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11 Best Air Compressors of 2023

Air compressors are among the most common items we encounter when it comes to heavy-duty electrical appliances. No wonder, they are also among the most versatile!

Best Air Compressor of 2021

These devices are of simple construction and work on a fairly streamlined technology. Powered by sturdy and durable engines, they make for a versatile piece of equipment that gives you years of use without a hitch.

But over time, the market has been inundated with air compressors, each one seemingly better than the previous. With the high number of tasks, a compressor can accomplish, it’s only natural that you may be confused about the right one for your needs. This is where we step in!

The following resource is a roundup of our top 11 air compressors available in the market, highlighting each model’s pros and cons. It’s followed by a guide that outlines the factors to bear in mind while making your purchase.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Best Air Compressors

A man pumps air wheel with a compressor on the road

Here is the list of the 11 best air compressors that you can use to tackle a range of tasks, from inflating tires to powering air tools.

1. PORTER-CABLE C2002 - Best for Portability

First on our list is a strong and high-performing air compressor from Porter-Cable that is exceptional in the service it delivers. As a product from an established brand, this machine lives up to the reputation of Porter-Cable and elevates it a notch higher!

PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor, 6-Gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free...
  • 150 psi max tank pressure of the portable air compressor...
  • 2.6 SCFM @ 90 psi of the electric air compressor allows for...

Why Did We Like It?

This attractive model from the brand scores particularly high on portability and time efficiency. Fitted with an induction motor for increased durability and optimum strength, it is adept at a variety of uses, both commercial as well as household.

The 150 PSI tank offers more storage space for air which results in a longer run-time while the 2.6 SCFM at 90 gallons allows the compressor to recover quickly after each use. In addition to this, the machine features a 6-gallon tank equipped with a water drain valve and rubber feet which together provide great stability in operation.

Furthermore, it is well-equipped for a quick start-up thanks to the low amp 120V motor. And that’s not all; it requires little maintenance, and is also able to support two users. At 30 lbs, it is one of the most portable devices in its range and offers great value for money.

What Could Have Been Better?

Air compressors often get a bad name for being too noisy and unfortunately, this model does not change that perception much. However, while the noise output could certainly be lower, this model is otherwise excellent and promises a stellar, versatile performance.


  • Portable, durable, and time-efficient
  • Outer protection for parts for added safety
  • Quick to start and recover


  • Noisy at the time of operation

Dimensions: 17" x 18.38" | Weight: 31.2lbs | Power Source: Electric-Powered | Voltage: 120V | Capacity: 6 Gallons | Air Flow Capacity: 2.6CFM | Noise Level: N/A | Max Tank Pressure: 150PSI | Horsepower: 0.2HP | Warranty: 1 Year

2. Bostitch BTFP02012 - Best for Low Noise

This air compressor from Bostitch is one of the lightest on our list, but also one of the most high-performing. It’s a convenient, good-looking device that delivers highly on all desired fronts. They say, don’t judge a book by its cover, and we’d advise you to do the same for this one!

Bostitch BTFP02012 6 Gallon Pancake Compressor
  • The portable air compressor has a long-life oil-free,...
  • 150 max PSI 6.0 gallon tank (22.7 L) and 2.6 SCFM* delivered...

Why Did We Like It?

As a lightweight compressor, it is impressively adept at a wide variety of tasks. This is made possible by way of its 6-gallon tank with a maximum storage capacity of 150 PSI which significantly extends the run-time.

Alongside this, the unit features a low-maintenance, oil-free pump that offers lightning-quick recovery at 2.6 SCFM. Apart from that, the 78.5 dBA rating ensures a low noise output, thus making it well-suited to quiet work environments. This air compressor, therefore, has all the components of a reliable appliance in any workspace and guarantees a performance that leaves you with little to want.

Lastly, it weighs 29 lbs. Not only is that a stunning value for a machine of this capacity but it also enhances its appeal as a portable and efficient tool. Coupled with a high-flow regulator and couplers to boost air tool functioning, the BTFP02012 is an air compressor that scores well in our books.

What Could Have Been Better?

The only slight problem that could be a red flag for this wonderful piece of machinery is its plastic construction. It poses doubts about durability, not to mention plastic’s infamy as a non-biodegradable material. But this is certainly no deal-breaker and with proper care, the device is bound to run well and for long.


