NB. I just posted a similar question regarding another piece of equipment. I've though about it but decided that those are two different questions and made it convenient for me by copying most of the text.

What would be the right term for air pressure pump that e.g. gas station's personnel would use? C.f. traffic turn indicator would be called blinker. So I'm looking for an informal name used by common people.

  • to us mere mortals and to nuclear physicists an air pressure pump is known as a "compressor."
    – MaxW
    Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 15:46
  • So If I ask a clerk at a gas station "hey, dude, are you a mere mortal and do you have a compressor", there won't be any surprised eyebrows lifting? If so, please post your comment as a reply. (I have no intention to make such a inquiry to a physicist of any kind so the other option renders irrelevant.) Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 15:50
  • 1
    It would depend where the gas station is, and what sense of humour they have. Usually one would just say "Got any air?" or "I need some air for my tires."
    – Peter
    Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 16:01
  • 1
    LOL - I was a tad overzealous trying to be funny about your mention of "common people." In the US better phrasing would be "the common name for."
    – MaxW
    Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 16:13
  • @MaxW I found it funny. But I've got a sick sense of humor. Would you care to give a comment on the other question, please? The one with windshield washer fluid. Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 16:20

2 Answers 2


I believe air compressor or compressor (since it is the most common compressor type) is the word you are looking for.

A gas station attendant would simply point and say "The air is over there!"

  • 1. Are you aware that your avatar isn't transparent? I can see the checkers. 2. Care to take a look at the other question, please? 3. I suspect that asking the question including "are you a mortal" would lead to the clerk pointing to his head, repeatedly, hehe. Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 16:08
  • Thanks for #1, it's actually one of the SE hats from Dec 18th, #2 answer posted, #3 either that or a quizzical look followed by "Whaaaat?" :)
    – Peter
    Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 16:47
  • Perhaps it's regional, but I would refer to this as an "air pump" in most conversations.
    – J.R.
    Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 17:08
  • @J.R. Your regionality being...? Commented Jan 1, 2016 at 0:14

In my experience, most people have no idea that compressed air comes from a compressor. Air for tires, etc, comes from an "air hose". Usually right next to the water hose (am I dating myself?) at a service station.

The question "where is the compressor" would likely get a quizzical look and directions to the back of the building where the compressor is physically located. The air hose on the other hand is the business end that most people are looking to interact with.

The compressor and where the air comes out are often (usually) separated, often not in sight or hearing range of each other.

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