For those of us who are addicted to working in the shop, having an air compressor at hand is at times considered a must. Even for those who need to stock up on a solid compressor for their garage or homes for multi-purpose use can list the numerous reasons they would need one. Nowadays, there are some very advanced models worth taking a look at. So we did the research and sifted through the rubble to find the top 10 best air compressors for the money.
What is an air compressor?
An air compressor, or a pancake compressor as it is also known, is used at the places where a smaller amount of air is needed. A pancake air compressor resembles the favorite breakfast food; this name refers to a flat and oval-shaped tank which is generally used for storing the compressed air (they’re pretty popular). These air compressors are very versatile and can easily run on the normal household electrical circuits as well as on smaller commercial jobs as these are smaller in size and thus easily portable. It is regarded as a very useful piece of equipment for homeowners and the limited businesses that require occasional compressed air.
Portability and small size are regarded as the key attributes of an air compressor. In most of the popular designs, the tank is fitted at the bottom and the compressor is on the top and this style requires even less space on the floor. Most of the best air compressors are oil free as well — compressor oil is sealed inside the compressor and no deep maintenance is required on the unit except some occasional cleaning. The user only has to plug the equipment into the electrical outlet, hook up the compressed air hose, and then connect to different small compressed air tools.
How to choose your air compressor
- Price point? As compared to some other popular, larger-based tools in the market, air compressors come at a relatively affordable price. There is definitely a range, however — as high as you go will determine most likely the PSI count, capacity and quality of the overall construction.
- Compressor power – You’ll see us give the specs of these compressors with SCFM (standard cubic feet per minute). The average is around 3-5. Some other sites measure the power of an air compressor in horsepower, which average goes around 2 to 6 HP.
- Accessories needed? Some come with kits that give multiple accessories out of the box (special nozzles, plugs, tape, blow guns and more). Which additional pieces are you looking for? Perhaps none at all?
- Capacity – Some come in under 2 gallons (great for travel) while we’ve seen other hefty models go near 20 gallons (but that’s when we get into the thousand dollar industrial compressors). The average when it comes to the popular models in the market hovers is around 6. We tried to cover most bases.
- Portability? We love air compressors that can provide at least a little portability. Not only if you have to travel with it, but merely moving it around the shop, garage or home. A lot in here are portable but even if you don’t plan on traveling as of now, even the most solid air compressors out there can be carried at least a little bit.
The top 10 best air compressors on earth
This is one of the best air compressors out there, especially because it offers a 13 piece accessory kit and you’re in need of some additional pieces. Its 2.6 SCFM @ 90 psi makes for a quick compressor recovery time. This 6 gallon pancake style compressor has a water drain valve as well as rubber feet for stability. The user can start it easily even in cold weather as it has a low Amp 120V motor. It is an excellent durable air compressor that is oil free and requires no special maintenance and allows for longer run time. It comes with a shroud, handle and console covers that protect its vital components and make the unit easy to carry. The most interesting part of this product is that it can be used by two users because of its two regulated factory installed air couplers. The Porter-Cable C2002-WK is also only 30 lbs in weight and therefore easily portable as well. The question is more of what doesn’t it have?
This air compressor is equipped with a big bore engineered pump cylinder. It also involves a piston for a much higher output than a lot of others out there. It produces less noise as well and is ideal for job site performance. It is often considered the best air compressor out there because it delivers industrial power and construction at a pretty affordable cost. The Mac700 air pressure is powered by a 2.0 HP motor and is engineered with a cast iron pump. The powerful motor produces 3.3 CFM at 90 psi in order to enhance the productivity. It makes a lower amount of noise, i.e., 80 dB, as the pump runs at a lower RPM; it also helps in the pump’s improved durability. In order to reduce the wear and to provide a cooler running temperature, the pump is oil lubricated. The Makita MAC700 is an extremely solid air compressor and has a roll-bar handle that makes the portability much easier and adds protection as well.
This is a 1 gallon air compressor so if you were looking for a big tank it isn’t necessarily what you want. However, this thing is extremely solid if you’re willing to sacrifice the low capacity for easy traveling. It is a very lightweight (20 lbs) and has a convenient handle that makes it easy to carry. This is one of the best air compressors for tires as well as other inflatables with air in order to keep them functioning smoothly while using its powerful ½ HP motor that is a lube-less direct drive. The product is featured with an aluminum cylinder that provides durability for a long-lasting functioning. On the other hand, the pressure gauge allows you to keep an eye on the level of pressure. It is an ultra quiet air compressor that has an oil-less design providing the user with ample air pumping power. If you were looking for portability, you can easily take the Senco PC1010 with you to any venue as it is a lightweight product with a convenient handle.