  • Comparatively less noise output
  • Incredibly lightweight and portable
  • Low maintenance and high operational efficiency


  • Plastic construction poses questions on durability

Dimensions: 17" x 17" x 19.25" | Weight: 29lbs | Power Source: Corded Electric | Voltage: 230V | Capacity: 6 Gallons | Air Flow Capacity: 2.6CFM | Noise Level: 78.5dB | Max Tank Pressure: 150PSI | Horsepower: N/A | Warranty: 1 Year

3. PORTER-CABLE CMB15 - Best for Cold Environments

Next up, is a fully shrouded air compressor from a brand that’s quite a favorite among architects and electrical engineers. It offers a wide array of useful features in an attractive design and is an extremely handy tool to have around.

PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor Kit, 1.5 Gallon, Oil-Free, Fully...
  • 2.0 SCFM @ 90 psi of the portable air compressor allows for...
  • 1.5 gallon tank in shroud of the electric air compressor is...

Why Did We Like It?

The CMB15 from PORTER-CABLE is an excellent air compressor well-suited to cold weather conditions. The low amp 120V motor offers a quick start-up and also has the option to attach to an extension cord. Additionally, it weighs only 20 lbs and is incredibly portable.

The 1.5-gallon tank further adds to the portability. Fully shrouded and equipped with a water drain valve and rubber feet, the tank offers great ease of operation along with an impressive air storage capacity. The toolkit also comes with a 25-foot coil hose that enables the unit to carry out inflation tasks. Furthermore, the oil-free pump allows for low maintenance and longer shelf life.

Moreover, this is a compressor that emits considerably less noise in comparison to its counterparts. At 79 dBA, it is suitable for quiet work conditions, and thanks to the fully enclosed design, it remains well-protected in all environments. Most importantly, for such versatility, the machine offers great value for money and is one of the best models in its range.

What Could Have Been Better?

The only area in which this excellent compressor falls short is the capacity for balance. The rubber feet are slightly unstable and require attention so that the device doesn’t fall over and get damaged. This is surely no red flag, though. We’d suggest you consider its features well before making a purchase!


  • Quick to start; suitable for cold temperatures
  • Durable and long-running
  • Great value for money


  • Rubber feet are sometimes unstable

Dimensions: 15.5" x 13.25" x 20.5" | Weight: 20lbs | Power Source: Electric-Powered | Voltage: 120V | Capacity: 1.5 Gallons | Air Flow Capacity: 2CFM | Noise Level: 79dB | Max Tank Pressure: 150PSI | Horsepower: N/A | Warranty: 1 Year

4. DEWALT DWFP55126 - Best for Overall Performance

If it’s a workhorse of a machine, rest assured it is made by DEWALT. The DWFP55126 air compressor combines brute strength with the streamlined operation and is competent for a number of versatile tasks. Time and energy-efficient, this device has us thoroughly impressed with its performance and power.

DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor, 6 Gallon, 165 PSI (DWFP55126)
  • 165 max PSI 6.0 gallon tank (22.7 L) and 2.6 SCFM* delivered...
  • High efficiency motor of the electric air compressor is made...

Why Did We Like It?

We have far too many reasons to love this air compressor; it combines the best features of all the models out there! Starting with the 6-gallon tank with 165 max PSI, the machine features an oil-free pump, two universal couplers, and a cord wrap for convenient storage. Thus, it is low on maintenance and high on utility!

Also, its 75.5 dBA noise level rating takes it far from being an auditory nuisance! What further enhances operational efficiency is the high-flow regulator and a quick-start motor. Together with the couplers, these features maximize air tool performance and guarantee that you’ll never have another day where your air compressor falls short.

Lastly, the DEWALT compressor is smartly designed and bears in mind portability and protection. At 30 lbs, it is lightweight given its capacity and the removable console cover acts as an adequate safeguard against weather conditions and abrasions. Affordable and efficient, we believe that this model deserves considerable attention from any serious buyer.

What Could Have Been Better?

It’s not like DEWALT to leave much room for complaint and this device is no exception to the rule. The only area where it falters is that the fittings are prone to leakage. While we understand this is no light matter, we’d suggest getting in touch with their excellent customer support to sort it out!


