When looking through air compressor reviews to find the best air compressor, it’s important to understand the basics so you purchase a solid unit that meets your needs. What you want is an individually effective conversion of power into dynamic energy (also called moving energy or kinetic energy), without overpaying for power you don’t need. In short, you want an air compressor that is most effective in turning your use of power into enough pressurized air to get the job done fast and without extra expenditure.
There are generally three types of power sources for air compressors: electric motor, gasoline engine or diesel engine. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks which are laid bare in the air compressor reviews. Regardless of how the power is generated, the process for the compression of air is all the same. The energy is converted into moving energy which then compresses and pressurizes the air, releasing it forth in quick bursts so you can handle the task at hand.
Air Compressor Reviews and the Different Types of Air Compressors
In case the air compressor reviews leave out the benefits of each type of air compressor, the following guide will help you choose the right one for your needs:
- Electric motors are quieter and less expensive than gas or diesel engine air compressors
- If you want electric motors for domestic use, you will need a single phase alternating current and thus, require a smaller motor
- If you want to use a larger motor, you will need an industrial electrical three-phase alternating current supply air compressor
- All types of engines and motors can be used to power pneumatic tools, but if you’re only looking to inflate tires, balls and tires, you can save money by purchasing a consumer-grade compressor
- Commercial-grade air compressors are made for auto shops, manufacturing plants, oil rigs, contractors, mechanics, carpenters, etc. Portable air compressors come in many different varieties (hand, cart, truck hitch, etc.), so make sure you read the air compressor reviews carefully and not just think every portable unit is lightweight!
- If you have a wide array of demands for air and/or are operating more than one or two tools at once through your compressor, the best air compressor for you will be commercial-grade
Our Top 3 For 2016!
|Model||Air Delivery||Maximum Pressure (PSI)||Tank Size|
|2.6 SCFM @ 90 PSI||150 PSI||6 gal||34 lbs|
|3.3 CFM @ 90 PSI||130 PSI||2.6 gal||52 lbs|
|5.30 CFM @ 90 PSI||125 PSI||10 gal||91 lbs|
Advantages of Using the Best Air Compressor for Your Needs
But why wouldn’t you just get the most powerful air compressor out there and call it a day? There are many reasons:
- Buy an air compressor too small and you won’t have enough power to get the job done properly.
- Buy an air compressor too large and you will not only overpay for the power, you will also run up a much higher monthly electricity bill
- Buy the wrong type of air compressor (i.e. electric, gas or diesel) and may find yourself running up large bills or even unable to complete tasks as you should
- Buy the wrong phase air compressor and you could short out your workspace or home or even start a fire
- Air compressors are priced by type, quality, components and output. Buy the best air compressor for your needs by carefully considering each factor realistically and using air compressor reviews to aid you in the decision
As you can see, it’s important that you understand each individual will have a personal best air compressor—there isn’t one overall best air compressor that works for everybody.
Which Three Air Compressor Reviews Should You Read?
In order to get a good idea about what’s out there on the market, here are three air compressor reviews that will give you a better look at which unit will be the best air compressor for your needs.
Air Compressor Reviews #1—PORTER-CABLE C2002-WK Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor with 13-Piece Accessory Kit
At only 34 pounds and 18.3 x 18 x 19 inches, the Porter-Cable C2002-WK electric motor air compressor is extremely portable yet powerful enough to run as a stand-alone stationary unit. Because the C2002-WK utilizes an induction motor, the lifespan and performance of this air compressor make it one of the top models on the market. Adding to the rugged durability of the UMC Pancake Compressor are replaceable brushes meant to extend the motor life.
The induction motor is a soft-start, meaning that it can run right out of any standard home circuit board without blowing fuses. Plus, you can recharge the 6-gallon tank by running it at 3.5 SCFM—much faster than comparable models in this price range. But you won’t have to recharge as often as with similar units thanks to the 150 PSI maximum pressure that extends your total run time.
There is a built-in High-Flo air regulator to guard against large drops in pressure as well as a cut-in pressure that gives you 30 extra PSIs when operating at 120 PSI. Add to that a 25-foot nylon hose, a tire chuck, quick coupler, plugs and a blow gun and the 13 Piece Accessory Kit rounds off the total package in compressed air delivery.
