How To Find The Best Air Compressor – Buying Guide & Top 10 Best Rated Products Reviewed
Choosing the best air compressor can be confusing if you have no idea what to pay attention to. This is because they can power a series of tools regardless of the application.
To get exactly what you need, you will have to educate yourself and do your homework.
Air compressors come in all shapes and sizes. What works for some people may not work for everyone else, hence the necessity to research your options and determine whether a particular product can raise your expectations.
We also made a guide about how air compressors work and compressor types.
- Best Air Compressors 2020 – Top 10 Picks:
- 1. Tcisa Portable Air Compressor Pump
- 2. Goodyear 27527153G Enclosed Retractable Air Compressor/Water Hose Reel
- 3. Bostitch BTFP02012 Oil-Free Compressor - Best Budget
- 4. EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump - Editor's Pick
- 5. Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor
- 6. Makita MAC700 Big Bore 2.0 HP Air Compressor
- 7. VIAIR 85P Portable Air Compressor
- 8. DEWALT DWFP55126 6-Gallon 165 PSI Pancake Compressor
- 9. PORTER-CABLE C2002-WK Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor
- 10. ARB CKMTA12 On-Board Twin High Performance Air Compressor
- What to Look for in the Best Air Compressor Buying Guide 2020
Best Air Compressors 2020 – Top 10 Picks:
1. Tcisa Portable Air Compressor Pump
Tcisa’s air compressor comes with great value for money and durability. It is the most commonly used for tire pressure adjustments. It goes to a safe limit to prevent over inflation. The car’s manual should mention the pressure specifications. Once that limit is reached, the unit will shut down by itself to prevent problems.
It comes with a powerful motor – 140W – that allows inflating in no time. It goes at a steady rate of 35L per minute. A classic flat tire can be inflated to 30psi within a few minutes already – no need to wait while keeping an eye on the display.
The top of the air compressor has a digital display. It is LCD and built-in. The unit also features a tire pressure support – 0 to 150psi. If you are familiar with other measurement standards, you should know you can also change to another unit – KPA, BAR or KG/CM², whatever is more suitable to you. Reading the pressure is fairly simple due to the large digits.
Are you having an emergency in the middle of the night? There is nothing to be concerned about. The air compressor has four bright LED lights – large and wide. Not only can they provide some help while sorting a tire out, but they also work as a flashlight so that you can use them for all kinds of emergencies.
While mostly recommended for tires, the air compressor can work on other applications as well. When it comes to tires, it is not recommended for trucks or heavy vehicles. Instead, it will work on all kinds of medium cars and even middle-sized SUVs. You can use it for bikes too.
The package has three adapters for other applications. For instance, the compressor can be used for all kinds of inflatables – decorations, mattresses or water inflatables, as well as balls for all kinds of sports. It is a multifunction tool that anyone can benefit from.
2. Goodyear 27527153G Enclosed Retractable Air Compressor/Water Hose Reel
Goodyear is one of the most reputable names in this industry, while its 27527153G unit might be a good air compressor if you are interested in a stress-free experience, convenience, and multifunction applications.
This model features a long hose for convenience and comes with advanced automatic guidance in the rewinding system, which means it will retract smoothly. It has solid support to prevent damage and kinks. It also has a professional double adjustment function lock system to keep the hose at the desired length.
The air compressor comes with a reinforced reel based on solid polypropylene – impact resistant. Not only that, but it is also compact and lightweight. The swivel is built on the inside, so the rewinding feature is extremely simple. It will not slam around as you retract the hose but do it calmly without any risks.
You do not have to struggle while using the hose as you can lock it at the optimal length. The latching mechanism is soft to prevent wear and abrasion on the hose. An inlet connection prevents leakages and allows safe operation. It will not just prevent problems, but it will also ensure proper protection for the tip of the hose.
The reel features a swivel bracket, so mounting it is fairly simple. You can mount it anywhere – ceilings, floors or walls, in case you need to use it for home-based operations in your garage. The bracket allows full 180-degree rotation for extra convenience. It makes no difference if you want to keep this compressor in your car or a garage.
The hose is not massive, but long enough to support most applications. It measures 36 inches in length. The whole unit measures 16.6x7.5x10.3 inches and barely weighs 13 pounds, so it is not that heavy and can be carried around without too much hassle. When it comes to the inlet and outlet size, you have a classic 1/4 inch MNPT standard, so it will work with most of your things.
