Best Air Compressors 2021

This review is aimed at showing the best air compressors. If you are searching for the best air compressors, you are at the right place. Read through this review, so you have a grasp of the best air compressors out there.

BUYER’S GUIDE

In this buyer’s guide section, we’ll look at everything you need to know regarding air compressors and which model is right for you.

Electric Vs. Gas Air Compressors

Air compressors are either electric or gas-powered, and the type of power plant in the machine determines the power and psi on offer. Electric air compressors are the most common type, but they have limitations on the range.

You have to use an electric model with an extension cord, and if there’s no power outlet anywhere nearby, your air compressor will be useless.

Gas-powered models don’t have the same issues with the range as electric models. Gas-powered air compressors allow you to wheel then around anywhere you go. Take them on job sites, or wheel them around the factory.

Typically, gas-powered models are the top choice for contractors, but many businesses use electric models as well. With a gas-powered model, the tank capacity limits the run time of the machine. However, this shouldn’t be a concern, as all you need to do is fill the tank and continue with your work.

Gas-powered models are also more expensive, and you can expect to pay a premium for having all that pressure available.

SCFM Vs. CFM – What’s the Difference?

When evaluating the candidates for your air compressor, you’ll need to pay attention to the two most important specifications on these machines. The CFM and SCFM are the factors that determine the volume of air the compressor moves during operation.

Cubic Feet per Minute or “CFM” specifies the filling rate of the compressor. Gases like air change weight and density at different temperatures and humidity levels.

Therefore, you’ll need to ensure your model can work in cold weather conditions if you live in the northern parts of the United States.

SCFM is a more comprehensive metric that stands for “Standard Cubic Feet per Minute.” SCFM measures the machine’s performance at a specific pressure and temperature, allowing you to compare the performance between models.

If you want the compressor to power pneumatic tools, then go for the highest number possible when selecting your machine.

Many homeowners and contractors make the mistake of thinking that larger tank size is the way to go. However, a large tank doesn’t mean much if the refill rate is higher than the maximum air draw of the compressor.

If the tank size is close to the SCFM or CFM rating, then go for the larger size tank. Larger tanks let you operate the compressor for extended periods when using pneumatic tools. You won’t have to wait for the tank to fill while using your air-wrench.

The compressors filling rate drops as the pressure inside the tank increases. This operation would make sense, since its more challenging to compress 150-psi than it is to compress the air to 50-psi, and the motor powering the pump requires a constant electricity source.

It’s critical to check the pressure measurement for evaluating the SCFM and CFM. Using this strategy gives you the best method for comparing the performance of air compressors.

Size of the tank

If we are using a piston-type compressor we should determine how large our tank should be. If we are operating it for low duty applications, i.e. when using a nail gun we can use one with a small tank.

But in case we want to work for extended periods of time a compressor with a large tank would be preferred.

Oil-Free Operation

When reviewing the air compressors, you’ll notice that some offer an “oil-free” operation. Oil-free compressors are the preferred choice, as they require less maintenance.

Oil-free models mean you don’t have to worry about oil leaks, keeping your home and workshop clean. There’s no disposing of old oil, and you don’t need to check the oil levels in the machine before operation. Let’s not forget about the environmental impact caused by dumping used oil.

Oil-based compressors also require you to replace the air dryers from time to time, increasing the maintenance costs associated with owning the machine.

However, oil-free compressors aren’t as durable as oil models, and they don’t offer you the same long service life you get from oil-based machines. Oil-free air compressors also tend to run louder than oil-free models.

Motor Power

When selecting your air compressor, make sure you also pay attention to the power output of the machine. The horsepower of the motor determines the power of the refill action of the machine. Look for machines with high horsepower if you’re a contractor.

Max PSI Air-Pressure

Another critical consideration for choosing your ideal air compressor is the psi the machine produces during operation. PSI, or Pounds per Square Inch, refers to pressure the compressor operates in a normal environment.

