Best Air Compressor Reviews of 2018

If you’re a DIY home enthusiast or a professional who work with power tools, a good air compressor holds great significance for you. Being so versatile, it can help you operate a range of pneumatic tools at home or in your workshop, help you keep the kids happy inflating their pools and sports balls, and repair objects at your convenience.

We realize the market for air compressors is choc-a-bloc with options. It is easy to lose yourself in the noise, and end up making a wrong purchase. So, we decided to step in and help you choose what’s best for you.

We conducted a thorough research and tested various products to put together this list of the best air compressors reviews in the market for people of all preferences.

best small air compressor

Best Portable Air Compressor​​

While the market for good air compressors is fiercely competitive, the CMB 15 is an easy choice for the best portable one out there. It combines cost-effectiveness with great ease of use. It is light for portability and fully-covered for durability. And sufficiently powerful for all home improvement and inflation tasks.

Our Top Pick

This well-built, high-performing unit is our top pick. At first use, it becomes quite clear that the MAC2400 has been built with functionality in mind. Its 2.5 horsepower motor is powerful enough to run two small home tools. Combining that with low noise levels and efficient power use, this compressor comes close to giving you the best of both worlds.

Best Small Air Compressor

This well-built, high-performing unit is our top pick. At first use, it becomes quite clear that the MAC2400 has been built with functionality in mind. Its 2.5 horsepower motor is powerful enough to run two small home tools. Combining that with low noise levels and efficient power use, this compressor comes close to giving you the best of both worlds.

How To Buy the Right Air Compressor?

Air compressors are some of the most functional pieces of equipment one can get their hands on. From inflating vehicle tyres, doing light DIY work around the house, to medical and heavy-duty industrial grade jobs, a good air compressor can be your best friends in a variety of situations.

Given just how crucial they are in performing several different tasks, it is imperative that you learn to identify just the perfect one to meet your specific needs.

In the following few paragraphs, we have put together a comprehensive ready reckoner to help you make an informed decision while buying an air compressor.

What Are The Different Types of Air Compressors?

There are a ton of air compressors available on the market, all in different shapes, sizes and features. A first-time buyer is likely to be drowned in this deluge of types and specs.

Depending on the process of how air is pressurised in the tank, compressors are divided into reciprocating, rotary screw, and centrifugal air compressors. However, you’re unlikely to need that information to buy the ideal one for you. So, we’ll skim over the bland technical jargon to stick to the relevant information that will make you a well-informed buyer.

For all practical purposes, compressors can be classified in a few different ways, according to the shape, the lubrication, and according to the source of power.

According to the shape and style, one will come across- large-sized stationary compressors and smaller more portable air compressors. The portable compressors can further be classified into:

  1. Pancake-style compressors- With a flattened tank, to store larger volume of air in a compact shape. Good for lower-impact tasks like inflation, blowing, running a nailer, etc.
  2. Hot-dog style- A single horizontal cylindrical tank, usually serves the same purposes as a pancake-style one.
  3. Twin-stack: Two horizontal cylinders for tanks, more powerful and provide more pressure than the above two.
  4. Wheelbarrow: The most powerful of the four; portable despite the size difference. Two larger tanks; may be able to use the tanks independently for differently rated tools.

A vast majority of compressors use pumps attached to a motor to pressurise their air. These pumps require lubrication for normal functioning. Depending on how the pump is lubricated, air compressors can thus be categorised into oil-lubricated and oil-less compressors. Most devices are oil-lubricated, especially larger, more powerful ones. Smaller, more portable compressors may have teflon coating to eliminate the need for oiling. While this may be very convenient in the short term, minimising the need for maintenance, the eventual wear and tear of the coating will necessitate buying a new one, as you can’t change the oil to protect the tank and pump.

What Are the Important Metrics to Consider?

Knowing the key performance criteria of  air compressors will help you understand the several offerings in the market and make your purchase easier. We utilised our experience and our thorough market research to list together some key figures that can help you evaluate a compressor better.

So, let’s dive into this thorough list of the important stats to pay attention to while you’re on the look-out for an air compressor to suit your needs.

1. Power: Almost all compressors have a motor attached to the pressurising pump. The power statistic refers to the power of this motor. It is usually expressed in horsepowers.

