Throughout the many years of research and development, air compressors have proven to be quite popular due to their overall investment value; a single air compressor can save both professionals and do-it-yourselfers loads of money by allowing them to use less expensive power tools which can each depreciate in value quickly due to wear and tear. However, even though the many benefits of a top-notch air compressor can outweigh the frequently exorbitant prices, many do-it-yourselfers don’t see the bigger picture and would rather just continually replace their current tools rather than invest in an air compressor and the accompanying equipment. Which may seem like the right choice, considering how very expensive many professional-grade air compressors can be. Luckily, research and technological advances in the air compressor industry have recently led to the production of a variety of air compressor models that are extremely affordable, so much so that using one can make you your money back within no time.
Though industry products have become more affordable while also performing better, compiling a list of the best air compressors out on the market right now requires a lot of research, as there are hundreds of air compressor models and manufacturers to choose from. Factoring in the similarities and differences in consumer needs—from homeowner and do-it-yourselfer to small business owner and professional—we believe we have found the best air compressors on the market no matter what your level of expertise. That said, be sure to make an educated decision when you are picking out your new air compressor by reading our in-depth reviews below. No matter what project you are working on, we’re sure there is an air compressor for you.
Bostitch CAP1512-OF Trim Compressor
For the price, the Bostitch CAP1512-OF 1.2 Gallon Oil-Free High-Output Trim Compressor is one of the best values you can get in today’s air compressor market. Though it may seem quite small at first, this compressor packs a punch and operates at an impressively high level. Combining productivity and portability, the oil-free compressor pump transports 2.8 cubic feet per minute of air at 90 PSI, with a maximum operating pressure of 150 PSI. Utilizing such a high range of pressure, the Bostitch pump is guaranteed to continue operations throughout multiple finish tool operations, whether you are using the compressor at home or in the shop. The Bostitch air compressor motor also operates at 1.5 horsepower, using 12 amps per startup to easily get going without messing up your power grid by tripping any breakers. And at a lightweight 23.5 pounds, the 1.2 gallon compressor allows you to move it around from worksite to worksite easily. The roll cage design also adds some safety aspects to the Bostitch air compressor, keeping it from getting banged up in any potential falls during your more hazardous jobs. An LED control panel also keeps you informed about when the compressor is fully functional, preventing any pesky low-pressure misfires that may occur from not knowing when the air compressor is ready for use. The 90 dBA noise level may seem a bit of a nuisance, and is louder than other compressors reviewed on this page. However, the balance of portability and high performance makes it worth the sacrifice. Convenient storage compartments and rubber feet round out this bargain air compressor, which remains one of the most popular of its kind on the market, as well as one of the most affordable.
Bostitch BTFP02012 Compressor
Making an appearance on the list is another Bostitch air compressor, the BTFP02012 6 Gallon Pancake Compressor. Shaped somewhat like a pancake griddle (hence the name), this Bostitch air compressor keeps your worksite rolling along with a 6 gallon tank and a maximum PSI of 150. All of this allows for 26 cubic feet per minute of air being transported at 90 PSI, giving you ample running time and a quick recovery in the event of a stoppage. The oil-free design allows for maintenance-free pump operations that guarantee the air compressor will last for an extended period of time in comparison with similarly designed oiled pumps. The same applies to the patented Bostitch motor, considered one of the more highly efficient air compressor motors available today. The combination makes this one of the higher-end models of air compressors due to its propensity for stable operation even in cold weather. This model is also perfect for home use, as the 78.5 dBA noise level is relatively quiet enough to not wake up your entire neighborhood. Weighing in at a comfortable 29 pounds and designed to be slim enough to carry through thin corridors, this mobile air compressor gives you maximum performance from your tools with equipment and ports ready to allow two users to operate the machine at the same time. For the price and reliability in comparison with other similar tools on the market, the Bostitch BTFP02012 6 Gallon Pancake Compressor is one of the best deals you will find for air compressors today.
