Air compressors are mechanical devices that convert electrical power into kinetic energy by the use of compressed air.
When the compressor releases this condensed air in quick bursts, it produces a certain amount of kinetic energy. You can use this energy to serve different purposes such as cleaning, transferring air and activating pneumatic devices.
- 1 Air Compressor Types
- 2 Top 7 best Portable Air Compressors
- 2.1 1PORTER-CABLEC2002-WK UMC Oil-FreePortable Air Compressor
- 2.2 2PORTER-CABLEC2002 UMC Oil-FreePancake Air Compressor
- 2.3 3California Air Tools 5510SE 1HP 5.5 gal. Oil-Free Ultra Quiet Air Compressor
- 2.4 4BOSTITCH BTFP02012-WPK 6 gal. 150 PSI Oil-Free Portable Air Compressor
- 2.5 5Senco PC1010 1HP 1 Gal Portable Air Compressor
- 2.6 6DEWALT DWFP55126 6 gal 165 PSI Portable Pancake Compressor
- 2.7 7Makita MAC5200 3HP Portable Air Compressor
- 3 Top 3 best Stationary Air CompressorsC
- 4 Comparison Table of Air compressors
- 5 The Bottom Line
- 6 Best Air Compressor Buying Guide
Air Compressor Types
This diversity in its usage leads to the different kinds of air compressors, which include:
Portable vs stationary:
Portable or mobile compressors are flexible in nature. You can move it to any place you want. Unlike portable compressors, you cannot move a stationary one. They are fixed in a single location.
Oil vs oil-free:
Oil compressors have oil-lumped pumps. Compressors do require oil as a lubricant. Oil-free compressors, on the other hand, means their pump does not require oil. It is as simple as that. Instead, they have a self-lubricating mechanism.
Pancake vs hot dog:
Hot dog air compressors are ideal for hobbyists. The can power tiny air devices like airbrushes or staples. However, they are heavier than pancake air compressors. A pancake compressor is smaller than a hot dog. It is light as well. It has a tank volume of 1-6 gallons.
1 stage vs 2 stage:
The 2-stage compressor is more effective than a 1 stage. Furthermore, single stage compressors weigh less, use little energy and are cheap. A 2-stage compressor needs lots of power. Thus, they are best for large building and construction projects.
After a long search for the best air compressors, we came across 10 portable and stationary ones. Their features and compatibilities did attract our attention.
Top 7 best Portable Air Compressors
1PORTER-CABLEC2002-WK UMC Oil-FreePortable Air Compressor
Additionally, the air compressor has one oil-free pump. Hence you will not do a lot of maintenance to this compressor and you will enjoy an oil spill free working area as well.
Besides the oil-free aspect, PORTER-CABLEC2002-WK has a low AMP of 120V. This feature will allow the unit to start in even the coldest condition.
Its pancake design gives this compressor great stability when running. Better still, the product comes with an accessory kit that contains 13 good pieces.
Above all, the unit is easy to carry to any work area.
One problem with this air compressor arises from the air chuck that is contained in the accessory kit. The chuck is shallow to depress the valve stem to allow air into a tire. Instead, you should depress the chuck enough to let air in.
- The unit makes blowing up your pool toys a breeze
- Great compressor, perfect for small projects
- Takes less time to recharge
- Unit attains a max pressure of 150 psi in few minutes
- The 13 accessories are great to have and functional
- The compressor is well-made for its abilities
- This little air sucker is quite noisy, disturbing to the ears when close to it
- Heavy, around 30 pounds
- The unit makes strong vibrations, though its rubber pads hinder it from causing damage
- A bit pricey
Who is it built for?
This oil-free pancake design compressor packs one punch with an induction motor. Hence, provides extended life and performance in different areas such as firing nailers and filling tires. The unit is ideal for those with the same objectives or otherwise.
If you are searching for an air compressor that can shut itself down once it reaches 150 psi? Well, PORTER-CABLEC2002-WK is the one for you. The unit also has a tank capacity of 6 gallons, which can serve any purpose, thanks to its kit with 13 accessories.
2PORTER-CABLEC2002 UMC Oil-FreePancake Air Compressor
You cannot talk about the best air compressors without mentioning PORTER-CABLE C2002. It is one of the best air compressors in the market today.
One of the profound features of PORTER-CABLEC2002 is its 13-piece accessory kit. These accessories consist of a Teflon tape, tire gauge, quick coupler, configurable attachments, one 25 feet nylon hose, a tire chuck and one blowgun.