A motor’s power plays a multi-faceted role in the compressor’s overall performance. More powerful the motor, the faster the tank will get refilled with pressurised air. Conversely bigger, more powerful motors may make it difficult to run a particular compressor model in a home circuit. So,  power controls speed of recovery and the machine’s efficiency.

2. Air Pressure: Simply stated, the more the maximum air pressure a tank can have, the longer you’ll have access to pressurised air while performing a task. So, a compressor tank that can hold compressed air at a maximum of 140-150 PSI would definitely supply you air longer than one rated at a 100 PSIs.

The PSI, along with the tank size, will give you a fair idea of how long the machine will supply you with pressurised air before calling for a refill. Most compressors on the market these days are rated anywhere between 100-150 PSI, which should be more than enough for inflation and DIY/home improvement purposes. Although more serious users and professional tradesmen, will require a number a fair bit higher.

3. Air Flow : This is probably the most important metric to consider while buying the air compressor of your dreams (alright, ‘dreams’ may be a bit of a stretch). Usually measured in Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM), the amount of air flow delivery will determine what kind of and how many of tools/applications you can operate with your compressor. While a low CFM rate will serve you fine while inflating a tyre or doing light finishing work around the house, it’d come up well short when used with any powerful tool.

Conventionally, the CFM of most devices is measured at 90 PSIs of air pressure. More than anything, this is to standardise the measurements for potential buyers. Make sure the product you’re looking at is rated at 90 PSI; it’s easy to be mislead by a higher CFM rating at a different air pressure.

To calculate what would be a ballpark target air flow rate you should be looking at, check the CFM rate required by each of the tools that you intend to operate with the compressor, then add these numbers up. Add 30% to this number to amount for leakages and erros. This is the minimum CFM or SCFM (Standard CFM) rate your compressor should have, to operate your tools at once.

4. Tank Size: As you may have guessed, a larger sized tank basically lets you operate your pneumatic tool/s at the required air pressure level. For tasks that take a considerable time to perform, a smaller sized compressor tank will force you to take frequent breaks, while the tank regains the pressure at which you were operating.

A tank keeps pressurised air readily available for future use, which has several benefits. The compressor’s motor doesn’t have to be working constantly. And you can avoid working in a noisy setting.

Conversely, if you’re only going to perform very light tasks like inflating balls and tyres, you may not even need a compressor with a tank. But for all other purposes, from trimming and finishing work at home, to operating everything from small brad nailers to tools more powerful, a tank will kind of be a necessity.

Other Useful Factors

5. Efficiency: If you are a professional tradesman and require air compressors to conduct heavy duty jobs with powerful pneumatic tools, efficiency may not necessarily be of utmost concern to you. But if you’re a DIY enthusiast, especially if you use your tools indoors, then efficiency may be a point of concern for you.

An air compressor is directly linked to how efficiently the motor utilises energy. A compressor motor fit for home use, would ideally utilise anywhere between 10-14 Amperes of current to power itself. To put it in context, this is the amount of energy that can be safely drawn from a home circuit without the risk of tripping the circuit.

Another advantage an efficiently functioning motor provides is that, you could possibly power two small to medium sized tools simultaneously. This can be a luxury hard-found in the bigger models, since the energy requirements may be too much to be fulfilled at home.

6. Noise Levels: Again, this may not really be a factor of consideration for people in the market for higher capacity machines. But, if you’re a home user on the lookout for a compressor to do odd jobs around the house, this may be of importance to you. You wouldn’t want to wake your neighbours hammering in a few nails or inflating a tyre or so.

An air compressor that generates noise levels around or below 85 decibels is generally considered quiet. There are a couple of different mechanisms used by brands to do that. Some use less powerful motors, others cover the unit with a ‘shroud’. Some exceptional ones also use higher-powered motors that run on lower RPMs, which is kind of an engineering achievement.

As in the case of most mechanical equipment, this will be a trade-off between the machine’s power and noise levels. In almost all cases, you’d have to compromise on the power for lesser noise. So, you’d do well to identify what you want more- more power or lesser noise.

What Do You Need It For?

1. Light Home Use: If the vast majority of your compressor usage is going to be limited to inflating automobile tyres and kids’ pools and balls, you’d do fine with a limited volume, average pressure and average CFM rating compressor that is easily portable and won’t cause frequent rifts with your neighbours because of its noise. If a portable compressor can provide you good horsepower in that compact size, go for it.

