6 Easy Steps to Use an Air Compressor

An air compressor can help you with many things.

You could use it for spray painting so you can work to quickly cover your intended surface with a layer of paint. You can also use an air compressor with power washers.

Using it with this can help achieve a strong water power while washing off a house.

Using an air compressor can help your project run smoothly. But often an air compressor can look very intimating with its numerous dials and buttons.

So you might be wondering:

How do I begin? What supplies do I need to have? How exactly do I use an 12V air compressor? Starting out is often the hardest part. After you use the machine for a bit, you’ll find that it’s not that hard to operate after all.

This article will help you know what you need to do so you’re on your way to using your air compressor successfully.

Supplies You Need

Before starting, gather your needed supplies. It's important that you protect your eyes from any debris or pieces that could hit your face. This is why it's important to wear some googles while using it.

If your air compressor is electric, be sure to place your machine near an electrical outlet. If your machine needs oil to run, have some oil nearby. Make sure you have any attachment tools close by, such as a tire inflator one if your projects involve inflating bike tires.

It's also good to have the machine manual on hand which will help you better understand your specific air compressor.

The Steps To Use With Your Air Compressor

After getting your supplies together, make sure to clear the area you plan to work in for safety measures. Check to make sure the area is safe, and once it is, you can start to work with your machine.

Below are the six basic steps to help get you started with using your air compressor.

Step 1 : Do A Quick Check Of Your Machine

Before doing anything, take a few minutes to check your air compressor to ensure that everything is in order and that the hose is properly secured. If it’s not, it will cause low air pressure and can damage both the hose and machine.

Be sure to also look at the power switch. If you do find that your switch is “on” immediately turn it to “off”. Keeping it stuck to “on” can be very dangerous when you’re plugging it into an outlet. Also, look at the surface the machine is on.

If it’s not sitting on a flat surface be sure to put it on one or the air compressor will end up tilting and falling over.

Step 2 : Prepare And Then Power On Your Air Compressor

Depending on the type of air compressor you have, your preparation methods can vary. Air compressors often come in three types: electric, oil, and gas.

If you're using an electric one, turn the machine on with its power button after plugging it into an electrical outlet.

If your machine is dependent on oil (as many are) check the oil level and add any oil needed before turning it on. If you don't have enough oil in it, your air compressor won't work properly.

The oil's job is to help the machine have a tight seal and not get very hot. Air compressors can also run on gas, so if you have this type be sure to have some gasoline on hand.

After prepping your machine correctly, you can then turn the power button to “on”.

Step 3 : Turn The Pressure To The Desired Range To Fill The Tan

After powering your machine on, turn the pressure gauge to your needed pressure so the tank can start to fill with air.

There are two gauges on a small air compressor. One gauge tells you the air pressure in the tank and the other gauge tells the pressure in the tool you’re using with the hose. These two gauges called Proper Air Pressure (PSI) and Air Flow (CFM).

Be sure you know exactly what the needed pressure is for the tool though, as every air tool has its own requirement.

For example, a spray gun needs 6 CFM, while a Die Grinder needs 8 CFM. Even though these two may seem close in CFM levels, be sure to use the right pressure. Using the wrong pressure can destroy both the tool and air compressor.

Step 4 : Put An Attachment On The Hose

After filling the tank with the desired air amount, you can start using the hose to complete your project.

Make sure you close the gauges before doing so. After you’ve doing this, you can then put any special attachment you have on the tip of the hose. As you put that the attachment on the hose, be sure to fastened securely, or it could damage both the hose and machine.

You can see here a video on How to Use Air Tools for Beginners

Step 5 : Shut The Machine And Pressure Gauge Off And Unplug It From The Outlet

When you're done using your quiet air compressor, shut both the machine and pressure gauge off.

Then, unplug it from any outlet that it is currently in. After you’ve done that, you can use the pressure relief valve to release any air left inside the tank. Now, you can check the pressure relief valve.

If it shows that the air tank is under a certain pressure, open the valve to release the rest of the air.

Step 6 : Carefully Put Your Air Compressor Away

After you release all the air inside the tank and are completely done using it, store it away in a dry place. 

It's important to note that condensation can form under your machine while in storage. To prevent this, place it on a surface where air can get under the machine to ensure it stays dry. Ignoring this step may cause your air compressor to become damaged.

Related : How to Set Up & Use an Air Compressor Safely in 16 steps


An air compressor may seem like a difficult machine to use, but after you use it for a while, it can become a very simple and easy machine to operate.

You'll soon find out that you can use your portable air compressor for almost everything, like when using an air stapler to apply new shingles to a roof, and even doing small things like inflating a football for a game or balloons for a party.

Buying an air compressor is a worthwhile investment, because no matter what project you use it for, it will get the job done. When learning how to use a compressor, be sure to follow the steps above for a smooth, safe, and accurate job.