The oil-free pump of this compressor is crafted with care to ensure the unit lasts longer. It takes care of your worries about maintenance issues or oil spills.
Also, the pump gives efficient, clean operation, while at the same time prolongs the life of the compressor.
Its major components are made using a modern design, which makes the tool ideal for tough working conditions.
Most essentially, its 6-gallon pancake tank makes the tool highly stable. The compressor features a console cover, handle and one shroud for optimum portability and protection.
More so, its induction motor produces great energy to run any normal household outlet.
The brushes are replaceable, which extends the life of this compressor. This is a feature that most people overlook.
There are a few complaints regarding breakage of the machine prior to its use, because mileage may differ. The lack of actual instructions on the manual has contributed to this report.
- Easy portability (weighs 30 lbs. only)
- 13 pieces accessory kit will help you carry out different cleaning or inflation tasks at home and garage
- Easy to control pressure especially when working on different wood like mahogany and oak
- The pump is durable and needs no maintenance • Exceptionally user-friendly • Provides mess-free use
- Efficient and powerful due to its low-amp 120 V motor
- Comes with replaceable brushes
- Gives optimum productivity due to its 150 PSI maximum pressure
- 12-months warranty
- This lightweight tool is loud
- When the motor is operating, the tool likes to dance a little
- Once the valve is broken, it is hard to get a replacement
Who is it built for?
This air compressor is fantastic and powerful, which makes it suitable for any person in search of a solution that will last long. It will help you to install trim and inflate air mattresses.
For sure PORTER-CABLEC2002 is extremely easy to maneuver and highly portable. It is ideal for anything like firing nailers and filling tires. This air tool features one induction motor for optimum performance and long life.
3California Air Tools 5510SE 1HP 5.5 gal. Oil-Free Ultra Quiet Air Compressor
An interesting feature about the CAT-5510SE tool is its oil-free two-piston pumps. This ensures that the tool lasts long and performs efficiently. Hence, the air compressor provides “clean” air for great operation, less cost, and maintenance.
Another attractive feature for this tool is its ultra-quiet operation (60 decibels of sound only).
Its motors are made to ensure the tool runs for long with a long duty cycle. Compared to other compressors in the market with life cycles of 500 hours, the CAT-5510A has over 3000 hours.
The air compressor comes with a thermal overload cover to ensure that the aluminum tank does not rust.
To spice things up, the wheel-kit for this compressor is easy to move from one place to the other.
- Seems properly made
- The runtime 90psi-120psi goes for 35 seconds
- Great for Milwaukee framing gun without issues
- The finish and fit is top-notch
- Great quality for air compressor of its price
- Easy to move and transport due to its wheel feature (weighs only 37.5 lbs.)
- Long life due to its rust free tank
- Oil-free for cleaner tools and easy maintenance
- Ultra-quiet produces only 60 decibels of sound, you can make a call with it running
- Comes with a dual piston for delivering air quickly
- Empty the air tank regularly to avoid the warranty, some people find this challenging
- Might not be suitable for prolonged work because the motor overheats; else wait for 20-minitues to let it cool
- The switch that connects the pressure gauge to the tank strips off – at times
Who is it built for?
This CAT-5510A is perfect for those operating in noise prohibited areas. The compressor works great for any air need and general nailguns. Highly recommended to power computerized mat cutter in any small rooms.
The truth is that CAT-5510A is built for durability and high performance. Plus its motors are engineered to help the machine run continuously with increased duty cycle. Perhaps this is a quiet air compressor of your dream.
4BOSTITCH BTFP02012-WPK 6 gal. 150 PSI Oil-Free Portable Air Compressor
The best thing with oil-free air compressors such as Bostitch BTFP02012-WPK is the fact that they require zero maintenance.
Your surface or area you will be working on will be clean and out of oil spills.
BTF02012-WPK has a low noise level with an operational noise level of 80 dBA. This feature will ensure you work in a quiet environment.
The tool comes with air accessories such as rubber tip, a quarter inch NPT male plugs, safety nozzle, several inflation attachments, tire gauge& chuck and a blow gun.
The hybrid polymer style is light, abrasion resistant and flexible in cold climates. The compressor also has a high proficiency motor for easy to start it up during cold seasons. The cord can extend up to 50 ft. or 15.2 m.