  • High-performing, long-lasting, versatile
  • Low maintenance and noise-free
  • Ergonomic design with ample protection


  • Fittings prone to leakages

Dimensions: 16" x 16" x 17.5" | Weight: 30lbs | Power Source: Corded Electric | Voltage: 120V | Capacity: 6 Gallons | Air Flow Capacity: 2.6CFM | Noise Level: 75.5dB | Max Tank Pressure: 165PSI | Horsepower: 0.2HP | Warranty: 1 Year

5. Makita MAC700 - Best for Overall Performance

The next item on our list is another workhorse with tremendous power and high operational efficiency. This air compressor from Makita, the MAC700, is thoroughly impressive when it comes to technology and ease of operation, and ensures that all tasks are carried out perfectly and without any hassle.

Makita MAC700 2.0 HP* Big Bore™ Air Compressor
  • Cast iron pump with big bore cylinder and piston, combined...
  • Substantially lower noise levels with a large 1,720 RPM...

Why Did We Like It?

As a leading global brand in electronics, Makita makes no compromises on power, utility, and ease of operation. The MAC700 features a ‘Big bore’ pump cylinder for high power output and low noise emissions and is backed by a 2.0 HP motor with a 2.6-gallon tank. The ‘Big bore’ allows for faster recovery and increased compression, thus making it ideal for industrial work in tough conditions.

Further, it is a highly durable piece of equipment that is built to last and give the least trouble. While the oil-lubricated pump enhances operational efficiency, it is the roll bar handle that offers greater portability and control to the user. Also, the oil sight glass allows for quick and easy maintenance!

At a considerably lower RPM (1730), this is a compressor that you can definitely trust when it comes to noise-free operation. Far quieter than its counterparts, the MAC700 is a dependable device that comes in handy in a variety of situations and promises to deliver.

What Could Have Been Better?

Priced slightly high on the scale, the MAC700 from Makita makes for a premium purchase and is not affordable to the average engineer. However, the hefty price tag is well-justified and we’d recommend taking a good look at all that it has to offer before judging the price right off the bat.


  • Considerably noise-free operation
  • Powerful piston and motor
  • Portable and well-suited to industrial work


  • Expensive

Dimensions: 18" x 22" x 10" | Weight: 59.6lbs | Power Source: Electric-Powered | Voltage: 120V | Capacity: 2.6 Gallons | Air Flow Capacity: 3.3CFM | Noise Level: 80dB | Max Tank Pressure: 130PSI | Horsepower: 2HP | Warranty: 1 Year

6. Senco PC1010

This is another lightweight model from a new brand on the list, Senco, that is well-equipped to perform a wide variety of tasks demanding good power output and smooth operation. It is compact and delivers as promised, and is especially good for household projects. Read on to find out more!

Senco PC1010 1/2- Horsepower 1-Gallon Matte Finish and Trim...
  • Lightweight and portable--easy to carry from site to site as...
  • One horsepower peak ,1/2 horsepower runningand one-gallon...

Why Did We Like It?

The PC1010 is a competent air compressor that offers excellent power combined with ease of operation and is backed by a direct-drive motor with a capacity of 1 HP at peak functioning, and ½ HP while running. The tank has a capacity of 1 gallon and is ideal for renovation and a range of household tasks.

Furthermore, it features an oil-free pump that eliminates mess and disposal issues, thus rendering the device low maintenance and easy to handle. In addition to this, the aluminum cylinder makes for a highly durable component, and ultimately, such features come together to make this air compressor a reliable and handy tool suitable for a variety of functions.

Last but not the least, the design of this unit is another feather in its cap! Extremely lightweight and portable, it can be easily transported from one job site to another and is backed by a 1-year warranty from the company. In addition to this, the model is fitted with rubber feet that keep hardwood floors abrasion-free and only add to its appeal!

What Could Have Been Better?

This air compressor from Senco is close to flawless and makes for a worthy purchase. However, the only issue is with the company’s customer support which is at times unresponsive. But we also strongly feel that given its features and durability, the device is highly unlikely to give you any trouble in the first place.


