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Portable Air Compressors

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    Use a portable air compressor along with handheld pneumatic tools to speed up your DIY project. We’ll walk you through the options.

    You can rent portable air compressors of different sizes, output capabilities and mobility configurations. When you go to rent an air compressor, you need to choose one that matches the tool requirements and needs of your project. The material below provides information on some of the points you should consider when renting an air compressor. Your ARA-affiliated rental professional also can answer any questions you have about rental air compressors.

    • Power source. Indoor projects with access to the proper voltage of electricity are perfect for renting electric-powered air compressors. Gas-powered air compressors should be used only outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. Choose to rent a gas-powered air compressor when working in a remote location without electricity.
    • CFM requirements. Rent an air compressor that pumps enough standard cubic feet per minute (cfm) of air to surpass the compressed air needs of the project. This includes all of the tools and attachments you will operate at a certain pressure. Calculate the total cfm requirements by adding up the air requirements for each tool you plan to simultaneously attach to the air compressor; then add 30 to 35 percent more to that number.
    • PSI requirements. The rating of pounds per square inch (psi) pertains to the air pressure the compressor delivers. The amount of pressure to operate an air tool depends on the too.
    • Tank capacity. The size of the tank is the number of gallons of air a rental air compressor can hold. A larger tank is needed to run tools that need a continuous supply of compressed air, like sandblasters. Smaller tanks work well for tools that need only short bursts of air, like nail guns.
    • Style. Renting smaller, portable air compressors, such as hand-carried or smaller, wheeled models suffice for the majority of do-it-yourself homeowners and small contractors’ projects. Larger, professional contractors may prefer to rent towable air compressors  for more power and dependability.
    • Single- or two-stage pump. Air compressors that store air in a tank use pistons to pull air into a cylinder and compress it. Single-stage compressors generate enough pressure — up to 150 psi — for lightweight projects. A second piston further compresses the air in a two-stage compressor, producing higher psi pressures for more tasking applications. Air compressors without a storage tank continuously run and offer less power than those with a tank.

    Pneumatic tools

    You can rent pneumatic tools to accomplish a variety of tasks quickly and easily. The list below gives you an idea of some of the pneumatic tools available for rent from your local ARA-affiliated rental store. It also indicates some of the common uses of these pneumatic tools.

    • Air drill. Use a rented air drill for the same applications as you would an electric drill.
    • Air sander. Rent an air sander for sanding wood and metal or for removing rust from a vehicle before painting it.
    • Air stapler. Renting an air-powered stapler to lay a carpet or upholster furniture with ease.
    • Blow-gun. Rent this air tool to remove dust and dirt from difficult-to-reach areas using compressed air.
    • Caulking gun. Apply a uniform caulk bead, which will last longer, using a rented pneumatic caulking gun. This tool can also be used for applying adhesives.
    • Concrete demolition tools. Rental air tools that fall under this category include paving breakers and chipping hammers. Use paving breakers to demolish concrete floors, patios, sidewalks, driveways, parking lots and other hard surfaces. Chipping hammers can be used to chisel away specific areas of concrete.
    • Impact wrench. To tighten or remove bolts quickly, an air impact wrench can come in handy. When choosing an air impact wrench, keep in mind the size of the bolts to be tightened and the amount of torque needed.
    • Nail guns. Rent nailers specifically designed for a number of purposes including framing, roofing, fencing, siding, flooring and finishing.
    • Sandblaster. Remove rust or old paint from boat hulls, swimming pools or masonry work using a rented air sandblaster.


    Professional contractors, homeowners and business owners use air tools to tackle a number of different projects from removing a sidewalk to framing a house. These air tools require a reliable supply of compressed air. Renting an air compressor will provide it. Some of the many benefits of renting an air compressor include:

    • Saves time and effort. Complete many tasks faster and easier using a rented air compressor and pneumatic tools instead of manual efforts or electric tools.
    • Costs less than buying. For do-it-yourself homeowners and small contractors, who do not need air compressors regularly, renting an air compressor provides a smart and cost-efficient alternative to buying one.
    • Multiple applications. The wide variety of available pneumatic tools from nailers to jackhammers makes a rented air compressor coupled with an essential component for completing a number of projects.

