How To Use A Portable Air Compressor 2022 [Complete Tutorial]

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Portable tools are the new trend to make any work more effortless than ever. Just like that, the portable air compressors are soon going to replace heavy and non portable air compressors. Many of us have been wondering how to use a portable air compressor. So let’s learn everything about portable air compressor—

The first thing that pops up in our head about a portable air compressor is whether the mechanism of this tool is too complicated. A portable air compressor surely looks different than any normal air compressor in the market. Because most of them are actually designed for easy portability. 

Some air compressors have rubber wheels attached to the body, and some are extremely light to carry even by a single person. But does it change the mechanism? No. Let’s check out if there’s any special feature in a portable air compressor and how they are different than any normal air compressor.

Stationary Vs Portable Air Compressor

The traditional or stationary air compressors are a full version of a usual air compressor. It is used for mostly automotive & industrial jobs, which means it should be used for relatively heavy-duty tasks. That is why it may need to have a rather complicated mechanism to keep it all smooth.

Stationary Vs Portable Air Compressor

A portable air compressor, on the other hand, has simpler mechanisms as it does not involve any heavy duty task. This air compressor comes in handy for everyday tasks like filling a tire or spray painting. It is relatively lighter in weight and also easier to transport because of extra wheels in some models.

If you’re still confused about what to buy, check out our air compressor reviews and buy the most suitable air compressor for you. 

Portable Air Compressor Uses

A portable air compressor is used for rather lighter air compressor tasks, such as inflating car tires, spraying paints, or nailing guns, etc. But some of the most important uses of a portable air compressor include supplying fresh air to the divers, filling gas cylinders, or even operating pneumatic HVAC units.

Portable Air Compressor Uses

You can also utilize power pneumatic tools with a portable air compressor. For example jackhammers or oxidation machines for petroleum. You can make great use of your portable air compressor by utilizing it to inflate mattresses, balloons, balls etc. Although you can do them all with a stationary air compressor, a portable one offers an extra facility of easy mobility.

Using a stationary or portable air compressor is actually kind of similar. Although, you may need to keep certain things in mind while using the portable air compressor. So let’s cut to the chase and jump into the tutorial!

How To Use A Portable Air Compressor

To use a portable air compressor, you’ll need to follow a certain order of tasks to accomplish the process. Starting from the installation of the air compressor to operate it properly, you’ll have to know every nuts and bolts of a portable air compressor.

How To Use A Portable Air Compressor

So let’s start the step by step tutorial!

Air Compressor Set Up:

The first step of this tutorial should obviously be a proper installation and setup of your air compressor. Fix a proper place to keep the air compressor. A steady electricity connection is required to ensure your air compressor doesn’t go through any short circuit or voltage up down. Follow the user manual of your air compressor to learn about its proper voltage and electricity requirement. Trust me, this will help a lot.

After you have fixed a steady place and electricity connection, unpack your air compressor and start assembling the machine. Follow the user manual thoroughly to complete the assembly. Make sure you do not miss any part or skip any step while doing the assembly.

A common step of air compressor assembly is adjoining the compressor hose to the regulator valve of the compressor. You will find this step in every air compressor model, and it is kind of the most important step to do your work.

As you are using an air compressor, you may need to keep the air compressor far away from the socket for using. For that, buy a really long & good quality wire to provide electricity connection to the air compressor. If you are using a portable air compressor, then you can skip this step. As most of the portable compressor runs on fuel, you do not need to worry about that.

If you can not set up the air compressor on your own, that is totally fine. Just for expert help to set up your air compressor. You can also buy pre assembled machine to avoid all the hassle of assembling the compressor.

Now you are all set, put the adapter into the socket or prepare it for a kick start. Then you will have to advance towards the next step. 

Check The Lubricant & Fuel Level:

The next step is checking the air compressor. You will definitely need to check the lubricant every time you are using the air compressor. 

As the lubricant lowers the friction, it keeps the machine cool and prevents from damage. A low level of lubricant actually damages your machine. So checking the lubricant level is actually a standard procedure before starting the machine. 

Many air compressors have an oil-free engine. In that case, you do not need to check the lubricant level. Otherwise, you will need to change the oil if necessary. We will post an article on that in the future.

In the case of a portable air compressor, another important thing to consider before starting the machine is checking the fuel level. You really need to keep a clear idea about how long your machine will learn with a certain amount of fuel. If you want to run your compressor for a long time, you will need to refuel the machine or put in extra fuel.