Make sure you check the power rating and either buy one that matches the power outlet at your house, or get the outlet modified accordingly, to make sure it doesn’t trip while supplying electricity to your coveted machine.

2. DIY Finishing & Maintenance: if you like to get your hands dirty making and repairing stuff around the house or in your garage, you’re most likely to require the use of tools like a nail gun, stapler, caulking gun. In this scenario, a compressor with about 6 gallons of tank volume that is sufficiently powerful (in the range of 1.5-3 horsepowers) and can draw its power from the normal home circuit (generally rated at 15 amps 120 volts), will serve you well. A medium-sized single-stage or a small double-stage compressor should be what you’re after. It’ll help you fasten objects, repair and build furniture, while also meeting the regular sticking and inflating demands.

3. Heavy-Duty Usage: High-impact tools like impact wrenches, that require high pressure in short bursts, or medium-impact high-volume tools like paint guns, die grinders and sandblasters, need a powerful machine to meet their demands. These tools can be easily found in body shops, workshops, and garages of automobile enthusiasts, besides having a variety of medical applications as well. They’d require the services of machine that can supply fairly high amounts for long stretches of time.

If you’re about to use your air compressor with such demanding tools, make sure you buy one that has a large tank to supply enough air for long period without being refilled, preferably 7-30 gallons if you’re a home user with an infrequent use or above 30 gallons for regular/professional use. The machine should preferably have a powerful motor, possibly upwards of 5 HP, and a very good CFM rating. A heavy-duty compressor is what you’re after. Do check the power demands; larger ones generally require a 240 volts circuit, instead of the normal 120 volts household circuits.

After a crash course in buying the right air compressor for you, it is finally time to dive into our thoroughly-researched, liberally-written reviews of what are, in our opinion, the 10 best air compressor in the market at present.

10 Best Air Compressors of 2018 {Reviewed}

1. Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor

If you need an air compressor to use regularly at home, or to run smaller tools in a workshop setting, look no further than the Makita MAC2400.

The Makita MAC2400, our choice for the top air compressor in the market, successfully combines good quality, performance and convenience.  Makita has been known to blend cutting edge innovation with a commitment to quality, and this machine in question is a good example. The machine is designed sturdily, with the cast iron pump and high-quality metal parts housed in a roll cage.

The 2.5 HP motor, which has enough power for extensive home use and light industrial use, is connected to a big bore pump. This combination ensures optimum performance, and quick recovery time to refill the tank once empty. While nail guns and most kinds of inflation are no big deals for this unit, you could run a small sized die grinder or paint gun as well, if you have the patience to allow a couple of refills.

A vertically mounted twin-stack of sturdy cylindrical tanks, forms the core of the compressor’s tank setup. This 4.2 gallons twin setup tank, while filled together using a single regulator, can be operated independently, allowing for 4.2 CFM at 90 PSI of pressure and 4.8 CFM at 40 PSI while being run together. You could very easily run two DIY tools, like blowers or brad nailers with ease.

Despite this impressive performance, delivered from a compact form factor, the biggest plus point for a home user will be its noiseless efficient functioning, and its durability. The powerful motor, which can efficiently draw power from a regular home circuit without tripping any breakers, has been intentionally designed to work at a low RPM to spare the users and people nearby of much noise. 79 decibels is a pretty low level of noise, we think. And lest we forget, the solidly-built motor, is oil-lubricated, which ensures it produces even lesser noise and lasts much longer than most of its competitors. And you get free oil worth two refills with a new compressor, so they’ve taken care of that as well.

Pros

  • Superior build quality
  • Big Bore pump for quick recovery time
  • Efficient motor runs on low RPMs for reduced noise

Cons

  • Limited tank volume not suitable for long period of usage

2. Porter-Cable CMB15 150 PSI 1.5 Gallon Oil-Free Fully Shrouded Compressor

best small air compressor
If you’re in the market for a reliable, sleek compressor that will meet all your inflation needs without costing you a bomb, take our word and go for this.

The market for portable compressors is fiercely competed, deluged with great products. But none of them offers a complete package in a very user-friendly design like the Porter Cable CMB15 does.

