Air compressors are machines that convert power like electricity or gas into potential energy in the form of pressurized, compressed air. This air is compressed and forced into a storage tank, increasing the pressure until it reaches the upper limit of that tank and shuts it off. Did you know that best air compressors can make home improvements go faster and easier?

This potential energy can be used to power a variety of tools for many different jobs around the home. We have gathered and tested various machines for our unbiased air compressor reviews. We will share our results as well as provide a buying guide for your convenience.

Porter-Cable PCFP02003 Air Compressor
  • Porter-Cable PCFP02003
  • 4.5 Customer Rating
  • PRICE: $$
  • Weight (pounds): 26
  • CFM: 2
  • MAX PSI: 135
  • Noise (dBA): 82
  • Tank Size (Gallons): 3,5
  • Size (inches): 18.13 x 17.25 x 18.5
  • Warranty (years): 1
Bostitch BTFP02012 Air Compressor
  • Bostitch BTFP02012
  • 4.4 Customer Rating
  • PRICE: $
  • Weight (pounds): 29
  • CFM: 2,6
  • MAX PSI: 150
  • Noise (dBA): 78,5
  • Tank Size (Gallons): 6
  • Size (inches): 17 x 17 x 19.25
  • Warranty (years): 1
Dewalt DWFP55126 Air Compressor
  • Dewalt DWFP55126
  • 4.3 Customer Rating
  • PRICE: $$
  • Weight (pounds): 30
  • CFM: 2,6
  • MAX PSI: 165
  • Noise (dBA): 75,5
  • Tank Size (Gallons): 6
  • Size (inches): 17.2 x 16.6 x 20.1
  • Warranty (years): 1
Makita MAC700 Air Compressor
  • Makita MAC700
  • 4.6 Customer Rating
  • PRICE: $$$
  • Weight (pounds): 52
  • CFM: 3,3
  • MAX PSI: 130
  • Noise (dBA): 80
  • Tank Size (Gallons): 2,6
  • Size (inches): 18 x 10 x 22
  • Warranty (years): 1
Porter-Cable CMB15 Air Compressor
  • Porter-Cable CMB15
  • 4.5 Customer Rating
  • PRICE: $$
  • Weight (pounds): 20
  • CFM: 2
  • MAX PSI: 150
  • Noise (dBA): 79
  • Tank Size (Gallons): 1,5
  • Size (inches): 15.5 x 13.2 x 20.5
  • Warranty (years): 1

1. Porter-Cable PCFP02003

Porter-Cable PCFP02003 Air CompressorFirst in our list is a ‘pancake’ compressor. The electric motor on this unit runs on a low-amp 120V motor. That power allows the compressor to work longer and shortens the recovery time. This machine has a 2.0 SCFM rating delivered via a 90 PSI pump. The storage capacity of this model is 3.5 gallons, with a maximum PSI rating of 135.

It is easy to use and move around the house with this model since it only weighs 26 lbs. The noise level isn’t too bad with 82dBA at its peak usage. A thankful feature for this model is that it comes with an oil-free pump, making it easier to maintain. 

The model also has 2 gauges and a Quick-Connect coupler, but other than that it doesn’t come with other attachments. It is a solid tool for small task and repairs at a budget-friendly price with a 1-year warranty.

2. Bostitch BTFP02012

Bostitch BTFP02012 Air CompressorThis model falls into the mid-range of pancake compressors with a tank capacity of 6 gallons, at a max PSI of 150. It is powered by a Bostitch electric motor at 0.8 horsepower, designed for high efficiency and easy start-up in cold weather. You can also start it with an extension cord application.

The compressor weighs 29 lbs making it a portable model and easy to use around the worksite. This model was designed so that it produces less noise (78.5 dBA) than other models in the same performance range.  The machine comes with an oil-free pump giving it a longer life and less maintenance for the user.

The air compressor has a high-flow regulator and 2 couplers for maximizing air tool performance. No other attachments were included. With its capacity, it can easily handle 2 people working at the same time on small repairs or builds. The unit has a 1-year limited warranty.

