The Best Air Compressor

Even the best air compressor on its own isn’t a tool you can use to accomplish a lot of tasks. However, it works as a great power source for other tools that use compressed air like a nail gun, air ratchet, impact wrench, grinder, or a blow gun. This ability to power all of these tools makes any air compressor one of the most versatile tools in your arsenal, and this is why it’s so important to choose the one that has enough power behind it to run these machines. If you don’t pick the best air compressor to match your needs, you’ll end up with sub-par performance that can impact how your final product looks. 

Maybe you want to use it on your car or to blow up your tires on your car or your tractor, or you want to use it around the house. Whatever you have planned for the best air compressor, you’ll need to understand what options you have available. I’ve picked out 10 high-quality pieces of equipment and reviewed them for you. You can take a look, compare them side-by-side, and use the buying guide to match the best air compressor to your wants and needs. 

1 Example of a Hobby Style Air Compressor
The best air compressors for home use usually come in a hobbyist-style, but bigger workshops also have the industrial ones on-hand and ready to use.

BOSTITCH Air Compressor Combo Kit – Top Pick 

My top pick for the best air compressor goes to Bostitch. This is a cordless setup that comes with a very high-efficiency motor that gives you an impressive 150PSI and 2.6CFM. This kit comes equipped with an air compressor, crown stapler, straight finish nailer, and a brad nailer all in one, and this means you’ll get multiple tools for the price point. They all feature a sleek black and yellow coloring, and you can easily use them to build your raised planter boxes for your flowers or garden. There are durable fittings on the hose that give you excellent maneuverability as you work. 

The brad nailer in this best air compressor kit will drive 18-gauge nails up to two-inches deep while the finish nailer will drive 16-gauge finish nails up to 2 ½-inches. Finally, the heavy-duty stapler will drive the staples between ¼-inch and 9/16-inches for a secure hold. The 15-foot air hose allows you to move freely around without worrying about tripping over it or running out of room, and this is nice for larger shops where you have a lot of space to work. Their one-year limited warranty will cover you from part damage or defects to give you peace of mind. 

PROS

  • Multiple tools included 
  • 15-foot air hose
  • 150 PSI 
  • One-year limited warranty 
  • Solid base 
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Very portable 

CONS

  • Regulator is tricky to work 

California Air Tools 8010A Air Compressor – Step-Up Pick 

California Air Tools brings you an ultra-quiet best air compressor that is lightweight and oil-free to make maintenance quick and easy. The noise level comes in at just 60 dB, and this is quiet enough to run without disturbing anyone. There is a one-horsepower motor that operates at an impressive 1,680RPM, and there is a durable dual Piston Pump System that won’t break down and comes engineered to perform under pressure. These components won’t rust or break down with extended use, and they have a life cycle of 3,000 hours when you compare them to other compressors. 

There is an oil-free pump on this best air compressor that allows you to use it in uneven terrains and at different temperatures without it failing. The aluminum tank won’t rust, and it weighs in at just 38-pounds. There is a wheel kit on this product that makes it even easier to move from point A to point B. You can use it both indoors and outdoors without it echoing or causing problems for your hearing, and you get a slightly longer power cord to make maneuvering it easy. It comes with a full year limited warranty against part failure to help protect your investment. 

PROS

  • Lower noise output
  • Aluminum tank 
  • Weighs 38-pounds
  • Very easy to transport 
  • Limited warranty for a year
  • 3,000-hour life cycle 
  • Can use indoors and outdoors

CONS

  • Slightly lower CFM

Avid Power Tire Inflator Air Compressor – Mid-End Budget Pick

Having a big yard means you need a riding lawn mower to keep it neat and tidy, but you also need the best air compressor to keep the tires inflated and ready to go, and this is what Avid Power’s model does. This is an AC/DC tire inflator that comes with dual solid metal motors that will inflate all of your lawn equipment’s tires quickly and easily without breaking the bank. You can use it virtually anywhere, and you can plug it into a 12-volt cigarette lighter in your car or into a 120-volt socket in your home or garage. It works well indoors and outdoors, and there is a convenient inflation and deflation switch. 

