8 Best Air Compressor Reviews for Reliable Power for Pneumatic Tools

Whether you are a professional tradesman or a DIY home renovation enthusiast, the best way to power your tools is with an air compressor. A reliable compressor gives you all the air power you need to operate all sorts of pneumatic tools like paint sprayers, brad nailers or a staple/nail gun, to name a few.

The Top 8 Air Compressors:

  1. California Air Tools 5510SE Air Compressor (Overall Best)
  2. Campbell Hausfeld DC080500 8-Gallon Air Compressor
  3. PORTER-CABLE C2002-WK Pancake Air Compressor
  4. Bostitch BTFP02012 6-Gallon Air Compressor
  5. Senco PC1010 1-HP 1-Gallon Air Compressor
  6. Makita MAC700 Big Bore 2.0 HP Air Compressor
  7. Rolair FC2002 2-HP Twin Stack Air Compressor
  8. DEWALT DWFP55130 Air Compressor

Our Top Pick for the Best Air Compressor

California Air Tools

Our top pick for the best air compressor is the California Air Tools Air Compressor. If you love to use your power tools, the California Air Tools compressor is tailor-made for you. The California Air tools compressor will reward you with fast pressurized air delivery and as it has an ultra-quiet operation and a lightweight design, it is an excellent choice for completing indoor or outdoor DIY maintenance or renovations.

Check the price on Amazon

How to Choose the Right Air Compressor For Your Project

Types of Air Compressors

There are 4 main types of air compressors: pancake-style, hot dog, twin-stack, and wheelbarrow.

Pancake Compressors

Pancake-style compressors like the Porter-Cable and the Bostich have round, flat storage tanks that are attached to 4 rubber-grip feet. This special design gives them good stability when they are placed on the floor and they are very compact, which makes them a great choice for small workspaces.

Hot Dog Compressors

Hot dog compressors, like the Makita, have a single, horizontal cylindrical tank that sits on a stand, which means it can be placed against the wall out of the way and the handle helps you to maneuver it around your job site or workspace.

Twin-stack compressors

Twin-stack compressors like the Rolair, have two cylindrical tanks that are mounted on top of each other. The two tank design not only gives you double the amount of air power but it makes the air compressor more compact.

Wheelbarrow Compressors

Wheelbarrow compressors, like the California Air and Campbell Hausfeld compressors, look like a hot-dog compressor but they offer you a lot of mobility as they have wheels and a handle that is attached to the tank.

As well as the compressor's overall design, consider other important features like the motors horsepower rating, tank size, air power, and the noise level.

Horsepower (HP) Rating

The power rating of the motor is determined by horsepower or HP. The higher the HP, the faster the compressor's pump will fill the tank with air. For most common light to medium duty household tools like inflating a type, occasional airbrushing, painting or renovations jobs that require finish or brad nailer, an HP rating from 1 up to 1.5 is ideal. For more heavy-duty tasks like working on a construction site or using power tools almost on a daily basis, a 2 or 4 HP motor will deliver the right amount of air power you need.

Tank Size

Most air compressors that are designed for residential or light industrial use, range from 1 gallon up to 4, 5.5 or 8 gallons. The general rule is, the larger the tank the longer the air will be supplied to your pneumatic tool until it runs out and the compressor has to “recover” the sufficient air pressure in the tank.

Tool Air Volume and Flow Rate

An air compressor must supply the right amount of pressurized air for a pneumatic tool like a nail gun to work properly. So you need to consider the air consumption specifications like CFM, SCFM and PSI ratings to make sure that you get the best air pressure performance.

CFM or SCFM means cubic or standard cubic feet per minute, which equates to the air volume that runs your tool.

PSI means pounds per square inch, which is the pressure or force of the flow of air.

Click here for more information about air compressor ratings and related terms.

Other Features

Noise Level

Air compressors are noisy machines so if you are going to using one inside your home, in the yard, or anywhere that noise pollution will pose a problem, consider the compressor’s noise level. Noise levels are measured in decibels (dB) and can range from an ultra quiet 60 dB like the California Air Tools compressor or louder 82 decibels like the PORTER-CABLE or the Rolair compressors, which is harder on the ears.

