Best Air Compressor Reviews

You might very well have seen air compressors and asked yourself why you would need one in the first place.

Air compressors perform a simple but important role. By using an engine, these hard-hitting machines can turn power into energy contained in a tank of compressed air. The pressure the starts to rise as more air gets forced into the tank. When it reaches the maximum level, the air will be stored for future use.

Even smaller air compressors designed for the home are handy and versatile additions to your toolkit, though.

Here are some common tasks they come in useful for:

  • Inflating car or bike tires
  • Pumping up balls
  • Getting air into inflatable toys
  • Stapling
  • Airbrush painting
  • Some lighter nail gun duty
  • Cleaning filters

We’ll jump right to it now with our selection of the best air compressor reviews so you can scope out your options. Once we’re done, we’ll drill down on some core factors to consider when you’re looking for the best air compressor available.

Editor's Choice

  • Will support 2 air tools
  • Large, 6-gallon tank yet lightweight at 30 pounds
  • Extremely quiet for a compressor at 80 decibels
Rated as
4/5
Budget Friendly

  • Runs reasonably quietly at 75 decibels
  • Class-leading 165 PSI
  • Higher CFM rating
Rated as
4/5
Amazon's Choice

  • Lightweight compressor with heavyweight performance
  • Finish nailer, brad nailer and crown stapler included
  • Very rapid recovery time so ideal on site
Rated as
5/5

The Best Air Compressor Reviews 2021 – Comparison Table

With a varied selection of air compressors on the market, choosing the best one can often feel overwhelming.

Luckily, we’re here to strip away that confusion and point you in the direction of the very best air compressor at your disposal.

Table of Contents

Main Features
  • Will support 2 air tools
  • Large, 6-gallon tank yet lightweight at 30 pounds
  • Extremely quiet for a compressor at 80 decibels
Rated as
4/5

First up in our air compressor reviews is a compact and pretty light oil-free air compressor from BOSTITCH, a Stanley subsidiary with over 30 years in the trenches. BOSTITCH has a hard-won reputation for producing extremely strong power tools at budget prices.

Although this pancake compressor has a generous 6-gallon air tank, it only weighs the same as the average well-stocked toolbox at 30 pounds. Although primarily intended for home DIY-ers, you can also use this compressor to achieve great results on site if you’re framing, fencing or carrying out any other work that calls for a high firing rate and minimal downtime. The tank fills in less than 3 minutes which is impressive.

The oil-free pump should last at least 3 years requiring almost no maintenance along the way.

Kicking out less than 80 decibels of noise at full clip, the BOSTITCH is just about as quiet as an air compressor gets.

Filling the tank to 150 PSI in 2 ½ minutes, it will then refill in just 25 seconds when the pressure dips below 120 PSI.

You’ll get 50 feet of hose thrown in along with a 10-piece blowgun and inflation kit. This makes an already cheap compressor even better value.

Why we like it

  • Will support 2 air tools
  • Large, 6-gallon tank yet lightweight at 30 pounds
  • Extremely quiet for a compressor at 80 decibels
  • Very quick tank refills in just 2 ½ minutes to 150 PSI
  • Super-simple to tweak outlet pressure

Conclusion

For one of the lightest and quietest compressors in its class with a real focus on build quality and performance, this BOSTITCH pancake is tough to beat.

Main Features
  • Runs reasonably quietly at 75 decibels
  • Class-leading 165 PSI
  • Higher CFM rating
Rated as
4/5

DeWALT tools and appliances are commonplace in workshops and on sites around the world. You’ll get great build quality and powerful performance at pocket-friendly prices and you’re buying into impeccable brand heritage.

It’s hard to find air compressors with 6-gallon tanks that still remain relatively portable without costing you a fortune. DeWALT solves this problem in the form of this 30-pound lightweight packing a reasonable punch while still not much more than mid-priced.

You’ll get a maximum pressure of 165 PSI which is great when you’ve got one person only operating tools. Add a second, as supported by this compressor, and you’ll start struggling. Most reviews don’t uncover the horsepower of this unit. As usual when a figure is hidden by a manufacturer, there’s usually a good reason and this powerplant develops only 0.9 HP which explains the dip in performance with a second operator.

None of this is to say the DeWALT doesn’t deliver. We simply believe in given you a full and frank lowdown on all products so you can make the best-informed decisions with no nasty surprises.

No air compressor is going to run quietly but as far as they go, the DeWALT doesn’t make too much racket. The decibel rating of 75 means you’ll probably still want ear defenders but the compressor is certainly fit for residential use.

Why we like it

  • Runs reasonably quietly at 75 decibels
  • Class-leading 165 PSI
  • Higher CFM rating than the competition at 2.6 SCFM @ 90 PSI
  • Oil-free pump slashes maintenance
  • Weighs just 30 pounds despite performance

Conclusion

With an oil-free motor meaning you won’t constantly be tinkering with your compressor and tipping the scales at just 30 pounds, this 6-gallon air compressor from DeWALT pushes the boundaries of this class of compressor while still leaving some room for improvement. If you’re only planning to use the compressor without someone else riding shotgun, the DeWALT makes a smart choice despite its minor deficiencies.