The tool performs to the maximum thanks to its couplers and air flow regulator. It comes with dual universal couplers to support more than one user.
The max air tank capacity of 150 psi ensures the tool runs for long with quick picks.
The knob regulating output pressure cannot be switched CCW by hand to control pressure. Instead, you should use a reasonable force.
Who is it built for?
BTF02012-WPK is built for professionals. The air machine is ideal for those tired of plugging quarters into their air stations at convenient stores. You can use the tool to blow out grates and filters.
BTF02012-WPK features low noise level, high flow controller, and yes, it is oil-free. Therefore, you can use the unit without causing disturbance to your neighbors. Also, needs no maintenance after use because of its oil-free feature.
5Senco PC1010 1HP 1 Gal Portable Air Compressor
The Senco PC1010 features one drive pump/motor to ensure the machine operates efficiently when used in different jobs. Notably, the pump is oil-free, so you have no worries of disposal or mess issues involved when operating an oil compressor.
The tool has one aluminum cylinder to provide reliable durability. The cylinder has a capacity of one gallon, which makes the machine easy to transport from one location to another.
Above all, the tool takes a recovery period of 35 seconds and just 128 seconds to pump. This gives ample power to handle your operations without wasting your valuable time.
Compared to pancake air compressors, the PC1010 is much quiet when running. Hence, your worry of operating with an excessively noisy machine is taken care of.
Essentially, its feet are covered by rubber. Therefore, the machine will not scratch your hardwood floors. Hence, feel comfortable, free to use the compressor at home.
The tank for this compressor is tiny, only a gallon. Hence this capacity cannot fill even a normal tire for a passenger vehicle with 20psi to 30 psi.
- Great for trim work, small jobs and perfect for those who hate lugging huge air compressors
- Ideal for casing and baseboard installations
- Easy to transport from one site to the other
- The tool is extremely quiet with any nail gun
- The machine is of super quality compared to its price
- Perfect size for your home garage
- A machine of its size, its pressure can supply CFM (compressed air)
- Keeps up with the rate especially when powering 18-gauige crown stapler when constructing wire fences
- Quality seems great: will prove with time
- The compressor has limited power
- Takes some time for the tank to fill and attains only 75 psi even at maximum
- The on/off lever for this machine is located against its handle, which makes it challenging to move.
- The drain valve on the bottom is not at the center. So you must tilt the machine to drain it
Who is it for?
The PC1010 is versatile for DIYers and professionals alike. The tool is perfect for different renovation jobs and home improvements. You can also use the air compressor for crafts and hobbies. Handy for pumping up tires for golf carts, bikes, and wagon.
If you are searching for a lightweight air compressor that you can carry from one site to the other then consider PC1010. The unit is perfect for small home projects.
6DEWALT DWFP55126 6 gal 165 PSI Portable Pancake Compressor
The unit is able to use one extension cord and starts up quite well in cold conditions.
And more importantly, it has a dBA of 75.5, which makes the unit extremely quiet when running.
The compressor is easy to maintain and provides twice as much power as other units of similar size.
With the incorporation of 2 universal couplers, the unit can be used by multiple users simultaneously.
In case you need to repair the air compressor, you can easily remove its console cover. In addition, the unit fills up really quick.
Unlike other compressors, draining this unit is not hard, which makes it one of its most attractive features.
The unit might be slightly bulkier than other portable compressors. Also, hose fittings might leak air when you fix to the hose pipe and pressurize it.
- The legs are protected using rubber to avoid marring
- Easy to transport • Appears properly built compared to its competitors
- The essential accessories are properly made
- Powerful small air compressor, you can use it frequently
- The regulator can hold pressure for a long period • You can run your brad, 15-gauge nailer at once hence saves you time
- The drain port is placed strategically to avoid it being knocked
- The unit has ample power to run framing nailers for small projects
- Ideal for those who do not like pulling huge air compressors
- When you bled its tank, the noise might scare you to death
- The regulator leaks and is inconsistent, though you can get a replacement
- The unit does not have plastic wrapping
Who is it built for?
This unit is ideal for those searching for a nail gun solution, a machine for blowing dust and inflating tire solution. The machine runs nail guns fine without a problem.
DWFP55126 is a powerful yet small tool that you can use daily. Also, holds pressure for a long duration to ensure you get the job done.
7Makita MAC5200 3HP Portable Air Compressor
Unlike oil-free compressors, Makita MAC5200 is oil lubricated, which ensures the unit operates smoothly.
