The 10 Best Air Compressors

When you want to get the job done right, you need the right tools. Whether you’re working construction, doing a little home renovation, or inflating tires, an air compressor is essential in a variety of situations. A quick look online, however, reveals dozens upon dozens of makes and models.

So, how can you choose the best air compressor for the job? We’ve rounded up the ten best compressors on the market to save you hours of online research. Here’s what we found.

​How We Chose Our Ratings

When we make our “best of” product lists, the goal is to provide you with accurate and honest information. What good would any of our lists be if they contained a handful of mediocre products, right? To make sure we bring the best products to your attention, we consider several factors.

First, we look at testimonials and reviews from actual customers. A company can make all of the claims they want, but the real test of a product is in whether or not customers like it. We also take data surrounding the product into consideration, like performance statistics.

Finally, we look at the brand itself. Does the name carry weight in the industry, or is this a little-known company without much to back their product? Brand reputation is important and completes the factors we consider when selecting our top 10 lists. There’s a method to the madness, and we hope that you find our research beneficial.

​Top 10 Best Air Compressors: Updated Edition

Here it is, the best air compressor collection on the internet. We’ve arranged these machines using a five-star rating system, placing the top performers at the top of the list.

PORTER-CABLE C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor
  • 150 psi max tank pressure stores more air in the tank for longer tool run times
  • 2.6 SCFM at 90 psi allows for quick compressor recovery time, per ISO1217
  • Six-gallon pancake-style tank for stability, includes water drain valve and rubber feet

Porter-Cable’s C2002 UMC remains one of the strongest air compressors on the market in its price range. With a whopping 150 PSI maximum tank and an easy to use interface, this no-nonsense machine can help you increase tool run times throughout the day.

With multiple adapters in the accessory kit, the applications for this machine are near endless. The device runs on electricity, making it safe for in-home use, and the tank holds six whole gallons of air. Best of all, there’s no maintenance required with this oil-free compressor.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Pros

  • Quick connects/disconnects for easy tool changes
  • Dual outlets for multi-person and multi-tool use
  • Oil-free, electric pump that offers low maintenance and continuous power
  • Lightweight and compact design for transportation and carrying capability

Cons

  • Depending on the surface on which the unit is placed, it can move around due to the vibrations caused by the fill up and restarts.
  • The 6-gallon tank can take as long as 3 minutes to fill to the maximum 150 PSI.

Quality

Price

Our Rating

$$$

BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor, Oil-Free, 6 Gallon, 150 PSI...
  • Note:Item does not includes hose or gun kit
  • 150 max PSI 6.0 gallon tank (22.7 L) and 2.6 SCFM* delivered @ 90 PSI pump
  • High efficiency motor for easy start up in cold weather ; BOSTITCH high efficiency motor for easy start up in cold...

Another pancake design with 150 PSI capability, the Bostitch BTFP02012 is equally as strong as the Porter-Cable above. This model also offers a high-flow regulator and couplers to adapt to a variety of tools.

The motor runs within 78 dBA noise levels, and there still isn’t any maintenance thanks to the oil-free design. You’ll notice that this one can start up in cold temperatures as well.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Pros

  • 6.0 gallon tank &  150 PSI max tank pressure 
  • 31.5 pounds weight make unit easy to carry
  • Durability and premium performance

Cons

  • The pressure regulator knob is prone to damage

Quality

Price

Our Rating

$$$

DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor, 6 Gallon, 165 PSI (DWFP55126)
  • 165 max PSI 6.0 gallon tank (22.7 L) and 2.6 SCFM delivered at 90 PSI pump. SCFM @ 40 PSI 3.7 scfm
  • High efficiency motor for easy start up in cold weather or extension cord application. [14 ga or larger, 50 ft. (15.2 m)...
  • 75.5 dBA noise level for a quiet work setting

The DeWalt DWFP55126 is the most powerful operator on this list at 165 PSI. It features a 6-gallon tank with a 90 PSI pump, adding to the level of compression. Despite its strength, the motor still runs at a 75 dBA noise level.

