When you buy a product through a link on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn More.
The 5 Best Air Compressors
Every craftsman who owns pneumatic tools or needs to power an HVAC system needs one of the best air compressors. Air compressors have the ability to power tools for construction jobs, including sanders, grinders, jackhammers, and even air brushes. You can even use them for work that’s not construction-related, such as car repairs like filling up tires, plus dusting or quickly filling up objects that require a large amount of air. If you need an air compressor, keep reading for our top air compressor reviews and ratings.
In This Article
Best Choice: Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak, 1/2 hp running 1-Gallon Compressor
This is the best air compressor because it is not only lightweight and portable, but it delivers 20-44 drives per minute, making it ideal for most home-improvement jobs.
The Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak 1-Gallon Compressor is the best air compressor because it has one horsepower peak as well as a half horsepower running. Additionally, this air compressor has an air tank that can hold one gallon of air. Given the large tank as well as its power, this air compressor is ideal for a wide range of home-improvement jobs.
Furthermore, this product is lightweight, making it easily transportable for your convenience. This is beneficial when completing multiple jobs. Finally, this air compressor delivers 20 to 44 drives per minute.
Item Key Features:
- Lightweight and portable
- Contains a one-gallon air tank
- Delivers 20-44 drives per minute
- The compressor takes a while to charge
Premium Pick: Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor
This is the best air compressor because it is durable and long-lasting. It also has a low AMP draw, which reduces the amount of tripped breakers during start-up.
The Makita MAC2400 Big Bore Air Compressor is classified as the best air compressor for those who want additional power and features because its cylinder is produced from a cast-iron material, which is extremely durable and long-lasting. It also has a low AMP draw, which reduces the amount of tripped breakers during start-up. It also comes with a 4.2-gallon air tank that gives an operating pressure of 130 PSI.
Furthermore, this is the best air compressor because it presents a roll-cage construction that provides protection in busy job-site environments. The pump is lubricated with oil for cooler temperatures, and it contains a built-in thermal overload for additional protection.
Item Key Features:
- Oil lubricated
- Large automotive-style industrial air filter
- Cast-iron cylinder
- The compressor’s air time may not last as long as needed
Best Value: Porter-Cable C2002R Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor
This is the best air compressor because of its long-lasting life as well as its performance. The motor operates from normal household circuits, meaning that you do not have to accommodate for any additional power.
The Porter-Cable Oil-free UMC Pancake Compressor is labeled as the best air compressor because it has an induction motor that increases the life and performance of the compressor. The motor operates from normal household circuits, so you don’t have to accommodate for additional electrical power.
Moreover, this product is the best air compressor because it has 2.6 cubic feet per minute with 90 PSI. This product also has a quick recovery time, completing jobs faster than normal. Additionally, the Porter-Cable compressor has 120 PSI cut-in pressure as well as a 30 PSI bonus air flow for your convenience.
- Re-conditioned version of Porter-Cable pancake compressor
- Has a soft-smart motor that has a long life and improved performance
- The compressor may leak small amounts of air periodically
Most Portable: California Air Tools 8010 1.0 hp Steel Tank Air Compressor
This is the best air compressor because it is quiet and can fill its air tank in under 3 minutes. The included wheel kit makes for easy transportation to and from different jobs.
The California Air Tools Ultra Quiet & Oil-free Steel Air Compressor is classified as the best air compressor because it operates quietly at only 60 decibels. It also has a low amp draw with 8.5 amps. Not only that, but this compressor can fill its air tank in only 165 seconds.
Likewise, this product is the best air compressor because it’s oil-free and comes with a complete wheel kit for easy transportation to and from different job sites. More specifically, this compressor has 1 horsepower and measures 3.00 CFM at 40 PSI, with a maximum pressure of 120 PSI.
- Operates at only 60 decibels
- Oil-free pump
- 3.00 CFM at 40 PSI
- The air compressor may have a burning smell during early use
Best Industrial: Industrial Air IV5076055 60 gallon 5 hp Two Stage Air Compressor
This is the best air compressor because the oil level is easily accessible. Additionally, it provides enough power to operate more than one air tool at the same time.
The Industrial Air IV5076055 60 Gallon 5 HP Two-Stage Air Compressor is the best air compressor on the market for industrial use because it provides enough power to operate more than one air tool at the same time. Given that, you can finish a job site two times faster than before. It is equipped with a patented pump design, which includes an industrial-style air intake filter for your convenience.
Likewise, this air compressor is classified as the best air compressor because it has an electric motor with thermal overload protection. It provides a tank pressure gauge, plus an on- and off-switch for proper use. There is also a wire-form belt guard that’s able to improve the compressor’s cooling in order to prevent overheating.
