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

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:

1. Categories

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

Brad Nailer

Framing Nailer

Impact Wrench, 3/8 inch

Ratchet, 1/4 inch

Medium-Duty Compressor, 4-8 CFM at 90 PSI

Angle Disc Grinder, 7 inch

Drill

Grease Gun

Hydraulic Riveter

Impact Wrench, 1/2 inch

Mini Die Grinder

Nibbler

Standard Paint Sprayer

Ratchet, 3/4 inch

Speed Saw

Heavy-Duty Compressor, 9-20 CFM at 90 PSI

Dual Sander

Chisel

Hammer

Cut-off tool

Impact Wrench, 1 inch

Needle Scaler

Orbital Sander

Rotational Sander

Shears

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.

Source: http://www.managemylife.com

3. Motors

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.

4. Horsepower

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.