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10 surprising uses of compressed air

At Glaston, we provide air compressor systems for just about every industry. Our expert team of advisors are on hand to help you choose the most suitable compressed air system for your sector; whether you’re in the food, chemical or engineering sectors.

But air compressors are surprisingly common in your domestic life too. Ever wondered how divers manage to access the contents of their oxygen tanks? Or just how the Thrust Air 2000 rollercoaster came to light in Utah?

Glaston has taken a look at just how common compressed air has become in our day-to-day lives and highlighted 10 surprising uses of compressed air that you may not know about.

Compressed air for deep sea diving

Diving air compressor with tank

When moving beneath the waves, scuba divers have enough to be concerned about without worrying about the air they’re breathing. Portable compressed air systems are strapped to the back of deep sea divers and allow them to breathe comfortably underwater.

For recreational divers, the air is usually set to normal atmospheric conditions – around 200 times to 200 bar (3000 psi). The diver wears a mouthpiece that contains a pressure regulator. This helps to change the air from high pressure to normal atmospheric pressure, making for a much more comfortable dive.

Using an air compressor for inflatable fun

Air compressors can help turn a hot and sticky day into a cool and refreshing one. If the kids are running around the garden during a heatwave, looking for a way to cool down, compressed air can be used to inflate your trusty paddling pool that’s been packed away in the garage since last summer.

Small air compressors can be used to inflate several small inflatable toys too, like footballs and beach balls.

Garden upkeep using compressed air

Air compressor to a garden hose


The uses of compressed air are seemingly endless. Looking for a way to clean your driveway? Attach an air compressor to a garden hose and you’ll have yourself a DIY pressure washer. There are some tutorials online that can help you to do this safely.

Alternatively, you can buy or hire a powerful pressure washer that is purpose-built for domestic use. This is a great way to blast away dirt, moss and debris from the paving stones in your garden or driveway. Just be sure to use this safely – be careful where you aim and always use a pressure washer when in an upright standing position.

Using compressed air for crafts and DIY

The first time an air compressor was teamed with a nail gun, the housing construction sector was taken by storm. Back in 1950, the first nail gun using an air compressor was introduced, in a bid to speed up daily tasks. It certainly works. Using the new tool, an operator could nail 40-60 nails a minute – which marked a huge improvement.

So, how does it work? The air pressure simply pushes onto the nail to drive it into the surface. Nail guns can be used on stone, concrete and steelwork. Staple guns also rely on the same principle. Although used mostly for industrial work, smaller versions can also be used for domestic purposes – which means DIY has become much more sophisticated in recent years.

Using air compressors to blast surfaces clean

An air compressor used for sandblasting provides an excellent way to prepare surfaces, before commencing with any cosmetic work. This powerful compressed air tool can remove paint, rust and other blemishes from wood or metal.

There are various sizes of sandblasters available. Always check with your supplier what size is most suitable for your application.

Compressed air for Hollywood CGI

10 surprising uses for compressed air


If you’ve seen any action movie ever, you’ll be aware of the power of CGI. But did you know that the humble air compressor had a hand in the Edward Norton movie, Fight Club? There’s a scene towards the end of the movie (spoiler alert) where Ed’s character shoots himself through the cheek. Of course, a lot of special effects were involved, but the kinetic action was actually captured by blasting the actor in the face with an air compressor.

You heard it here first.

Smoothing things over with compressed air

Surprising uses for compressed air


Compressed air can be used to smooth and polish an object as part of its cosmetic, finishing process. Air sanders are used in conjunction with sandpaper to smooth wood and other surfaces across many industries. Compressed air sanders are often preferred over electric sanders because they don’t heat up with use, meaning they can be used over an extended period.

Loosen stubborn surfaces using compressed air

Loosen bike handle compressed air

Have you ever struggled to remove a handle grip from a bicycle? Or been unable to scrape stubborn dirt and debris from a surface? An air compressor can certainly help in these situations. Simply slip the air nozzle under and in direct contact with the problem area and allow the air to force the object free.

The grips of a bicycle handle will easily slide free, floor tiles will come away more easily and pant chips will loosen from walls and other surfaces.

Air compressors to spring-clean your desk

Do you snack at your desk? Eat your lunch while typing an angry email to a colleague? Chances are your computer keyboard will be harbouring lots of dirty little secrets. It’s easy to source a small air compressor can for cleaning your laptop or desktop keyboard.

These canisters of compressed air come with a long nozzle that can be angled inside all the nooks and crannies of your keyboard. The compressed air forces out crumbs and dirt that you probably had no idea was even lurking there.

Compressed air for thrills and spills

Surprising uses for compressed air


The world’s first compressed air rollercoaster was created by S&S Worldwide Inc. in Utah. It uses refrigerated, compressed air to shoot a car down a steel track. It was once the fastest roller coaster in the world and is still one of the fastest accelerating. So fast, in fact, the Thrust Air 2000 can propel cars from 0-80 mph in just 1.8 seconds.

Who’s queuing up for a ride on this one?

Learning the uses of compressed air at Glaston

Here at Glaston Compressor Services, we can supply compressed air treatment, compressed air filtration and air compressor systems that can help to enhance your application and save energy while doing so. For more information on how our services can benefit your business or a quote, contact us at Glaston today.

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