  • High-functioning motor and pump
  • Low on maintenance and reliable
  • Lightweight and portable


  • Customer support occasionally unresponsive

Dimensions: 14" x 13" x 10" | Weight: 20lbs | Power Source: Electric-Powered | Voltage: 115V | Capacity: 1 Gallon | Air Flow Capacity: N/A | Noise Level: 68dB | Max Tank Pressure: N/A | Horsepower: 1HP | Warranty: 1 Year


Another outstanding product from DEWALT, the DWFP55130 is a long-lasting and long-running air compressor that supports a number of pneumatic and air tool applications. Backed by a powerful motor, it works quietly and efficiently to ensure that even the most heavy-duty tasks are taken care of with the utmost ease.

DEWALT Air Compressor for Trim, 200-PSI Max, Quiet Operation...
  • 3.0 SCFM delivered @ 90 PSI pump, 2.5 gallon tank and 200...
  • Durable oil free pump of the electric air compressor...

Why Did We Like It?

Right off the bat, we were impressed by the 2.5-gallon, 200 PSI max tank that fulfills the two-pronged function of adequate air storage and quick recovery time. Adding to its efficiency is the oil-free pump that reduces the need for maintenance and offers a longer shelf-life.

Further, this air compressor is highly energy-efficient. Drawing only 12 amps, its motor utilizes only as much energy as required, provides easy start-up, and considerably lowers the chances of tripping a breaker. In addition to this, with a dBA rating of 71.5, the noise output of this device is lesser in comparison to its counterparts in the market.

This is a compressor whose design is a key aspect in its favor. It features a roll cage design that is comfortable to handle in terms of use, storage, and protection. Operated with equal ease either horizontally or in a vertical position, the design allows for great versatility for the user. Lastly, being 14 inches wide and weighing 36 lbs, the device is lithe and lightweight, and an excellent addition to any toolkit.

What Could Have Been Better?

Compared to other similar models, DEWALT’s product is priced on the higher side. This is not an expense suited to the average engineer’s budget, but given its capacity, we are certain it will find willing buyers more often than not!


  • Motor and tank are highly dependable
  • Energy-efficient and low-noise emission
  • Lightweight, ergonomic design


  • Expensive

Dimensions: 21.58" x 17.44" x 13.81" | Weight: 36lbs | Power Source: Corded Electric | Voltage: 120V | Capacity: 2.5 Gallons | Air Flow Capacity: 3CFM | Noise Level: 71.5dB | Max Tank Pressure: 200PSI | Horsepower: 1.10HP | Warranty: 1 Year

8. Campbell Hausfeld DC080500

The second product from Campbell Hausfeld on this list, this compressor is geared towards high functionality and long-term durability. Powered by competent internal parts, the DC080500 boasts a stunning array of features that ensure a commendable performance with a high degree of proficiency.

Campbell Hausfeld 8 Gallon Portable Quiet Air Compressor...
  • Greatly reduced noise: 65 decibel rating allows the user to...
  • Max 125 PSI

Why Did We Like It?

This Campbell Hausfeld compressor gives us a number of reasons to feature it among the top products in the market. Probably its most impressive feature, at 68 dBA the noise level rating is quite unique and ensures one of the quietest operations on the list, for both indoor and outdoor use.

This device also scores high on durability and functionality. While the key components last four times longer than most other models, they are also oil-free and work on a dual-piston pump system that ensures greater efficiency, lower maintenance, and a longer run time.

Compatible with a number of electrical appliances, this air compressor kit is highly versatile. It comes with a 17-piece accessory kit that enhances its utility a great deal. It is ideal for inflation, hobby painting, stapling, and nailing projects among others. Lastly, this is a lightweight and portable machine, equipped with a durable, rubber-grip steel handle for ease of transportation and maneuverability from site to site.

What Could Have Been Better?

This is another excellent device that only falls short of good customer support as here too, they were found to be unresponsive on occasion. However, this is not strictly a dealbreaker and apart from this minute glitch, the unit is quite without faults!