Air compressors require at least 90-psi to be effective. You should avoid compressors offering less than 100-psi. Contractors using pneumatic tools with the machine will require a minimum operating pressure of 125-psi to be effective.

Most air compressors operate in two stages. In the first stage, the machine builds the pressure in the air tank to around 90-psi. In the second stage, the machine boosts the pressure up to operating levels of between 125 to 200-psi, depending on the model.

Tank Capacity

The tank capacity refers to the volume of air stored inside the machine at full capacity. Tank capacity is only useful for contractors or workshops that have plenty of tools working at the same time through split lines.

If you buy a powerful machine with a high SCFM, then you don’t have to worry about the tank capacity, especially if you’re using the compressor for DIY projects.

In most cases, the compressor will be strong enough to replace the air as so as you finish using your tools.

However, you need to note that air compressors with larger tanks typically cost more. Therefore, if you’re a homeowner looking for the best machine to use around the house, don’t focus on tank size as a significant qualifying component of your air compressor.

Try to analyze the requirements of the air tools that will be used.

Consider the pressure and volume requirements of any tool. For e.g, Heavy-duty tools will require more pressure and thus more volume. If one fails to choose a compressor that is large enough for the intended use, the work efficiency will decrease to a considerable extent.

Choose between piston-type and portable compressors:

Piston-type compressors rely on a motor which builds up air pressure when it gets depleted. They store compressed air in tanks.

Portable compressors do not offer tanks and thus run continuously in order to deliver air.

Look at the horsepower (HP) of the air compressor.

Range for horsepower on an air compressor is between 1.5 and 6.5 HP which can be used for small and medium-sized applications. Air compressors with larger HP are usually reserved for industrial uses.

BEST AIR COMPRESSORS

  1. Hitachi KNT50AB Air Compressor Kit
  2. PORTER-CABLE CMB15 Air Compressor
  3. VIAIR 0073 70P Air Compressor
  4. Bostitch BTFP02012 Air Compressor
  5. California Air Tools 5510SE Air Compressor
  6. Senco PC1010 Air Compressor
  7. PORTER-CABLE C2002 Air Compressor
  8. VIAIR 85P Air Compressor Kit
  9. Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor
  10. Industrial Air ILA3606056 Air Compressor
NAMES FEATURES WHERE TO BUY
Hitachi KNT50AB Air Compressor Kit

B01HU9A3UU

Tank Type – Pancake

Tank Capacity – 6-Gallon

Pump Type – Oil-Free

Horsepower – 1 Hp

Max Pressure – 150 PSI

CFM @ 40 PSI 3.7

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PORTER-CABLE CMB15 Air Compressor

B006CVXGR0

150 psi max tank pressure stores more air in the tank for longer tool runtimes

Durable oil-free pump for long life and no maintenance

Low Amp 120V motor starts easily in cold weather or with extension cord

Only 20 lbs for easy portability

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VIAIR 0073 70P Air Compressor

B0012WHBSO

Thermal Overload Protector

Vibration Isolators

3 pc. Inflation Tips Kit

150 PSI Gauge

Accessory Power Plug

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Bostitch BTFP02012 Air Compressor

B00UHNM1R0

5 dBA** operational noise level for a quiet work environment

29 lb weight makes unit easy to carry and store

BOSTITCH® high flow regulator and couplers to maximize air tool performance

Two universal couplers to easily support two users

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California Air Tools 5510SE Air Compressor

B00WM1VPKE

Dimensions of air compressor: 25.5 x 11.5 x 21 inches

Weight of compressor: 46 pounds

Number of horsepowers: 1

Maximum capacity voltage: 110 v

Maximum PSI: 120

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Senco PC1010 Air Compressor

B0000AQK78

Ultra Quiet 68 dBA

Ultra Light 20 lbs

Heavy Duty Induction Motor

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PORTER-CABLE C2002 Air Compressor

B000O5RO1Y

150 psi max tank pressure stores more air in the tank for longer tool runtimes

6 SCFM @ 90 psi allows for quick compressor recovery time, per ISO1217

6 gal Pancake style tank for stability, includes water drain valve and rubber feet