Another important thing is to check any oil leaks in your machine. If present, find the outlets from where the oil is leaking and fix them. It will ensure more efficiency and avoid making a mess at the location.

Seal The Air Outlet Valves:

Another important step of operating an air compressor is definitely closing the air outlets. That way you can ensure the fullest efficiency by preventing leakage of air. Another reason for closing the outlet valves is maintaining the optimum air pressure inside the machine. So that you can easily pull off high pressure stuff like nailing a gun or impact wrench. 

Keeping the air pressure is high for certain air compressor tasks like nailing guns or inflating a tire. If you’re looking for some high pressure air compressors, check out our article on air compressor for impact wrench.

After you check all the prerequisites, you can now start the machine. Follow these steps to properly start the engine and operate the machine—

Starting The Machine:

Before starting the machine, you need to know how is your machine powered. If your portable air compressor is powered by electricity then put the adapter into the socket. And if your compressor is powered by gas/ diesel, make sure to put in the fuel.

Starting an air compressor isn’t much hassle like before. Most of them start only by turning on the power switch. Set your preferred air pressure and volume according to your air tool. To get an idea about the air volume & air pressure setting, simply check the user manual of your compressor.

Now that your air compressor has started, it will slowly increase the speed to achieve the optimum pressure and volume you’re looking for. This will not only warm up your air compressor but also protect the engine from any potential damage. 

When your tank has reached the optimum pressure, simply close the drain valve of your tank. You really need to make sure to reach the maximum pressure before working with the air tools. Once you achieve the maximum pressure, turn the engine off and cool off the machine a little bit.

Air Tool Setup:

Setting up your power tool is another important step. You should really keep the air tool ready before actually using them. Follow the instruction of your air tool to set it up and connect it with the machine.

Connecting the air tool with a compressor is actually pretty easy. For this, you have do nothing but connect the air inlet of the tool with the compressor hose of your machine. 

You will pretty much get an idea of how to operate air tools from its instruction manual. Still, you can operate any air tool by one simple step. That is adjusting the setting and releasing a stream of pressured air as per your tool needs.

After you use the air tool, disconnect it from the air compressor. Now you can stop the machine and keep it in a safe place. You can keep the extra air within the tank for future use. If not so, open the drain valve and let the air draw away.


Maintenance is a vital thing you need to keep in mind while operating the machine. You have to make sure not to damage the machine with any misconduct. Here we have marked out some important maintenance tricks and tips to give your air compressor a long life—


  • Change the oil or lubricant frequently if you are not using an oil free machine. Also, keep an eye on the lubricant so that it doesn’t go down too much. Because low level lubricant eventually damages the machine.
  • Check the temperature of the air compressor while running. You really need to avoid overheating the machine. Because this occurrence effectively lowers down the efficiency. Plus excess heat tends to damage the engine.
  • Check for leaks & fix them. You will need to fix both air leak and oil leak.
  • Keep the machine clean and do not let anything block the airway passage of your machine.
  • Scrutinize the machine for possible dents and fractures to avoid making things worse. Take expert service to repair any potential damaging issue.
  • Check the air filters and clean them if needed.

So using a portable or even a normal air compressor is as simple as that. Check these common problems people normally face operating a portable air compressor—

Frequently Asked Questions

How To Change Air Compressor Oil?

You can change air compressor oil by opening the drain plug and letting the old compressor oil percolate and make the engine empty. Then pour compressor oil into the fill port with the help of a funnel.

How Often Should You Change Air Compressor Oil?

You should change the compressor oil after every 9-10 months or running the machine for 7000-8000 hours. If you use your compressor more frequently, you should change the oil every 3 months.

Can You Put Motor Oil In An Air Compressor?

You can use motor oil instead of compressor oil in your machine. But it is better to actually use air compressor oil or engine oil in the machine.

How To Fix Air Compressor Leak?

You can fix any oil leak of your air compressor by using leak seal rubber coating or leak seal tape. Take expert service to get the best result.

How To Fix Air Compressor Tank Leak?

You can fix air compressor tank leak by using leak seal rubber coating or leak seal tape. Although it would be better to take professional repair service to fix your tank leak.

Wrapping Up

So that’s all for our in depth tutorial for how to use a portable air compressor. I hope this article helped you to operate your own portable air compressor without any help from others. If you still do not own an air compressor, what are you waiting for? Buy the most suitable product according to our suggestion and stay tension free!

If you have any questions regarding this article or if you need any air compressor solution, you can leave your comments own the comment section. We will get back to your query as soon as possible and answer them. Until then, happy working!

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