While many tools serve a handful of obvious, practical purposes, some versatile ones are only limited by your imagination. Routine tire inflation is one of the main uses for an air compressor, but what else can you use it for? Here’s a quick look at five uses for an air compressor you may have never thought of.
1. Quick Cleanup
Whether you’ve been weed whacking and are clearing away clippings from the driveway, or you just finished working in the garage, an air compressor can help you get cleaned up quickly. A short burst from the compressor is all it takes to rid your work area of just about any mess. All you need is an air blow gun and a pair of safety goggles to keep flying debris out of your eyes. Then turn your air pressure regulator down to 30 psi or less and you are ready to clean. Keep in mind that it is dangerous to use compressed air to clean yourself off, leave that task to the washing machine and the shower.
2. Now That’s Fire!
Have you ever lost track of time entertaining guests only to realize you never started the fire in the charcoal grill? Why waste time waiting for coals to get hot or use lighter fluid when you can crank up the heat in a hurry. Try stoking the fire with some compressed air. Once you find the sweet spot, typically at the base of the flame, you’ll have a roaring inferno in no time. Don’t forget to turn the pressure regulator down or you’ll put the fire out completely.
3. Pump It Up
We’ve all been there. The kids are jumping around waiting for you to finish blowing up their pool tube on a hot summer day. Get them in the pool and out of your hair in minutes with a tapered inflator nozzle attached to your compressor. While you’re at it, you can give that sad old football new life with an inflation needle. Set the pressure appropriately, and you’ll never go wrong.
4. White Christmas
Want to dazzle everyone at your child’s next birthday party or have the best-decorated house on the block during a warm holiday season? Ditch that animatronic Frosty and blow the neighbors away with your very own compressed-air-powered DIY snowmaker. You can find free plans online via resources like snowathome.com that have you use a handful of valve and pipe pieces and your compressor to make a snow machine in minutes.
5. Body Shop
Compressors are great for powering spray guns when it comes time to paint the house. Using the same method for applying paint, you can add killer flame detailing to the front of your riding mower with a little prep, some masking tape and an airbrush. You should practice your best hot rod flame on a scrap piece of cardboard before you hit the sheet metal. When all is said and done, you’ll have the coolest mower this side of town.
There is an incredible number of uses for an air compressor — all you need to do is think outside the box. Whether you’re sandblasting your house’s siding or pumping up some pool rafts, air compressors are a must-have for every garage, shop or weekend warrior.
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Erich Reichert has been an editor and on-air personality in the radio control car hobby for 12 years. A certified car nut since birth, he has written for internationally published titles such as RC Car Action, RC Driver and Xtreme RC Cars, as well as Stuff Magazine, Road and Track and Super Street. He's covered everything from product reviews and tech articles to high-profile lifestyle pieces and celebrity interviews. Erich found his passion for writing after a successful career as an art director, working with brands such as Pepsico, NASCAR, MTV, Nintendo, WWE, Cannondale Bicycles and HBO. He's also a father, an avid hockey fan and an FIA race license holder who enjoys hiking, playing drums and movies.