Low Amp 120V motor starts easily in cold weather or with extension cord

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VIAIR 85P Air Compressor Kit

B0036E9VB6

100 PSI Pressure Gauge

LED Work Light / Power Indicator

Solid Brass Twist-on Tire Chuck

Accessory Power Plug

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Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor

B01IE0UT9Y

Campbell Hausfeld 2 Gallon Air Compressor and Inflator is great for inflation, brad nailing, stapling, and air brushing

Conveniently placed gauges allow for easy monitoring of air pressure

Sturdy handle allows for easy portability and easy storage

High quality one piece manifold to protect user from hot and moving parts

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Industrial Air ILA3606056 Air Compressor

B002MKP5K6

cast iron, twin cyclinder, oil lubricated pump

one-piece cast iron crankcase and 12 inch caast

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Hitachi KNT50AB Air Compressor Kit

B01HU9A3UU

The first item in the Hitachi KNT50AB is a 6 gallon pancake compressor and I have some bad news, good new.  The bad news is if you want just this compressor, you are out of luck.  This compressor is only sold in the Hitachi KNT50AB.  The good news is that the whole kit is affordable.  It’s a great deal for a 6 gallon compressor, air hose and 18 gauge brad nailer, that is from a company who makes quality tools.

PROS CONS
An excellent kit where each component performs effectively Thinking about the cost, the standard of nail-gun isn’t up to the expectation
Kit includes pneumatic tool lube and safety glasses A few of buyers have experienced too much jamming while using this tool
8 CFM provided at just 90 PSI for operating multiple nailers simultaneously
Max 150 PSI working pressure meant for extended run-times

 

PORTER-CABLE CMB15 Air Compressor

B006CVXGR0

This 150 psi, 1.5 gal Oil-Free Fully Shrouded Compressor allows for quick compressor recovery time. The fully enclosed design provides protection from hot or moving parts. The 150 psi max tank pressure stores more air in the tank for longer runtime and the durable oil-free pump allows for long life and no maintenance.

The motor starts easily in cold weather or with an extension cord and runs quieter for a more acceptable work environment.

PROS CONS
Highly durable and portable at 20 pounds Not suitable for heavy air tools and heavy duty tasks
The noise levels of this unit are reduced coming in at 79 decibels Improper setting up of the unit may lead to leakage
The air compressor starts perfectly and with great ease in booth hot and cold weather
With the oil-free pump, the unit needs little to no maintenance
Huge controls and gauges that are easily accessible and visible
Quick recovery time for continuous tasks

 

VIAIR 0073 70P Air Compressor

B0012WHBSO

70P is a smaller powerful portable tire inflator capable of inflating up to 225/60/R18 tires by simply plugging into your cigarette lighter power port (Max: 15A/180W), connecting to a valve stem and turning the unit on. Tire pressure can be monitored using the gauge mounted on top of the unit, by temporarily switching the unit off.

PROS CONS
Includes a handy carrying accessory Not equipped with different nozzles
Requires minimal maintenance Ideal for simple tasks like inflating tires, and not for high load projects
Suitable for emergency use
Lightweight and affordable product

 

Bostitch BTFP02012 Air Compressor

B00UHNM1R0

This portable, lightweight pancake compressor has a an oil-free, maintenance-free pump that delivers 2.6 SCFM* @ 90PSI and a maxiumum tank storage pressure of 150 PSI. The 78.5 dBA** rating is ideal for a quiet work environment.

PROS CONS
150 PSI max tank pressure The pressure regulator knob is prone to damage
Durability and premium performance
6.0 gallon tank
31.5 pounds weight make unit easy to carry

California Air Tools 5510SE Air Compressor

B00WM1VPKE

If you are on the hunt for a really quiet compressor, then the California Air Tools CAT-5510SE is the gadget for you. At just 60 decibels, this air compressor isn’t only impressively quiet, but it is also powerful at the same time. It has a 1 horsepower motor which enables it to perform at 1680 RPM.

