DIY Air Compressor Cart

Air compressor on cart airing up tire

A small, portable air compressor can be an awkward piece of equipment if left on its own with no cart or wheels to make it easy to roll around. I battled with my air compressor for years and picked it up and carried it wherever I needed it even though the weight of it made it cumbersome to work with. Storing it in my garage behind other items made me use it less often as I would not want to do the work of getting it out when needed.

My air compressor did not come with a built-in cart as some smaller ones often do. Although small, the 3-gallon Craftsman air compressor that I own weighs in at approximately 45 pounds and can be a total pain in the butt to maneuver around. I store it under my slanted staircase in my garage and nearly always bust my noggin every time I reach down to pick the heavy thing up!

Recently, I got smart about it and finally built a small cart that it could rest on and make it easier for me to maneuver around my garage. The idea was to create a small cart that would store neatly in the location designated for it and allow me to grab and go with ease when a tire needed airing up or I needed to use it to blow dust away.

I ended up with a nice little cart that works very well and has saved my back–and my noggin. It’s made it more of a pleasure to use than it was beforehand. This post will dive into how I built the cart and hopefully give you an idea that can help you build a similar solution.

If you have an air compressor similar to what I have that does not have any kind of wheels or mobility to it, you may be able to build a similar solution. Chances are, your air compressor is not like mine since mine is about 20 years old now (at the time of this writing).

More recent models look different and may not fit within the same dimensions of the cart that I created. However, the idea remains the same and will just need some adjustments in dimensions to work with any type of air compressor that you own.

Parts you will need

  • 3/4″ inch plywood – This will create the base that the air compressor mounts on and also a stability area on the rear handle.
  • 2X4 lumber – I used approximately 60″ total length of 2X4 lumber for building the frame.
  • 2 1/2″ Screws – I used these to hold most of the cart together.
  • 1 1/2″ Screws – There are some places where the 2 1/2″ screws are too long and you’ll need something just a bit shorter.
  • Dowel – This will be used for the handlebar for pulling the cart around.
  • 1X4 inch boards – These will create the handle. You can also cut the 3/4″ plywood to work just as well if that’s what you have.
  • Casters – I used 2 swivel casters with locks and 2 rigid plate casters.
  • Bolts & Nuts – I used 4 1/4-20 bolts and nuts to fit.

Building the Frame

I built the frame for my cart as small as possible so it would take up the least amount of space. When storing items in a small garage as I do, it’s important to be mindful of the space you use.

The frame is simply made from 2X4 lumber and is built in a rectangular shape to accommodate the size of my air compressor.

air compressor cart frame

The frame measures 20″ x 12″.

Just square it up and screw it all together using screws. I used 2 1/2-inch screws for mine.

Installing the Base

Once you have the frame put together, you’ll need a base for the air compressor to rest on. This will need to be a sturdy piece of wood. I used a 3/4″ piece of plywood so that it would easily support the 45-pound air compressor and handle the heavy vibrations when it is running.

Cut this to size so that it fits onto the frame and install it using screws. Be sure and get everything tight because these machines vibrate a lot so you don’t want the cart coming apart on you.

Installing the Handle

Air compressor cart handle

The handle provides you with an easy way to grab the cart and pull it to wherever you need to go. You can easily use 3/4″ plywood to make the handle frame but I had some scrap 1×4 pine planks that I used. These were already cut perfectly for the size I needed. All I had to do was chop them off to size with my miter saw to reach the proper height I was looking for.

Handle installed on cart

I also rounded the tops of the boards off so it would have a nice rounded look and be less apt to hurt if you run into it. I’d hate to bend over and poke a corner piece into my eye.

Before installing, you’ll want to drill holes for the dowel that will serve as the handle. I used a 3/4″ dowel and drilled holes on each side for it to rest in. I glued it into place and also used screws to secure it from the outside. While glue may be enough, I wanted the extra holding power of screws just to be sure.

You can install the handle on each side of the frame using screws. You will need shorter screws for this. I used 1 1/2″ screws and used four of them on each side.

To make the handles more stable, you can add a piece of wood to the back that connects the handles to the frame. This will make sure the handles do not move and maintain a solid feel as you push and pull it around. I used a cut of 3/4″ plywood for this.

cart handle with back support

Installing the Casters

Now that the cart is complete, you’ll want to add the casters so that you can easily roll the cart from place to place. It’s probably best to choose swivel casters for all 4 corners. However, I used what I had on hand so ended up with 2 swivel casters and 2 fixed casters. I installed the swivel casters on the rear of the cart and it works great.

cart casters

Choose the best casters you can get if you want a smooth-rolling cart. I love the rubber casters I used as they roll smoothly on almost any surface. They make the cart move effortlessly around my garage.

Mounting the Air Compressor

The air compressor you have will likely have 4 mounting points in which you can bolt it to the base of your cart. It may also have rubber bushings that help absorb vibrations when the compressor is running. You should be able to sit your air compressor onto the base and trace around the feet so that you know exactly where to drill.

air compressor mounted with bolts

Once you have the feet marked, you can drill through the center using the proper bit needed for the bolts you will be using. Now it’s just a matter of tightening down the bolts so that everything is snug.

Additional Accessories

You’ll probably have a crapload of accessories for your air compressor like I did. It’s nice to keep all this stuff together and there is plenty of room on the cart for additional storage. You can build storage areas for all the extra parts you may have.

Rear shelf on cart

I chose to build a small tray onto the back of the cart. This tray holds all the little pieces that I rarely use. In reality, I could probably throw them in the garbage but for now, they take up space in the tray waiting their turn to never be used.

Whether they get used or not, the important thing is that they are all together in one place. Now, everything I own related to this air compressor is within the confines of this little cart. It sure makes life easier when everything has its place and you don’t have to look all over the shop for it!


It’s a simple cart but it makes a huge difference in the usability of such an awkward machine. Picking this thing up over the years was enough for me to finally opt for a better solution. I’m quite happy with the solution and hopefully, you’ll find it equally as helpful in your garage.

Finished air compressor cart