    Pneumatic tools, also known as air tools, receive power from compressed air provided by an air compressor. You can rent pneumatic tools to complete projects pertaining to construction, concrete demolition, remodeling, woodworking, automotive work, cleanup and more. The advantages of renting pneumatic tools are numerous.

    • Lightweight and ergonomically friendly. Rented pneumatic tools often weigh less than their electric power tool counterparts containing a motor do since pneumatic tools receive power from an air compressor. Less weight means less stress on your body when using the tools.
    • Quicker. It takes less time to finish a project using a rented pneumatic tool than to do everything manually. For example, think of how much less time it takes to frame, roof, side or finish a house using pneumatic nailers compared to nailing with a hammer.
    • Increased productivity. Accomplish more work in the same amount of time with rented pneumatic tools, which weigh less and work faster than other tools.
    • Less labor. Rented pneumatic tools do much of the work. Think of all of the swings of the hammer it would take to drive in one nail compared to accomplishing it with one shot of a pneumatic nailer.
    • No electricity required. Hooking rented pneumatic tools to a gas-powered air compressor, allows for work in an area without electricity, achieving the same results as would be achieved using an electrically powered tool.


    Renting accessories to go with your air compressor rental can ensure that you have all that you need for a successful application. Here are some of the accessories that you may consider renting:

    • Air treatment packages. Aftercoolers, separators and dryers come built-in on some air compressors. If these features are not built in, you can rent them as an accessory item. Consider the work area and application to determine if one or more of these accessories are needed to clean the air.
    • Distribution manifolds. Distribution manifolds allow for the connection and operation of multiple air tools. If multiple tools are needed for a project, not having to disconnect and connect tools can save both time and effort.
    • Miscellaneous items. Extra hoses, connectors, fittings and nozzles allow for customization of the air compressor for the application.
    • Consumable supplies. Personal protective equipment, nails or staples may be available for purchase at the rental store.

    Best practices

    Before you use your rented air compressor, please review the tips below and read all manufacturer warnings and instructions. Your local, ARA-affiliated rental store professional can provide you with complete instructions. Some rental stores offer how-to video instructions for information on using the equipment safely and effectively.

    • Read all warnings and instructions for the rented air compressor and for the tools you will attach to it before use.
    • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment.
    • To prevent injuries, do not direct compressed air at yourself or anyone else.
    • To prevent burns, avoid touching heated components, such as the discharge tube and compressor head, while using the rented air compressor.
    • Connect a rented, electric-powered air compressor to a grounded outlet that it will not overtax.
    • Do not use a rented, gas-powered air compressor in an enclosed or unventilated space.
    • Always place the rented air compressor on a level surface.
    • For rented, engine-powered air compressors, check and, if needed, service all lubrication and fluid levels. Use only clean, fresh fuel.
    • For rented, electric-powered air compressors, place unit as close to the electrical source as possible. If an electrical power source is over 100 feet from the jobsite, rent a longer air hose instead of using a long extension cord. A lengthy electric extension cord can cause too much power line loss, making the air compressor work harder, deliver less air and overheat.
    • Adjust the rented air compressor’s pressure to the proper setting.
    • Check air filters on the rented air compressor for accumulated dust and clean them, if necessary.
    • For rented air compressors equipped with a tank, drain the condensed moisture from the tank every three to four hours of operation.
    • Firmly and fully connect each air hose to the air compressor and tool.
    • When done working, turn the rented air compressor off, release the pressure from the hoses, bleed the air from the tank when present and disconnect all air hoses.

    Contact your local, ARA-affiliated, rental store for information on available rental products and services to meet your air compressor needs. To locate the rental store nearest you, use the Rental Store Quick Locator above.

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