Air compressors are machines that play crucial roles in our industry sectors where compressed air is required.
These machines have specific configurations and specs and are used for different applications such as powering pneumatic tools to simply inflating tires. They are classified into two main categories: stationary (piston types) and the portable types.
Among the two, the portable air compressors offer a lot of advantages in terms of personal or for residential use. They are very compact but always efficient and are lightweight having them on your vehicle or carrying them by hand is not a burden.
They also don’t create much noise unlike the large stationary types, have no fumes because these are usually electricity-powered so they can be plugged into any standard electrical sockets.
And lastly, their significant uses are a lot – for light construction jobs, to home renovations up to the most basic airbrushing for art projects.
Portable Air Compressors Mini-Review
PORTER-CABLE C2002-WK Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor with 13-Piece Accessory Kit
Weighing only about 30 pounds, this electric-powered oil-free air compressor is equipped with an induction motor for stronger air punch. When you use it for your nail gun, inflating your tires or any other simple jobs for your home improvement projects, this completes the job.
Air power is at 3.5 SCFM. With a large 6-gallon tank, you can have enough stored air for your simple tasks. It can be plugged into normal household circuits.
Soft start motor can run at 3.5 SCFM for a quick recharge on its 6-gallon tank. If used with 150 PSI, air pressure use can be extended. Equipped with a High-Flo air regulator, it protects its tank from sudden pressure drop. Included is a kit with 13 accessories and 25-foot nylon hose.
With its 6-gallon capacity and a regulator, this pancake can store a lot of air while letting you do your work continuously. With the 150 PSI maximum tank pressure, it can provide longer, strong air performance at 2.6 SCFM using 90 PSI. The capacity that this machine is capable of will allow for quick air recovery. Already installed are its air coupler and plug.
Can be loud and noisy if not properly maintained and don’t have the capacity to inflate tire trucks based on reviews.
California Air Tools 5510SE Ultra Quiet and Oil-Free 1.0-HP 5.5-Gallon Steel Tank Air Compressor
If you want the best portable air compressor with the quietest motor, try this powerful 1.0 HP that runs at 1680 RPM. This product is designed with increased duty cycle that will make you do your job efficiently.
It is piston type but does not use oil and still performs at high performance with no risks of piston wear-off and that’s because of the manufacturer’s advanced coating technology applied on their piston-type units. With 5.5-gallon steel air tank, it only weighs 46 lbs and wheeling it around is pretty easy.
3.10 CFM at 40 PSI and 2.20 CFM at 90 PSI where maximum pressure is 120 PSI. Oil-free pump and super quiet that noise from it averages only 60 decibels.
This is one of the most popular portable air compressors known to be noiseless for home use. Because it is oil-less and fumeless, using it inside your home makes it a more convenient machine for residential use. You won’t be bothering much of your household and neighbors while you work and it can be plugged into any 110V outlet.
Not designed for heavy continuous work as it’s not lubricated.
Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak, 1/2 hp running 1-Gallon Compressor
Very light, only about 20 pounds and you can carry it anywhere. This is the best portable air compressor when it comes to creating your art, crafts and doing your hobbies.
It is also of the ultra-quiet kind but in spite of its 1 HP compressor, it provides peak performance for small to medium home jobs whenever you need to use pneumatic tools.
One horsepower peak, .5 hp running with one-gallon capacity. Can deliver 20 to 44 drives/minute. Maximum pressure is 125 PSI which is more than enough for light pneumatic tools. Motor starts at 4 amps and the electric current requirement is 115 V. Air recovery time is 0-120 PSI in about 2 minutes.
Very ideal for light to medium work so it’s perfect for home renovations and improvements. Its aluminum tank makes it a safe companion for home use and no smell of oil because this is basically lube-free. More quiet than the pancake types, its stand is also rubber-covered so you won’t harm your floor with it. Comes with a one year warranty.
Low air volume and not for inflating tires or heavy gun spraying and heavy duty nailers. May not last years with constant use. Internal wires, according to one consumer are not properly routed.
PORTER-CABLE CMB15 150 PSI 1.5 Gallon Oil-Free Fully Shrouded Compressor
This unit is loved by many users and sees it as the best portable air compressor among the inflator types sold at Amazon. Very light at around 20 pounds, you can take it anywhere inside your house when repairing or trimming using your air-powered tools.
With 1.5 gallon tank for enough air stocks and oil-free, maintenance is almost nil. So quiet since its noise motor is only 79 dBA. Very solid and compact design, everything inside is fully protected.
159 psi, 1.5-gallon tank capacity and runs at 2.0 SCFM at 90 psi, this unit has a rapid compressor recovery time. The tank is fully protected so no worries of leaking. It requires no maintenance but promises long life.
Runs at 120V and have a quick starting system that even on a cold environment, this would definitely kick to life. Included are a 25-feet coiled hose and 8 pieces accessories on the kit. Comes with 1-year warranty.
Can be used for nail guns but not with heavy duty guns. It is very light at 20 pounds and can be carried anywhere.
