How to Use a Porter Cable Air Compressor?

Air compressors have grown in popularity because they make working with pneumatic tools so much easier, and because of the standardized fitting, you can quickly interchange between tools, making them very versatile and a must-have in your collection of tools and equipment.

Keep these functionalities in mind Porter-Cable has introduced a variety of air compressors in the market that have become a household name.

Their air compressors are known for their ease of use, multi-purpose application, and variety.

If you happen to be one of the lucky owners of such an air compressor or plan to buy a porter cable air compressor, it is important to know how to use it to get the most use out of it.

Here’s a step-to-step guide that will teach you how to use a porter cable air compressor.

Step 1: Take Precautionary Measures

While most people who work in this field are already aware of some key factors that must be kept in mind to ensure safety but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded of them in case you forgot.

Before you start, remember that all power tools are to be handled with care and precaution. Make sure you are wearing the appropriate safety gear before you get started on any project.

Wear protective eyeglasses to keep any debris from causing eye damage as once the air compressor switches on sufficient amount of air is likely to blow in the work area at a very high speed.

Wearing protective gloves is a no-brainer as you will be handling tools like drills and nailers.

Protect your ears as well because air compressors tend to be loud, and working with them can be damaging to your hearing without the right gear.

When it comes to clothing, loose-fitting clothes are an absolute no because they can get stuck in places, machinery and can lead to accidents. Consider working in an area that is well ventilated and organized.

Step 2: Read the Manual

While this may seem like a no-brainer or, to some, a tedious task that they would rather skip on, it will be worth it.

Reading the manual will not only get you accustomed to the air compressor and its workings but will also help you get rid of any problems, issues that you might face in the future.

Even though using your porter cable air compressor is incredibly simple, it is critical to read the instructions and adhere to all safety precautions.

The instructions in this tutorial apply to the majority of models; however, it is crucial to remember that some air compressors can be designed differently and therefore have their intricacies and nuances.

Reading the instructions might help you avoid mistakes or discover new functionalities.

Step 3: Prepared Work before you Start

In this step, you will be getting everything together so that you can work in without a hitch.

You will need an adjustable wrench, air compressor hose, air compressor tools, and any other assorted accessories such as the air hose.

In my experience, having plumbers tape by your side always comes in handy; you will find out why in the later steps.

Keep in mind that you will also require an electrical outlet to power the air compressor. Check the product description of the air compressor to see what kind of outlet it is compatible with.

Most air compressors require a 115V outlet; bring out any extensions you might need to connect the air compressor as well.

Step 4: Locate the Air Compressor Knob

Now that you are ready and have all the tools you will need with you; it’s time to get to the main part. The first thing you need to do to begin is to find where the air compressor knob is located.

You are most likely to find it somewhere close to the air outlet. Once you have found the air compressor knob, rotate it counter-clockwise until it can’t be turned more.

Step 5: Connect the Air Hose

After the knob of the air compressor has been rotated to its very end, connect the air hose to the air compressor. The methodology of fixing the air hose depends on the design of the air compressor.

However, there are two ways in general that it can be done. If you have the quick connect, settings utilize that, or you can directly attach it with the outer port.

If you are opting for the latter option and do not have a quick connect feature, you need to be extra careful while connecting the air hose.

Your aim should be to make certain that the connection is tight and sealed in properly. You can do this with the help of a plumber’s tape and pipe wrench.

Step 6: Connect the Compressor to a Power Source

Most of the preliminary steps have been completed now, and we are moving towards the final stage.

First, check that the switch of the air compressor has been shut off properly. You can ensure this by ensuring that the switch is positioned in the upwards direction.

As I mentioned earlier that most air compressors require a dedicated 15 amp circuit or 115V power outlet; now is the time to connect it with the power source, so plug it in.

Step 7: Switch on the Air Compressor

Once the air compressor has been connected to the electrical outlet, turn on the switch was in the off position earlier.

You need to start the air compressor on the auto level first. Wait for the tank to be filled up with air.

Since the air compressor turns off on its own once the tank is full, you don’t need to be concerned about the timing to switch it off.

Step 8: Connect the Tool

Now that you have ample air stored in the tank, you can get started with your work. Of course, to do that, you will need to connect the tool with the air compressor first.

You need to attach the tool to the vacant end of the air hose. To completely seal the connection, use the plumber’s tape and a pipe wrench to secure the tool to the hose.

The plumber’s tape will aid in creating a firm and impermeable seal.

In order to adjust the pressure according to your tool’s requirements, rotate the knob present on the regulator in a clockwise direction.

You are ready to use your pneumatic tool now!

Step 9: Turn off the Air Compressor

Once you are finished with the project or done with using the tool for the day, you need to disconnect it from the air compressor. Turn off the switch of the air compressor first and then proceed with the disconnection.

Step 10: Decompress

Now that the work of the air compressor is finished, it’s time to empty out any of the remaining stored air in the tank.

It is critical to decompress your air compressor and drain all of the compressed air within it after usage. If the compressor tank is full while being stored, it might corrode and be ruined.

Relieve pressure by rotating the air compressor’s drain valve counterclockwise.

If you can’t find the drain valve, refer to either the manual or look near the bottom as an air compressor’s drain valve is typically located way down at the bottom.

Step 11: Storage

Keep your porter cable air compressor in a dry, dust-free location and clean out the hose and fittings to maintain the air compressor in prime condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any remaining questions, below are the answers to some of the most often asked questions about how to use porter cable air compressors to help clear out any last-minute confusion.

How do you release the pressure on a Porter Cable air compressor?

You need to locate the air compressor’s drain valve and turn it in a counterclockwise direction.

How do you adjust the pressure on a Porter Cable compressor?

In order to adjust the pressure according to your tool’s requirements, rotate the knob present on the regulator in a clockwise direction.

How long does it take to fill a Porter Cable air compressor?

The time can vary as it depends on the tank capacity of your porter cable air compressor; however, generally speaking, it can take up to 4 to 5 minutes.

How much is air pressure needed for a nail gun?

The amount of air pressure can be different depending on your air tool. However, most require at least 70-90 PSI to function well.

How much psi do I need for baseboards?

Baseboards are installed with nail guns, the majority of which require up to 90 PSI to function properly.


I hope this tutorial helped you in learning how to use a porter cable air compressor. Always remember to take all the safety precautions and read the instruction manual first.

Although the task at hand may seem a bit daunting with a bit of patience and knowledge, even the newbies can do it without any hassle.

However, do make sure you follow through with all the instructions properly. Good luck!

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