Air Compressor Reviews #2—Makita MAC700 Big Bore 2.0 HP Air Compressor
Makita’s line of air compressors are well-known for a few things, one of them being the Big Bore pump cast iron cylinder and pistons which are specially engineered to increase output like no other compressor in its size class. The Big Bore also puts out less noise and improves air flow for better on-site performance. This is an industrial power electric air compressor that runs on a 2.0 HP motor but is still considered semi-portable as a stationary unit weighing in at 60 pounds. The MAC700 is known for the higher bore and stroke output, both of which increase compression, reduce noise and create faster recovery times.
The outer body of the unit is a cast iron construction, built to withstand the tests of even the most grueling worksites and environments. This is a true workman’s air compressor, using the oil-lubricated pump to run cooler and at just 50% of the RPM similar units run at. This results in longevity for both the pump and motor as well as lower overall noise output. The pump itself has an automotive filter which increases the air intake, improving overall efficiency.
With just a 2.6 gallon tank, the MAC700 is able to sustain a 130 PSI operation pressure in addition to delivering a 3.8 CFM (40 PSI) and 3.3 CFM (90 PSI) blast. Don’t worry about tripped breakers and voltage drop causing your motor to fail prematurely because this Makita has a low AMP draw.
Air Compressor Reviews #3—California Air Tools CAT-10020 Ultra Quiet and Oil-Free 2.0 HP 10.0-Gallon Steel Tank Air Compressor
Finally on our list of the top air compressor reviews is the California Air Tools CAT-10020. This is one of the quietest air compressors on the market to date, producing only 70 decibels during operation. For comparison, the average conversation between two adults in a room is between 60 to 65 decibels, so in terms of air compressors, the CAT-10020 has truly earned the right to put Ultra Quiet in its name.
But don’t let the lack of sound fool you. The CAT-10020 still runs a powerful 2.0 HP motor, but only at 1680 RPM, not only accounting for the lowered noise output, but the increased lifespan as well. Combine that lower wear and tear from normal use with the oil-free dual piston pump system and it’s easy to see why California Air Tools consistently ranks as some of the most durable and high-performing tools in the industry.
Because the oil-free dual piston pump is in fact, oil free, you can use it on uneven grounds and terrains and at different temperatures, making it extremely versatile. This is ideal for contractors who have to work both indoors and out, have to work on hills for landscaping, stairs for carpentry or roofs for roofing. In fact, the CAT-1200 is so quiet and adaptable, there’s no wonder it’s called the “cat”.
Adding to this impressive resume is a whopping 10 gallon steel air tank that is mounted on wheels for ease of storage and portability. Weighing in at 88 pounds and measuring 17 x 16 x 33 inches, the CAT-1200 Ultra Quiet air compressor is able to completely fill its 10 gallon tank in about two minutes flat. If you’re planning on using two tools at once, the 2 ¼ inch quick release connectors extend from the control panel to make this possible, giving you 5.3 CFM (90 PSI) per air tool. This allows you to use two large pneumatic tools at once while still only drawing 14 amps (meaning you can use a normal 15 amp outlet).
Tips For Purchasing The Best Air Compressor
Now that you have a better understanding about what the air compressor is and how it works, we can focus on how you can choose the best unit that is essential to your needs. But before you pick and choose one unit out of a large selection from the market, there are a couple of things you should take into consideration before purchasing an air compressor.
The requisites of tools you will be using
Before you purchase an air compressor, what is your purpose for buying one unit? Will the air compressor be for heavy-duty industrial use, or will the compressor be used for household tasks such as inflating tires, stapling, etc.? Normally, piston compressors with tanks are ideal for industrial use, while lighter and portable compressors are best used for household tasks. Here are some of the uses of these air compressors.
- Maintaining the pressure in vehicles
- Tire rotation
- Spray painting
- Cleaning with an air gun
- Carpentry and crafts
- Industrial uses which include general manufacturing, food and beverage processing, transportation, wastewater treatment and more.
