How To Use A 5-Gallon Electric Air Compressor

Much like paint sprayers, grinders, and wrenches, air compressors too belong to the power tool category.  Safety is one of the top recommends before you start working with an electric air compressor; closed-toe shoes, industrial-grade gloves, and safety goggles. Before you begin in earnest, check the pump oil. While you are at it see that the compressor is sat on a flat non-shaky surface. Link up the regulator valve and air hose and bridge the hose to the compressor.

Preliminary Tweaking

You need to follow some of these initial steps as you start the air compressor.

  • The lever for the pressure switch should be in the ‘off’ position.
  • You must use a properly grounded outlet to plug in the electric compressor. To keep the motor from overheating, refrain from using extension cords. An extra air hose is a smarter alternative.
  • Next, move the lever for the pressure switch into the ‘auto on’ position to give the compressor room to build pressure inside its air tanks. The right pressure level can thus be achieved.
  • Once you start using the compressor, this pressure level will naturally drop. Because you went for the automatic option, the pressure will rebuild itself and not give you any inconveniences.
  • The compressor comes with its own specific psi value. Set the pressure to that value. The user manual will contain the details and the pressure regulator knob will help you set it.

It is a wise decision never to cross the manufacturer’s recommendation for pressure.


Before we get into the details of actual usage, here is how you must properly shut down the electric air compressor.

  • When you feel it is time to shut the air compressor down, you simply rely on logical steps like having the pressure switch move to the ‘off’ position.
  • After this you unplug the compressor unit before disconnecting the air hose.
  • Using the pressure relief valve, you can drain the tanks of their air content. When you see the pressure gauge registers on the air tank displaying a value less than ten pounds, shift your attention to the air tank drain valves; if your compressor has more than one air tank, each tank will be outfitted with one of these.
  • The previous step veritably drains the compressor of any lingering or residual moisture content.

Now, it is simply a matter of letting the air compressor cool itself off. What, on the other hand, can you do if your compressor abruptly shuts down? More often than not, the use of an extension cord (which we advised against earlier) could be the culprit. Get the pressure switch into the ‘off’ position and sit down, let the motor cool.

On the motor itself, you will come across a reset button generally integrated beside the braided discharge hose. Press the reset and you are good to go. When you continue the task, replace that extension cord with an extra air hose.


An electric air compressor is portable and reliable. It provides that much-needed extra power to speed up your projects and tasks.  Excellent quality air compressors can be found selling for anywhere between USD $500-$800. You can get them cheaper at your own risk (these do not usually last long and give more problems than they are worth) or select something grander and pricier (not knowing how to use these can impact value for money). Electric air compressors are more carbon-free than their gas-wielding counterparts. In fact they are also much more modernized in comparison. Let us take a look at that last idea…

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