Makita MAC5200 has 3.0 horsepower, 115 voltage and free airflow of 6.5 at 90 psi. Also, the unit has 13.8 full-load amps, just as you would expect from a high-powered functionality.
The unit is equipped with a big automotive filter for great efficiency and improved air intake.
The tank has a capacity of 5.2 gallon, which can serve a max pressure of 140 psi. The pressure is ample for 2 nailers because it delivers 90 psi (6.5 CFM) and 40 psi (6.9 CFM).
The plastic panel holding the display dials might rattle, but you can find solid ones welded with metal.
- MAC5200 delivers less noise and high output for enhanced site performances
- The entire unit is quiet and solid, which includes the axle and wheels
- Ease of portability
- Excellent access to different controls such as the drain valve
- Has enough psi to handle muscle jobs
- The unit refills quickly and its motor is strong
- The overall build quality is really sound
- Sturdy grips and large tubing on the frame
- Precise paint finish and welding quality
- Strong feet and looks like they can last long
- You might find the unit a bit heavy, but a friend can help you carry it
- Requires draining the tank each time you use it for the machine to last at least 10 years
- The wheels are as heavy as hell
Who is it for?
So pretty ideal for those in search of a compact air compressor, this one will get the job done perfectly. The Makita 5200 is one compressor that can comply with any demand.
Makita MAC5200 is a unit with a versatile design for use in different areas. It is built for high output and low noise with less maintenance. Makita is committed to delivering top notch and innovative technology in its products.
Top 3 best Stationary Air CompressorsC
1DeWalt DXCMV5076055 60 gallon 5HP Two Stage Air Compressor
In addition, the unit is ideal for industrial performances because it delivers max CFM 175 psi. This power is enough to serve over one device or air unit at once.
The electric motor is protected using thermal overload. Therefore, the motor is secure from voltage variations. In addition, the unit is equipped with an on/off gauge to control tank pressure.
The belt guard (in form of wire) enhances cooling of this air compressor.
This large stationary compressor is impressive but does not come with a class-B motor.
- The unit performs like a beast and has zero trouble with its operations
- The unit works just fine with heavy duty devices such as cutting tools, plasma cutter and impact drivers
- Overall, the electrical hookup is up to the standards
- The pressure switch eradicates the aspect of power disconnect
- Also, the TOPS motor eradicates the need to install a magnetic motor regulator
- The unit’s auto drain is another attractive thing about it
- High tank capacity and volume to accommodate even the most demanding tasks
- DeWalt might drive you crazy with their contradictions overpower disconnects, warranties, and oil
- Quite heavy but you can use a pallet jack to transport the unit
- The manual does not come with wiring instructions
Who is it built for?
DXCMV5076055 is ideal for heavy-duty professional uses.
In a nutshell
With 175 psi max pressure, DXCMV5076055 offers reliable and efficient performance. The unit can handle several tools and large loads.
2Ingersoll Rand 2340L5 5HP 60 gal Two Stage Air Compressor
One attractive feature about Ingersoll Rand 2340L5 is its 175psi max pressure. Such pressure from a five-horsepower unit can meet any demand for body shops and automotive service.
This synthetic lubricant ensures the tool’s performance is not only reliable but steady as well. In addition, you can carry out extensive jobs comfortably because of the 60-gallon tank capacity.
This stage two air compressor has radial fins that provide 360 degrees cooling of its cylinders. This cooling is ideal for eradicating any overheating and the compressor will always run cool. Hence you can use the unit even in the highest temperature conditions.
The overhung crankshaft for this unit is balanced in such a manner that it aids in quiet and smooth operation. Most essentially, the components are engineered precisely for easy replacement and maintenance.
What else would you be searching for in a stationary compressor?
The unit does not come with anti-vibration pads. Instead, you should buy three pads alongside several washers.
- Works pretty well when you put some anti-vibration pads on the three feet
- Air tank fills up instantly to its max psi of 150
- Great for sandblasting parts in low noise levels
- The finish and fit are very impressive
- When you follow instructions from the manufacturer, the unit can also years
- The unit comes ready to operate, just buy oil
- The shade of beige is lovely with its black-accent components
- Easy to transport with a forklift/loader
- Motor comes rated for prolonged duty
- Excellent SCFM
- Since the oil-filler hole serves as the check hole for oil level, it is challenging to view it
- The fitting on the unit’s drain valve might leak, therefore ensure you tighten it as much as possible
- Also, the unit does not come with oil lubricant. Instead, you should buy synthetic oil separately, for lubrication
Who is it built for?
