How to piggyback an air compressor

Written by david brown
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How to piggyback an air compressor
Connecting two small compressors can give you big compressor power. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Piggybacking an air compressor refers to the practice of connecting two or more air compressors together to obtain a greater volume of air than one compressor alone can supply. The maximum pressure of piggybacked compressors won't be more than that of the compressor with the lowest maximum pressure, but volume per unit time will be increased. This tutorial assumes you'll be connecting two compressors, and that the compressors have the common 1/4-inch pipe thread connections.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Air compressors
  • Air hose with 1/4-inch male fittings at each end
  • Tee, 1/4 NPT
  • 1/4 NPT nipple
  • Thread sealant
  • Groove joint pliers

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  1. 1

    Apply thread sealant to both ends of the 1/4 NPT nipple. Also apply the sealant to the threads at each end of the air hose.

  2. 2

    Thread the nipple into the outlet on compressor number one. Tighten the nipple only hand tight at this time.

  3. 3

    Thread the tee onto the nipple installed in the previous step. Using the pliers, tighten the tee and nipple hand tight, plus one full turn.

  4. 4

    Thread one end of the air hose into the outlet on compressor number two. Tighten hand tight, plus one half turn.

  5. 5

    Thread the free end of the air hose into the tee on compressor number one. Tighten hand tight, plus one half turn.

  6. 6

    Connect your load to the free female threads of the tee on compressor number one.

Tips and warnings

  • In theory, the output of two air compressors running in parallel should be equal to the outputs of the individual compressors added together.
  • Set the regulator on each compressor to the same pressure for maximum efficiency.
  • Be sure to match the size of the air hose and fittings to the volume of air required. If you use a hose that is too small in diameter, it won't matter how much capacity your compressor has because you won't get enough air.
  • Don't exceed the maximum pressure of either compressor's air tank or of the air hose.

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