whether you desire a gasoline or electricity-powered compressor.

Putting Your Compressor to Use

Air tools are the obvious reason to have a compressor in your garage. They’re extremely convenient. We suggest outfitting yourself with an impact gun and grinder at the least. Saws, paint sprayers and sanders are also available. But as stated earlier, you can do a whole lot more with your compressor than just run tools.

Compressed air is one of the most effective cleaning tools you’ll come across, and you can use your compressor to drive a power washer for jobs that require you to clean out an engine bay or strip the brake dust off an old set of wheels.

With a properly set up space, you can even use your compressor to do some small-scale media blasting. And, of course, you’ll never again be in a pinch should your car or bike have a leaky tire. Just squeeze the trigger to fix that flat in a matter of seconds.

Extra Credit Air Compressor Assignments

When the day’s projects are over, you can still get the most from your compressor by putting it to use to help the family enjoy their evening. Lighting a fire? Turn down the pressure regulator and stoke your flames to perfection in a matter of seconds.

Never again will you need to labor for hours inflating pool toys — the compressor makes short work of that. And come Christmas time, you can even use your compressor to create your own mini-snowmaker.  You’ll be the coolest parents on the block.

A Wise Investment

When you consider all the things these versatile tools allow you to do, it’s hard to think of why you shouldn’t have an air compressor in any well-stocked garage. Just the time spent cleaning up after dusty projects and removing wheel lugs is enough that the thing pays for itself.

A compressor is fast and easy to install. Just pick your spot, plug it in or add fuel and attach the hose. Most models even come with a number of different factory attachments to get you started. The only question now is why haven’t you installed one already?

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