Air compressors are machines, with strong electric motor, that create and use compressed air capable of powering pneumatic tools like nailers, impact wrenches, staplers and paint sprayers. Its uses can cover vast jobs and applications for homeowners, contractors and technicians, alike. Homeowners mostly use compressors for home improvement projects and simple household applications like inflating tires or sports gear while contractors use it for framing, roofing, automotive repairs and bodywork.
To help you in your decision to buy a good air compressor, please see below some of the best brands of air compressors we have listed based on product review research done on the internet.
Best Air Compressor Products
- Porter-Cable C2002-WK Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor with 13-Piece Accessory Kit
- Stanley Bostitch CAP1512-OF 1.2 Gallon Oil-Free High-Output Trim Compressor
- Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor
- Campbell Hausfeld FP2028 1-Gallon Oil-Free Pancake Air Compressor with Accessory Kit
- Makita MAC700 Big Bore 2.0 HP Air Compressor
- Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak 1-Gallon Compressor
- Campbell Hausfeld FP209499 3-Gallon Air Compressor
- DEWALT D55140 1-Gallon 135 PSI Max Trim Compressor
- Ingersoll Rand P1IU-A9 Hand Carry Twinstack 2-HP Compressor
- Porter-Cable C1010 Heavy-Duty 1-Gallon 135 PSI Max Quiet Trim Compressor
Buying Guide for Air Compressors
If you plan to buy an air compressor, there are many factors to consider in order get the right product that gives the performance you need. Knowing these tips will point you in that direction so keep in mind the following:
Air compressors can be used in a variety of jobs and applications but it has been broken down into 2 categories:
a. Consumer Use – If you are into home-improvement projects or into a hobby that requires frequent usage of pneumatic tools, go for a consumer-grade air compressor. Designed to do household tasks like inflating toys, tires and sports gear, these compressors are typically single tank, oil-less models and affordably priced.
b. Professional Use – If you need to power multiple tools, the professional grade air compressor works best for you. Compared to the former category, these types are oil-lubricated (not oil-less) that come with large single tanks or twin tanks. As they have higher hp and cfm ratings, they are more powerful and have longer life span. Of course, with all these additional features, it follows that they are also more expensive. Portable compressors suit contractors and skilled people into DIY projects while stationary compressors are ideal for usage in workshops and garages like automotive repair or woodworkers.
2. CFM Label
Cubic feet per minute (CFM) is the true measure of any air compressor. Each air tool comes labeled with its CFM requirements. The general rule is if you want to determine your CFM needs for prolonged use of an air tool, multiply the tool’s labeled CFM requirement (often given as the SCFM) by 4.
Below is a Right Compressor Tool Guide to match air tools with the optimal air compressor:
Light-Duty Compressor, 0-3 CFM at 90 PSI
Impact Wrench, 3/8 inch
Ratchet, 1/4 inch
Medium-Duty Compressor, 4-8 CFM at 90 PSI
Angle Disc Grinder, 7 inch
Impact Wrench, 1/2 inch
Mini Die Grinder
Standard Paint Sprayer
Ratchet, 3/4 inch
Heavy-Duty Compressor, 9-20 CFM at 90 PSI
Impact Wrench, 1 inch
The general rule states that the higher the CFM rating and air tank capacity of an air compressor, the higher the price. A little more amount may be added if you go for a unit that’s oil-free. One gallon air compressors can cost $100 and 60 gallon models start at $500.
a. Gas versus Electric – Aside from you not being tied down to an electric outlet, a gas powered air compressor is proven handy, reliable and powerful; but with 2 drawbacks: it will have to be vented in a closed area and it does come with an expensive price. Electric compressors are ideal if you are working in an enclosed area with poor ventilation because you won’t get overcome by fumes.
b. Belt Driven versus Direct Drive – This is all about air compressor overheating. Belt-in drives vibrate less and are cooler than direct drives.
Airflow requirement is a combined function of the power and efficiency of the compressor and capacity of the air pump. So long as your air compressor has a horsepower that meets your airflow requirements, then that’s the only thing that’s important. To give a range, 2 HP is actually okay for any home compressor if it has enough airflow to fulfill your requirements.
5. Tank Size
Having a large tank enables you to work longer without recharging the air tank; hence, this is ideal for auto technicians with a starting point of 20 – 30 gallons. For airing up tires, the smaller “hotdog” or “pancake” tank compressor with compressors providing 125 psi would suffice.