Operates on 120 V AC power. Best for inflating car tires, artwork, spray painting, and more. Very compact, versatile and efficient small companion whenever you need powerful air punch for your tools.
Included accessories are not the best qualities but the better accessories are readily available online. Not for heavy duty work.
Master Flow MF-1040 Cyclone High Volume Portable Air Compressor
The best portable air compressor as a travel companion is one that is really reliable wherever you need it, even on the road and this unit generally doesn’t fail its buyers.
Very compact and can be powered only by your car’s 12-volt cigarette lighter socket, it is very convenient to use and best for tire inflation which is mainly its purpose.
Can inflate up to 150 psi and with a maximum capacity of 30 liters of air/minute. It comes with an integrated air pressure gauge, an adjustable coil hose and a storage bag for carrying it conveniently.
Its rubber handle is also a big plus to make it highly mobile. The power source is your car’s 12-Volt socket and best use for cars and standard-size SUVs tires.
Quite and compact with a solid frame so you’ll know this is a tough little guy and will do its job accordingly. Can be plugged into any car’s 12-volt socket or your car’s cigarette lighter socket and efficient not only for car tires but also for inflatable boats or anything you need for lots of air and pressurized air. Very sturdy on ground level.
Screw-on nozzle adapter is of screw type, not quick-release. Parts of the adapters are also too small and difficult for people with large hands and the elderly to unscrew which unfortunately can release some air when unscrewing. Fuses are not of best quality and sometimes blow up.
Bostitch BTFP02012 6 Gallon Pancake Compressor
This light, electric powered and dual-powered compact air compressor from Bostitch have a lot of useful things it can help with.
For a company that has brought up a lot of quality tools, this unit can be used for two light tools simultaneously during home renovations. With a noise level of only 78.5 dBA, it has a maximum 150 PSI and capacity of 6-gallon air tank.
With 2.6 SCFM delivered at 90 psi, you know you can do a lot of work with this little guy. Noise level is only 78.5 which is quiet enough to work inside homes.
It comes with a Bostitch high flow regulator and also couplers. Weighing only about 29 pounds, its slim, rounded tank makes it very convenient to carry and store at the back of your car.
Well-built and has a quick recovery time even for brad nailers. It is also excellent for trimming doors and windows and for basic artworks, spray painting with light spray guns and capable of small jobs like framing and fencing using light pneumatic tools.
Does not come with a hose but can be fitted with a standard ¼ inch hose. Not for heavy duty work.
Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor, 3-Gallon Horizontal Oilless with 10 Piece Kit .36 CFM .33HP 120V 3A (FP209499AV)
The best portable air compressor for nail guns, pumping car tires, bikes and sports and gym balls, this product can actually go for lots of projects. With its 3-gallon size tank, it is very mobile and can help you with your upholstery projects.
It’s oil-less so it’s basically maintenance-free. This is what you call the small amazing Air Power Expert for home use. It is also very stable where it stands.
100 maximum psi, .36 CFM at 90 PSI, you can do a lot of projects with this. Capacity is 3-gallon and free from pulsations due to piston action. Runs at 110-120 Volt household current. Weighs only around 18 pounds.
Oil-less with a cooler-running motor so no risks of overheating. Includes 10-piece accessory kit that composed of a blow gun, female coupler, 25-foot recoil hose, two inflation needles, air chuck, two male plugs, inflation adapter, tapered inflation nozzle, and Teflon tape.
If you want a great help with your home repairs and construction jobs, this product is designed for brad nailing, stapling and air brushing for your paint jobs as well as for inflating even large tires of trucks. With a large gauge placed on top of the equipment, you can quickly monitor your tank’s air pressure.
The hose that comes with it accordingly is of poor quality. Can be too loud to use in confined spaces.
DEWALT D55168 200 PSI 15 Gallon 120-Volt Electric Wheeled
People who have passions with the upright but strong, powerful portable air compressors will love this. It doesn’t use oil, thanks to the advanced coating technology the company also uses so it is almost maintenance free.
With a 15-gallon air capacity and 200 PSI max tank pressure, this can be your reliable workhorse on your workshop. With its wide-angle metal handle and sturdy large wheels, this is a breeze to transport from one place to another.
With a maximum capacity of 200 psi and at 5.0 SCFM at 90 psi, this compressor is quick in its recovery. And with 15-gallon air capacity, that’s a lot of powerful, pressurized air to power up your impact wrench, air nailers, and everything light to medium-duty pneumatic tools.Noise level is 78 dBA and because it uses Efficient High Pressure (EHP) technology, you can use it continuously
Noise level is 78 dBA and because it uses Efficient High Pressure (EHP) technology, you can use it continuously for your workshop or home improvement tasks. Oil-less so it’s maintenance free and operates at 120 AC Volts.
If you have a workshop at home, this will suit your requirements for the best portable air compressor as it can deliver a strong punch of air for an extended period of time.
It is an excellent machine for sprayers, blowing out parts, air ratchets, impact tools and air nailers. Some reviewers say this can be used for construction sites for light to heavy duty tasks using small pneumatic tools.
