For this post, I have put together a collection of the best air compressors currently available.
UPDATED: September 12, 2019.
These versatile tools are relatively simple, consisting of an air tank and compressor pump. Typically powered by a standard 120V electric motor the compressor pumps air into the tank until it reaches its maximum pressure then shuts off. This pressurized air can then be used to power equipment such as pneumatic tools, tire inflators, paint sprayers, and more.
When the air in the tank is depleted the motor automatically turns on and replenishes the used air. This is why the size of the tank is important. If you need more reserve air, for example, if you are working away from a power source, you may need a larger tank. Keep in mind, however, the larger the tank the less portable. Common tank shapes include pancake, vertical and horizontal.
Important specs to pay attention to are the motor size (measured in horsepower) and the SCFM rating (standard cubic feet per minute) which takes the CFM and applies a standard set of environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity to provide a more accurate value.
TIP: If you need to power a specific air tool, check its SCFM and PSI requirements to make sure you are buying a compressor that can meet the minimums.
All of the air compressors listed below are "oil-less" pumps which generally offer cleaner, drier air with lower maintenance and quieter operation.
So here is my list of The 10 Best Air Compressors.
1. PORTER-CABLE C2002 Air Compressor
Highly portable and exceptionally easy to use, the Porter-Cable C2002 150-PSI, six-gallon pancake compressor packs a big punch in a small package.
Perfect for everything from filling tires to firing nailers, this compressor features an induction motor that provides long life and optimum performance.
For convenience, this efficient unit runs off of normal household circuits and offers mess-free operation.
150 psi max tank pressure stores more air in the tank for longer tool runtimes.
2.6 SCFM at 90 psi allows for quick compressor recovery time.
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.
Durable pump for long life and no maintenance.
Shroud, handle and console cover protects vital components, makes unit easier to carry and includes cord wrap.
Two regulated, factory installed air couplers to easily support two users.
Only 30 lbs for easy portability.
13 pc accessory kit for a variety of inflation and cleaning tasks.
2. Hitachi KNT50AB Air Compressor Kit
Ideal for a wide variety of finish work and cabinetry projects.
Comes complete with a 6-gallon 150 max PSI air compressor that delivers 2.8 CFM at 90 PSI via an oil-free high efficiency pump.
Includes NT50AE2 2" 18-gauge finish nailer, 25' Hybrid Hose, safety glasses, and pneumatic oil.
Combines the quality and performance you can depend on to complete your finishing project with ease.
2" 18-Gauge Brad Nailer (NT50AE2)
Portable 6-Gallon Oil-Free Pancake Air Compressor (EC710S)
25' x 1/4" Hybrid Air Hose (115158)
Safety Glasses (875769)
Pneumatic Tool Lubricant (115338)
3. Bostitch BTFP02012 Air Compressor
The Bostitch BTFP02012 6 Gallon 150 PSI Oil-Free Compressor is portable and lightweight.
It features an oil-free, maintenance-free pump that delivers 2.6 SCFM* 90PSI and a maximum tank storage of 150 PSI for long tool run time with quick recovery.
The 78.5 DBA** rating is ideal for a quiet work environment.
High flow regulator and couplers to maximize air tool performance. It has two universal couplers to easily support two users.
At only 29 lbs, unit is easy to carry and store.
Specs: Max Tank Storage PSI = 150, Electric Power Supply, Oil-Free pump, SCFM 90 PSI = 2.6, Tank Size = 6-gallon.
4. PORTER-CABLE CMB15 Air Compressor
The Porter-Cable CMB15 150 psi, 1.5 gal Oil-Free Fully Shrouded Compressor runs a 2.0 SCFM at 90 psi allowing for quick compressor recovery time.
1.5 gallon tank is fully shrouded and is easy to carry. It includes a water drain valve and rubber feet.
150 psi max tank pressure stores more air in the tank for longer tool runtimes and the durable oil-free pump allows for long life and no maintenance.
Low Amp 120V motor starts easily in cold weather or with extension cord and at only 20-Pound it is easily portable.