DeWalt D55140 Trim Compressor
Compact air compressors are a wonder of their own. When not constructed correctly, they may have issues holding pressure and therefore have a very short lifespan. DeWalt kept this in mind when they designed the DeWalt D55140 1-Gallon 135 PSI Max Trim Compressor. The compact hand-held air compressor is quiet enough for home-use but powerful enough for a carpentry or woodworks workshop. The high performance value comes from the D55140’s one-gallon tank, which couples with the 2.6 amp DeWalt motor to give you a huge surge during use with a quick recovery between sessions. Designed to navigate the surrounding electrical grid, the DeWalt air compressor avoid tripping circuit breakers and leaving you in the dark. And with the 69 dBA noise level, the D55140 is much less audibly disruptive than many of its air compressor counterparts. The oil-free pump allows for a long shelf life, while the 24 pounds of weight and nine total inches of height render the DeWalt air compressor fully mobile, able to be transported from site to site with ease. Clean up is a breeze as well, since the oil-free design keeps your work site from getting messy, and the convenient ball drain valve allows for quick draining and storage once the job has been completed. With a name as well-known as DeWalt branded across the top of one of the most compact air compressors on the market, it’s no wonder that the DeWalt D55140 1-Gallon 135 PSI Max Trim Compressor is featured on our best air compressors list.
Porter-Cable CMB15 Compressor
There’s not very much that the Porter-Cable CMB15 150 PSI 1.5 Gallon Oil-Free Fully Shrouded Compressor can’t do. With a maximum PSI of 150, the Porter-Cable air compressor features a 1.5 gallon tank that transports air at roughly 2 cubic feet per minute at 90 PSI. Operating at this level, the CMB15150 features one of the quickest recovery times on the market. Perfect for even the most professional and busy workshops, the patented tank design holds air pressure for a longer period of time, allowing you to work off the machine for extended periods without having to stop for regular maintenance. Weighing in at 20 pounds, the Porter-Cable air compressor also features a 120 volt Porter-Cable motor that reliably starts up regardless of the temperature for easy portability and startup no matter how many sites you have to work on that day. The 79 dBA noise level isn’t the lowest of our list, but it’s reasonable enough to allow for continuous use without risking your ear drums. Additional advantages of the Porter-Cable air compressor can be seen in the casing, which keeps you safe from any moving parts that may become heated and harmful to the touch. But what sets the entire Porter-Cable package apart is the 25-foot hose and eight-piece accessory kit that comes standard in the box, allowing for multiple configurations and a versatility on the job that’s hard to find in other compact air compressors.
Makita MAC2400 Air Compressor
One of the more powerful entries on our list can be seen in the Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor. Designed for multiple users, the Big Bore engineering allows this cast iron pump to operate faster and quieter with an elite overall performance throughout. Working optimally under even the toughest conditions, the Makita air compressor is perfect for industrial worksites. A 2.5 horsepower motor ensures the compressor runs continuously with more compression and a quicker recovery time between uses. Though the pump itself is oil-lubricated (as opposed to the other oil-free pumps featured in the reviews above), the increased air intake makes the trade-off worth it. The lubricated pump also runs at a cooler temperature, allowing for longer sessions on the job. Holding 4.2 gallons, the Makita tank holds an operating pressure of 130 PSI and the twin stacks allow for both 4.8 cubic feet per minute and 4.2 cubic feet per minute simultaneously, good for two sets of tools to be used at the same time. No need to worry about tripping breakers either, as the low-amp use of the motor ensures your electrical grid remains fully operational. Those of you concerned about the mess of an oil-lubricated pump need not worry either, as the Makita pump is designed with an oil drain and oil sight glass to control the flow of oil. Custom-designed internal tubing also helps heat dissipate more efficiently, lessening the wear and tear on this high-end air compressor from industry-giant Makita.
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