When it comes to multi-use tools that we probably couldn’t survive without, air compressors are high up on the list. If you’ve come over here from our best air compressor article or are merely more in-tune to what exactly you’re looking for, grabbing a model that is portable is beneficial for quite a few reasons. You’re most likely aware of them, but to brush up on the subject a bit, air is something that we often need at random moments not only in our workshops but on the road or job sites as well. Especially if you’re using pneumatic tools, you’re going to need an air compressor for many different uses, whether you need to clean up, inflate some tires, or merely add some versatility to your work flow.. Let’s check out the best portable air compressors in the market.
How to choose the best portable air compressor
- Budget-range – Your budget is pretty important when it comes to shopping for tools. As we learned in our best power tool combo kit article, tools in general can be quite expensive when it comes attempting to build the perfect repertoire. Air compressors, particularly the popular portable models, aren’t too big of a hit on your wallet. However, there is a decent range that will depend on how much money you have at hand to spend. We choose a few models from each price point to give you options.
- Compressor size – Some models in the market go as low as 2 gallons, while others get up towards the 20 gallon range. The average range for portable air compressors (since they’re a bit smaller to actually be portable) is around 3-8. We recommend staying at 3 or going a bit higher, which will give you quite enough for any typical project you’ll come in contact with.
- Maximum pressure – Also known as PSI (stands for pounds per square inch), we would recommend sticking to the range from 130 to 170 to keep it safe and average. This will basically be the amount of pressure, or power of the air your tool will be compressing. The range we recommend is best for most projects aside from industrial uses.
The best portable air compressors
This is one of the best portable air compressors for the money because it comes with an accessories kit that includes an air hose, a coupler, assembled plug, tire chuck with a plug, blow gun with a plug, a tire gauge, a blow gun (with an OSHA safety nozzle and rubber tip), and three inflator adaptors. The list is quite long in terms of accessories so if that was important to you, this one is a no-brainer. The product has 150 psi for its tank pressure and this means that it stores air for a long time to offer even better run times. Its 6 gallon capacity is well above the mean and the pancake style tank offers stability as well as ease of use if you travel with it (this includes a water drain valve with rubber feet as well). It has a low amp of 120 V motor and it starts easily in cold weather or when it has an extension cord. It has a durable oil-free pump and it offers long life without too much maintenance. The Porter-Cable C2002-WK is one to grab and not look back, especially since it’s pretty budget-friendly when compared to others as well.
This is another one of the best portable air compressors that has been designed to have a high-efficiency motor to offer easy start up for cold weather or extension cord applications. The compressor comes with 2 universal couplers to support 2 users at the same time. It features long oil life with a free pump for maintenance-free operation. The compressor uses a 165 max PSI tank with 22.7L for 2.6 SCFM. It enables long tool run time with a quick recovery. It has a 75 dBA noise level to achieve quiet work settings. It has a high flow regulator with couplers that maximize the air tool performance. It uses a console cover that protects the control and it is removable in order to allow for easy repairs. The DeWalt DWFP55126 provides us 6 gallons in size so if you wanted a larger compressor size for a few more bucks as opposed to the other model listed, take a look at this one.
This portable air compressor is equipped with the Makita Big Bore — it is an engineered pump with a cast iron cylinder that has great stroke to offer increased compression with faster recovery while maintaining low noise. The item is powered with a 2.5 HP motor and the oil lubricated pump is reliable and quiet. The low amp draw can reduce the incidence of tripped breakers during start-up. In terms of reliability when traveling or using the air compressor at a job site, the roll-cage construction is great for tougher environments in case it falls or rolls over. It also has a level-handle ball valve tank drain to help with air release and overall maintenance. The Makita MAC2400 is a bit more expensive than the others but for good reason — it’s built very strong and has a high-quality motor if you have the cash to spend on it. We’re huge fans of Makita tools.
Campbell Hausfeld FP209499
This is a portable three gallon air compressor that should be kept handy in the workshop and in the garage in order to finish the common inflation uses. We would say this is our pick for the best budget-friendly portable air compressor since it’s usually priced below a hundred bucks. It’s very highly rated among the market by those who use it, particularly for the quality to price ratio and stability it provides. It is recommended for topping off bike wheels and car tiles but it also inflates sports balls, air mattresses and installs window and door trim. It has 110 PSI and a 3 gallon volume capacity. In terms of additional features, it comes with a super convenient accessory bundle. To name a few in the kit of the Campbell Hausfeld FP209499, you’ll be getting a 25′ recoil hose, inflation needle and adapter, two nozzles, an air chuck and more. It is also easy to read the gauge that monitors the air pressure. Campbell Hausfeld love their air products.
Here’s another one of the best Porter-Cable pancake portable air compressors. It has a durable oil free pump and offers long life without a ton of maintenance. The compressor has been designed using the low amp 120-Volt motor and it starts easy in cold weather with or without the extension cord. This compressor weighs only 26 lbs and it supports the trim finishing nailers that can be used for small roofing or framing jobs and other general inflation with the smaller SCFM air tool. It has a 3.5 gallon tank, 135 max PSI, and its 2 SCFM can deliver 90 PSI pump. The Porter-Cable PCFP02003 also comes with a factory installed coupler for quick access to the regulated air. It’s a bit cheaper than their previously listed portable air compressor so if you wanted a PC model that was a bit lower in price, here’s your answer.