- Has a patented pump design
- Maximum CFM at 175 PSI
- Easily accessible oil level
- On the pricier side due to its industrial quality
Important Air Compressor Features to Consider
There are a number of important features you should take into consideration when buying an air compressor. Depending on the project, what you want to use the air compressor for, and how often you use the air compressor, you may have different needs in terms of features compared to somebody else. Consider these features when deciding the best air compressor for you.
Before you choose one specific air compressor to buy, you should consider how much horsepower it has. This essentially defines the size of the compressor and how much power it has to release air. In addition to looking for the amount of horsepower the compressor has, you should also look at how much power it requires in order to operate it.
For instance, if the air compressor has 5 horsepower, it usually requires 24 amps on a 220-volt power circuit. The standard 110-volt electrical circuit is only compatible with powering up to 2 horsepower.
You should also consider the amount of air pressure in a compressor. The air pressure is rated in PSI, and most tools require 90 PSI. Because of this, you’ll need a compressor that contains a higher shut-off pressure. There are also two stages to build a higher shut-off pressure, with the first stage measuring 90 PSI and the second stage measuring 175 PSI.
Cubic Feet per Minute
Considering how many cubic feet per minute an air compressor has is important because most tools require a certain amount of air in order to function properly. Most compressors should be able to give up at least 3 to 4 cubic feet per minute for every horsepower at 90 PSI.
Considering the tank size doesn’t make too much of a difference, it’s still an important factor to consider because it’s responsible for storing the air that you’ll be using. The bigger the tank you have, the more air will be stored in that tank. And with more stored air, the longer you’ll be able to use the compressor. Therefore, if you have a pump and motor that’s big enough to release a large amount of air, you’ll never run out.
Different Types of Air Compressors
There are a number of different types of air compressors, each of which offers different functionality for different projects. Learn more about the different types of air compressors you may need before buying one.
Reciprocating Air Compressors
These types of air compressors are classified as positive displacement machines, since they operate by increasing their air pressure while decreasing the volume. In other words, these air compressors take in large amounts of air and then convert the air into increased pressure. The compression that takes place in these compressors is caused by the piston in a cylinder.
Rotary-screw compressors are also classified as positive displacement machines, and they’re also sometimes referred to as a single-stage helical. These compressors operate by two rotors that compress the air internally. They contain no valves and are cooled with oil, since the oil is capable of sealing all of the clearances in these types of compressors.
Unlike reciprocating or rotary-screw compressors, centrifugal compressors are labeled as dynamic ones. They rely on energy being transferred from a rotating impeller in order to have compression. They’re able to produce a large amount of pressure discharge by converting angular momentum through using the rotating impeller.
Centrifugal air compressors are responsible for rotating faster than other types of compressors, and they are typically designed to withstand larger amounts of airflow continuously.
Benefits of Air Compressors
It’s possible to make do without a top air compressor for some projects, though with others, it may be impossible. Here are some of the benefits owning an air compressor can bring to your workshop.
Top air compressors are beneficial because they deliver large amounts of air at extremely high speeds, so they get the job done quicker. They speed up the process with multiple different projects, since they operate tools that are designed to work at high speeds.
For example, they allow you to quickly complete jobs around your house, including hanging crown molding, finishing basement walls, and even using staple guns.
Easy to Use
Air compressors are also one of the easiest machines to use. They only require being plugged into the wall and then attached to the air hose of the tool that you’re planning on using. Not only that, but some air compressors don’t even have to be plugged in, since they’re powered by gasoline.
A gas-powered compressor’s only requirement is that its gas tank must be full of gasoline in order to operate properly.
Some Are Portable
You can even purchase portable air compressors for your convenience. The majority of portable air compressors are used for flat tires or for filling up tires that are low in air. But it can be extremely convenient to always have a portable air compressor in the back of your trunk for emergencies.
Little to No Maintenance
Air compressors require almost no maintenance, so they’re easy to keep working over long periods of time. They require few procedures, including draining excess moisture that gets built-up inside the tank and changing the oil and filter. But changing the oil and filter is only required for certain air compressors, so you may not even be required to do so.
For your safety, remember to always wear safety glasses when operating an air compressor in case it malfunctions.
Overall, each product on this list has the ability to offer you a wide range of features that can be beneficial for all kinds of jobs. Each of them have high horsepowers, proper air pressure measurements, and large tank sizes. Given the benefits of each top air compressor in this list, it can be difficult to choose a product for your specific needs.
That being said, we recommend you purchase the Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak 1-Gallon Compressor because it offers you the best benefits, and it’s available for an affordable price. This compressor offers a large tank and is ideal for a wide variety of home-improvement jobs.
Choosing the best air compressor is just as important as choosing the best household tool kits. Given these benefits, we want you to check out the best air compressor on the market.