Easy Tank Draining

Another feature to consider is a tank that is easy to drain. As compressed air causes moisture to condense inside the tank, this can cause the tank to corrode, so draining the tank from any moisture will increase the compressor's longevity. How easily this can be done, is a determining factor in choosing the best air compressor.

User-friendly Gauges

A user-friendly gauge, like a pressure gauge, is a handy feature especially if you have a lot of work to do and do not want to waste time trying to locate the gauges. So if time is money, look for a gauge that is easy to locate at one glance.

Best Air Compressor

1. California Air Tools 5510SE Air Compressor

California Air Tools

Ultra-quiet, low maintenance, and featuring a superior performance, the California Air Tools Air Compressor is an excellent choice for any power tool enthusiast.

The California Air Tools Air Compressor is one of the quietest operators in the building industry as it operates at just 60 dB, so you can use your power tools to your heart's content.

For low to medium DIY tasks, the compressor has a powerful 1.0 HP, SP series motor that runs at just 1680 RPM, which creates less noise and wear and tear. The oil-free low maintenance extra large dual piston pump system delivers a fast and continuous air delivery.

An economical choice over the long term, the compressor has a life cycle of 3000 plus hours compared to other comparable air compressors with life cycles of 500 hours or less, so it will save you money on running costs.

If you need to work in challenging conditions, the aluminum rust-free 5.5-gallon tank is designed for a variety of temperatures and uneven terrains, and its 50lbs lightweight design and wheel kit makes it very easy to transport.

A user-friendly compressor, the California air compressor has a tank that can be filled from empty to full in 120 seconds and the low amp draw means it can safely be used in the house.

The California Air Tools compressor is covered by a 1-year limited warranty.

Pros

  • Superior performance
  • Great value for money
  • Ideal for indoor and outdoor use
  • Ultra quiet – only 60 dB
  • Low maintenance oil-free pump
  • Reduced heat dissipates more efficiently
  • Low amp draw – 8.5 amp
  • Fast and continuous air refill and fast recovery time
  • Thermal overload protector
  • Aluminium rust-free tank
  • Easy to maneuver with a wheel kit
  • 1-year limited warranty

Cons

  • Not ideal for heavy-duty tasks

Check the price on Amazon

2. Campbell Hausfeld DC080500 8-Gallon Air Compressor

Campbell Hausfeld 8-Gallon Air Compressor

Campbell Hausfeld are the power experts and their super quiet wheel-barrow style air compressor delivers an excellent working performance and with a low 68dBA, it is 50% quieter than other compressors. So if you have to complete any hobby painting, tire inflation, or home repairs, this is the compressor for you.

The Campbell Hausfeld compressor may have half the noise but it does not compromise on power. You will be able to complete your projects fast as the compressor is driven by a reliable oil-free induction motor and the dual maintenance-free piston pumps are guaranteed to last 4x longer and produce 25% (125 Max PSI and 2.4 CFM @ 90 PSI) more air compared to other 1.0 HP air compressors.

Whether you are pumping up a tire on your tractor or fixing some flooring, the 8-gallon horizontal tank is easy to move around as it has large wheels and a durable, rubber-grip steel handle.

The Campbell Hausfeld air compressor is covered by a 1-year limited warranty.

Pros

  • Excellent working performance
  • Ideal for light industrial and home use
  • Dual piston pumps
  • Strong induction motor
  • Fast and reliable air delivery
  • 50% quieter than comparable units at 68dBA
  • Large wheels and durable, rubber-grip steel handle
  • Oil and maintenance free
  • High durability
  • Large 8-gallon tank
  • Easy to move around
  • 1-year limited warranty

Cons

  • Not ideal for heavy-duty tasks
  • Not ideal for outdoor use in winter

Check the price on Amazon

3. PORTER-CABLE C2002-WK Pancake Air Compressor

Porter-Cable Pancake Air Compressor

When you need to complete some medium to heavy-duty tasks around your home or on the construction site, the high-quality Porter-Cable air compressor has a sturdy cast iron construction and the power to get your projects done fast!