The different kinds of air compressors
Once you have determined what you will be using the compressor for, it is time to find which kind of air compressor would be most essential for your needs, but if you look deeper into this vast selection of tools, you will be surprised that there are different styles for tanks available too, so here is a list of different air compressors that you can choose from which may also help narrow down your choices until you find that specific unit you need.
– For this type of compressor, it requires a motor to build up air pressure when it gets depleted then stores the compressed air in tanks. The piston type also comes in two varieties which is the single-stage compressor (uses just a single piston to compress air and tops out at 150 psi), and the two-stage compressor (that uses two pistons to deliver almost a continuous air pressure, topping at around 200 psi).
– These types of air compressors are often used in industrial environments where the units are used continuously by the owners.
– These air compressors are more viable and a better choice for light home use.
If you decide to use a piston-type compressor, determine the size of the tank that you would require for work. If the need for the air compressor would only be for short periods of time – such as stapling certain items at home – it is best to choose a smaller tank instead. However, if you will be working with your compressor for long periods, then a bigger tank would be more appropriate for the task. Tank sizes are usually measured in gallons.
After determining what the air compressor will be used for, you should now find out how much compressed air is necessary based on the tasks and tools that you will be using. Here are three things that must be considered when choosing the specific size of an air compressor:
– The tanks of air compressors come in different sizes, orientations, and configurations, and some would think that getting the biggest tank size would be the most logical and convenient move. However, there are quite a few disadvantages to this approach such as the price, portability, and floor space to house such a large unit. Just keep in mind that if your type of work requires air tools to work continuously, then a bigger tank would be best suited for this kind of work.
– When buying any type of tool, you must always consider the motor power which is always expressed in HP (horsepower), and the common range for an air compressor’s horsepower is between 1.5 and 6.5 HP. Horsepower is indeed an important factor to determine the specific air compressor that you need yet it should not be the only valuable marker to be considered. You should also focus on the air delivery rate that is expressed in CFM (cubic feet per minute), and the discharge pressure as well which is expressed in PSI (pounds per square inch). CFM and PSI are inversely proportional so when one value goes up, the other value goes down.
– The CFM or cubic feet per minute is a measure of volumetric flow, and considering that the CFM and PSI are inversely proportional, you would want to find the right air compressor that can support your air tools effectively. This number varies with the pressure in the atmosphere, air temperature, and relative humidity so it is best to look for information or if possible, ask someone about SCFM (standard CFM) when evaluating these air compressors.
The standard CFM measures at 14.5 PSIA at 20 °C, with 0% relative humidity, so if you take and add all the SCFM of every air tool that you will simultaneously use, add 30% to the computed SCFM number to serve as a safety buffer when choosing the unit. Once done, you will get the maximum required CFM usage that is necessary to complete the job.
– If your work area will always be close or next to an outlet, it is best to choose a drive system with an electric motor. A lot of electric air compressors run on 110 volts, while some large ones run on 240 volts.
Gas vs. Electric
Now, you can somehow determine which air compressor you would need for your work, but aside from the usual considerations that we have discussed earlier, you would still need to choose between electric air compressors and gas-powered compressors.
- Gas Powered Compressors
These types of compressors are power generated by gasoline, and if you think that these compressors are inferior compared to the electric powered ones, they are not. If there is a lack of electrical hook up in the area, you will still be able to use this type of air compressor with ease since it is gas powered. Also, if you would need to use the air compressor in a distant location, an extension cord would be unnecessary to give it power; simply fill the gas tank then go on with the job. Though these gas compressors are indeed capable of outdoor tasks, they cannot be used for indoor work. The gas powered compressors produce noise and fumes which do not pose much of a problem when used outdoors, however, if used indoors, inhaling the fumes is extremely dangerous to one’s health. Remember too that gas is highly flammable so proper maintenance is key to prevent any dangers and problems when using this type of compressor. Also, another issue with this type of compressor would be its size and portability since these units are considered massive and quite difficult to transport from one place to another.
- An electric compressor may be considered versatile and easy to use; however, there are still disadvantages present. Since this cannot be used with an extension cord, even the most powerful electric compressor will be completely useless if there is no way you can plug it. Also while gathering more information for our air compressor reviews, we have learned that these electric compressors become inferior when used for heavy duty jobs yet excel in all indoor repairs and trim and finish tasks.
