When it comes to wiring an air compressor, many people panic. Well, don’t worry; I am here to help you. In this article, I will walk through the whole process of how to wire air compressor smoothly. So are you ready? Let’s dive into the section below and learn some efficient ways to wire air compressors, what tools you need, and some safety tips. So first, start with the material you need–

Required Material

  • Screwdriver
  • Pressure switch
  • Blade
  • Wire strippers
  • Solderless terminals

How To Wire An Air Compressor 

After you have all your necessary tools, now time to start the process; here, I have mentioned six ways from beginning to ending. So by following these, you can make the process simple. 

Find A Suitable Location

Finding a perfect location for an air compressor is crucial because, from then, you will work with that around this location. So the place has to be dry, safe, and have to maximize airflow, which is also a must to be near an electrical outlet. 

Shut off The Power

While working with electrical equipment, turning off the compressor’s power has always been a good idea. For this, you will have to locate your incoming breaker panel and shut off the main line of the building. 

Check Out The Instructional Guide 

Before moving forward with the primary procedure, it is essential to take the required steps. Ensure that you have carefully read and comprehended all of the guidelines provided. Typically, manufacturers include a manual or instruction leaflet that outlines how to wire your air compressor. 

In addition, following these, you can determine a secure location to place the unit. Once this is done, it is essential to verify the appropriate wire size for your specific compressor model and manufacturer, which could either be 10 or 12-gauge.

Connect The Machine And The Switch

Each compressor is equipped with a pressure switch that monitors the tank’s pressure. This switch automatically turns on and off based on the pressure level in the tank. Typically, it activates when the pressure falls below a predetermined value and deactivates when it reaches a lower pressure level.

To connect the switch, you will require three wires of the recommended size, each in a different color for specific purposes. Typically, the cables come in white, black, and green colors, and the switch has terminals labeled as Motor, Ground, and Line.

Then attach the white and black wires to their brass terminals by following the manual. Next, connect the green wire to the ground terminal, using a 10-12 gauge ring terminal to secure the wires. Loosen the screws slightly with a screwdriver, place the fork under it, and screw it back.

Join The Circuit With The Compressor

It’s time to attach the wires to the air compressor. First, examine the connection points in the box to ensure the correct placement of each wire. You will find a ground wire,  two hot wires, and a neutral wire. However, the neutral wire may not be necessary, depending on the compressor’s settings. In this case, it can be removed.

To prepare the wires for connection, use a cutter to carefully remove the rubber coating, and then use a wire stripper to expose the ends of the cables. Connect solderless ring terminals or fork connectors to the ends of the wires. Then, using a screwdriver, loosen the screws, connect the line terminals to the switch housing, and attach the green wire to the appropriate grounding point.

Tighten the screws to secure the wires, then screw the box cover back on.

Test Pressure Switch

After wiring the air compressor, you must test the pressure switch to ensure it works well. And if you face any problem, you fix it the right way.

Safety Tips When Wiring The Air Compressor

  • Ensure to put on safety gear before proceeding. 
  • Use caution when pressing the main power button to turn it off. 
  • Verify that you are connecting the correct cables by checking their colors. 
  • When attaching the wires, confirm that they are covered or appropriately insulated. 
  • Also, dry the area completely before beginning the procedure.
  • Use the correct size of wire.
  • Finally, test the connection.

Final Words

Wiring an air compressor can seem tough initially, but it can be achievable with the right knowledge and tools. Always follow safety and user guidelines before beginning electrical work. 

Therefore, take your time to plan out the wiring process and double-check your connections to ensure everything is wired correctly. So, you can enjoy the advantages of a properly functioning air compressor for years. And with patience and care, you can successfully learn how to wire air compressors.


How do you power an air compressor?

You typically need an electric motor or a gasoline or diesel engine to power an air compressor. And the motor or engine drives a pump, compresses the air, and stores it. The compressed air can then be ready to power various pneumatic tools or other equipment. So choosing the appropriate power source for your air compressor is essential based on your specific needs and the location where you will be using it. 

How to wire a 3-phase air compressor to a single phase?

Wiring a 3-phase air compressor to a single phase requires a phase converter. A phase converter is an electronic device that converts single-phase to three-phase power. You can follow some steps mentioned below–

  1. Install the phase converter according to the manufacturer’s guides.
  2. Connect the three-phase wires from the compressor to the converter’s three-phase input.
  3. Connect the single-phase wires from the converter’s output to the power source.

Always follow safety guidelines and ask an electrician if you are unsure about the wiring process.

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Which wire turns on the compressor?

The wire that turns on the compressor varies depending on the specific system and configuration. Generally, the wire responsible for controlling the compressor is connected to the thermostat, which detects the temperature and signals the system to turn on the compressor when the temperature rises above the desired level. However, it is essential to consult the system’s wiring diagram or seek assistance from a licensed HVAC technician to locate the specific wire responsible for controlling the compressor in your system. 

What size wire for an air compressor?

The appropriate wire size for an air compressor depends on the electrical requirements of the compressor and the distance from the power source. Generally, a 14-gauge wire is suitable for a 120-volt circuit up to 15 amps, while a 12-gauge wire is recommended for 20-amp circuits. For longer distances or higher amperage requirements, a thicker wire gauge may be necessary to prevent voltage drop and ensure proper operation.