The pancake-style air compressor features a powerful smooth performing induction 0.8 HP motor, an oil-free pump, high flow regulators and couplers and a large 150 psi max 6-gallon tank and a compressor that provides 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI, you can expect maximum air pressure, longer tool run times, and a quick recovery time.

You can expect extra longevity from the motor as it has replaceable brushes which allow for an extended life of the unit and the oil-free pump is low maintenance.

The compressor has a pancake-style tank which is sturdy and solid and the rubber feet provides optimal stability in all sorts of work environments, and there is a water drain valve to stop it from rusting.

If you are working with a buddy, the compressor has two regulated, factory installed air couplers to easily support two users.

The compressor can be run from a normal household electrical outlet and if you need to work in challenging outdoor winter conditions, it has an upgraded shroud, handle and console cover protecting it from wear and tear. It is quite lightweight at 30lbs while the integrated carry handle and cord-wrap makes it easy to carry and store.

Extra features include a 13-piece accessory kit and the compressor is covered by a 1-year warranty.

You will need some safety earplugs for this compressor, as it has an 82 dB rating.

Pros

  • Excellent value for money
  • Affordable price
  • High-quality
  • 150 psi max 6-gallon tank
  • Smooth performing motor
  • Quick recovery time
  • Low Amp 120V motor starts easily in cold weather
  • Durable oil-free and maintenance-free pump
  • Protective shroud, handle and console cover
  • Handle and cord wrap
  • Compact design
  • Two regulated, factory installed high flow air couplers
  • Can be run off normal household electrical outlets
  • Lightweight
  • 13-piece accessory kit

Cons

  • Not designed for extended long time of running
  • Very loud

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4. Bostitch BTFP02012 6-Gallon Air Compressor

Bostitch Compressor Kit

For an extremely affordable price, the Bostitch BTFP02012 pancake-style air compressor is designed for professionals but it makes quick work of any indoor home DIY projects. It features an oil and maintenance-free pump that delivers 2.6 SCFM and 90 PSI and a maximum 6-gallon tank storage of 150 PSI for long tool run time with a quick recovery. If you are working with a buddy, the high-flow regulator and two universal couplers maximize tool performance and work applications.

The 80 dBA noise rating is slightly noisy for small workspaces but is quiet enough not to be heard by the neighbors. If you need to start the compressor up in cold weather, the Bostitch's special high efficient 120-volt motor is pretty tough and you can use it outdoors by attaching a suitable extension cord.

Weighing in at 29lbs, it is quite lightweight and easy to store with a sturdy handle and the rubber-grip feet keep it securely on the floor. The large air pressure and tank gauges are located at the front of the unit for easy access and they are bump and knock free which is perfect for light industrial settings.

The Bostitch air compressor is covered by a 1-year limited warranty.

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Very affordable price
  • High-efficiency motor
  • Substantial 6-gallon tank
  • Will support two users at a time
  • Good 78.5 dB noise level
  • Loads of air power
  • Fast recovery
  • Easy-to-access control panel and gauges
  • Rugged design: gauges and connectors are bump and knock free
  • Sturdy handle
  • Rubber-grip feet
  • 1-year warranty

Cons

  • Still a little heavy
  • Not ideal for heavy-duty tools
  • Noisy

Check the price on Amazon

5. Senco PC1010 1-HP 1-Gallon Air Compressor

Senco PC1010 1-HP 1-Gallon Air Compressor

Versatile and affordable, the Senco air compressor is a DIY-ers dream machine as it has the right amount of air power for small to medium jobs that require the use of pneumatic tools.

One of the fastest compressors for its size, the Senco's direct drive 1 HP (peak) and 5 HP (running) motor has the capacity to deliver 20 to 44 drives per minute, depending on the tools you are using and the 1-gallon aluminum cylinder takes 128 seconds to pump up the air and a quick 35 seconds to recover.