With a high-flow regulator and various couplers, there’s little this model can’t help you accomplish. We recommend this model for large jobs both at the workplace and at home, since it runs on electricity.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Pros

  • most powerful operator on the list at 165 PSI
  • a 6-gallon tank with a 90 PSI pump

Cons

  • Need to order air hose separately

Quality

Price

Our Rating

$$$

Kensun AC/DC Power Supply Portable Air Compressor Pump with Analog...
  • You get enormous customer service support from one of the most trusted names in automotive accessories.
  • The tire inflator is perfect for use indoors and during the travel as it is designed with AC and DC power cords.
  • This portable air compressor comes with a pair of accessory nozzles. If you have Schrader valve, you may need an...

If you’re searching for one of the best air compressors that’s portable, this is a great device to purchase. This comes with a convenient case that makes it easy for storing and transporting the compressor. The case is also a great way to protect the compressor from moisture and dust. 

Sometimes, having a reliable compressor to hand can make your life easier when you need to inflate a ball in a short amount of time. In cases such as this, the compressor by Kensun is a great asset for sports lovers. It’s also an ideal product for inflating your car, motorbike and bicycle tires as your purchase includes a wide set of adapter nozzles suitable for many different tires.

Activating the compressor is easy too as you simply screw the hose onto the valve stem and press the button to release the air into your chosen object.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Pros

  • Easy and convenient to operate
  • Highly versatile for a range of tires

Cons

  • Hose is shorter than most competitor brands

Quality

Price

Our Rating

$$$

VacLife Air Compressor Tire Inflator, DC 12V Portable Air Compressor...
  • [FAST INFLATING SPEED & EASY TO USE] This auto tire air compressor can inflate your standard car tire fastest in...
  • [AUTO SHUT OFF] This car air pump uses simple and useful technology. You can preset the pressure you expect, and when...
  • [LED LIGHTING & 13 FEET-LONG RANGE] Our electric air pump comes with the LED light can help you to inflate your tire AT...

This air compressor is one of the quickest and easiest products to use as you simply flip a switch to release the air. VacLife designed this product so the air compressor would handle the work for you, leaving you to just have to patiently wait until the process has finished. 

This air pump automatically switches off if you haven’t used it for a while to ensure your safety. VacLife also equipped this product with LED lighting so you can use the product at night and remain safe on the roads. The air compressor also comes with a lengthy cable, so you don’t have to constantly unplug the product to move around to different wheels.

We also love the versatility this pump provides, as it’s suitable to use on an array of tires such as a car, motor, SUV, sports equipment, and more. As a result, it’s perfect for the entire family for numerous occasions.

Pros

  • LED light makes it appropriate and safe to operate at night
  • Long cord makes accessing all tires easy
  • Quick and easy to switch on and off

Cons

  • The cord hangs free as there's no reeling action

Quality

Price

Our Rating

$$$

Portable Air Compressor, 2-Gallon Hot Dog Tank, Oilless with Air Hose...
  • Includes 25-foot recoil hose, needle, and adapter, 2 inflator nozzles and air chuck. Operates on 120-volt household...
  • 2-gallon tank for inflating car tires, bike tires and sports balls; it’s also perfect for powering air/ brad nailers,...
  • Integrated control panel to choose air power; oil less pump for maintenance-free ownership; fully enclosed shroud for...

Complete with 25-foot recoil hose, inflator nozzles, a needle, an adapter and an air chuck, there’s virtually nothing you can’t do with the FP209000AV. The 2-gallon tank makes it an excellent choice for balls and tires, but many enjoy using this to power their nail guns.

Perhaps the neatest feature on this Campbell Hausfeld model is the integrated control panel. The panel allows you to adjust the air pressure depending on the task at hand. For that reason, plenty of customers enjoy using it around the house.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Pros

  • has  25-foot recoil hose, inflator nozzles, a needle, an adapter and an air chuck.
  • adjustable air pressure features

Cons

  • Ear Protection Required
  • Piston Bearing Failure

Quality

Price

Our Rating

$$$

No products found.

Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor
  • 12 VOLT - 120PSI Max Working Pressure, engine must be running during use.
  • 1.47CFM Free Flow @ 0 PSI.Max. Amp Draw: 20 Amps
  • Portable air compressor powered via alligator clamps direct to battery.

