How To Inflate a Pool With an Air Compressor

image of inflatable swimming pool

Picture it — Memorial Day weekend. It’s 90 degrees outside, and you need something for the kids to do for a few hours to keep them off tablets and video games. A quick trip to your favorite department store, and you’ve spent $100 for an inflatable pool. 

Thank goodness your significant other has an air compressor in the shop. This device should add enough air to the pool. But doubt creeps in. Do we have what we need to inflate this pool? How do you inflate a pool with an air compressor? 

Let’s break it down and discuss how you can begin using an air compressor. 

A pool inflator is a much better option. Depending on the size of the pool, it may stress the air compressor to create that much air. A pool inflator uses a fan to drive a high volume of low-pressure air, which makes it much more ideal for this task. On the upside, they are cheaper as well!

Types of Air Compressors You Can Use

foot pump to inflate swimming pools

A visit to your favorite home center or home improvement store be intimidating with several types of air compressors: gas air compressors, electric air compressors, rotary screw (for industrial applications), pancake, reciprocating, etc. Generally, an air compressor isn’t the best choice for inflating a pool as they tend to have very low air volume output.

If an air compressor is your only choice, then a home air compressor — especially one with a tank — is your best option. You can walk out of the store with most air compressors for less than $100, and they can inflate just about anything. A larger air compressor will help you inflate a pool quickly, so don’t be afraid to invest a little more money. 

That investment can be a compressor that can move air faster and help your next big home improvement project. 

Be wary of over-inflating things using an air compressor. An air compressor’s power can be more than necessary for an inflatable pool. Considering quality air compressors can blast out 60 PSI, over-inflation is always a concern. 

One of the best options is an electric air pump blower or an air inflator to use with your inflatable pool. A small pump can be a better option since a blower can move more air under less pressure. You also receive a continuous flow that should start filling your pool quickly. 

Still, a home air compressor is a good purchase if you need to inflate anything around the house. 

How to Inflate Your Pool With An Air Compressor

inflatable connector

Here are the steps to filling your pool with air.

1. Open the Pool Nozzle

Depending on your pool, there may be several zones, air nozzles or air inlet valves you’ll have to access. Locate each pool nozzle you want to fill with your air compressor.

Check the spot you’ve picked out for your pool to ensure it’s level and flat. It wouldn’t hurt to put a tarp underneath the pool, either. You may need it to help collect water from the drain valve.

2. Connect to the Pool

Inflating pools with an air compressor can be simple. If you purchased an air compressor, it came with several attachments to use it properly, or you bought an air compressor tool kit. 

The air compressor tool kit is a fantastic way to expand the capabilities of your air compressor. Many of these kits come with a coiled air compressor hose and other air hose attachments necessary to inflate things like a flat tire, inner tubes or bicycle tires.

Locate the attachment that will firmly connect with the air nozzle on the pool and attach it to the air hose and air gun. Now connect the air gun to the open nozzle. 

3. Turn on the Compressor

With all the nozzles open and your air source connected, activate your air compressor and let the pool fill with enough air.

Make sure your nozzle and the air gun attachment are seated firmly together to remove the chance of air loss in the pool. You may need to hold the attachment and nozzle to achieve that goal. This process will start filling your pool and may quickly inflate it.

As you inflate a pool, make sure you monitor for any areas air might be building up and unfold the plastic further as needed to allow for easy airflow.  Many compressors will shut off when filled with the maximum PSI. For most pools, this PSI is too much and could cause the pool to leak at the seams or even explode (burst a side open). You will need to monitor it and ensure the pool is not being overfilled.

4. Turn off the Compressor

clear swimming pool

The pool should be fully inflated in just a few minutes if you have a continuous air source from your compressor. Make sure you don’t have too much air in the pool. To check for that, walk around the pool and see if any spots bulge more than they should. You may need to deflate the pool slightly at the nozzle to relieve air pressure.

Once you’ve checked for any potential issues and felt confident in your work, shut off your compressor and close the air valve. Don’t forget to close the pool port too.

Can You Inflate a Pool Without a Pump?

There are a few alternatives for inflating a pool manually without a pump or an air compressor, but we’ll advise against one way. 

You might think it’s wise to inflate a pool by manually blowing air into it, but you’d be wrong. The amount of air necessary to inflate a pool with your breath is a time-consuming process, and no one wants you to hyperventilate on a hot day while inflating a pool. Don’t be a hero and try to blow air manually — especially if you have a large pool.

Pool owners shouldn’t use a bike pump, foot pump or hand pump unless they’re prepared for the exertion. Use hand pumps if you need grip strength. Foot pumps will help with your calves. You can purchase a hand pump or foot pump at sports stores.

You can start with a hair dryer and an attachment. You may need to fashion an attachment together to fit on the pool’s air nozzle, but it’s an effective way to inflate your pool. Make sure you use cold mode instead of hot air. 

A leaf blower can also work to inflate a pool provided you have an appropriately-sized attachment. 

Out of all the alternative methods, a Shop-Vac or any other type of industrial vacuum that can output air is a quick and easy method to inflate a pool. 

Many inflatable pools have nozzles big enough to secure a vacuum hose. For others, you’ll need a special air hose attachment or need to make one yourself. It’s hard to argue against the Shop-Vac method.

Air Compressor vs. Air Inflator

small inflatable swimming pool for kids

You may wonder about the difference between an air inflator vs. an air compressor for inflating a pool. An air inflator is a better option to inflate your pool. 

Air inflators are smaller, cheaper, and faster than an air compressor for inflating a pool. Air inflators are often cordless, making them portable and handy for any other types of inflatable objects around your home. 

The best reason to use an air inflator is that it doesn’t produce PSI, making it nearly impossible to over-inflate anything. 


Before inflating your pool, ensure you find a smooth, flat surface you can use to place the pool. Make sure any sharp objects such as sticks, pine cones or general yard debris are clear from the area. You should know this advice, but keeping your inflatable pool away from sharp objects is paramount to maintaining your pool’s lifespan. 

With the area secure, unfold your pool and fully inflate it with your air compressor before filling it with water. This action ensures every nook and cranny of your pool will be filled with water. Make sure you don’t over-inflate it, either. Your kids might pop an over-inflated pool if they jump into it.

In general, follow the instructions included with your inflatable pool, and you’ll be safe.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are common questions related to inflating a pool.

What is the easiest way to inflate my pool?

An air inflator, Shop-Vac or a gas or electric air compressor are your best tools to inflate your pool in just a few minutes. Just make sure you have the appropriate attachments. 

Can I inflate my pool without an air compressor?

Yes. There are other alternatives. Inflators exist to inflate anything from inflatable pools, toys, air mattresses and even tires. They are a worthy investment if you need anything inflated quickly. 

Can I inflate my pool with an air compressor?

Yes. Take a trip to your favorite home center or home improvement store and locate air compressor attachments. They come in kits, so you’ll likely be able to purchase the appropriate attachment for inflating your pool in that kit. Scroll up, and we discussed inflating a pool with an air compressor. You can start inflating quickly with our methods.

Can I inflate pool toys with an air compressor?

Once again, buying an air compressor attachment kit will likely get you the exact attachment you need for inflating pool toys. Compressors can get your beach balls ready, but be cautious of over-inflating.

How do you make a pool more bouncy?

By not inflating the pool as much, the pool will have more give or movement in the walls of the pool. More air in the pool walls, will make the pool bouncier and it will hold up better against rowdy play.

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