Unlike other small compressors that are too small to be of much use beyond inflating sports balls, or are not sturdy and portable enough to lug around owing to an inelegant design, this compressor is powerful enough for all inflation purposes and is housed in a sturdy and aesthetic shroud that makes carrying it around a breeze.

The 150 PSI pressure that its pump generates is more than most of its other competitors, and is good enough to inflate everything from balls and bicycle tyres to large RV tyres and kids’ pools.

It’d be wise not to expect the world of the air flow it delivers, as the 2.0 SCFMs of air flow from the compact 1.5 gallons of tank would not help run any heavy duty tools. But you should be able to run small blowers and nail guns, which is par for the course for most home use.

Personally, we found this to be a great addition to our garage for the duration of our use, and did what was expected quite conveniently and efficiently. The low amperage 120 volts motor runs smoothly on a home circuit without any hiccups. And while it is an oil-less compressor, which is another added convenience for homes users, it produces just 79 decibels of noise, which is less than most oil-lubricated ones.

Given the handy size, the user-friendly efficient design, and the power, enough to perform most low-impact tasks, this is easily the best portable air compressor on the market. Buyers of a more nerdier incline will also like that it comes with many free accessories to enhance its usage.

Pros

  • Ultra-portable
  • Sturdy build quality
  • Efficient motor, runs easily on home circuit
  • Produces pretty lowe levels of noise
  • 1.5 gallons tank & 150 PSI pressure good for most inflation tasks

Cons

  • Not powerful enough for heavier tasks

3. Porter-Cable C2002-WK Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor

If you need a small but sufficiently powerful machine that will meet all your home improvement demands, this is it.

Despite the availability of many other good products, the Porter Cable C2002-WK is, in our opinion, the best small compressor in the market today. 

A pancake compressor, the C2002 is sturdy and stable owing to its design. Additionally, the pancake shape allows the compressor’s air tank to be significantly bigger than those in other conventional designs.

The compact form factor of the compressor houses a 6 gallon tank, quite large for any small air compressor. The pump pressurises the air in it, to a maximum of 150 PSI. This combination provides the machine with a lot of air volume, even fit for small to medium nail guns and smaller spray guns as well.

Unlike most other compressors in its league, it is rated at 2.6 SCFMs, which is a good number, given the compact size and the relatively lesser powerful motor. This higher CFM rating, combined with abundant tank volume, lets you use many power tools with ease. Though, we would recommend not getting too ambitious; this is still a small compressor not meant for high impact tools like impact wrenches and orbital sanders, that demand significantly higher performance.

While the motor is just 0.5 horsepowers, which certainly affects the recovery time after every emptying out of the tank, the larger tank size and higher CFM & PSI ratings than its competitors make sure you won’t miss the compromise in the motor’s power that much. To add to its benefits, it is quite an efficient motor, which draws low amps of current and is thus easy to start in cold weather conditions.

As we said before, the pancake design is a very practical innovation, which also helps this model to be surprisingly light and portable. Home users would love the ergonomics that the design offers, and the portability despite the large tank size. The compressor can be easily run on a normal 120 run home circuit, without any fear of it tripping any breakers. The noise levels are at around 80 decibels, which is definitely lower than others in its category, and is for sure a good feat given that oil-less filters like this generally are louder than their oil-lubricated counterparts.

Pros

  • High volume tank
  • Very portable & durable design
  • Higher CFM rating than others in its category
  • Comes with a 13 piece accessory kit
  • Comes with a coupler to run multiple tools at once
  • Good for most home improvement and DIY tasks, and smaller air tool use

Cons

  • Motor not powerful enough

4. California Air Tools 5510SE Ultra Quiet Air Compressor

Best Air compressor
If you need a small but sufficiently powerful machine that will meet all your home improvement demands, this is it.

California Air Tools is reputed to produce high-quality pneumatic machinery that are built to last long and be very user-friendly. And the 5510SE is a prime example of that. It is a sophisticated convenient machine with a durable build. At just 60 decibels, it is one of the quietest air compressors around. And it is no accident; California Air Tools has equipped this compressor with one of their path-breaking new SP series of ultra quiet motors, designed to deliver high performance for longer periods of time. Same goes for the oil-free pump, which can last as long as six times more than the average compressor pump.