3. Dewalt DWFP55126

Dewalt DWFP55126 Air CompressorOur next model comes from Dewalt, while it is in the middle price range it delivers good performance for its price. The machine is powered by a universal electric motor with 0.9 horsepower. The compressor has a 2.6 SCFM rating delivered at 90 PSI pump or 3.7 SCFM at 40 PSI.

The noise level is 75.5 dBA, which is lower than other models on our list. The pump on this unit is oil-free and maintenance-free, providing a longer life and less hassle for the user. The size of the tank comes to 6.0 gallons with a maximum of 165 PSI. This allows for a prolonged air tool usage.

This machine allows 2 people to work at the same time with 2 universal couplers and a high flow regulator to maximize performance. It is covered by a 1-year warranty. While it is a light-weight it is a good tool for home repairs.

4. Makita MAC700

Makita MAC700 Air CompressorNext on our list is a compact, near-industrial grade, hot dog air compressor. Makita has put in its original Big Bore cylinder a piston which delivers a better performance at a lower noise level than you would expect from a motor with 2 HP. The 4-Pole motor delivers 90 PSI at 3.3 SCFM or 40PSI at 3.8 SCFM.

This unit has cast iron parts for added durability and performance, however, it also makes the model weigh 52 lbs. It isn’t as easy to carry around but it delivers more power than other standard units. The noise level goes up to 80 dBA, which isn’t as bad as other models at this performance level.

The package includes a 1/4″ Brass Makita universal coupler to attach a variety of air tools. The pump on this model is oil-lubricated and does require some minor maintenance from the owner. It has a 1-year warranty.

5. Porter-Cable CMB15

Porter-Cable CMB15 Air CompressorThe Porter-Cable air compressor comes at a higher price range, but it was designed with the user in mind, keeping it compact and lightweight. The model is just 20 lbs., making it very portable. The motor is a standard low amp 120V electric motor that puts out 90 psi at 2.0 SCFM with 0.8HP.

The pump is oil-free making it easy to maintain. The noise level is more than what you would expect at a level of 79 dBA. The tank for this model can hold 1.5 gallons at 150 PSI. But, it’s completely shrouded with the frame to make it easier to transport.

Additionally, this compressor comes with a water drain valve, rubber feet, a 25-foot coil hose and an 8-piece set of attachments to aid various inflation jobs. This machine is covered with 1-year limited warranty.  The machine is a compact and reliable tool for small jobs around the home.

Senco PC1010 Air Compressor
  • Senco PC1010
  • 4.3 Customer Rating
  • PRICE: $
  • Weight (pounds): 20
  • CFM: 0,7
  • MAX PSI: 125
  • Noise (dBA): 68
  • Tank Size (Gallons): 1
  • Size (inches): 14 x 13 x 10
  • Warranty (years): 1
Campbell Hausfeld HM750000AV Air Compressor
  • Campbell Hausfeld HM750000AV
  • 4.6 Customer Rating
  • PRICE: $
  • Weight (pounds): 51,2
  • CFM: 2,5
  • MAX PSI: 125
  • Noise (dBA): 85
  • Tank Size (Gallons): 6
  • Size (inches): 18.9 x 17.3 x 22.6
  • Warranty (years): 1
Excell U256PPE Air Compressor
  • Excell U256PPE
  • 4.5 Customer Rating
  • PRICE: $
  • Weight (pounds): 39
  • CFM: 2,8
  • MAX PSI: 150
  • Noise (dBA): 61
  • Tank Size (Gallons): 6
  • Size (inches): 17.91 x 17.32 x 21.7
  • Warranty (years): 1
Bostitch CAP1512 Air Compressor
  • Bostitch CAP1512
  • 4.3 Customer Rating
  • PRICE: $
  • Weight (pounds): 23,5
  • CFM: 2,8
  • MAX PSI: 150
  • Noise (dBA): 89
  • Tank Size (Gallons): 1,2
  • Size (inches): 17 x 13 x 11
  • Warranty (years): 1
Campbell Hausfeld FP2028 Air Compressor
  • Campbell Hausfeld FP2028
  • 3.3 Customer Rating
  • PRICE: $
  • Weight (pounds): 12,9
  • CFM: 0,36
  • MAX PSI: 110
  • Noise (dBA): 93
  • Tank Size (Gallons): 1
  • Size (inches): 12 x 12 x 16
  • Warranty (years): 1

