Pro’s Guide to Air Compressor Upgrades and Attachments
You'll wish you knew about these clever (and super-useful!) air compressor accessories a long time ago.
Not all polyurethane hoses are created equal, and they don’t get any better than the Flexeel hose made by Coilhose Pneumatics. Flexeel air hoses are lightweight, which is nice when you’re hanging off a 20-foot ladder. They’re extremely flexible and have a non-marring surface, so they won’t scuff up walls or furniture when you’re dragging them around a customer’s house. These hoses also have a slight tackiness to them so they don’t slide off a roof as readily as others.
Screaming saws, roaring generators and rumbling compressors…wouldn’t it be nice if construction tools didn’t have to be so loud? Well, not all of them are. California Air Tools manufactures a line of air compressors that are so quiet you can actually have a conversation or hear the radio while they’re running.
The 4610S shown here runs at 60 decibels; that’s about 30 percent quieter than similar models. The tanks are made of aluminum, which reduces the overall weight, and they won’t rust.
If you only have a few studs to nail in or a few pieces of base to install, why on earth would you haul that giant, heavy compressor around? Mini compressors are a must for smart remodeling. They’re light, inexpensive and easy to carry right to the area you’re working in. You can get this 1-gallon 1/2HP Senco online here.
Two guys sharing one compressor is common on a job site. So is tripping over a hose because the guy on the other side of the splice jerks on his hose just as you’re stepping over yours. And if you’re working on a roof, tripping on a hose could result in a career-ending tumble to the ground, or worse.
Amflo makes a hose reel that has two ports attached to the reel itself, and two anchor bases, so it can be fastened to a roof. Because it’s a reel, you only have to pull out as much of the 75-feet. hose as you need. It’s not just for roofers, though. It’s a great tool for all carpentry, even on the ground. Buy this Amflo hose reel online here.
Have you ever used a finish gun on a project that included both thick hardwood and thinner, softer woods? It’s nearly impossible to set the regulator on your compressor so the nails sink into the hardwood without blasting through the soft stuff. And changing the pressure every time you encounter a different kind of wood is a huge waste of time. Install a regulator at the end of your air hose, and eliminate those trips back and forth to the compressor.
The At-Hand Inline Air Regulator pictured above can adjust operating pressure from 40 to 140 psi and has a slim profile, so you’ll hardly know it’s there. Plus: This is the go-to gear all pros should have at the ready.
Most compressor manufacturers recommend draining the tank after every use, and most compressor owners ignore that advice without serious consequences. Still, draining the tank is important, and the more often you do it, the better. As a compressor runs, water condenses inside the tank. That means rust. In extreme cases, you can even lose tank capacity. We’ve heard stories of tanks that held only half as much air because they were half full of water.
The twist-open drains on most compressors are pretty lousy. They’re hard to turn and easily plug up with rusty gunk until they can’t open or close properly. But for about $10, you can install a drain that’s fast, easy and reliable. Go to the compressor aisle at a home center and look for a ball-valve drain kit. If you don’t find one, go to the plumbing aisle to pick up a 1/4-inch ball valve, plus any 1/4-inch nipples and elbows you’ll need.