The durable air tank, made of steel, weighs only 37 pounds, which makes moving the compressor around a hassle-free task. At 5.5 gallons, it is one of the biggest in its category. You can run most low-to-medium intensity tools- blowers, brad nailers, inflators, etc.- for considerable stretches of time without the need to stop for a refill.

While the SCFM rating, 2.2 CFM at 90 PSI, and the maximum pressure rating, 120 PSI, is below the industry best, the large-sized tank and the efficient motor still ensure that most DIY tasks can be accomplished without much trouble.

More than anything else, what makes the 5510SE a lucrative deal is the fact it is built to last really long. The motor runs at less than 1700 rpms, making it super-efficient and quiet, and causing much less long term wear as compared to its competitors. Being oil-free, the motor is low maintenance and lasts longer. The steel bodied compressor is durable for long use, and the pump lasts several times longer than others in its category.

Pros

  • Ultra-quiet compressor, about 60 decibels
  • Efficient motor, runs at lower RPMs, and draws low amps
  • Durable steel body built to last long

Cons

  • Not fit for heavy-duty air tools

5. Makita MAC700 Big Bore 2.0 HP Air Compressor

A versatile compressor which is fit for varied use for DIY/hobby purposes, besides running lesser intensity air tools in a workshop environment.

Makita is known for their high quality tools built for low noise and high performance. Their MAC 700 air compressor continues the same rich vein. 

Made with industrial grade material, complete with a roll bar for extra durability, the compressor sports a powerful 2.0 HP motor that belies its size. The powerful motor makes the machine quite versatile. You can easily use it in a wide variety of applications at home or in smaller workshop type situations. The motor, designed to run on lower RPM for longevity and quiet functioning, generates a very good air flow of about 3.3 CFM at 90 PSI, enough to power air tools like blowers, staplers, most types of nail guns, smaller wrenches, and even low-volume low pressure sprayers and grinders. You could even run two smaller tools at once, if you so desire.

The tank size, about 2.6 gallons, can feel like a bit of a bummer, given that you can find lesser powerful compressors with bigger tanks. But the impressive CFM rate and the 130 PSI maximum pressure compensate for it in most scenarios.

Two of the best qualities of this particular model are its low-noise functioning and its efficiency. The MAC700 utilises quite low amps and can run on the normal 120 volts home circuit. This makes sure it runs smoothly in all scenarios without tripping any breakers. Makita, known for their stupendous engineering, have designed it’s motor to work on lower RPMs to increase lifespan and greatly reduce the noise generated during day-to-day functioning. The oil-lubrication system assists in further increasing the machine’s life and reducing the noise that it generates.

Pros

  • Powerful Motor
  • High CFM
  • Efficient motor, can run on home circuits
  • Durable build quality
  • Very low levels of noise

Cons

  • Small tank size
  • Oil-lubrication may require maintenance

6. DeWalt D55146 4.5 Gallon 225 PSI: (Best Wheeled)

One of the best compressors available right now, if you’re looking for a versatile air compressor that delivers high performance along with user-friendly functioning.

DeWalt has long been a producer of industrial grade equipment. And when it comes to air compressors, their D55146 is one of the best heavy duty ones in the market currently. Extremely reliable, high-performance specs packed in a compact body, this one is an absolute workhorse.
The body, built from industrial grade material, complete with a roll bar for extra durability, houses powerful motor and pump that generate a very impressive 5 CFM at 90 PSI, fit to run almost all pneumatic tools, including high-performance professional ones like impact wrenches, die grinders, orbital sanders, etc.

225 PSI of maximum air pressure, higher than almost all of its competition, provides it with more usable air. So, you could even run two air tools, or you could work with your buddy on a project, without needing to take constant breaks for air recovery.

The 4.5 gallons of tank, combined with the high max pressure, lets all tools run for significantly longer periods, making the D55146 as fit in a workshop as it is in a hobbyist’s garage.
All of these admirable stats do not imply a compromise on usability. It weighs about 80 pounds, which is quite nifty for a compressor of its size. The portability is helped by the presence of wheels. Also, you could run this mean machine on a normal home circuit which, considering the performance, is quite remarkable.

