DIY Network

Air Compressor Tips

Air compressors come in various types and vary in horsepower rating. Use these tips to determine the horsepower needed to get the job done.

More in Home Improvement

air compressors act as power source for tools

Air compressors act as a power source for tools such as paint sprayers and pneumatic nail guns.

The most basic type of air compressor is the 1/2-horsepower stationary compressor, often used for inflating mattresses or tires. Its electric motor operates a piston, which compresses air and forces it out of the machine's hose. Air compressors with 3/4 horsepower or greater may be gasoline-powered. A 3/4-horsepower compressor is portable and suitable for hooking up to more powerful tools. For heavy-duty work such as running nail guns and paint sprayers, a 1-horsepower compressor is best.

Various attachments are available for air compressors. The in-line filter fits onto the air compressor's hose to prevent oil and condensation from flowing to the tool attached to the hose. The regulator has dual ports that allow the user to operate two tools from one compressor.