  • Super quiet operation
  • Energy-efficient, low maintenance, longer run-time
  • Compatible with numerous appliances


  • Poor customer support

Dimensions: 11" x 23" x 26" | Weight: 67lbs | Power Source: Corded Electric | Voltage: 120V | Capacity: 8 Gallons | Air Flow Capacity: 2.4CFM | Noise Level: 68dB | Max Tank Pressure: 125PSI | Horsepower: 1HP | Warranty: 1 Year

9. CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor

Next up is a high-performing product from another trustworthy brand and it is equipped with all the features required for versatile functioning combined with ease of operation. Simple in construction, this compressor is durable and promises a high degree of efficiency for years to come.

CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor, 6 Gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free with...
  • The portable air compressor is proudly made in the USA with...
  • PORTABLE: 6 gallon capacity maximizes portability and stored...

Why Did We Like It?

First up, this air compressor leaves no stone unturned when it comes to fulfilling its primary functions with ease and elan. The 6-gallon air tank provides sufficient storage for air and it is complemented by a 150 max PSI for good cut-in pressure. Functioning is further augmented by the 120V motor with a 2.6 SCFM that allows for quick recovery time for the compressor.

Also, the model requires little maintenance while offering great operational efficiency. It features an oil-free pump and ensures a smooth start-up in cold weather. Highly durable and long-running, the compressor comes with a 1-year warranty and is highly unlikely to give any trouble to the user.

Lastly, the USP of this model is its versatility which is made possible due to the 13-piece accessory kit that accompanies the unit. It includes a multitude of essential parts such as an air hose, a coupler, and a blowgun among others. Given the already reasonable price, we feel that the addition of this toolkit enhances the value for money offered by the compressor.

What Could Have Been Better?

Although high in functionality, this device is prone to malfunctioning with respect to certain parts such as the safety control valve. However, Craftsman’s attention to customer support is well-established and we’d recommend getting in touch with them in case of an issue.


  • Powerful motor and tank with good storage
  • Easy and quick start-up
  • Versatile accessory kit


  • Safety valve acts up occasionally

Dimensions: 16.5" x 16.5" x 17.88" | Weight: 32.5lbs | Power Source: Corded Electric | Voltage: 120V | Capacity: 6 Gallons | Air Flow Capacity: 2.6CFM | Noise Level: 78.5dB | Max Tank Pressure: 150PSI | Horsepower: 0.2HP | Warranty: 1 Year

10. California Air Tools 8010A

There is a lot to love about this air compressor from California Air Tools but what stands out the most is how quiet it is. If noise-free operation combined with durability is what you’re looking for, then you need not search for much longer. Read our review of the 8010A to find out how it is ideal for your requirements!

California Air Tools 8010A Aluminum Tank Air Compressor |...
  • Comes complete with Wheel Kit & Air Filter | No hose...
  • Product dimensions – 26" L x 14" W x 23" H | Max Pressure...

Why Did We Like It?

The 8010A from California Air Tools is an efficient worker that delivers excellence in silence. We were stunned at how incredibly low the noise emission was for a machine of its capacity, and it is ideal for any work environment that does look favorably upon loud machinery.

The brand is particularly reputed for its durable and high-quality products and this model lives up to that name. The oil-free pump of this device eliminates the need for fastidious maintenance and offers uninterrupted use in a variety of weather conditions. Alongside this, the inclusion of a rust-free aluminum tank makes the compressor even more reliable as an appliance.

Lightweight and compact, this unit is efficient in both performance and energy consumption. A powerful 1 HP motor operates at 1680 RMP and reduces friction between internal parts thus extending the shelf-life of the compressor. Moreover, given its high portability, it is ideal for multiple-site use as well as numerous DIY projects.

What Could Have Been Better?

The only area that doesn’t fall under the expertise of this air compressor comprises heavy-duty industrial-level tasks. However, the market is flooded with models specifically tailored to them and we’d suggest you consider this device on the basis of its unique specializations!


  • Nearly noise-free operation
  • Durable components for prolonged use
  • Compact, portable, and energy-efficient


  • Not suitable for heavy-duty tasks

Dimensions: 26" x 14" x 23" | Weight: 37.25lbs | Power Source: Corded Electric | Voltage: 110V | Capacity: 8 Gallons | Air Flow Capacity: N/A | Noise Level: 60dB | Max Tank Pressure: 120PSI | Horsepower: 2HP | Warranty: 1 Year

11. California Air Tools CAT-4620AC

Last on the list is also a California Air Tools product but it is by no means the least in any aspect. Robust and quiet, it is the ideal companion for the discerning and dedicated engineer and makes for a worthy purchase that lasts a long time.