Home electrical current should be at least 20 amp circuit. Not for large heavy duty tools that suck up lots of air like a die grinder, air sander or rotary grinder. The drain valve is too close to the floor according to one user. Some parts are not of quality materials.
Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor
This is one small machine that deserves to be called the best portable air compressor for construction sites for medium to light pneumatic jobs.
Solidly built and very compact with cast iron frame it also has a big bore cylinder for more powerful piston action. It’s piston type so it is designed for fast recovery time. It is also an ideal companion for commercial uses but perfect for home renovation projects as well.
This little tank is equipped with a 4.2-gallon twin-stacked tank with an operating maximum pressure of 130 PSI equivalent to 4.8 CFM and 90 PSI at 4.2 CFM. It has two hose plugs so you can use two light tools at the same time.
With a low AMP, tripping the breakers can be avoided. It is oil lubricated so it can run continuously without stalling. Need 120 volts AC power and weighing around 80 pounds it also has two easy to see sight glass to monitor oil and air pressure.
With a roll cage made of cast iron to defy pressure during tough construction work, this 2.5 HP machine is of heavy-duty type among the portable kinds. That’s why this can be your reliable little helper for your construction job, workshop projects or even for inflating tires of large trucks.
It also has all the precautionary features you need for extensive heavy work such as oil-lubrication to reduce piston wear-off, low amp to prevent breakers from tripping and an industrial grade air filter for maximum efficiency and increased air intake.
A bit heavy so big wheels should make it more mobile. Can be too loud to use in confined spaces.
BOSTITCH CAP1512-OF 1.2 Gallon Oil-Free High-Output Trim Compressor
Weighing only 23.5 pounds but with 1.5 HP and 1.2-gallon tank, this is the best portable air compressor for light work for residential use.
It is oil-free but can deliver 2.8 CFM at 90 PSI and 150 PSI maximum operating pressure so it’s safe to say you can use it for a lot of lighter tasks with home pneumatic tools.
Its motor runs at low 12 amps which prevent tripping the breakers. This is a very important machine to keep in your garage or workshops.
Weighing only 29 pounds, this runs at 120 volts current. The pump delivers 2.8 CFM at 90 PSI and max operating pressure is 150 PSI. The motor runs at 1.5 HP but with a peak performance of 2.0 HP.
The tank is 1.2-gallon size good enough for inflating bike tires, air brushing, light duty nailers and other basic needs.
It has a LED indicator to signal if the compressor is running or not. Operates on 120 volts power and with integrated control panel, this unit is very easy to operate. Protected by a roll cage for stability, it is actually easy to carry by hand.
This is a very precise machine if you need only short blasts of air on short volumes. In spite of its 1.2-gallon tank capacity, the PSI can go up to 150 so it can also perform like the ones with large tanks and your handy tools can operate at full pressure.
Quiet and oil-less, this requires very little or no maintenance. Very useful for home use whenever you need to inflate things or for air spraying and air nailing.
Not built for continuous and heavy duty jobs. Won’t last years on constant use but good enough to keep with its low price.
Designs and Technical Specs to Consider:
There are five major designs of the portable compressors:
These have round flat storage tanks where the engines are mounted right over the air tank. Their size and design make them convenient to store and take them anywhere.
With horizontal design and cylindrical tank, these are shaped like hot dogs. Their engines are also mounted on top of their air tanks.
Two horizontal, cylindrical tanks stacked on top of the other for minimal space requirements but for more compressed air storage. Their engines are on the side of the tanks.
These are the larger types for versatility and for more air pressure capacity. These are generally equipped with wheels.
These are the smallest and newest types, no storage tanks and the motor continuously runs for air supply.
If you want to buy the best portable air compressor for your specific needs, make sure you check on the following specifications:
This is the power of the engine. Portable air compressors’ HP range from 1.5 – 6.5 HP. The higher the HP, the stronger the motor and more power with the pressurized air.
Pounds per Square Inch (PSI)
This is the air pressure which the motor of the compressor generates inside the compressor’s tank. Portable air compressors normally store pressured air at 90 PSI which is sufficient enough for light pneumatic tools.
Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM)
This is the volumetric measurement of air that flows on the compressor’s system per minute. Also, Standard Cubic Feet per Minute (SCFM) which is the compressor’s capability to deliver the volume of air on specific given time. So the higher these gets, the more punch your air compressor can sustain.
This indicates the size and compactness of the compressor for easy storage and convenience as a travel companion.
Power source like gas or electricity
The new generations of portables are mostly electricity-powered but gas-powered are larger and best for outdoor work.
Size of the tank
The speed of recovery for pressurized air depends on the size of the tank. So the bigger the tank, the larger storage you have for pressurized air.
This list hopefully will give you an idea which can be your best portable air compressor you would want to keep for your various tasks. All of these machines are actually on the Top Sellers’ section found at Amazon.
Moreover, the advantages and disadvantages of these compressors were mainly from the consumers’ comments that were gathered from various online forums especially from Amazon to indicate actual use, performance and observations with these machines. However, if you need to see complete and honest reviews, you can also check these machines at Amazon with their complete specs and be able to read hands-on experience from actual users.