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Generator & air compressor buying guide


If you're serious about your home and garden improvements, you'll want to invest in your own generator and air compressor. Our handy guide explains why.


Generators have a whole host of uses around the home and garden - beyond their most obvious use when a power cut happens. Think of them as a versatile, portable power source that can be used where it would not be possible to run a conventional power supply. They're ideal for use in garages and workshops to power tools and lighting, for use on construction sites without a power supply and even when camping or at outdoor events (although do check that your site allows their usage).

Generators are powered by either petrol or two-stroke engines, which use both petrol and oil, to deliver a flow of power.

Look for products which feature a 12v DC (for battery charging) and 230v AC output if you want to use your generator for a number of tasks. If you're planning on regular use, consider the amount of noise the unit produces and opt for an electric, rather than recoil, starting system for easy use.

An air compressor is used to provide pressurised air that can be used by a wide range of tools, as well as for inflating items and blowing air. Commonly used to power nail guns and staplers, they are also popular for use with spray guns, particularly for re-spraying vehicles. Air compressors can also be used for cleaning tasks - to blow away debris from wood or metal work projects while you work on them, leaving the area you're working on clean and visible, or for leaf and debris clearance.

Compressor jargon explained

Litre/minute air intake The greater the litre per minute air intake, the faster the machine will be able to run.

Maximum operating pressure The higher the maximum operating pressure, the more suitable the compressor will be for tasks requiring high pressure, such as staple and nail gun use. Look for compressors with fitted regulators which can control the air output, ideal if you are planning on using your compressor for both high and low pressure uses.

Motor size If you're planning on regular use, look for an air compressor with at least a 2HP (horsepower) motor that will be able to handle a wide range of tasks.