  • Ultra Quiet only 70 Decibels
  • Powerful 2. 0 HP (Rated/Running) Motor

Why Did We Like It?

Smartly designed and equipped with a powerful motor, this air compressor promises excellent performance while making very little noise. Operating at 1680 RPM, the motor is energy-efficient and leaves little room for wear and tear, thus extending the durability and run-time of the machine.

Further, its features allow for greater operational efficiency with inputs such as the oil-free dual-piston pump geared towards high functionality under various weather conditions and uneven terrain. Additionally, it also allows for quick starts and utilizes fewer amps.

Lastly, given the capacity of its tank, the device is fairly light. Weighing about 67.2 lbs, it does not pose many difficulties in portability on job sites. Offering a good price for its functions, this is the perfect air compressor for anyone in search of the right combination of power, low maintenance, and minimum noise.

What Could Have Been Better?

California Air Tools’ products tend to be priced higher on the scale and this model is no different. But while its price may not be feasible for the average engineer, it does outdo a lot of its counterparts in terms of functioning and durability.


  • Durable and long-running
  • Versatile functioning under tough conditions
  • Powerful, nearly noiseless motor


  • Priced higher on the scale

Dimensions: 20.7" x 18" x 21" | Weight: 67.2lbs | Power Source: Electric-Powered | Voltage: 110V (AC) | Capacity: 6 Gallons | Air Flow Capacity: 6.4CFM | Noise Level: 70dB | Max Tank Pressure: 125PSI | Horsepower: 2HP | Warranty: 1 Year

Best Air Compressor Comparison Table

ProductDimensionsWeightPower SourceVoltageCapacityAir Flow CapacityNoise LevelMax Tank PressureHorsepowerWarranty
PORTER-CABLE C2002‎17" x 18.38"‎31.2lbs‎Electric-Powered120V‎6 Gallons‎2.6CFMN/A150PSI‎0.2HP1 Year
Bostitch BTFP02012‎17" x 17" x 19.25"29lbsCorded Electric230V‎6 Gallons‎2.6CFM78.5dB150PSIN/A1 Year
PORTER-CABLE CMB15‎15.5" x 13.25" x 20.5"20lbs‎Electric-Powered120V‎1.5 Gallons‎2CFM‎79dB150PSIN/A1 Year
DEWALT DWFP55126‎16" x 16" x 17.5"‎30lbsCorded Electric120V‎6 Gallons‎2.6CFM75.5dB165PSI‎0.2HP1 Year
Makita MAC700‎18" x 22" x 10"‎59.6lbs‎Electric-Powered120V‎2.6 Gallons‎3.3CFM80dB130PSI‎2HP" ‎1 Year "
Senco PC1010‎14" x 13" x 10"‎20lbsElectric-Powered‎115V‎1 GallonN/A‎68dBN/A1HP1 Year
DEWALT DWFP55130‎21.58" x 17.44" x 13.81"36lbsCorded Electric120V‎2.5 Gallons‎3CFM71.5dB200PSI‎1.10HP1 Year
Campbell Hausfeld DC080500‎11" x 23" x 26"‎67lbsCorded Electric120V8 Gallons‎2.4CFM‎68dB125PSI1HP1 Year
CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor‎16.5" x 16.5" x 17.88"‎32.5lbsCorded Electric120V‎6 Gallons‎2.6CFM78.5dB150PSI‎0.2HP1 Year
California Air Tools 8010A‎26" x 14" x 23"‎37.25lbsCorded Electric110V8 GallonsN/A60dB120PSI‎2HP1 Year
California Air Tools CAT-4620AC‎20.7" x 18" x 21"‎67.2lbs‎Electric-Powered‎110V (AC)‎6 Gallons‎6.4CFM‎70dB125PSI‎2HP1 Year

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Buying Guide For The Best Air Compressor

With that, we have reached the end of our list of the best air compressors out there. Surely you must’ve noticed they are all quite excellent!