The compressor is incredibly lightweight at just 20lbs, and as it is a quiet operator at 73dBA, it can be used in small indoor spaces or on work sites that have noise pollution restrictions. The oil-free motor and lube-free pump mean clean-up is a breeze.

Safety is paramount with the Senco compressor and extra features include a thermal overload/reset button, an air intake filter, a safety relief valve, an air tank drain valve, a discharge line, a quick disconnect switch and a ventilation opening, a protective shroud and a 115-volt electric power cord. The individual tank, outlet and pressure regulator gauges are easily accessible, and the sturdy handle has a rubber non-slip grip and its rubber-covered feet will not scratch hardwood floors, so you can feel comfortable using it in your home.

The Senco air compressor is covered by a 1-year warranty.

Pros

  • Great price
  • Well-made
  • High-quality
  • Ideal for light renovation and home improvement jobs, hobbies and craft
  • Strong and efficient direct-drive motor is capable of delivering 20 to 44 drives per minute
  • Fast recovery time
  • Good amount of pressure
  • Oil-free motor and lube-free pump
  • Durable aluminum cylinder
  • Extra safety features
  • Individual gauges for tank and regulated output pressure gauges
  • Light-weight
  • Quiet operation
  • Reasonable 6-ft power cord
  • Non-slip rubber grip handle
  • Rubber-covered feet

Cons

  • Not enough power or air pressure for heavy-duty tasks
  • Air pressure takes a long time to build up

Check the price on Amazon

6. Makita MAC700 Big Bore 2.0 HP Air Compressor

Makita MAC700 Big Bore 2.0 HP Air Compressor

Built like a beast with a solid and durable cast iron construction and loads of industrial power, the Makita Hot Dog-Style Air Compressor is an excellent choice for medium to heavy-duty tasks.

The Makita's air compressor is powered by a strong 2HP motor and its cast iron cylinder has greater bore and stroke for increased compression, faster recovery, and less noise. The oil lubricated piston pump is equipped with a large automotive style filter which allows for increased air intake and delivers the right amount of air pressure and a fast recovery time. You can expect greater motor and pump life as the MAC700 motor runs cooler and at a lower RPM (1,720). The 2.6-gallon tank sustains an operating pressure of 130 PSI, and the low amp draw reduces any possibility of tripped breakers or voltage drop that can cause premature motor failure.

For quick and easy maintenance, the compressor has a conveniently located oil drain, oil sight glass, and a tank drain valve.

If you have to work in a harsh environment in hot weather, the finned discharge tubing helps to dissipate heat more efficiently. The compressor does have a compact design but it has a substantial weight of 52 pounds which makes it heavy, but the sturdy roll bar handle with rubber grip provides extra portability and additional protection. Even though it has a low noise design, it has a noise level of 80 dB so it can be quite loud in a small space.

The Makita compressor is covered by a one year included warranty and the compressor comes with oil and 1/4-inch universal quick coupler.

Pros

  • High performance
  • Ideal for heavy-duty tasks and harsh work environments
  • Solid cast iron cylinder
  • Powerful
  • Big Bore pump cylinder and piston delivers a higher output
  • Consistent amount of air pressure
  • Quick re-fill and recovery time
  • Cool running motor guarantees greater motor and pump life
  • Good noise level
  • Easy to maintain
  • Conveniently located oil drain, oil sight glass and tank drain valve
  • Sturdy roll bar handle with rubber grip
  • 1-year warranty

Cons

  • Hard to understand manual
  • Very heavy
  • Can be loud in a small indoor space

Check the price on Amazon

7. Rolair FC2002 2-HP Twin Stack Air Compressor

Rolair FC2002 2-HP Twin Stack Air Compressor

The Rolair twin-stack compressor is ideal for both light to medium power tool tasks so you can use it for pumping up tires or completing roofing and other nailing projects. It is built to last with a solid and sturdy stack-tank design and stand, industrial-grade ball bearings and stainless steel reed valves. The 4.3-gallon dual cast-iron tanks are well balanced so you do not have to worry about knocking it over while you are working and the oversized crankcase helps to hold oil viscosity longer and protects the pump on uneven surfaces.