Campbell Hausfeld FP209499
This too is a compact and easily portable air compressor. It is a 3 gallon compressor that produces the air pressure you require for most projects, for example, inflating car tires, installing trim, air brushing, cleaning the workbench area, inflating bike tires and sports balls and completing furniture upholstery. It is easy to read the conveniently placed gauges. It is furnished with an excellent accessory kit as well, which includes: 25 ft. recoil hose, female coupler, blow gun, 2 inflation needles, inflation adapter, air chuck, 2 male plugs, thread sealant tape, and tapered inflation nozzle. The Campbell Hausfeld FP209499 is one of our picks for the best budget-friendly air compressors in the market.
The DeWalt DWFP55126 is a 6 gallon air compressor that is specifically designed for easy start-up, particularly in cold weather. It also has extension cord applications as it has a high-efficiency motor. The most useful feature of this product is its two universal couplers that make it easy for the equipment to be used by two users. The 55126 also has a long pump life and is also oil free. It is one of the best air compressors that provides user maintenance free operation. It is a low noise equipment as it produces a 75 dB noise level that is good to be installed in quiet work settings. It comes with a console cover that protects the control which may be removed in order to allow for easy repair and has a ball drain valve for a through and quick tank draining. For easy storage it provides a convenient cord wrap as well. Finally, a signature DeWalt appearance in here.
Porter Cable PCFP02003
The PCFP02003 is a durable and oil free pump which is featured with the attractive characteristics of a long life and mostly maintenance-free. Porter-Cable makes two appearances in this article for a reason — they’re not only rated positively by current users but their overall reputation is great. It is a 3.5 gallon and 135 PSI pancake air compressor designed to start easily even in the cold weather with the help of its low Amp 120- volt motor. It is regarded as the best air compressor due to its light weight at 26 lbs and is very useful in certain tasks, such as trim finishing nailers, blowing and smaller SCFM air tools, small framing or roofing jobs and all the general inflation projects. The Porter-Cable PCFP02003 also has 2 SCFM that delivers a 90 PSI pump and over all is considered a very lightweight compressor. It won’t break your wallet, either.
This is regarded as a model worth looking at because it delivers up to 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI. It has a huge 6 gallon capacity and 150 PSI that is completely oil free. It possesses a high-efficiency motor that very easily starts with an extension cord and proves to also be very easy to start in cold weather as well. It is a very lightweight compressor with a compact design. It is regarded as the best compressor as it provides the user with easy start even in the cold or with an extension cord application. For a quiet working environment, an additional feature of an 80 dB noise level will be appreciated by the Bostitch BTFP02012, not to mention the quite large capacity if you were looking for a higher number in that category. Bostitch typically brings power tools and the like with a solid construction and reliable power.
For a fast recovery time in order to improve the performance, the MAC 2400 air compressor by Makita has been made with a cast iron pump with a big bore cylinder and piston. It has a powerful 2.5 HP four-pole motor that is used to produce 4.2 CFM at 90 PSI for enhanced productivity; it also runs the pump at a lower RPM, which automatically results in the least noise, i.e., 79 dB. The user can also prevent sudden incidents of tripped breakers at the start-up. The oil lubrication feature reduces the fear of wear and provides a cool running temperature. Oil sight glass is offered in the system for easy, fast and efficient maintenance. It is one of the best air compressors that has a built in thermal overload for the protection of the motor. It has a durable cast iron cylinder that increases the life of the pump while reducing the wear. If you want a solid air compressor that brings some fancy features as well, take a look at the Makita MAC2400.
The DWFP55130 allows the least noise level with 71.5 dB so the user can enjoy a quiet environment. The product is made with 3.0 SCFM that is delivered with a 90 PSI pump. This DeWalt air compressor offers a 2.5 gallon tank. Its 200 max PSI enables a high amount of nails to be fired and also provides quick recovery. As it is an oil free compressor, it requires the least maintenance like the others. It has easy start-up as well as minimum breaker tripping because of its low 12 Amp draw motor. It is decently weighted at 36 lbs and relatively thin at 12.5 inches — a little bigger than the others but still quite portable. The compact design also helps this air compressor to be stored conveniently. One interesting feature of the product is that it can be stored as well as operated in both horizontal and vertical positions which isn’t necessarily a must but helps with convenience. Another highlight of the DeWalt DWFP55130 is the control panel and roll cage which provide the user with good protection of the compressor and its components.
This is a compact 12 volt portable air compressor ideal for tire inflation that possesses a built- in LED work light. The compressor is designed for inflating up to 31-inch tires by plugging it into the cigarette lighter power port after starting the engine. You will then connect the screw-on tire chuck to the tire valve stem before you turn the unit on. You can monitor the pressure through using the gauge incorporated into the top of the unit. The length of the power cord is 10 feet and the maximum work pressure is 60 PSI. The VIAIR 85P is one of the best air compressor for tires that can be taken anywhere because it is small in size and easy to handle — it had too many reviews not to include in here, albeit last. It’s pretty cheap.