What Are the Different Types of Compressor Tools?

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  • Written By: Amy Rodriguez
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2019
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Manufacturers offer many types of compressor tools, including nail guns, paint sprayers, drills, grinders, and sanders. Each of these common workshop tools attaches to an air compressor for constant power. Many businesses and hobbyists use air tools since they offer strength and ease of use over long periods of time.

The compressor operates by forcing air into its storage tank until the molecules are compacted into a dense mass. An attached air tool receives the pressurized air from the compressor to generate motion or force. Smaller air compressors power common compressor tools, like nail guns. In contrast, larger air tools require bigger compressors, with powerful motors and enlarged storage tanks. Sanders and grinders require more power to achieve proper functioning during a project.

Nail guns are extremely useful as air compressor tools, especially for large projects. Many construction professionals use air nail guns to install hundreds of nails into wood framing, such as for a building structure. The lightweight nail gun allows the worker to continue the project without the danger of developing a repetitive stress injury from holding a heavy nail gun housing an individual motor.


Paint sprayers use the compressed air input to convert liquid paint into tiny droplets. The paint sprayer shoots the small droplets out, creating a fine mist for a smooth paint coat. These specialized compressor tools are used for large painting projects, such as an exterior home color update or complete car paint job. Smaller paint jobs still use the basic paint brush and roller tools since the sprayer can have messy overspray in confined areas.

Compressor tools also include drills. An air drill easily makes holes in varied materials, from metal to wood. Strong motors in larger air compressors will power bigger drills through tougher material, like thick sheet metal. The drilling material, drill tool, and compressor must have compatible power options to prevent damage to any of the devices. Additionally, tool compatibility should be defined before beginning the project so the user does not incur any injury, such as from snapping a drill bit.

Grinders and sanders scrape away material surfaces as a finishing technique. For example, sanders can wear down wood corners or a grinder can polish a metal tool. Both compressor tools use a lot of power to generate motion. The compressor must supply a constant air supply to the tool or the project material may be damaged. Many hobbyists use compressors with large air tanks to ensure the necessary power requirements are met.


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