6. Senco PC1010

Senco PC1010 Air CompressorAnother lightweight model on our list comes from Senco. This beauty weighs just 20 lbs, making it very easy to carry around. This compact model comes with an electric oil-free motor packing 0.5 horsepower when running. The machine puts out 90 PSI at 1.4 SCFM.

The tank holds only 1 gallon at 125 PSI.

The pump doesn’t use oil, which means less maintenance for the user. Also, the low noise level for this unit is 68 dBA, making it very easy on the ears. Additionally, the unit comes with a standard 1/4″ quick disconnect coupler and a handy release valve at the bottom of the tank to release the built-up water.

This air compressor was designed to handle finish and trim work, which it does easily. But it is also a good choice for hobbies and crafts given its compact design. The unit has a 1-year limited warranty.

7. Campbell Hausfeld HM750000AV

Campbell Hausfeld HM750000AV Air CompressorNext, we have another heavier pancake air compressor, this time made by Campbell Hausfeld. This compressor comes with a max PSI of 125 and a tank that can hold 6 gallons. The machine weighs 51.2 lbs, but that extra weight also comes with some added power.

While the motor on this unit only produces 0.8HP the pump has an SCFM rating of 2.5 at 90 PSI. Which is a better rating than similar models in this budget-friendly price range? The compressor is powered a standard 120-volt current. This unit produces an average level of noise with 85 dBA.

This model was designed with a rubber grip carrying handle to make easier to transport and it comes with a pump that doesn’t use oil. The compressor is covered by a 1-year limited warranty. Given its size and performance, it would be a good choice for inflation jobs, small painting projects, nailing and stapling.

8. Excell U256PPE

Excell U256PPE Air CompressorThe people from Excell have created a pancake air compressor with interesting features. This budget-friendly model comes with an oil-free pump and universal motor. The motor can produce 1.5 HP with an SCFM rating of 2.8 at a 90 PSI pump. The fully enclosed motor is protected from accidental hits in the workspace and can star in cold weather as low as -24° F (-4° C).

The tank capacity comes to the mid-range with 6 gallons at a 150 PSI. Another interesting feature is that the noise level is one of the lowest we have tested at 61 dBA. Although it is on the heavier side since it weighs 39 lbs. The unit is covered by a 1-year warranty.

It also has the capacity for 2 people to work at once. Given what you get for its price it is the best air compressor for air tools in our opinion.

9. Bostitch CAP1512

Bostitch CAP1512 Air CompressorHere we have a hot dog air compressor from Bostitch. This unit comes in an orange roll cage design that protects the unit from on-site damage. It also has an integrated control panel that contains a LED On/Off switch that shows if your machine is really running or is suffering from a low-pressure misfire.

It weighs around 23.5 lbs., which makes it a light-weight model. These models are good for small jobs and fixes as well as various hobbies or crafts. The tank has a compact design with a 1.2-gallon capacity. The machine can handle a max of 150 PSI. While running, the motor can produce up to 1.5 HP. The oil-free, high-output pump gives the unit 2.8 CFNM rating at 90 PSI. The compressor is covered by a 1-year limited warranty.

While the unit does have no-marring rubber feet, it will walk on certain surfaces.

10. Campbell Hausfeld FP2028

Campbell Hausfeld FP2028 Air CompressorLast but not least we have a light-weight pancake air compressor from Campbell Hausfeld. This unit weighs a meager 12.9 pounds making it extremely maneuverable.  The machine comes with a universal 120-volt motor at 0.33 HP. IT can tolerate a max pressure rating of 110 PSI. The compressor has a 0.36 SCFM rating at 90 PSI.