Pros

  • Impressive CFM rate
  • Impressive maximum air pressure
  • Durable build quality
  • Very low levels of noise

Cons

  • The tank could be bigger

7. Senco PC1010 Compressor 1-Gallon Compressor

One of the best compressors available right now, if you’re looking for a versatile air compressor that delivers high performance along with user-friendly functioning.

The Senco PC1010 doesn’t promise a lot; it has been created with a very simple agenda in mind- being a reliable air compressor for a variety of small hobby and home improvement tasks.
The processor is extremely lightweight and hence, supremely portable. It is built to last home users a long time, which is evident from the high-quality material used in the making.

The 1 gallon tank, tied to a 0.5 running horsepower motor with a 1 horsepower max, delivers a 0.7 CFM of air flow, which is sufficient to accomplish all home improvement and DIY tasks like finishing, crafting, nailing, etc., besides all inflation tasks.

Maximum pressure of 120 PSI which this compressor supplies won’t shatter the earth, but if you plan on infrequent use at home, you can’t go wrong with this.
Given the small size, it is unbelievably quiet, very uncharacteristic of any air compressor. Adding to its very pleasant ease of use, it can be easily run on the normal home circuit without any issues.

Pros

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Very efficient, can run on home circuits
  • Extremely portable

Cons

  • Not fit for any heavy use

8. Briggs and Stratton 3-Gallon: (Best Stationary)

Briggs and Stratton has broken new grounds with this 3-gallon air compressor which is exceptionally quiet, quieter than a loud conversation. This will come as a relief to many home users who wish their compressor could provide better performance, but compromised for the loud noise that the bigger ones produce.

The compressor is built with a lot of finesse; unlike a vast majority of power tools, it looks pleasing on the eyes. The robust build quality is complemented by extra portability features like wheels and a compact design.

The 3-gallon tank is filled by a 0.75 horsepower motor. While the motor is par for the course in terms of power, 3 gallons is bigger than most others of its category, and allows a significantly longer run-time for your tools.

The machine promises 1.8 CFM of air flow at 90 PSI, which will power most air tools in a home garage, besides being more than enough for all inflation purposes. In our honest opinion, 1.8 CFM is a good number, much better than most quiet compressors, and provides the compressor good versatility for use with a variety of tools.

As already said above, the highlight of this compressor is its incredibly noiseless functioning. You could be in the room talking to someone, and not realize that the machine is working. This will be appreciated by many DIY enthusiasts who wish they didn’t have to cause a ruckus every time they power their compressors. The compressor runs easily on a normal home circuit, which another added advantage.

Pros

  • Extremely quiet functioning
  • Good for all home use
  • Efficient, runs on normal home circuit
  • Low maintenance, thanks to it being oil-free

Cons

  • Not powerful enough for heavier usage

9. Bostitch BTFP02012 6 Gallon 150 PSI Oil-Free Compressor: (Best Budget Air Compressor)

If you’re looking for a powerful home-use air compressor which is low on maintenance and noise, and high on portability and functionality, do go ahead and buy this.

The Bostitch BTFP02012 epitomises the many advantages of a pancake compressor. Sleek and compact, the compressor manages to have a big tank while being light & portable, at the same time.

The compressor is powered by Bostitch’s high efficiency motor, that draws little power while starting up, making it really easy to start in cold weather. Another advantage of the super-efficient motor is its low noise functioning, which make this compressor a real pleasure to work with indoors.

The 6-gallon tank, larger than its competitors thanks to its pancake shape, contains enough pressurised air to power multiple small air tools at once. The company claims it could power up to 3 brad nailers at once. To be sure, during our tests, it did work flawlessly with 2 nailers.

Its ability to run multiple tools is helped mainly by its very good SCFM rating- 2.6 CFMs, at par with the Porter Cable C-2002, which we consider the best pancake compressor in the market. The tank can maintain pressure at a maximum of 150 PSIs. the fact that it packs all of this punch in this petite user-friendly only makes it an even better deal for DIY/ home improvement enthusiasts.

Perhaps its biggest achievement that sets it apart from its competition, is its much better noiseless functioning. The specially designed high efficiency motor emanates a maximum noise of 78.5 decibels, which is akin to a car passing by. Again, this makes it a great compressor to use at home, especially indoors.

