Setting Up an Air Compressor to Power Air Tools in Your Workshop

You see them on HGTV all the time--air tools. Nail guns, drills, paint sprayers, ratchet tools, and the like--they all use compressed air to function instead of batteries or electricity. Air tools are light, reducing fatigue if you use them often. This makes them great to use for assembly lines and home workshops. But they need an attached tank of compressed air to work. You will need to create an air system for your workshop. 

What Kind of Air Compressor Works Best?

There are many different air compressors on the market. The brand isn't as important as these four considerations:

  • Horse power of the compressor
  • The tank's air capacity
  • How much air it will deliver in a minute
  • Whether the compressor is gas-powered or electric

Once you've chosen your air compressor, you will need to set up a simple air system to manage and run your air tools.

What's the Best Way to Set Up Your Air Compressor?

This is how the air system utilizing the compressor should flow in your workshop:

  • air compressor
  • to filter
  • to regulator
  • to lubricator
  • to air tool

Your chosen air compressor will need a filter so that the condensed water released from the compressor won't corrode the inside of your air tool. The filter removes contaminants like dust and water from the air in your compressor that comes from your workshop.

The regulator controls the pressure of the air coming from the compressor. You want the pressure to be constant, although you can manually turn the pressure up and down on your compressor and tool.

A lubricator oils the working parts of your air tool. You wouldn't use a lubricator in any air tool that provides a specific outlay or finish, like a paint sprayer.

Connecting the air compressor to your air tool requires a hose. You should match the hose to the types of tools that you are using in your workshop. Look at the diameter of the hose. It needs to be just the right size for the majority of your air tools. A too-small hose won't provide good air pressure. Long hoses lose pressure as the compressed air has too long of a distance to travel to your air tool.

Finally, your air tool's cubic feet per minute rating should be listed on your tool. You will need to match that rating to your chosen air compressor's cubic feet per minute ratings. This will ensure that your compressor can deliver the correct amount of pressurized air to your air tool.

For guidance choosing an air compressor and setting it up, talk to a professional like those at Kruman Equipment Company.