You get two types of hoses with this best air compressor, including a high-pressure hose that won’t split or crack under pressure. There is also a high-volume hose for inflating bigger items. You can pre-set the value you want to inflate your tires to before you start it, and the product will shut off automatically when you reach your preset range. The LCD display is very bright and easy to read, and there is also a nice LED light to help you use it in the dark. You get three nozzle adaptors with every kit. 

PROS

  • AC/DC compatible 
  • Indoor and outdoor use
  • Two hoses
  • LCD screen 
  • Bright LED light 
  • Three nozzles 
  • Pre-set your desired pressure

CONS

  • Have to cycle the switch several times

Glamore Portable Air Compressor – Bargain Budget Pick 

This best air compressor from Glamore  gives you a maximum of 150PSI, and it’s a 12-volt DC portable air compressor that won’t break your budget. It has an excellent price point for what you get, and it’s very accurate and fast. When it reaches your desired pressure, the product will automatically shut down so you don’t over-inflate your tires. You’ll get a 9.18-foot cord with three nozzles and inflatable adapters to be able to take on a range of smaller projects, and it’s compact enough to easily fit into your trunk or in the back of your car until you need it. 

There is a bright and precise digital tire pressure gauge on this best air compressor that makes it easy to set your desired valves before it starts. There is a built-in LED light on this system that lets you use it after dusk without worrying about overfilling anything, and there is a rear vent that reduces the air compressor’s heat as it runs. It runs for a maximum of seven minutes before you have to cool it down. There is a user manual included in each purchase, and customer service is very responsive if you have any concerns or questions about your new air compressor. 

PROS

  • 150PSI
  • 12-volt DC design
  • Ultra-portable 
  • 9.18-foot cord 
  • LED light built in
  • Rear vent system 
  • Compact 

 CONS

  • Only runs for seven minutes at a time

WEN 2202 Vertical Air Compressor – Tight Storage Space 

For anyone who has limited space in their outdoor storage shed, this is the best air compressor for you. This is a 20-gallon vertical air compressor with oil lubrication that gives you air flow rates of 3.8 CFM at 90 PSI. It also offers 5.0 CFM at 40 PSI, and it’ll work for any staplers, nailers, spray guns, or other pneumatic tools you have for your painting or woodworking projects. It works well for tighter spaces due to the vertical way it sits, and it comes with two legs with rubber feet to make it very stable when you store it. The two wheels make it easy to tilt it up and move it from place to place with no fuss. 

There is a 15-amp motor on this best air compressor with a reinforced steel tank that combines to give you a maximum pressure of 135 PSI. Once it reaches maximum PSI, the compressor will automatically shut down to help keep you safe and prevent it from overheating. There are dual pressure gauges that regulate the air flow and monitor the internal pressure readings, and there is an onboard handle that is comfortable to grab and take with you. 

PROS

  • Quick drain valve 
  • Two-year warranty 
  • 20-gallon tank 
  • Reinforced steel design 
  • Vertical for storage 
  • Very stable and sturdy 
  • Dual monitoring gauges 

CONS

  • Can be very loud when it runs

CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor  – Best for Portability 

Portability is important, and Craftsman’s best air compressor is a smaller six-gallon pancake model that is lightweight, easy to store, and easy to move from point A to point B. You get a durable pump that is oil-free to reduce your overall maintenance needs, and it puts out a maximum PSI of 150. There is adequate cut-in pressure that allows you to use it for a broad range of applications ranging from pumping up your tractor tires to filling up your kid’s sport’s balls or bicycle tires. There is 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI that will help your air compressor cool down quickly so you can keep using it with minimal interruptions. 

This best air compressor runs on 120-volts, and it’s very quick and easy to start up when you use it in colder weather. You can run it indoors and outside without problems, and you get a larger accessory kit. When you purchase this item, it comes with a 25-foot PVC hose, plug, coupler, tire chuck, tire gauge, blow gun with a plug, rubber tip, blow gun with an OSHA safety nozzle, and three tire adaptors. There is also a limited warranty for a full year from the date of purchase to help protect you from part failure or defects. The bright red coloring makes it very easy to spot. 

