How to Use a Garage Air Compressor?

(Last Updated On: March 13, 2024)

An air compressor for your garage offers the ability to use a variety of pneumatic tools for an array of compressed air activities. Nonetheless, it’s crucial to first grasp how to operate a garage air compressor to achieve satisfactory results. Operating an air compressor while lacking the appropriate knowledge could lead to a dreadful experience, resulting in damage to the tools or severe injury.

Thus, today we will explain how to use an air compressor for home garage briefly and reveal some of the working areas of the tools. The aim is to help you handle the compressor safely and successfully.

Guides to use a garage air compressor

Place the air compressor

Position the compressor on a stable and flat surface in your garage. Keep the power off and plug the power cord into the electric outlet.

Check the oil level

If your garage air compressor is a piston type, it will have a gauge near the motor. To check the oil level, remove the cap and inspect the specified mark. If you find the oil level under the mark, then add the compressor’s manufacturer-recommended oil.

Check the drain valve

Before powering on the garage air compressor, make sure the drain valve is closed, which is placed at the bottom. You can use an adjustable wrench to tighten it if required.

Prepare the air tank

Now turn on the air compressor and let the machine run. Observe the air gauge and power off the compressor if it reaches the highest capacity, which is usually around 100-to 115 PSI. However, some models have an automatic power-off feature. After that, adjust the PSI of your air compressor based on the air tool you will run using an air control valve. It may take a couple of attempts to set the recommended air pressure for a certain air tool.

Connect the air hose

Attach one end of the hose to the air compressor and, if required, wrap the threaded end of the hose with PTFE tape. Then tighten the hose using an adjustable wrench. After that, attach the air tool to the other end of the hose.  Now your garage air compressor is ready to deliver the required air pressure to the tool to complete the task.

Operate the air tool

After pressurized air comes into the hose, you can operate the air tool. Each time you use the tool; the air pressure in the tank will decline and automatically start refilling. At this time, you don’t need to adjust the pressure unless you change the air tool. But if the air tool seems to stop working suddenly, check the pressure gauge. It mostly occurs in the smaller tanks, as these can’t refill the air quickly enough to operate larger tools conveniently. You should wait for a moment to let the compressor rebuild air pressure.

Drain the condensation

After completing any project, release the air tank drain valve to keep the air compressor functional. The valve is mostly placed under the tank. Simply rotate the valve anti-clockwise to blow out the collected moisture using pressurized air. If the valve is hard to rotate by hand, you can use pliers. After that, secure the valve, rotating clockwise until the airflow stops.

Turn off the air compressor

Don’t remove the air hose until the garage air compressor is powered off completely. Firstly, rotate the pressure regulator knob close to the hose to stop the air supply. Then switch off the compressor and wait a moment to let the pressure leave the system. You can pull the relief valve to accelerate the draining process.

Remove the hose and store the unit

Unplug the power cord and then remove the air hose. If the tank is empty, the hose will slide out easily. Choose a dry and temperature-controlled area to store your garage air compressor and the hose.

Concentrate on oil change

If your garage air compressor has an oil-filled pump, don’t forget to change the oil every year. This step is integral for proper operation. To do so, remove the plugs on the oil tank with a socket wrench. Catch the old oil in a container and add new air compressor oil using a funnel. Check the user manual of the garage compressor to better learn the recommended oil.

Usage of a garage air compressor

The following are the 3 main ways you can use an air compressor in your garage:

Inflation jobs

An air compressor gets power from electricity to fill the tank with air and pressurize it. After that, the pressure air inflates the tire connected through the hose.  Having these units means you don’t need to wait in a gas station to inflate your car’s tires. However, it needs to learn how to use a garage air compressor to maintain balance on the wheels. Apart from inflating the trucks and other vehicles, an air compressor is handy for inflating air balloons. While the lungs of the operator will get tired of inflating only five balloons, an air compressor can constantly inflate a huge number of them.


The garage is a great workstation for doing it yourself enthusiasts which can get messy by day’s end. Plus, the DIYers also feel tired at the end, which encourages them to leave the garage dirty. But having a compressor won’t tell you to face the situation. Using an air compressor will convert the messy workplace into a clean one within a short time by simply operating a blowgun.

More importantly, you can use the same device to paint a wall or vehicle. Ensuring consistent air, the device will make the painting task pretty easy, even cleaning the surface before painting.


Suitable for pneumatic tools

Electric power tools are helpful but quite risky and challenging to maintain. For example, it can cause spark generation or short-circuit during the operation, which can end up causing serious injury. Therefore, air tools are preferred for safer operation. More importantly lots of types of air tools out there, including pneumatic hammers, sanders, airbrushes, drills, and screwdrivers. By operating these tools via a garage air compressor, you can save enough energy and time compared to physical attempts. Apart from these, you will have a safer operation. However, air tools also require enough care.

Final words

Operating an air compressor is a simple task only if you know the right method. Throughout the guide, we have explained how to use a garage air compressor step by step.  So, follow these easy steps and run your garage air compressor properly, but be careful about the PSI adjustment. Despite we have included some work areas for an air compressor to help you realize the capability of the garage air compressor.

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