Around our house summertime means activities, and this means things of all sizes and shapes need to be inflated. Not all of us have room or budget for a high dollar shop air system, but a portable air compressor can be a great solution to the hand pump blues.
A small 2.5hp, 6 gallon compressor like the one pictured here can be had for less than $100 with some careful shopping. Don’t expect to use air tools with it as it doesn’t have the volume of air to drive them, but it’ll do fine for tasks such as filling tires and sports equipment, filling inflatable beds, and (our personal favorite) blowing dust out from difficult to reach places in a vehicle. (Always wear eye protection when doing this, and never direct the airflow directly at your skin.)
With the small footprint and the low cost of a unit like this, it’s worth the invetsment to save all that hand pump action and trips to the gas station air pump.
Some Examples [Froogle]