PROS

  • Six-gallon pancake model
  • Lightweight 
  • Easy to store and transport
  • 150 PSI
  • Starts in cold weather 
  • 25-foot hose
  • 13 accessories 

CONS

  • Instructions are unclear 

PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor – Best for Small Shops

If you’re worried about having tool storage in your small workshop, this is the best air compressor you could pick from Porter-Cable. It has a 150 PSI maximum pressure tank that will store more air at one time to help increase your run time, and it has a quick recovery time because it gives you 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI. This is a slightly smaller six-gallon model with a pancake design that gives it excellent stability, and there are rubber feet to prevent it from moving or scratching your flooring. The water drain valve is optimally-located, and it comes with a low-amp 120-volt motor that will start in all weather conditions. 

This product weighs in at just 30 pounds, and it has a very ergonomic handle to make carrying it around easy. There is a console cover on this best air compressor that will protect the product’s vital components while making it easier to carry. The cord wrap works to keep the cord securely out of your way when you carry or store it. This product comes with two factor-installed, regulated air couplers to allow the compressor to support two users at one time. 

PROS

  • Weighs 30 pounds
  • Ergonomic handle 
  • 150 max PSI
  • Pancake design 
  • Console cover 
  • Cord wrap included 
  • Rubber feet 

CONS

  • Doesn’t mention needing to do the break-in procedure 

EPAuto Portable Air Compressor – Best for Inflating Lawn Mower Tires

Since lawn mower tires are smaller, you don’t need a huge air compressor to inflate them before you get back to your yard work, and this is why EPAuto’s best air compressor works well. You can plug it into your cigarette lighter socket in  your car as long as it’s a 12V-DC-style plug to make it very portable. You can inflate any tires up to a midsize SUV, and it comes equipped with a universal valve connector that is ready to use out of the box. You’ll get short cone adaptors for inflating swimming pools or kayaks and a needle valve for basketballs when you order. 

You can choose from four display units with this best air compressor, including KG/CM, BAR, KPA, and PSI. It comes with a bright LED flashlight that allows you to easily use it after it gets dark, and there is an automatic shutoff feature that will stop it from overloading your tires. There are four colors available, and the handle has a solid metal design that makes it easy to pick up and move around. It weighs in at just over a pound, and the very compact design makes it quick and easy to store. 

PROS

  • Plugs into a 12V-DC socket
  • Universal valve connector 
  • Multiple adapters available
  • LED flashlight
  • Four colors
  • Larger handle 
  • Different readout capabilities 

CONS

  • Runs very slowly 

AstroAI Air Compressor – Best for Lower Powered Tools

Any lower air-powered tools you have can use AstroAI’s best air compressor to safely and effectively drive nails or staples into your deck boxes, planters, patio, trim, and more without leaving them sticking out. It offers 35 L per minute, and it can easily pump up your car tires from 0 to 30 PSI in five minutes or less. All you have to do to work this product is set your desired pressure, hook it up, and let it run. Once it reaches the pressure setting, it’ll automatically switch it off before it over inflates your tires. You can click a single button to switch between KG/CM, BAR, kPa, and PSI readings. 

There is a large white backlit LCD screen on this best air compressor that makes it very easy to read at a glance in low light conditions. There is also a bright LED flashlight with an independent switch control for emergency use. The 10-foot cord has a very heavy-duty design that resists fraying or breaking, and it gives you plenty of room to move around as you use it. You get the air compressor, replacement fuse, three nozzle adapters, one valve extender, one quick connector, a screw rotation attachment, and a user manual. The three-year warranty will protect you from defects or damage. 

PROS

  • 35L per minute running pressure 
  • Automatic shutoff
  • Backlit LCD screen 
  • LED flashlight 
  • 10-foot cord
  • Three nozzle adapters 
  • Three-year warranty

CONS

  • Thin body material 

 HAUSBELL Portable Air Compressor – Best for Projects Around the House

The final product on the best air compressor list comes from Hausbell, and you get 150 PSI of working pressure with a 12-volt DC portable air compressor. It has a digital gauge display that is easy to read and monitor at a glance, and it is very accurate and fast. It’ll shut off by itself when it reaches your set pressure, and there is overheat protection built in to prevent the motor from overheating or breaking down with extended use. It gives you 35L per minute for your inflation rate, and you get a 9.8-foot power cord that gives you excellent ease of movement. 