The unit can use a removable regulator kit, but that part is not included. Instead, you can use the onboard regulating valve to adjust pressure. The tank has a 1-gallon capacity. Additionally, the unit comes with a 25-foot recoil hose and 5 attachments for a variety of inflation jobs, plus onboard storage.

While this model is the most economical model on the list, and the lightest it is also the noisiest with 93 dBA. The unit is covered by a 1-year limited warranty. This compressor can be used for inflation work and some smaller air tools.

Air Compressor Buying Guide

Air compressors can be a very useful machine to have for residential and commercial purposes. From the residential aspect, it is a convenient and greener option than power tools. These machines use less electricity than your average power tools and you can use air tools to do the same work.

Who Should Buy an Air Compressor?

If you are a DIY homeowner and like to maintain your house by fixing the roof, painting delicate furniture or just checking your tires, you can do all of this with the help of an air compressor and some air tools.

Have you ever faced a rusted nut which you couldn’t unscrew? Well with a high output pressure washer and the right tool you can make short work out of most nuts. The smaller units are particularly useful for inflating everything from balls and car tires to a pool or a bouncy house. For those, every day uses you probably won’t need anything above a 6-gallon air compressor. But you may want to go with a smaller model due to budget issues, for example, a 12V air compressor.

Commercial air compressors have been used on-site for many years. They are often safer options and more cost-effective when doing carpentry, sanding, nailing, painting. With a professional air compressor, you could have multiple people working on different things at the same time while using different tools.

In our buying guide, we will go over some of the important things you need to know before deciding on what machine is the best air compressor for home use for you.

Important Features to Consider

There are several features you need to consider when buying your own air compressor. You need to understand what you want to get done with an air compressor and choose the most suitable unit accordingly. Here are some things you need to consider:

Tank Size

Tank sizes determine what type of job you are able to do with your air compressor because the air is pressurized and stored inside of them. Their capacity is measured in gallons. If you are working small jobs around the home which don’t require prolonged use but short spurts like nailing brad nails then a small tank will be just fine. Even portable, cordless air compressors can handle inflating your car tires and any type of ball.

But if you want to do some painting, sanding or any kind of work that requires continuous pressure and power, then a larger tank is a must. If you need the compressor to hammer an occasional nail or pump up your bicycle tires, then anything to 3 gallons should be enough. The sweet spot for most non-commercial users is 6 gallons as it will allow for some continual use, supporting any and all small jobs you might have.

PSI and SCFM

You need to make the second most important decision, and it’s about power. PSI or pounds per square inch are used to measure at what maximum pressure an air compressor can work. SCFM stands for Standard cubic feet per minute – and it represents the flow value of the pump. These numbers work in tandem. If you have a high PSI value you get a lower flow value because you are using up your compressed air at a much faster rate. But with a lower PSI, you get a higher flow value.

Each air tool has its own specs on what it can handle. Most of them work at 90 PSI. If the tool is demanding, then it will require a higher flow rate or SCFM. Generally, you want to make sure that your compressor has an SCFM value that is 1.5 times larger than the tool you want to use to ensure good performance. So first you check the ones you want to use then you know how much power your compressor needs to produce.

dBA

Noise levels are extremely important with all power tools and machines. A normal conversation between people happens at 60dBA, but a resting bulldozer works at around 85dBA which, if you would listen to for 8 straight hours, would permanently damage your hearing. For your personal safety and health, as well as the people around you, it is wise to consider noise as an important factor.

Normally you wouldn’t use an air compressor for so long and cause such damage, but the higher the noise level, the more harm you’ll cause to yourself if you aren’t using some type of noise cancelation protection.

Weight

The advantages of having a light-weight model are that you can move it easily from place to place, and even handle jobs that require a little more finesse but are hard to reach. The disadvantage of light air compressors is that they will sometimes “walk” and follow when they are meant to be stationary.