3. Bostitch BTFP02012 Oil-Free Compressor - Best Budget
Available in a series of different packages, Bostitch's air compressor is most commonly sold as a single unit. It is an oil-free compressor, which means maintenance will be minimum and there will be no hazards or nasty leaks and stains involved.
It features a maximum pressure of 150psi, as well as a six-gallon tank – around 22.7 liters and it can also provide 2.6 SCFM at a 90psi pump. In other words, it is one of the most efficient items in this segment based on its size and capabilities. It can be used in a wide variety of applications.
The motor is quite powerful for its size too. Moreover, it is known for its impressive efficiency and interested in using the air compressor outside on a cold day? There is nothing to worry about – it will start within a second only, regardless of where you keep or store the device.
Are you worried about the noise? You can use the compressor without disturbing anyone or requiring sophisticated ear protection. It is rated at 78.5dBA in terms of operational noise levels. Therefore, you can use it safely while still being able to hear yourself talking. It makes a good addition to small businesses based on inflatables.
The high flow regulator works in tight collaboration with the couplers to ensure a top-notch air tool performance. The unit is speedy and can inflate within minutes or even seconds, depending on what you are working on.
Convenience is also underlined by the lack of daily maintenance. You can use the compressor freely day by day without having to worry about cleaning oil or potential stains. As for the exterior, simply use a relatively wet cloth to take dust away from it – simple as that.
4. EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump - Editor's Pick
EPAuto's compressor comes with plenty of conveniences and great power for its size. It is one of the most efficient units in its range due to the powerful motor. Initially, it was released as an alternative to classic manual tire pumps. However, with time, its applications have diversified a lot.
Convenience is flawless. You do not need any adapters or sophisticated sockets. Simply take the cigarette lighter out of the socket in your car and plug this unit in – 12V DC, 10~15 amps and 120~180W. It works with any vehicle out there. However, it cannot support large tires or heavy goods vehicles. Instead, you can inflate tires for any middle car and middle sizes SUVs as well. It can be used for bikes, balls and all kinds of inflatables – such as your summer beach mattress or camping mattress.
Even if this is the first time you use an air compressor, you should have no problems with it. The display is easy to read, so all you need to know is the specification of the inflatable product. If you are not familiar with the psi unit in measurement, you have three other options to switch to – KG/CM, BAR and KPA.
There is nothing to be concerned about if unexpected situations arise in the middle of the night. While you can always find a source of light (such as a smartphone flashlight), you will find it more convenient to use the ultra bright torch coming with this compressor – LED based.
Safety features are not to be overlooked either. Know the pressure requirements for the inflatable and let the compressor do the rest. You do not have to keep an eye on the display, as it will shut itself off automatically once the desired pressure is reached. The same rule applies if it overheats – it will go off by itself.
The unit is compact and convenient – it only measures 13.5x8.1x5.6 inches. It weighs 3.65 pounds, so it is portable and easy to move around.
5. Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor
Makita does not fool around when it comes to heavy-duty machinery and the MAC2400 model might be a good choice if you want a series of applications and even small or medium business purposes. It is designed sturdy and durable, but it also features a powerful motor that can overcome heavy tasks.
The air compressor is surrounded by a cast-iron case and comes with a roll cage construction. It is heavier than small residential units, but also more efficient. Makita MAC2400 Air Compressor provides lots of protection in any kind of environment. It also has a Big Bore cylinder to clear wear and tear, but also to improve the life of your pump. It can be removed for simple maintenance.
The AMP draw is quite low and ideal to keep potential tripped breakers under control when the unit starts. You have a 4.2-gallon tank with two outlets delivering not less than 130psi – 40psi (4.8 CFM) and 90psi (4.2 CFM).
The pump is lubricated with oil, so the running temperature is quite low – excellent to extend the durability of the compressor. The motor protection is not to be overlooked either. You have a powerful 2.5 HP unit that makes the compressor suitable to business uses too.
The air filter is industrial and large. Air intake will never be a problem, not to mention the overall efficiency. Oil sight is available on a side to allow efficient overall maintenance. Chances are maintenance will be basic if you do it regularly, so do not let the unit for too long without looking after it.
The power and potential applications make this air compressor larger and heavier than average units in its range. It measures 20x18x18.75 inches and weighs around 81 pounds. While still portable, it can be difficult to move it around. The size also underlines an obvious aspect – it makes a better choice to businesses, rather than individuals.
6. Makita MAC700 Big Bore 2.0 HP Air Compressor
Interested in Makita's high-quality standards and power but without needing so much of it? The MAC700 model is good for residential and light business applications. It is solid, sturdy and comes with plenty of power for its size, hence its diversified uses.