Main Features
  • Lightweight compressor with heavyweight performance
  • Finish nailer, brad nailer and crown stapler included
  • Very rapid recovery time so ideal on site
Rated as
5/5

PORTER-CABLE has uprated the standard 135 PSI pancake in no uncertain terms with this 150 PSI unit with a 6-gallon tank.

If you choose to invest in this cost-effective bundle, you’ll get a pair of nailers along with a crown stapler chucked in so you can get up and running with a project straight out the box. That’s all well and good if you genuinely plan to press those tools into commission. All the hoses and connections you need are also included.

As with all the best air compressors in this class, you’ll reap the benefit of a 6-gallon tank without being burdened with a lead weight. At 30 pounds it’s easy enough to shift around from workshop to garage or from site to site.

With 2.6 SCFM @ 90 PSI, you’ll get the rapid recovery time you’ll need if you’re using this compressor in a commercial setting. Time is money on site and you’ll be nailing again within a minute.

Why we like it

  • Lightweight compressor with heavyweight performance
  • Finish nailer, brad nailer and crown stapler included
  • The shroud is designed with protection and portability in mind
  • Very rapid recovery time so ideal on site
  • Higher pressure allows you to drive more nails in less time

Conclusion

Build quality is genuinely impressive and you should get all the power you need from this unit whether in the home workshop or contracting. PORTER-CABLE, as always, delivers in fine style with arguably the best air compressor in its class.

Main Features
  • Highly capable 2 HP unit
  • Low amp draw
  • Thermal overload protection
Rated as
3/5

While most of the best air compressors come with oil-free pumps, the Makita is an exception.

As with any aspect of buying the best air compressor, you should start by thinking closely about your intended usage. While this oil-lubricated pump might call for more effort on the maintenance front, you’ll end up with a rugged and hard-hitting compressor good for use on the job site or in the home workshop for years on end.

The beefy bored piston design of the 2 horsepower motor compressed a large amount of air in a single cycle without making too much noise. As always, you can’t expect a whisper-quiet air compressor but the 80-decibel rating means you can use this compressor at home without disturbing the neighbors.

Why we like it

  • Highly capable 2 HP unit
  • Low amp draw
  • Oil-lubricated pump increases lifespan if properly maintained
  • Thermal overload protection
  • Highly effective filter

Conclusion

The only real downside to the Makita is the 52-pound weight. Think about whether or not you’ll need to carry the compressor frequently from job to job. If so, you might consider one of the lighter alternatives. If that bulk doesn’t present a problem, the Makita Big Bore is a powerful and affordable air compressor from an industry giant well worth a place on your shortlist.

Main Features
  • 10-gallon capacity gives you great scope
  • Rapid refills
  • Oil-free operation
Rated as
4/5

Last but by no means least in our air compressor reviews is an absolute powerhouse from the stellar California Air Tools. As the company name makes abundantly clear, this outfit has a proven track record and dominates this segment of the industry with some awesome tools. This air compressor is no exception.

You should be aware off the bat this is certainly not the cheapest air compressor on the market. If you’ve got a more fluid budget, though, read on to see why this 10-gallon beast will repay your investment many times over.

It’s that tank capacity almost double that of competing compressors that gets things off to a strong start with the 10020DC. Oil-free, you won’t be niggled by tasky maintenance either.

Although this unit is not light at just under 90 pounds, a carrying handle goes some way toward easing transportation. On the plus side, at just 32 inches tall, storage presents no problem.

If you plan to run your compressor for long unbroken spells, the thermal protection overload kicks in when necessary safeguarding you from electrical malfunction.

CFM is impressive, 5.3 @ 90 PSI maxing out at 135 PSI. A complete refill takes less than 2 minutes.

Why we like it

  • 10-gallon capacity gives you great scope
  • Rapid refills thanks to dual piston pump
  • Oil-free operation and minimal maintenance
  • 32 inches high so easy to stash in limited spaces
  • Quick recovery times

Conclusion

Designed with the professional firmly in mind but user-friendly enough for enthusiastic home hobbyists, the California Air Tools 10020DC is our standout winner for the best air compressor.

best air compressor: Looking for more information?

Interested to learn more in-depth details about selecting the right tool for your needs? Read our Informational Buyer Guide and Frequently Asked Questions sections on this topic for more details.

Final Words...

We trust you’ve found some nuggets of useful information in these air compressor reviews and you’re now better placed to find the most appropriate model for your requirements.

If you take the time to familiarize yourself with the terminology and focus on your intended use, there’s no reason buying the best air compressor should be problematic.

And if you’re still unsure, just get in touch and we’ll help you out.

Related Articles