Automotive Air Compressor Buying Guide

When it comes to purchasing tools and equipment that can help you in maintaining your precious ride, knowledge is always key. You won’t just buy a tool because it’s trending or because a mate has told you so. With all the options available in the market, it is but essential that you take your time in knowing all its different kinds, pros and cons, proper usage and storage, price range, and more. Having said that, one particular tool comes into mind: the air compressor. We all know that it’s indeed a helpful and adequate tool. However, we all can’t deny the fact that choosing the right air compressor can simply be confusing. Furthermore, when we are faced with all the different types of air compressors there are available, it gets tougher and more complicated.

Hence, as your leading Aussie auto parts recyclers and used car parts suppliers, Advance Auto Parts is here to give you a simple yet complete rundown of how you’re going to be able to buy the perfect air compressor. And even if you have little knowledge and experience on cheap car parts Melbourne industry, mechanical tools and equipment, there’s no need to fret. All you have to do is just follow this guide and you’ll sure end up investing on the right type of air compressor for your auto maintenance needs.

Understand what air compressors are and how they work.


Air compressors have been around for ages. They have simply gained popularity because of the fact that using air is safer, cleaner, more flexible, and convenient. As compared to electric tools, they have more torque, have more power, are more durable simply because they have lesser moving parts. Plus, they’re easy to use. These pneumatic tools are indeed versatile equipment that can perform a variety of tasks. They can be used to pump your tyres, paint your fenders, easily screw in bolts and nuts, drill holes, and a lot more.

To simply explain how they work, here it is: For most common models of auto air compressors, it has an electric motor or gasoline engine that drives a piston. This piston now forces the air into a storage tank. As it forces more air in, the air pressure also rises. And once the pressure reaches a certain level, the compressor stops running. As you continue to use the stored air to power a tool, the compressor starts to build the air pressure back up again.

Know what type of air compressor buyer you are.


If you’re not really running an auto repair business, then you’ll just have to determine which of these two categories you’ll fall in:

One category of automotive air compressors are designed for consumers like you. They are developed for those looking for a machine that’s capable of completing small air tasks in your garage and around your house. So, if you’re technically a newbie in doing DIY car repair jobs and home projects, then this category is where you’ll fall under. You can choose from either portable or single-stage air compressors.

If you’re the car enthusiast-type who has been doing all kinds of repair jobs for years, then you might want to level up to the next category – the contractor-grade auto air compressors. These compressors are used for a plethora of jobs; from as simple as powering nail guns to doing roadside auto repair jobs. These are also perfect for running multiple air tools simultaneously. Simply put, if you think you’re kind of an ‘expert’ in fixing and maintaining cars, then investing in these contractor-grade air compressors is the smart thing to do. They are built to last longer than the consumer-grades. Thus, you can use from hand-carry or wheeled cart types.

Analyse your requirements, usage, and space.


Along with determining which category you fall under, we want to simply stress that knowing exactly what you’ll use it for is very important before buying any type of air compressor. Because after you have decided where you’ll be using it and how often you’ll use it, you’ll now want to know about capacity and volume. The important things to ask are:

  • Will you be working in an unventilated or confined areas?
  • Do you need one that can be easily moved around?
  • Do you want one that doesn’t really need a big space for storage?
  • Is there a ready electrical supply?
  • What tools would you want to use it with?


For example, if you need one to inflate tyres, power nail guns, and drill stuff in your house; if you want one that isn’t too big and too heavy; if you want one that you could just plug in your available outlets in the garage; and if you want one that you can bring basically anywhere – then you might probably want to go with a portable compressor, the ones without a tank.

So, when you’ve already answered all of these questions, it’ll be a lot easier for you to choose the kind of air compressor you’ll go with.

Now choose which type of air compressor suits all your needs.


Generally, there are about 4 types of air compressors you can choose from:

  1. Piston-type Air Compressors – these rely on a motor that builds up air pressure when it gets depleted. Then, they store compressed air in their tanks. There are actually 2 kinds of piston compressors, single-stage and two-stage. To not complicate things for you, the two-stage ones are perfect for industrial and business use.
  2. Portable Air Compressors – like what we have mentioned earlier, these portable ones are more viable for light home and garage use. They can be used for powering caulk guns, spray and glue guns, nail guns, and for tyre inflation. It can power any kind of pneumatic nailer, inflate pretty much anything, and even blow away debris. These are great alternatives for the newbies and less-experienced car owners.
  3. Truck Mount Compressors – these are the biggest and most powerful compressors available in the market. They are the better option as opposed to the heavy trailer-mounted compressors that simply take up a lot of space when storing and in usage. These are equipped with multiple air outlets which will allow you to run several air tools all at the same time. Plus, they allow you to bring all the power of two-stage compressors anywhere you can drive your truck. However, you may only use these compressors where you can drive.
  4. Rotary Screw Air Compressors – these are types of gas compressors used commonly to replace the piston compressors we have mentioned earlier. They tend to be the most advanced air compressors in the industry. They use up large volumes of high pressure air needed to operate high-powered tools like jackhammers. Also, they are often quieter and they provide 100% continuous air that blasts much longer.


Last considerations…


After considering usage, storage, and power supply, it also important that you consider maintenance. Yes, since they are also considered as machines, you might have to put in a little or more effort so you could use them for a much longer time. Now if you aren’t willing to give ample or additional effort in maintaining it, it’s best that you just stick with the portable and simpler air compressor models. Also, maintenance will also depend if you’ll go with oil-less or oil air compressor.

So before you proceed, keep in mind that getting your own auto air compressor is supposed to be a one-time investment. So like what we have said, it’s best that you consider all the facts first before coming up with your final decision. We really recommend that you exercise your right as a curious potential customer and ask all the questions that you reckon are really important, no matter how simple you think it is. Most of the time, it’s even those simple and trivial questions that will make a difference in your purchase.

Finally, purchase the machine from a reputable auto parts online shop or used car parts Melbourne company to save you from all the hassles. Go with the one that cares for their customers more than making money. Don’t let their salesmen fool you with terminology and let you end up with cheap auto spares and equipment that won’t last long. Let them explain to you in terms that you would understand. Truly, there are a lot of air compressors in the market that are excessively advertised and fraudulently rated. So make sure you know what to do in order to protect yourself.

The best advice that we can give you now is – look no further. Trust Advance Auto Parts for all your car maintenance and Australian auto parts needs. We have been in this industry for more than two decades now, so you are assured that you’re dealing with only the leaders in the used car parts business. Speak with our friendly and accommodating staff so that we could help you find the perfect and budget-friendly auto air compressor just for you!