The unit comes with a professional cast iron pump. Not only is it durable, but the unit also comes with a series of protective features for it. The Big Bore piston and cylinder work tightly to keep the stroke at the highest standards and deliver a top-notch performance. It is simply one of the best air compressors if you want power and performance in a small unit.
The pump is slightly oversized for its size – 1,720 RPM. In other words, it allows a good displacement of power, but without pushing too hard on the RPM. The RPM is kept at a lower level to protect the pump, not to mention keeping the noise low. On a similar note, the low amp draw will greatly lower the risks of tripped breakers, as well as voltage drop. Such problems may lead to an early motor failure.
Still not convinced about the pump durability? It is lubricated with oil, which keeps the running temperature at low levels. This kind of mechanism minimizes the regular wear and tear affecting pumps in the long run.
There are no doubts about the efficiency of this compressor, yet one might expect a heavy duty size given its powerful 2.0 HP engine. While it measures 18x22x10 inches, it weighs under 60 pounds, so it is quite portable.
7. VIAIR 85P Portable Air Compressor
VIAIR's compressor is likely to impress with its capabilities for such a small size. It is a compact unit that only measures 9.25x5.5x6.75 inches and barely weighs a pound. It is the kind of compressor you use around the house for all kinds of applications, but also in your car.
Its maximum working pressure goes up to 60psi – more than enough for most residential applications. It is also excellent for car uses, as it requires the 12V cigarette lighter socket. However, the engine should be running while in use – pretty much like for any other similar compressor.
It is useful for tires (medium cars and small SUVs, no trucks or heavy goods vehicles), but it also works for other inflatables. You can use the compressor to inflate a mattress on the beach, as well as your camping mattress. It will work on bike tires, as well as most balls.
In terms of power, the compressor can deliver 1.26 CFM. It is a portable unit that can be powered by power outlets as well. However, you can use the 85P if the outlet has a rating of at least 15 amps/180W. Other than that, it cannot be run.
The pressure gauge is mounted on the compressor. It is quite easy to read due to the large digits. You will be able to eliminate guesswork and know exactly when to stop. If unexpected situations occur in the middle of the night, you can use the bright LED flashlight. It is built-in. Given the size of the compressor, it can also be used as a general flashlight and not just to see what you do around your tires.
The compressor is available in one design only. If you need more extras, they must be purchased separately. The package comes with the basics only, hence the low price and great value for money. As for its speed, it can inflate tires within a couple of minutes only.
8. DEWALT DWFP55126 6-Gallon 165 PSI Pancake Compressor
DEWALT's pancake compressor (given by its shape and style) is the best air compressor if you want power in a compact unit. It is also suitable for a series of applications. You can use it for balls, tires, and inflatables. But at the same time, it makes a good addition to businesses – both small and medium.
The compressor is also sold in other packages. The more popular one comes with a nailer kit. However, based on sales, the individual product is the top seller, as many users are just upgrading from other compressors or they choose to purchase extras separately – based on their actual needs and uses.
The six-gallon tank – 22.7 liters – can provide maximum 165psi, as well as 2.6 SCFM at 90psi. When used at 40psi, the SCFM is up to 3.7. The motor is extremely efficient and can start anytime, anywhere. It makes no difference how cold the weather is or how many extension cords you use.
If you are worried about the noise, you should know that this air compressor only goes up to 75.5dBA. The work environment will be quiet and less likely to disturb anyone else. When used for residential or random car applications, the noise will not affect you at all. You will never require ear protection, not even if you use the air compressor for long periods.
The air tool performance is flawless, making this model the best compressor in its range. It comes with a high flow regulator to keep the flow under control, as well as couplers. In terms of air tool performance, you can count on maximum efficiency with no waste at all.
As for the power supply requirements, you can handle it with 120V, 60Hz, 10amps. When in use, make sure it is located at least 10 or 15 inches from the wall or other objects, as they are likely to affect the flow of air.
9. PORTER-CABLE C2002-WK Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor
PORTER-CABLE's best air compressor with an accessory kit is by far the best selling package featuring this model, yet you can also find it in other alternatives – including a package that only includes the compressor and nothing else. The accessory kit comes with 13 different pieces, so it will make it more suitable to pretty much any operation – residential or light business.
The compressor is designed in the pancake style, which means it features a flat round tank for maximum stability. It is quite compact – 18.3x18x19 inches. It only weighs 34 pounds, so it is relatively simple to move around without too much hassle, and it also features a six-gallon capacity – about 22.7 liters. The top has a large, yet ergonomic handle for easy transportation.