Also, they can lean and fall due to their legs being too small or poorly placed. A lighter machine also usually means a smaller motor, smaller capacity tank, and overall less power.

Heavier models will, of course, be firm and stable. They usually come with more powerful specs but lugging them upstairs or on different jobs can be a pain for this specific reason. As technology is changing every day, companies are working hard towards producing high-performance results in smaller packaging. But for now, consider the power you need and the back pain you can avoid when choosing an air compressor.

Power Source

An air compressor gets its power from the motor. That motor can be powered by electricity, making it a corded model with limited mobility, or it can be a fuel-powered compressor with much more mobility. Regardless of what powers your motor, it creates an output value and it has a starter value as well.

Certain manufacturers will make their machines durable and able to run in harsh weather like -24° F or lower. These machines have a powerful motor with a low amp start. This feature is important as the start can throw out circuit breakers when you start the machine or after a few minutes of usage. A higher amp (A) rate will mean more power, but that power can have drawbacks.

Accessories

Air compressors come with a variety of attachments for different purposes. They can be differently styled tips and nozzles for various inflation jobs. You can also have portable valves attached to some but not all air compressors. These are used for specialized equipment or if you need additional control over your pressure or flow needed for a special tool.

Hoses are also a common accessory, usually made out of durable PVC materials. Be sure to hang them up when you are done so that they don’t condense water on the ground.

Some of those concerns are mentioned in this short video:

How Does An Air Compressor Work?

An air compressor uses the same air we breathe to store potential energy and adapt it for use in countless applications. Most air compressors are powered by electricity or some type of fuel (gas usually). While power sources may vary with each model, most compressors work in the following way.

When the machine is turned on, air gets sucked into the inlet at the end of the compressor’s cylinder. The piston located inside of the compressor will then compress the outside air. After that, the air goes through a discharge valve.

A compressor may use a different system to compress air, using rotaries or even various air compartments instead, because there is more than one way to compress it. Some are more efficient than others, of course.

Once the pressure has been applied, the air will then be stored in the unit’s tank. There it waits to be discharged into a tool or simply released back into the atmosphere. Once the tank has been filled to its maximum capacity, the air compressor’s motor will stop working. However, the motor may start again if there is a drop in the pressure inside of the tank to compensate for the loss.

When actively using the air compressor, you will notice it continuously starts and stops because it replenishes the used up pressurized air. You can always read up more on this subject since air compressors have been used for a long time.

Air Compressor Types

There are several different types of air compressors and we will be going over the most popular types for consumers. There are different types of compressors and different styles of tanks. Air compressors are made into different styles due to practicality, tank capacity, and portability.

Pancake Compressors

Pancake compressors usually are categorized by being small and light. The tank capacity varies from 1 to 6 gallons. This type of compressor is usually designed to have a lower profile than other compressors to make it as portable as possible.

Storage is another plus with these models as they can be put in your car, truck, the shelf of your garage or sometimes even under your bed. The plus side of pancake compressors is surely their portability.

Another advantage is that these compressors require less maintenance. Namely, pancake compressors don’t usually have belts and often come with oil-free pumps. This means you don’t have to open up the motor, clean it or lubricate anything. They are suitable for hobbies, DIY repairs around the home, tire inflation, and so on. However, they do lack the capacity for prolonged air tool use and can’t handle any of the large air tools.

Hot Dog Compressors

Next, we have the so-called hot dog compressors. As opposed to pancake compressors who have a round tank, hot dog compressors really remind you of a hot dog, or at least the tank does. These compressors are favored by the public because they have a bit more versatility than pancake compressors.

Hot dog compressors have more capacity than pancake compressors which also makes them heavier. They are liked by users because they can support small airbrushes, staplers and so on. If the capacity is bigger, then your options regarding what you can do with the compressor are larger as well.

Given the extra weight, you want to make sure the unit comes with a good handle or some kind of carrying system that makes it practical for you. Also, since these are bigger models, they produce more noise than pancake models, and you want to make sure they aren’t too loud for you. You need to prevent damage to your hearing.