Low noise motor at 79 dBA (Tested per ISO3744) for a quieter work environment.
Fully enclosed design provides protection from hot or moving parts.
Includes a 25-Feet coil hose and 8 pc accessory kit facilitate a number of inflation tasks.
5. Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor
The Campbell Hausfeld 3-gallon air compressor kit can handle multiple projects.
Conveniently placed gauges are easy to read and this air compressor’s compact design makes it easily portable.
Oilless pump for maintenance-free ownership.
Includes a 10-piece accessory kit so you can get started on projects right away.
Operates on 120-volt household current.
110 Max PSI, 0.36 CFM @ 90 PSI.
6. DEWALT DWFP55126 Air Compressor
165 max PSI 6.0 gallon tank (22.7 L) and 2.6 SCFM delivered @ 90 PSI pump, enable long tool run time with quick recovery.
75.5 dBA noise level for a quiet work environment.
Long life oil free pump for maintenance free operation.
2 universal couplers to easily support two users.
Convenient cord wrap for easy storage.
High-flow regulator for increased performance.
High efficiency motor for easy start up in cold weather or extension cord application.
High flow regulator and couplers to maximize air tool performance.
Console cover protects controls and is removable to allow easy repair.
30 lb weight makes unit easy to carry/store.
Ball drain valve for quick & thorough tank draining.
Protective rubber leg covers to prevent marring.
7. California Air Tools 5510SE Air Compressor
The CALIFORNIA AIR TOOLS 5510SE Ultra Quiet & Oil-Free Air Compressor is designed to be one of the quietest air compressors in the industry at only 60 decibels.
Powerful 1.0 HP (SP-9413) motor operates at only 1680 RPM creating less noise and less wear.
"NEW" SP Series of Ultra Quiet Air Compressor Motors have been designed to increase duty cycle and allow for longer continuous run times.
Oil-Free Dual Piston Pump System is engineered for high performance and durability.
5.5 Gallon Steel Air Tank is Lightweight (46 lbs) and the wheel kit makes it very easy to transport.
Air compressor is ideal for anyone working inside where noise is a major issue.
8. Senco PC1010 Air Compressor
Features a direct drive motor/pump that provides extra-efficient operation for a variety of jobs.
Pump is lube-free, no mess and disposal issues involved with working with oil.
Aluminum cylinder offers reliable durability.
One-gallon capacity, ideal for a range of renovation and home improvement jobs.
Significantly quieter than pancake compressors, the PC1010 makes very little noise while running.
Capable of delivering 20 to 44 drives per minute, depending on the tool and application.
Rubber-covered feet won't scratch hardwood floors, so you can feel comfortable using it in your home.
9. DEWALT DWFP55130 Air Compressor
DEWALT 200 psi quiet trim compressor features a 2.5 gallon, 200 psi max tank, and delivers 3.0 standard cubic feet per minute (scfm) at 90 pounds per square inch (tested per ISO1217).
Durable, oil-free pump provides maintenance-free operation.
Low 71.5 dB operating noise level.
Efficient motor only draws 12 amps, providing easy start-up and reducing the possibility of tripping a breaker.
Measuring only 14 inches wide and weighing only 36 pounds, this compressor is compact and portable.
Roll cage design creates a convenient and comfortable handle for transportation, storage, and protection.
Designed to be operated or stored in the horizontal or vertical position.
10. Campbell Hausfeld DC080500 Air Compressor
At just 68 dBa, this compressor offers a quiet work environment and is ideal for anyone working where noise is a major issue.
Long life, Oil-Free, maintenance free pump for convenient on-going use.
Key components last up to four times longer.
Dual piston pump system is engineered for high performance and durability and it produces 25% more air compared to other 1.0 HP air compressor motors.
Durable, oil free pump provides extended maintenance-free operation with superior motor performance.
I hope this list of the best air compressors was helpful.
If you think I left out one that is important or have a suggestion for a future article, let me know in the comments below.
Brandon Hubbard, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C