The maximum pressure is rated at 150psi. The tank is oversized and can store plenty of air for long tool running times. The 2.6 SCFM at 90psi makes the compressor recovery time feel like no time. It carries ISO1217 quality standards.
Unlike other air compressors in this segment, the pump requires no oil. If you are upgrading from a compressor with an oil pump, you will notice the difference right away – no need to perform daily and weekly maintenance operations anymore.
The air coupler and the associated plug are factories attached to the air hose. You will no longer have to install them together yourself. They are put together at the highest quality standards and well sealed, so there are no leaks involved throughout the operation.
Featuring no less than 13 accessories, the kit has pretty much everything you need for everyday operations. The nose measures 25 feet, but you also have a blow gun and all the attachments required for it. A tire chuck is included too, as well as a tire gauge, a quick coupler, and plugs.
10. ARB CKMTA12 On-Board Twin High Performance Air Compressor
Available in a series of different packages, ARB's best air compressor will impress with its airflow rate. When it comes to the actual compressor, you can choose between 12V and 24V models, yet the 12V unit is the front runner. It is recommended for a plethora of basic applications – around your household or vehicle.
When compared to other 12V air compressors in this range, this model can easily outweigh any other product in terms of airflow rate. It can put out 174 LPM, which equals about 6.16 CFM. Its power for its size is what makes the difference. It measures 10.9x7.5x4.1 inches. Not only is it compact, but it also provides portability.
It features a full wiring loom, so the installation is fairly simple – no prior experience needed, but just the manual of instructions. It also has simple connectivity to control solenoids – Air Locker models only. The connectivity is based on a plug in system. However, a specific manifold kit must be purchased separately if you are interested in mounting solenoids.
Motors are powerful, but they also feature extra protection. They are thermally protected in case high temperatures occur, so they are less likely to get damaged. It is also equipped with a fan for further protection, as well as a full 100% duty cycle.
Given the impressive airflow, the compressor can take care of small tasks within seconds. It can pump a tire up within a minute or two, depending on its size and current pressure. It is also suitable for mattresses – camping or summer mattresses, not to mention bikes and balls.
In terms of durability, you have a compact, but well put together item that can take some beating. On the inside, it features heavy-duty European cylindrical roller bearing on the compressor pistons, so you can count on quality.
What to Look for in the Best Air Compressor Buying Guide 2020
Deciding on the best air compressor can be a daunting task, but it is not impossible. A few aspects are more important than others when it comes to making a final decision.
Compressors come in more types and sizes. The pancake-style, for example, comes with a flat round tank on the bottom for stability. It is also space-efficient option.
On the other hand, twin stack compressors come with horizontal cylindrical tanks. This kind of model comes with extra air capacity without adding to the floor space.
Hot dog compressors have a similar design. However, they only feature a single cylindrical tank, so they are suitable for basic operations only.
Wheelbarrow compressors are self-explanatory. They come with two identical cylindrical tanks, as well as a wheel and a handle. This kind of build adds to their mobility.
Some air compressors are also referred to as inflators. They do not have any tanks. Instead, they must run continuously to provide decent airflow. They are excellent for sports equipment, mattresses or tires – basically, just small operations.
Electric air compressors are quite common because they do not require too much maintenance. This is the best air compressor if you only use the compressor in one area that is well powered, but also an area that cannot be too loud. They make great indoor tools. If you want portability, you need a decent extension cord, so mobility is a bit limited.
Gas operated air compressors make a good solution for businesses because of their heavy-duty capabilities. Whether electricity is unavailable or limited, these units will make the difference. They come with more power, so the PSI is greater, yet they also require more maintenance due to the messy fuels required to run.
Specifications are more diversified and include multiple aspects. The HP rating tells you the power output. A higher horsepower will give you a higher air pressure – calculated in PSI. It can store more air so that you can operate it longer.
The CFM or SCFM rating tells you about the air volume delivered at a particular psi. When one value changes, so do the other. When the PSI output is lowered, the CFM goes higher. A high CFM rating is more suitable for heavy duty applications.
Other things to look for in the best air compressor include:
- Storage tank size
- Pump operation
- Thermal protection
- Multiple couplers
- Included accessories
Bottom line, the best air compressor for you is the model most suitable to your needs. The above-mentioned models are the top-rated ones in this industry and they cover multiple styles, power standards and capabilities. Knowing what to look for and what the front-runners are, choosing the right unit should be a matter of time only.
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