Stationary Air Compressors

Stationary air compressors are very different than the previous 2 styles. As the name suggests, these are upright air compressors meant to stay put while you use them. They are bigger and heavier than the other models, making them not so easy to move around. But that is not what they were designed for.

Since they are bigger they, of course, have more power and a larger capacity. What they lack in portability, they have in power. These machines aren’t about where you can put them, they solve issues regarding bigger projects by using specialized tools. More powerful air tools require an air compressor with larger capacity, it is as simple as that. If you need to do a lot of work in a short amount of time, then stationary air compressors are what we recommend. The capacity of these models can go up to 60 gallons, if not more, allowing for a long work time with your air tools.

Portable Air Compressors

Portable air compressors are designed for a variety of specific demands. These compressors are designed to cater to a variety of different needs.

A good portable air compressor is:

  • Composed of high-quality parts
  • Small enough to store just about anywhere
  • Powerful enough to the point where its use extends beyond inflating things.

There is nothing wrong with using a simple air compressor for easy jobs, but for a portable unit to be considered a good one, it must have a mix of features that make it practical and useful in real life situations and scenarios.

Some are powered by batteries, other require you to have an engine running since they draw power from your car/motor battery.

Wheelbarrow Air Compressors

Just like the name suggests, wheelbarrow air compressors are called like that because they are designed to look like wheelbarrows – having one tire in the front and two legs at the back. The tanks are mounted along the length of the wheelbarrow frame around the motor and other parts. The design allows you to use these compressors even on rough terrain without worrying about damaging the unit or its mechanical parts.

They are usually equipped with powerful motors that deliver a high performance. The two tanks offer a lot of capacity. These machines are quite suitable for most heavy-duty uses. Because they are so powerful, they can also be very heavy.

Gas or Electric?

When choosing your air compressor, it is important to determine if you want one that is powered by gas or electricity. This choice is sometimes made for you due to circumstance.

For example, if you are found in a situation where the job site doesn’t have electricity and you need a lot of air, then your best bet is to go with the gas-powered compressor. They are used very often during the framing phase of new construction where electricity is a bit of a rare commodity. 

Gas-powered compressors tend to be heavy, given the added fuel tank and a larger motor. These units can weigh up to 150/200 pounds, if not more. That weight will likely require 2 people to perform the loading and unloading from the truck. These air compressors come in a variety of configurations to suit different applications.

If you are looking to do some DIY work around your home or need a smaller tool to do some work in a hard to reach area then an electrical air compressor is the right choice. But with recent trends and changes in electric air compressors, they are pushing them more and more into commercial application.

Induction or Universal Motor?

Electric compressors usually work quieter than gas compressors. These compressors are outfitted with an induction or a universal motor. Compressors with universal motors are the way to go for DIY-ers, but they are getting used more and more by contractors as well.

Universal motors also tend to be light-weight in design and they typically have a faster start-up speed than induction motors. This is good because universal motors reach their peak amperage quicker and this prevents the air compressor from tripping your circuit breaker.

As time goes on producers continue narrowing the gap between universal and induction-motor technology. Be sure to always consider the options both give you and how they fit into your plans. 

Induction-motor compressors usually have a higher price than universal-motor compressors. This price is justified because induction motors are typically more efficient, and, if there are no defects, they tend to have a longer lifespan than a universal motor. Sometimes even twice as long.

If you can dedicate an entire circuit, and your budget allows it, you can get yourself an induction-motor air compressor with superior SCFM and a longer lifespan.

Top Air Compressor Brands

Since air compressors are becoming ever more popular and affordable, it comes as no surprise that we are seeing a rapid influx of new brands every year. While growth and competition are good, this market has already been saturated by more than a few dependable brands.

Our advice to you would be to check out what the more well-known brands and producers have to offer. Especially those with a good reputation and positive feedback from reviews made by regular people and professionals.

Here is a short list of popular brands who make air compressors, air tools and other accessories that go with them.

