Air Compressors for Building & Construction Projects

Towable and portable air compressors are popular pieces of equipment on many construction sites across the world. Compressed air is often used as an energy source to power pneumatic tools. Compressed air is used because it provides a reliable and efficient high output that can be used to power a wide variety of air-operated tools.

Compared to electric-powered air tools, air-powered tools are lighter, easier to use, as well as being safer and easier to maintain. The main benefit is that one air compressor can be used to power each tool as needed rather than each tool requiring its own power source. Furthermore, compressors are often quieter and have less parts which makes them easier to maintain over time and less likely to break down!

Key Benefits of Air Tools over Electric Powered

  • More powerful
  • Higher torque and RPM
  • More versatile
  • Easily interchangeable
  • Safer alternative

Types of Compressor:

Portable Compressors

Small and lightweight mobile compressors are easily transported in a delivery van or pick up truck. This can be driven with ease to the construction site and dismounted when needed. Mobile air compressors that can be loaded into vehicles for transport are a great option for busy construction workers and engineers who may spend time on multiple sites. In some compressors, such as the C10 - C14, the petrol storage tank can be removed from the compressor, making it even lighter!

Towable Compressors

Other common types of construction compressors are towable compressors. These types of air compressor need to be compact enough to be towed by a vehicle but also have great balance and stability to ensure they can handle rough or uneven terrain. If the towable compressor is not designed effectively, it could be at risk of tipping when traversing demanding surfaces.

Heavy Duty

For road building, restoration work, civil engineering or other challenging applications, heavy-duty towable compressors will be the most robust and well-suited to the unique needs of the application. They will be designed to handle tough site conditions as well as hard to reach site locations, delivering consistent performance.

Choosing an Air Compressor for Construction

CFM Requirements

All air tools will have a cubic feet per minute (cfm) requirement. It is important that the air compressor you choose to purchase will be able to drive the power tools you wish to use. For example, an air tool intended for general use will usually require 0 to 5 cfm at 70 - 90 psi (pounds per square inch).

Power Type

Your air compressor power source is another factor to consider. Options include gas powered, electric as well as diesel options. Diesel compressors are very reliable and high performing, plus you do not need to worry about connecting to the electric grid to have power. Diesel particle filters (DPF) are often fitted to compressors to clean the emissions before they are released.


For construction applications, your compressor must be small and compact enough to be easily towed whilst still being powerful enough to provide you with the flow of compressed air you need to power your equipment.


Depending on the type of construction work you are doing, noise may be a relevant factor to consider. In busy urban areas, a low-noise compressor would be the most beneficial as it would cause the least disruption.

Typical Uses in the Construction Industry

Industrial grade air compressors are trusted by many for construction work. They are easy to operate and provide power to a variety of tools and on-site construction equipment.

Some of the most popular uses are:

Drilling machines and jackhammers

These are often used to break up rocks and pavement and can be used in landscaping as well as construction. Aside from drilling, these tools can be used for countersinking, reaming and tapping holes. They work best on flat, even ground without slopes as they produce a quick chipping downwards motion.

Impact wrenches

These are used where accurate torque is required such as loosening or tightening nuts and bolts as well as fasteners. The most common use would be removing lug nuts from a car tire but they are also often used within construction.


There are many types of industrial grinders including die, angle, verticle, straight and more. They use compressed air to achieve a high-speed rotation which can be used for grinding abrasive materials.


Types of sander include angle, orbital, belt, pistol and more. They are used to smooth surfaces within construction jobs.

Nail guns

Compressed air is used to drive nails into materials such as wood.

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