This is why its quietness is even more impressive because it is also one of the most powerful machines on the market, too.

Thanks to the high power behind this compressor, less wear and tear occurs through use so the maintenance required is significantly reduced in comparison to the average air compressor of this nature.

PROS CONS
For transportation purposes, this air compressor is very light when compared to its fellow competitors. It weighs just 46 pounds so it can be taken from work site to depot, for instance, with very little effort or strain and does not require multiple people to lift it. There are multiple other air compressors that have bigger tank capacities on the market currently that work just as effectively for a significantly reduced price.
The California Air Tools 5510SE is very quiet even when working at full capacity. It never goes over 60 decibels so it is great for working in small, confined spaces.
It has very able wheels so can be maneuvered easily around any working area without having to strain to lift the compressor as frequently as many others on the market.

Senco PC1010 Air Compressor

B0000AQK78

The Senco PC1010 is a 1/2 HP 1 Gallon ultra lightweight air compressor, it’s applications include finishing, trimming, hobbies and crafts. The lightweight and compact design ensure easy portability combined with the ultra-quiet operation, designed with the professional contractor in mind.

The long life induction motor and oil free pump design eliminate the need for oil or regular maintenance. Standard equipment includes regulator, pressure gauges, 1/4” universal coupler and air filter.

PROS CONS
Hand carry-ultra quiet and lightweight, only 9.1kgs. Cannot be used for complex tasks
Direct drive motor/pump for efficient operation It gets exhausted fast as it comes with a small tank
8 Litre of air capacity
Aluminium cylinder
Lubeless pump
Comfortable cushioned grip

PORTER-CABLE C2002 Air Compressor

B000O5RO1Y

150 psi 6-Gallon Oil-Free Pancake Compressor is constructed with a pancake style tank for stability, with a water drain valve and tough rubber feet. The high-pressure design optimizes air tool performance, delivering 2.6 SCFM at 90 psi for quick recovery time. The oil-free pump provides maintenance-free performance. Transporting is easy with the integrated cord wrap.

PROS CONS
Powerful motor Some users have reported units with poor construction
Compact Limited time warranty (one year only)
Quick refill and recovery time Limited warranty on parts
Affordable
Light weight
Reasonably quiet
Quick-start motor
Durable

 

VIAIR 85P Air Compressor Kit

B0036E9VB6

85P is a small powerful portable tire inflator with a built-in LED work light, capable of inflating up to 31-inch tires by simply plugging into your cigarette lighter power port (Max: 15A/180W). Connect the screw-on tire chuck to a tire valve stem before turning the unit on. Tire pressure can be monitored using the gauge incorporated into the top of the unit.

PROS CONS
Durability Necessary rest time after usage
Safety feature
Size
Price

Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor

B01IE0UT9Y

This 3-gallon air compressor is ideal for handling multiple projects. It has a compact design weighing just 20 lbs, which makes it very portable. And it comes with a kit that includes around ten different accessories like blower tools and hoses. Moreover, this oil-less pump is easy to maintain, and it operates on 120-volt household current.

PROS CONS
Can handle multiple projects It takes longer to fill the tank to its maximum capacity
Includes a set of 10 accessories that is suitable for carrying out different projects
Comes with an oil-less pump and has less maintenance

 

Industrial Air ILA3606056 Air Compressor

B002MKP5K6

The usual number of products we mention on our list is five, but we could not but include this air compressor model as well. It deserves its place on this list as it is an industrial-grade air compressor. We are speaking about the Industrial Air ILA3606056 model which is a 60-gallon unit.

It is durable due to the fact that it is made of cast iron and this compressor is designed hard so as to be able to handle the most complex jobs.

PROS CONS
Great tank Oil is necessary
Designed for heavy-duty work and large projects On/Off switch does not work well
Power Size
Durability
Quiet

Conclusion

When you’ve got the option of selecting from the best air compressors then why look around? These compressors reviewed above have been researched on, and the are reliable and durable. These compressors are all set to make your life easier by letting you complete your chores more quickly and efficiently.