Stanley-Bostitch

Stanley-Bostitch is a company that started way back in 1896 which at the time produced stitching machines for fastening books, calendars and so on. Through the years they continued to develop various types of fastening devices especially staplers. Eventually, they grew to a large entity that produces a wide range of staplers, fastening tools, glue guns, riveting tools, nailers, and air compressors. They manufacture compressors both for residential and commercial use.

DeWalt

Raymond E. DeWalt founded the DeWalt company in 1923. Through many years of innovation, they became one of the market leaders in the production of power tools and air compressors. They offer residential and commercial products.

They manufacture a wide range of air compressors which differ in power, tank style and size. In 1960 the company was bought by Black & Decker which is a subsidiary of Stanley Black & Decker. Currently, they make and distribute over 800 different accessories and 200 hand-tools. They’ve even come up with their own smartphone and cordless lawn mowers.

Porter-Cable

One of the better-known air compress producers is of course Porter-Cable. They have been in business since 1906. They started as a 3-man business out of a garage in New York. But they only started manufacturing compressors in 1914. They made their reputation by creating belt sanders and different types of saws.

Since then, they have moved on to bigger and better things, becoming one of the largest producers of power tools in the world. This success, of course, did not go unnoticed. In October 2004, they were bought by the Black & Decker. They were just one of the successful companies added to the roster of Black & Decker subsidiaries.

One of the things that set Porter-Cable apart from its competitions is that they offer both new and factory-repaired compressors.

Campbell Hausfeld

Campbell Hausfeld is an old and well-known name in the power tools industry. It is based in America where it was originally established back in 1836. Their beginning was humble since they sold farm equipment. But through many years of dedicated work, they have expanded their production to include many different types of tools and air compressors as well.

They have machines for any kind of job, be it residential for a little DIY around the house, or something heavy-duty for the commercial professionals. They’ve made a name for themselves in the air compressor industry with their gas compressors and two-stage models.

The company has also developed a successful line of power tools specifically for tire and car repair workshops, they call it their ‘Tire and Lube Series’. We have had good results using their compressors on staplers, airbrushes and brad guns.

Makita

Makita isn’t only a recognizable brand for its quality air compressors but it has also built a reputation for producing quality electric power tools. They have been in business for almost 100 years and with that experience, they have continuously made advances in tools and motors.

Through their journey, they became an industry leader in quality, innovation, market shares and sales. They have continuously updated their power tools with numerous improvements. The first compressor they made was in 1981. Their signature Big Bore compressors are strong enough to simultaneously power two framing guns.

Senco

Another good example in this industry is Senco. This company was formed in 1935 but wouldn’t get its current name until 1951. Originally it was named after their first invention – the Springtramp Eliminator.

This company is well known to handymen and other professionals alike because of the quality of their products. Besides air compressors, they also manufacture power tools, fastening tools, staplers and much more.

California Air Tools

Our next company is another industry favorite, namely California Air Tools. This company is much younger, having started in 2002 but they didn’t lose any time in building their reputation. They started out by bringing together industry professionals with the task of designing and improving air compressors. Their goal was to change the status quo.

Surely enough, with time and innovation, they have had their fair share of successes. They have created their own line of oil-free and ‘ultra-quiet’ air compressors. Since their initial success, they have continued to grow and expand their company in the US. They also post instructional and how-to videos of their products and they are very successful on producing quiet air compressors.

Ingersoll Rand

Last but not least we come to the multi-billion-dollar company, Ingersoll Rand. They are well known and a major brand in the air compressor market. While they do produce high-quality air compressors, their production is not limited to just compressors. They also manufacture an array of electric, lifting and power tools.

Their range of air compressors is impressive. They offer everything from small portable units for your every day needs to large, durable, high-performance compressors meant for commercial use. They produce both rotary screw compressors and reciprocating piston compressors which are the go-to tools for most professionals.

This company has a range of air compressors that can satisfy the needs of most professionals and deserve a look if you need something in the industrial-grade compressors department.