The Viair 00088 88P is designed to operate in any weather condition and any climate right out of the box. It’s handheld, which means you can get right to work no matter where you are with 120 PSI in your hands.

Why so rugged? This model is powered via alligator clamps, which makes it an excellent choice for outdoor use on tires. Whether you’re keeping this one as a spare in your car, truck, or carrying with along with your ATV, it sure can come handy.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Pros

  • Viair is high duty cycle tool  at 45% compared to most tire inflators which stand at 15% (less cool down time required with 88p). It is powered by the car battery and comes with extension clips to gain power. Most other compressors use the power of the cigarette lighter; the cigarette lighter plug-in isn’t a huge issue, its a matter of preference but going under the hood an clamping for energy can be safer and is definitely more sufficient.

Cons

  • There aren’t many. For a tool in this price point giving the quality that it gives, its awesome. The only thing that its lacking is a kit case. Any other cons would be based on preference, as I amention above, some people done like twist on connectors or clipping their tools to a battery- you decide whats more important.

Quality

Price

Our Rating

$$$

Craftsman 3 Gallon Oil Lube 135psi Portable Air Compressor with 3...
  • INDUSTRY LEADING 135 max PSI to get projects done faster
  • 1.0 HP motor guarantees quick recharges for steady work
  • Universal one hand quick connect allows for fast swapping between tools and jobs

Craftsman is a tried and true brand, and their 135 PSI 3 Gallon Oil-Lube compressor doesn’t disappoint. Equipped with a single horsepower motor, you can expect a quick recharge and ample power from a portable device.

Despite needing oil to run, you won’t need to use a dipstick to check your levels. There’s a handy oil sight glass that gives you a full view of how much oil is left in the device. All in all, it’s a powerful outdoor model for its size.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Pros

  • It is strong enough to huge tasks that require a lot of power.
  • It has an ergonomic design and high portability.
  • Since it is oil-lubricated, it is durable enough, unlike much oil-free equipment. It fits you want to perform inflation tasks, it is a favorite device to use

Cons

  • It’s very loud to use in a place where there are many people.
  • Constant oiling is tedious to many people.

Quality

Price

Our Rating

$$$

California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S Light & Quiet Portable Air...
  • Ultra quiet only 56 Decibels
  • Oil-Free pump for less maintenance & costs
  • Lightweight for easy transporting - 29.5 lbs

The CAT-1P1060S is the quietest on this list at only 56 dB, remains oil-free for less maintenance, and is incredibly durable by design. The motor only runs at 0.6 horsepower, but the entire machine also only weighs 29 lbs. With a one-gallon steel tank and 90 PSI, this is a handy tool to have.

We like this one for its compact size and a decent level of power. While it doesn’t make sense for a variety of pneumatic tools, it does an excellent job of helping around the home and powering smaller tools on the job.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Lightweight design
  • Ultra-quiet operation
  • Low maintenance

Cons

  • Beads in the tank
  • Loose pressure manifolds

Quality

Price

Our Rating

$$$

EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump, Digital Tire Inflator
  • Convenience: Plug directly into Cigarette Lighter Socket of your Vehicle. 12VDC, 10 to 15 amps, 120 to 180W. Equipped...
  • Multiple Uses: Inflate tires on cars, bikes, sedan and midsize SUV. (Engine size under 3.5 liter) Universal valve...
  • Capacity: Does NOT Support truck tires, for instance: light truck tires (LT), heavy duty truck tires or any truck tires.

The EP Auto 12V is by far the smallest portable device on this list. Despite its size, it can still pump out 100 PSI while staying plugged into a cigarette lighter. That’s impressive, but its ability to connect to a vehicle’s cigarette lighter or a 12VDC source makes it even more versatile.

It comes equipped with an LED flashlight and digital gauge, as well as an accessory kit including nozzles and needle. All in all, this is an excellent choice for the price. If you need something extra compact, then this might be your best option.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Pros

  • Simple to use
  • Connects to cigarette lighter socket
  • Protect itself from overheating

Cons

  • No adaptor for wall socket 
  • List Element
  • List Element

Quality

Price

Our Rating

$$$

Product

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Details

Our Rating

Price

one of the strongest air compressors on the market in its price range

offers a high-flow regulator and couplers to adapt to a variety of tools.

the most powerful operator on this list at 165 PSI. It features a 6-gallon tank with a 90 PSI pump, adding to the level of compression.