There are three additional nozzles with this best air compressor, and the front and rear wheel connections make it very convenient to use around the house. The built-in LED flashlight allows you to use this air compressor in dark conditions, the bright blue screen is easy to read. There is a digital tire pressure gauge display on this unit that helps you get the correct volume of air in your tires, and the user manual is very detailed. Customer service is very responsive to questions or concerns to make it a solid choice for smaller projects. 

PROS

  • Compact design 
  • Bright pressure gauge screen 
  • 9.8-foot power cord 
  • Automatic shutoff 
  • LED flashlight built in
  • Detailed manual 
  • Responsive customer service

CONS

  • Readouts are very small lettering 

Best Air Compressor – Buying Guide 

Buying the best air conditioner means that you find a product specially tailored to your wants and needs, and this can be time-consuming with so many options available. I’m going to outline the biggest components all of the best air compressors have, and you can use them to narrow down your picks until you make your final choice. 

Portability 

Unless you don’t plan to ever need your air compressor out of your shop, portability is a must. For example, maybe you want to build an extension and you need your stapler or brad nailer on the job site. You’d need your air compressor to go with you. Take a look at your pick’s size, the length of the power cord, what type of end the cord has, and any handles. This will give you a good idea on whether or not it’s feasible for you to move it from job site to job site. 

2 Highly Portable Air Compressor
Smaller air compressors are highly portable, and this is an important factor to consider if you plan on moving it around or transporting it from job site to job site. If you can’t pick it up, make sure it has a solid handle and wheels. 

Noise Levels

Some of the best air compressors are very quiet when they run, and this is important if you plan to run them in an enclosed space like your workshop. You don’t want it so loud that it echos and causes problems with your hearing. If it’s too loud, it can also disturb anyone you live around. Check and see what the noise level rating is on any air compressors you look at and see if the company took steps to make it quieter. 

Horsepower 

The horsepower dictates how powerful your best air compressor is, but most don’t need a huge device for projects around the house or shop. There’s also a difference between five-horsepower in a professional-grade air compressor and five-horsepower in a hobby air compressor. One way to tell how much horsepower it has is to look at how much power it draws. A compressor that truly has five horsepower will use a 22-volt circuit and draw 24 amps. Hobby-style air compressors will run on an 110-volt circuit and draw 15 amps. This equals out to two true horsepower for the rating. 

PSI

The best air compressor’s PSI is the air pressure rating. If you want to build an outdoor toy storage space and need to use air tools, most need at least 90 PSI to run correctly. Your compressor will need a higher shut-off pressure to maintain this 90 PSI. A lot of industrial models have two stages. They slowly approach the shut-off pressure in two stages. The first is around 90 PSI, but it goes into the second stage that lets the pressure build to around 175 PSI. Most of the best air compressors for hobbyists shut off at 125 or 135 PSI, and they’re single stage. 

3 PSI and Project Size
Larger and more powerful air compressors are nice for helping you take on big projects, but they’re usually wasted on jobs that don’t require enough power. You could save yourself money by going with a smaller option, but weight the project size you do when you shop. 

CFM

Any air tool needs a specific volume to keep them running, and this comes rated in CFM or cubic feet per minute. There are several ratings for CFM. You may see a high rating for displacement CFM, and this rating comes from the speed and size of the pump. It’s zero pressure, so it doesn’t mean a lot in the grand scheme of things. The most important rating for CFM on smaller air compressors is 90 PSI because this is the pressure your air tools need. You should be able to get around three to four CFM per real horsepower when you hit 90 PSI. 

Tank Size 

Tank size isn’t a huge factor, but it’s still something to think about. The tank is responsible for storing the air, and it doesn’t produce it. You’ll have to consider which tools you need to run and whether or not you need intermittent or steady run time. For refinishing your hardwood floors with a sander, you may need a larger tank to keep the sander consistent. For intermittently using an impact wrench, you can get away with a smaller tank size. 

Bottom Line 

The best air compressor means something different to everyone. It’s important that you take your time when you shop and look at different brands. I’ve picked out 10 of the best air compressors available on the current market, and you can compare them using the short product reviews. Once you narrow your choice down, use the buying guide to make your pick for the best air compressor before having it shipped to your door in time to help you with all of your projects. 

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