The unit weighs about 30 pounds, which comes in handy for long stretches of work where you need to move around a lot. It comes with a universal coupler, which lets you attach, and use, multiple tools.

Pros

  • Can run multiple small tools at once
  • Significantly low noise levels
  • Oil-less compressor low on regular maintenance

Cons

  • Can’t be used for heavier duty usage

10. Industrial Air Contractor CTA5090412: (Best Gas-Operated)

If you’re an outdoor sort of person, and require the assistance of a powerful, reliable air compressor in your outdoor tasks, look no further than this.

Now this is the kind of best air compressor that was created to reside on top of the air compressor reviews chain, in terms of the sheer performance abilities and build quality.

Unlike almost all other air compressors out there, instead of an electric motor, this one runs on a small Honda gas engine that is low on noise and low on emissions. The 5 horsepower engine delivers tremendous power to this compact compressor. More importantly, not relying on any cables or batteries to draw power from, it defines true portability.

The elegant design incorporates two separate 2-gallon tanks, which offer several benefits. The tanks allow much faster recovery times than most of its competitors. You can also run two different tools with different pressure and air flow requirements at the same time. The twin-stack pontoon design of the tanks adds to the compressor’s portability.

The compressor generates an excellent 5 CFM of air flow at 90 PSI, more than enough to run multiple small tools like nailers, staplers, along with medium-sized tools like smaller impact wrenches and low volume low pressure spray guns.

The device’s two most distinct features are its Honda engine and a very special patented 2-stage pump. Talking about the pump, it is carefully designed to run on lower temperatures and help cool the device faster after use.This greatly elongates the unit’s life.

The engine, being a Honda one, is supremely reliable on all fronts- fuel efficiency, service, durability, emissions, etc. The engine’s overhead cam/overhead valve (OHC/OHV) have been deliberately incorporated to help the engine much faster and on lower temperatures. The OHC/OHV system also helps it display commendable fuel-efficiency and emissions.

While indoor use can definitely be a challenge due to the emissions from fossil fuel engine, you could mitigate that by working in a larger or more open area. In any case, the compressor really shines when used outdoors in all sorts of conditions. It is as if it pounces on challenges. While it not the lightest at 80 pounds, the weight is well-distributed thanks to the twin-stack pontoon-style tanks, and the roll bars.
Pros

Pros

  • Quick startup in all conditions
  • Reliable and durable in outdoor use
  • Delivers superb performance in a compact size
  • The Honda engine and the twin-stage pump are brilliant innovations

Cons

  • May not be ideal for indoor use
  • Priced quite steep

How an Air Compressor Works?

FAQs

Q1. How much CFM do I need for my air compressor?

Check the CFM rating of the tool that you plan to use with the compressor. If you plan to use multiple tools simultaneously, add the CFM ratings of each of these tools together. Then add about 30% to the number you arrive at, to account for the length of the air hose, leakages, etc. This is approximately how much CFM your air compressors should be able to provide.

Q2. How big of an air compressor do I need to run air tools?

Ans: Since blowers and nailing tools like brad nailers do not require a constant flow of high pressure air, you could get by with a small 6 gallon tank. For more powerful tools, like die grinders, sanders and spray guns, it is advisable to have a large-sized tank that can supply high-pressure air for a long stretch. If you’re going to use these tools a few times per month at home, go for a 7-30 gallon tank. Or something even larger, if you’d require regular usage.

Q3. What is the best pancake air compressor?

Ans: Our choice of the best pancake air compressor on the market is the Porter Cable C2002-W Air Compressor. Despite a compact pancake-styled tank, it stores 6 gallons of pressurised air, allowing to operate tools for longer. The low ampere motor is very efficient while the oil-free lubrication is made for convenience and durability.

Q4. What is a pancake air compressor used for?

Ans: A pancake air compressor is a compact-sized compressor used for lower-impact tasks like inflating tyres, sports balls, kids pools, operating blowers and smaller nail guns, etc.

Q5. What type of air compressor do I need for a nail gun?

Ans: A small to medium sized portable compressor- a pancake-style compressor, or a slightly larger single or twin stack one- would suffice in this scenario. Make sure you check the CFM ratings of the nail gun you normally use, and that of the air compressor you plan to go for, before you make the purchase.