This unit is ideal for rigorous purposes in the garage or shop. Specifically, the unit is designed for industrial or heavy use.
In a nutshell
The best thing about using an oil-lubricated unit is that it is easy to service and operates efficiently. You can enjoy this feature and a lot as aforementioned.
3Powermate VX PLA4708065 80 gal Stationary Air Compressor
The 3-cylinder pump with a valve plate and aluminum head enhance the cooling surface for the unit. Hence, the heat will be dissipated quickly for better performance.
Also, the max psi pressure of 155 will enable the air compressor to operate to its limits.
Besides pressure, the two voltage induction motors are designed for heavy duty. Therefore, the machine can drive high pump operation for stress-free performance.
Most importantly, the unit is easy to operate. It offers convenience and control, thanks to its on/off switch and tank pressure gauge.
Unlike the previous unit, Powermate VX PLA4708065 comes with synthetic oil. Hence, the unit will give you service for a long time.
Perhaps a point of caution about this single stage air compressor is that most of its weight is concentrated on its top part. Therefore, the machine could fall easily. Probably you can have three people assist to remove it from the pallet.
- Not too loud compressor; keeps up with demanding tools
- The unit is really powerful, with 90 psi constant power flow
- The noise level is reasonable from a machine of its size
- The air compressor is durable because it’s built from cast iron and steel
- Ships with synthetic oil
- Comes with a huge tank with air capacity of 80 gallon
- You might require an expert for the sake of warranty, though its operation is straightforward
- The unit does not come with a cord
- The single stage unit requires to be fixed on the ground; else it will travel by its own
The bottom line
Powermate VX PLA4708065 comes with an enclosed metal belt guard to protect and cover moving components. Thus, the machine will last longer and give value to your money. The machine is easy to operate, gives reliable performance and power.
Comparison Table of Air compressors
|Best Portable||Also Great Portable||Best Stationary|
The Bottom Line
Every potential buyer has different purposes for having an air compressor. Therefore, you should list down key features that you would be looking for in one. Doing so will secure you from spending money on an air tool that might not serve your purpose.
Finally, you should go through several customer reviews. You will learn about customer experiences with different air compressors.
Best Air Compressor Buying Guide
So, what are the key things to consider when buying an air compressor?
There are key things you should not overlook before buying an air tool. For instance, you should consider its specifications, your need, how it functions as well as its features. When you follow these guidelines, for sure, you will land on the best air compressor.
A specification of an air compressor is an essential factor to consider. If the tool has a horsepower with a high rating, then it will create strong air pressure. It means your compressor will keep large air capacity in its reservoir.
Therefore, you will be able to work on air devices for a long duration. If you get a compressor whose CFM is high, it will give more air. Such a compressor is perfect for nail guns framing or heavy projects.
Air compressors might have many features. But, the important ones are portability, size, power and CFM (Cubic Feet/Minute).
The amount of power a compressor needs will depend on what you want to do with it. For instance, if you want it to power light machinery, then get a small compressor. A portable compressor would be ideal for non-heavy machinery.
On the other hand, a High horsepower would be perfect for commercial purposes. A small-scale compressor will need about 1.5 to 6.5 HP.
Size of air tool goes hand-in-hand with its power. Light applications will require a compressor with a small tank. Heavy workloads, on the other hand, will need an air tool with a big tank. Nonetheless, the size of the air tool you select will depend on what you want to do with it.
Another feature that you should consider is the portability of an air compressor. A portable air tool is best for maximum efficiency. Most movable compressors have long horses and wheels.
CFM is another feature that you should take into account. It indicates the power of air compressors. Simply, CFM shows the air volume that the air tool will hold. The higher the CFM the more powerful it will be.
Air compressors are built for different functions. Some compressors are meant to handle heavy duty tasks while others are meant for light tasks. When buying a compressor, it is important to know the tasks it can handle.
4. Your need
You will land on the best air compressor only when you know how you will use it. Do you want to use at home? If so, then a compressor with moveable, small units is a perfect match.
Alternatively, if you want it for industrial use, then you need an air tool with many features. These aspects will ensure the tool tackles even the most challenging projects. Nonetheless, you should buy a compressor capable of driving your air device.