Care & Maintenance

All machines and power tools need some care and attention from their owners. This is no different when it comes to air compressors. The big difference though is with the pumps. Some require lubrication while others are designed to be oil-free.

If you are using an air compressor that needs oil, you need to check your manual and follow the recommended instructions.  You want to keep an eye on the oil gauge every day, before and after you are done using the machine.

With bigger machines, you also have filters which need to be cleaned or replaced periodically. These filters keep the air that your compressor uses free of pollutants. If you fail to do so, you can effectively shorten the life of various parts of the machine itself.

Another very important thing is condensation. As water is a part of the oxygen that gets sucked into the tank of the compressor, naturally some condensation will form when differences of temperature appear. Water in the tank will corrode and ruin it. Luckily these tanks are designed to have an easy to use release valve which you press or open and the water comes flying out with some of the compressed air.

If you are using coil hoses be sure to hang them up after usage, to avoid condensation gathering in them. Also, we recommend turning off your compressors overnight. While some may have automatic and safety features, these features can fail, the machines can overheat and cause a fire. With everything you can lose, it is better to be cautious.

FAQ

Here we will address some of the frequently asked questions that come with owning and using an air compressor.

How often should I change the oil in my air compressor?

It depends on the model and how much you use it. To give an example a rotary screw compressor should have its oil changed about every 7-8000 hours. On the other hand, a reciprocating air compressor can work up to 3 months without needing an oil change.

This information is generally provided by the manufacturer and if you have an oil-based pump then it should also come with a gauge that shows the oil level.

What happens when water stays in my compressor?

Compressor tanks are made out of steel. If water stays in your tank unchecked, it will cause corrosion and rust will build in the tank. In some extreme cases, it can cause ruptures and even explosions. This is why it is important to keep a watchful eye on your air compressor especially if you live in a very humid area.

How much air will I need to power my air compressor tool?

Most air tools operate between 70-100 PSI and the flow rate they need will be less than 10 SCFM. This is a broad range, as every tool comes with its very own specifications. It would be wise to consult the manuals or the manufacturer to find out how much power do you exactly need.

What do I do If my tools need a lower pressure output?

If you find yourself in a situation where you are not able to use or are unsure if you can use a certain tool with your compressor because it has a higher-pressure output, don’t worry. This question actually comes up pretty often and has a simple solution. What you need to do is buy and add a ‘pressure regulator’ to your line. This allows you to set the pressure you want when it goes into the air tool.

Will my compressor run on a generator?

If you are faced in an emergency situation yes, technically a generator should be able to power your air compressor. However, we would advise against this. The reason behind it is that generators suffer fluctuations in power and air compression machines were designed to have a constant steady flow of energy. It is better to avoid using a generator if you can to avoid damaging the unit in any way possible.

ProductWeight
(pounds)
CFMMAX PSINoise
(dBA)
Tank Size
(Gallons)
Size
(inches)
Warranty
(years)
Porter-Cable PCFP02003262135823.518.13 x 17.25 x 18.51
Bostitch BTFP02012292.615078.5617 x 17 x 19.251
Dewalt DWFP55126302.616575.5617.2 x 16.6 x 20.11
Makita MAC700523.3130802.618 x 10 x 221
Porter-Cable CMB15202150791.515.5 x 13.2 x 20.51
Senco PC1010200.712568114 x 13 x 101
Campbell Hausfeld HM750000AV51.22.512585618.9 x 17.3 x 22.61
Excell U256PPE392.815061617.91 x 17.32 x 21.71
Bostitch CAP151223.52.8150891.217 x 13 x 111
Campbell Hausfeld FP202812.90.3611093112 x 12 x 161

Wrap Up

We have tested, reviewed and discussed many things regarding air compressors. We hope we have helped you in some way in your search for the best air compressor for you. Be it a DIY project at home or contracting work we believe we have shown you some good portable options.

If we haven’t covered an important point in our air compressor reviews please let us know in our comments section and we will get back to you as soon as possible.