This air compressor comes with a case that is great for convenience and portability

Quick and easy to use and suitable for an array of tires

Complete with 25-foot recoil hose, inflator nozzles, a needle, an adapter and an air chuck, there’s virtually nothing you can’t do with the FP209000AV.

designed to operate in any weather condition and any climate right out of the box. It’s handheld, which means you can get right to work no matter where you are with 120 PSI in your hands.

is a tried and true brand, and their 135 PSI 3 Gallon Oil-Lube compressor doesn’t disappoint. Equipped with a single horsepower motor

the quietest on this list at only 56 dB, remains oil-free for less maintenance, and is incredibly durable by design. The motor only runs at 0.6 horsepower, but the entire machine also only weighs 29 lbs. With a one-gallon steel tank and 90 PSI

the smallest portable device on this list.it can still pump out 100 PSI while staying plugged into a cigarette lighter.

​​Buyer’s Guide

When choosing the best air compressor, there are a few factors you’ll want to consider. No two machines are alike, with each tackling a specific range of intended tasks. Here’s what to look for.

Airflow

The PSI output, or pounds per square inch of pressure, of your air compressor is critical. This is how you can gauge the strength of the product. Larger jobs often require a stronger unit, while smaller tasks around the home benefit from a little less raw power.

The choice is ultimately yours, but keep in mind that too little or too much pressure is a bad thing. Without enough PSI, you run the risk of not accomplishing the task at hand. With too much, you may damage the object you’re working on.

Tank Size

Are you working commercially or at home? A portable model might make sense for jobs around the house, but larger tanks can hold more air. This makes an increased tank size ideal when working with pneumatic tools.

Oil or Oil-Free?

A key difference in many manufacturers is the use of oil to lubricate the machine’s working parts. If you don’t mind checking and changing oil, then there’s nothing wrong with the oil-based variety. Several models employ different means to keep their working parts running, which makes them lighter and more hassle-free.

Power Supply

Depending on what you will use your air compressor for, you either need an electric or gas-powered model. Portable and larger electric varieties are more often than not made for use at home, plugging into outlets or even connecting to car batteries. Gas-powered models have more power overall but do emit fumes.

Compression Stages

You’ll have your choice between a single-stage or double-stage air compressor. Single-stage models draw air into one or two tanks and pressurize it on its way out. Double-stage models pressurize in both the first and second tank, adding more power.

This metric can add to the PSI of your model and relates in a similar way. How much power do you need this machine to produce? Once you answer that question, you can decide between these two variants.

Safety Features

Pressure gauges and thermal protection are vital safety features for an air compressor. We don’t recommend picking up a model without either. Other safety features deal with the operation of the device as well as ensuring that no parts work themselves loose over time. As long as you have the first two covered, you can choose whatever you would like from there.

As you’ve noticed, the models we listed in the top 10 vary in design and style. While all air compressors essentially do the same thing, those aspects can change performance. Most are either designed to be portable or operate at higher standards, making it important to understand the difference in design so you can pick the best option for your tasks.

The Pancake

The flatter design of these models makes them more stable, often allowing for a higher PSI. At the same time, this also makes them harder to store as they take up more space. They’re usually recommended for larger, industrial jobs, but can also make excellent home devices.

Twin Stack

This variety offers two, horizontally stacked tanks. This increases your capacity while helping to save on space. Despite the storage-friendly design, the twin stack does not hinder performance.

Hot Dog Style

Hot dog compressors are single, cylindrical tanks that sit in a horizontal alignment. They are easy to store, but the design comes with a slight reduction in performance. Keep that in mind for whatever jobs you plan on using one for.

The Wheelbarrow

This version also comes equipped with two tanks, but these compressors are a little larger. Wheelbarrow versions remain incredibly mobile, making them an excellent choice for projects that encompass a larger space.


You will need to decide which model would best suit your needs. Do you need something with extra force to power through a large or tough job? Would you be better off with something smaller than can fill a tire then be easily stored away for future use? The right air compressor is always going to be the best tool for the job.


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