So how do you make the correct choice? Air compressors have an astounding number of features, each with its own functions and minute details, and it is important to have a thorough understanding of the mechanism. Once this is done, you must be able to delineate what your needs are and whether they are compatible with the device’s specifications.

To make the task slightly easier, we have put together the main factors that are key to buying the right compressor for your needs. Take a look!

Size of Tank

In case air is depleted in the tank, the motor works to replenish the used-up air. The size of the tank, therefore, determines how much reserve air will be available to you when, say, you are working away from a power source. For heavy-duty tasks or prolonged work, larger tanks are preferred. But bear in mind that the larger the tank, the less portable the device.

Horsepower of Motor

The usual range of horsepower is between 1.5 to 6, which are generally used for small to medium-sized compressors. Larger, industrial compressors work on motors with higher HP.

CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) value

This numerical value signifies the volumetric flow and is dependent on the PSI of the compressor. In order to compare devices, if two share the same CFM then we must look at the SCFM. Standard CFM is measured as 14.5 PSIA at 68 degrees Fahrenheit, with 0% relative humidity.

Piston-type or Portable Compressor

Compressors are primarily categorized into these two groups. A piston-type compressor utilizes a motor that builds up air pressure when it gets depleted. The compressed air is stored in tanks.

On the other hand, a portable compressor runs continually to supply air for operation and does not make use of tanks.

Air Compressors FAQs

  • Are gas-powered compressors better than electric ones?

    Gas-powered compressors offer more mobility and higher power, but also emit exhaust fumes and produce more noise. Electric compressors are more suitable for indoor use, are quieter, and energy-efficient.

  • What are single-stage and two-stage air compressors?

    Single-stage compressors have one piston to compress the air. Two-stage compressors have a second piston that further compresses the air to a higher pressure for more demanding applications.

  • Are there differences between oil-free and oil-lubricated compressors?

    Yes, oil-free compressors are typically less expensive, lighter, and require less maintenance, whereas oil-lubricated compressors generally offer a longer lifespan, better performance, and lower noise levels.

  • Are pancake compressors a separate type?

    No, pancake compressors are a type of portable tank design common in oil-free, single-stage compressors. The term refers to the flat, round tank shape.

  • Are there safety tips for using air compressors?

    Safety tips include using safety glasses, wearing hearing protection, regularly maintaining your compressor, and following the manufacturer’s guidelines for intended use.

  • Can I use an air compressor with a generator?
  • How do I determine the right CFM and PSI for my needs?

    Consider the requirement of your air tools or intended application, and choose a compressor with higher CFM and PSI values than the minimum needed to ensure optimal performance.

  • What type of maintenance is required for air compressors?

    Maintenance tasks vary depending on the type and intended use, but generally include checking and changing oil, inspecting and cleaning air filters, and draining moisture from tanks and air lines.

  • How do I store an air compressor when not in use?

    Store the compressor in a clean, dry area that is free from excessive dust, debris, or temperature fluctuations to prolong its lifespan and maintain performance.

  • Many Air compressors pressure pumps closeup photo


    In the world of air compressors, there are various factors to consider before making a purchase. From portability to noise output and overall performance, each product offers its own unique set of features that cater to different needs and preferences. Finding the perfect air compressor may seem like a daunting task, but we've done the research and analyzed various options to bring you a comprehensive guide.

    From the above 11 best air compressors, here are the top three expert recommendations:

    The PORTER-CABLE C2002 is an ideal option due to its lightweight design, user-friendliness, and efficient performance. Its 6-gallon tank and overall durability make this a solid choice for both commercial and household applications.

    If noise levels are a priority, then the Bostitch BTFP02012 is a good option. With a noise output rating of just 78.5 dBA, this air compressor can easily be used in quiet work environments without disturbing others. Its 6-gallon tank, low maintenance, and ease of portability further add to its appeal.

    For those working in cold weather conditions, the PORTER-CABLE CMB15 is the right choice. Its quick start-up feature and suitability for cold temperatures make it stand out from competitors. This small but powerful air compressor with a 1.5-gallon tank is also low-maintenance and highly portable.

    By understanding the specific features and benefits of each air compressor, you can make an informed decision about which product will best suit your needs. With the above expert recommendations, you're armed with the knowledge necessary to invest in high-quality equipment that will serve you well for years to come.