If you are the type to DIY home repairs and auto work, most likely you’ll need an air compressor to help you on your journey. There are so many models on the market that it can be difficult to determine which one is best suited to your needs, especially since there are so many factors you need to consider. Those who will be doing airbrushing, for example, will need different specifications than those who will be airing up tires or running a nail gun.
Things to Consider
While the cost should never be the most important factor, you should also never spend more than what you can afford. You’ll definitely want a fair amount of power, too. The specific power you need may vary, but who doesn’t want the most power they can afford? If the model you choose is compact, but still offers a high-quality experience, it’s most certainly going to be more beneficial to you in the long run.
If you aren’t sure of the length of hose you’ll need, a quick release coupler will allow you to change hoses when your needs change – a great feature, but definitely not a requirement if your compressor has a long enough hose to begin with. Additionally, you’ll want to ensure that the compressor you choose has a long enough power cord to get the job done, or at a minimum, that it can help to accommodate the decrease in power that it gets from an extension cord if necessary. The ability to connect it to your car accessory port can also be great if you’re looking for an addition to your roadside emergency kit, but for those who plan to keep their air compressor in their garage or shop, this isn’t likely to be an issue.
For the average consumer, you want to make sure that you’re getting the most bang for your buck. Our list of compressors contains only light-duty professional grade units which perform well under general use, and as such should be more than sufficient for anyone who is looking for something at home. They’d also be good for small commercial shops, as long as you don’t have to rely on them too extensively. Check the list below to help find the perfect air compressor that will balance quality with affordability.
Top Portable Air Compressors
Kensun D1002 AC (Home 110V)/ DC (12V Car) Portable Air Compressor Tire Inflator
Sometimes, you just need a small air compressor to keep in your trunk in case of an emergency flat tire. In these cases, the Kensun D1002 is a great option, although it’s not likely to be the top contender if you need it for every day applications.
Its small size and low price tag (just around $60) make it a perfect fit for your trunk or truck toolbox. It even comes with two separate cords – one to hook up at home, and one to hook up while on the go. At around 40 PSI, it’s not high ranking in terms of overall compression, but who wants to lug around their full-sized air compressor in their trunk just in case something happens? Certainly not me.
Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak, 1/2 hp running 1-Gallon Compressor
If you need to air up tires and run some small tools, but don’t need anything too powerful, the Senco PC1010 is a great budget machine that will fulfill basic functions without requiring too much of an investment.
You won’t be able to run any high-powered tools with it, but with a 1 gallon capacity you won’t be getting too much out of it between recharges anyway. It’s more than adequate for airbrushing, though, with 20-44 drives per minute and up to 1 horsepower. Senco backs up their product with a one year warranty to help set your mind at ease. All at the low price of $111 and just around 20 pounds, this is an easily portable machine that will help you meet your simple demands around the home.
PORTER-CABLE C2002-WK Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor with 13-Piece Accessory Kit
Some people just need a compromise between function and price – and that’s where the PORTER-CABLE C2002-WK comes in.
At around $135, it’s definitely not a high-end unit, but the 6 gallon tank and 150 max PSI are substantial for most home applications. Whether you choose to power your air tools with it or you’re blowing the water out of your sprinkler lines, this air compressor offers 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI to handle these simple every day tasks with ease. The 25 foot hose isn’t interchangeable, but for most home uses this isn’t really a necessity. Porter-Cable also backs their product up with a one-year limited warranty to help make sure their product meets your expectations – and for the price, it excels.
Dewalt DWFP55126 6-Gallon 165 PSI Pancake Compressor
If the previous machines don’t pack quite enough punch for you, the Dewalt DWFP55126 is an excellent choice.
It boasts more than enough power for nail guns, torque guns, impact wrenches, and air grinders. It doesn’t come with any accessories, but it does come with two separate connectors to attach your own. The 6-gallon capacity and 165 max PSI will blow you away, and the built-in quieting features will more than make up for the fact that this unit is a bit heavier than the previously mentioned models. At around $179 including the three-year limited warranty, this air compressor stands up to the reputation that Dewalt has built for itself over the years.
Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor
The priciest model to make our list is the Makita MAC2400, coming in at $299.
If you’re looking for something to do professional quality work – whether you own a repair or paint shop or you just want a higher powered machine for your home – this compressor boasts a full 2 ½ horsepower, the highest on our list. It has an oil-lubricated pump to help keep it quieter, a roll cage to make it sturdier, and a built-in thermal overload for extra protection to the motor. This machine will hold up to a good amount of beating, and it’ll look great doing it.
The bottom line is, if you’re looking for the biggest bang for your buck, you can’t beat the Porter-Cable C2002-WK. It’s not the greatest air compressor over all, but if you’re trying to balance the features with the damage to your wallet, the Porter-Cable is a wonderful choice. The addition of the 13-piece accessory kit including a nylon hose, blow gun, tire gauge, and Teflon tape (among many others) makes it quite a bargain. It probably won’t hold up if you own your own repair shop, but around the home you can expect it to function excellent under the average circumstances.