You can expect a high performance from this compressor as it is driven by a strong 3400 rpm, 2HP 100% heavy duty cycle motor and a good reliable pump that can produce 4.1 CFM at 90 PSI.

The compressor has an easy to maintain design with some great safety features, like the splash lubricated pump which ensures longer life and a safety overload protection and manual reset option so you can run it off normal household power without causing an overload and there is an on/off pressure switch.

It is quite heavy at 68 lbs, but there is a sturdy handle to help you shift the compressor around your workspace. The noise level of 80dB can be hard on the ears but it does produce less noise than other similar compressors so you can still use it indoors without having to worry about the neighbors knocking down your door.

The Rolair air compressor is covered by a 1-year warranty.

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • High quality
  • Affordable
  • Strong build
  • Well balanced and compact
  • Excellent performance
  • Strong 2 HP 100% duty-cycle 3400 rpm motor
  • Cast iron cylinder
  • Dual 4.3-gallon tanks
  • Reliable and efficient
  • Quick recovery time
  • Easy to maintain
  • Sturdy base
  • Splash lubrication to ensure longer pump life
  • Runs off house power
  • Extra safety overload protection and a manual reset option
  • Pressure Switch with On/Off Lever
  • Strong handle
  • 1-year warranty

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Loud

Check the price on Amazon

8. DEWALT DWFP55130 Air Compressor

DEWALT DWFP55130 Air Compressor

A highly versatile machine, the trim and terrific air compressor from Dewalt offer you a powerful working performance which is hard to beat.

The air compressor features an oil-free 1.1-HP motor and a 2.5 gallon, 200 psi max tank that allows it to store more air and you can run more than one nailer at once, so you will be able to enjoy greater work efficiency.

If you need to complete indoor renovations, the efficient motor only draws 12 amps, which reduces the possibility of tripping a breaker. The Dewal is pretty quiet at only 71.5 decibels and the durable, oil-free pump provides maintenance-free operation and keeps your floors clean. Need to work outdoors in in all sorts of conditions? The compressor is up to the challenge as it has a high torque motor with an easy start-up, even at super low temperatures like 0-degrees Fahrenheit.

The standard Dewalt yellow and black is distinctive and can be easily spotted among all your other tools, and is a perfect match for other Dewalt tools.

With a trim 14 inch size and a unique design that allows it to be placed in either a horizontal or vertical position, the compressor is ultra compact and you can stack other materials on top of it to save space. It is very lightweight at only 36lb, but for extra maneuverability, there is a comfortable handle and a cord wrap for easy storage.

It does overheat when used for more demanding tasks, but if you let it cool down, it will kick-start back into action.

The Dewal compressor is covered by a 1-year limited warranty.

Pros

  • Ideal for light to medium-duty tasks
  • Can be used indoors and outdoors
  • Efficient motor
  • Powerful working performance
  • Great PSI
  • Very good value for money
  • Oil-free pump provides
  • Quick fill and recovery time
  • Low 71.5 dB allows for quieter operation
  • Easy startup
  • Low 12-amp draw motor reduces breaker tripping
  • Two universal couplers
  • Compact and portable design
  • Easy to store
  • Comfortable and sturdy handle
  • Light-weight
  • Can be operated or stored in the horizontal or vertical position

Cons

  • Not ideal for continuous heavy-duty use
  • Vibrates on wooden floors

Check the price on Amazon

Our Top Pick for the Best Air Compressor

California Air Tools

Our top pick for the best air compressor is the California Air Tools Air Compressor. If you love to use your power tools, the California Air Tools compressor is tailor-made for you. The California Air tools compressor will reward you with fast pressurized air delivery and as it has an ultra-quiet operation and a lightweight design, it is an excellent choice for completing indoor or outdoor DIY maintenance or renovations.

Check the price on Amazon

This article first appeared on morningchores.com Original Article

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