Different Air Compressor Brands
Now that we have tackled almost all of the important things to consider when scouting for the perfect air compressor, as well as the safety measures that you will need to familiarize yourself with, this is the time we can increase our knowledge about air compressors and focus on the best brands that are currently available in the market. If you have noticed, there has been a large number of new brands coming out since air compressors have become popular and affordable to most people. However, it is better to stick with well-known brands that have been around for some time, since most of them have a certain reputation, as well as positive reviews and feedback from satisfied users and professionals who have experienced their items. Here is a quick guide on the best compressor brands available.
Makita is a worldwide manufacturer of quality industrial power tools, and offers a wide variety of industrial accessories that will suit anyone’s needs. The company applies leading edge innovation to engineer more compact and energy efficient power tools, while offering industrial strength power and results. This is one of the best-known brands when it comes to air compressors, as well as electric and power tools. Some of their popular models include their MAC700 and MAC2400. For further reading about Makita and their air compressor, check out our Makita page here.
California Air Tools
California Air Tools have produced the best compressors out in the market by integrating the latest in technology and design solutions, creating durable power tools that are considered reliable and well-made. What sets California Air Tools apart from other brands in the market is their ultra-quiet operating products, thus, making their CAT-6310 air compressor a big hit among users. To learn more about California Air Tools, click here right now and find out their latest news.
For generations of having helped hardworking professionals with getting their tasks done, Senco delivers innovative solutions that make hard work easier; contributing productivity and success, when providing exceptional products specially designed for a variety of tasks. Their products are well known for being versatile for professionals and DIY types of people, which is why their PC1010 compressor – which is lightweight, portable, and ideal for a range of jobs – has become a big hit in the market. Here’s our in-depth review about Senco air compressor.
Porter-Cable is considered as one of the best air compressor manufacturers since 1906, and has been providing quality service and power tools that are engineered to deliver high quality, professional results for anyone who uses their products. One of their best-selling models would be their Porter-Cable C2002 because of its size, weight, and it also includes a 13 piece accessory kit. For more information about Porter-Cable air compressor click here for our Porter-Cable section.
DeWalt is a worldwide brand of power tools and hand-tools made for construction, manufacturing, and woodworking industries, and is also considered a market leader when it comes to air compressors and power tools. The company, which has been founded by Raymond E. DeWalt in 1924, has been offering a wide array of compressors that feature different sizes, power, and tank styles to choose from. Their popular models would be the D55146 and the DWFP55126. For further information and reviews check out our DeWalt air compressor reviews.
Ingersoll Rand Inc. is an Irish global diversified industrial company which was formed in 1905 by the merger of Ingersoll-Sergeant Drill Company, and the Rand Drill Company; rivaling companies that had been founded in the year 1871. The company has made some of the best air compressors out in the market, and has also created a vast number of power, electrical, and lifting tools.
Their quality products range from small, portable compressors to large ones that are fit for heavy duty performances used by contractors, as well as other professionals. Ingersoll Rand has a lot of models to choose from, and to name one of their popular compressors, it would be their SS3F2-GM air compressor. Click now and get more information about Ingersoll Rand air compressor.
Campbell Hausfeld is a manufacturer of air compressors and related products, and has been in the business since 1836. When the company was founded, they first began manufacturing farm equipment until in 1940, when it was acquired by Josephy Hausfeld’s company, they expanded their line of products which included highly effective and durable air compressors as well. Presently, Campbell Hausfeld runs six product lines while manufacturing air tools, painting systems, winches, generators, pressure washers, and spray guns. Their HU502000AV air compressor is considered as one of the best vertical air compressors in the market. Read the full info here.
Craftsman, which is organized by Sears Holdings, has a wide range of tools and equipment for various tasks; and although Sears have never created products for Craftsman, we can ensure that the goods and machinery they produce is durable, effective, and of high quality – delivering top notch and professional results for any consumer who uses their items. The 20 gallon oil-free portable, horizontal air compressor is considered a hit and a best-seller among consumers since it powers through tough jobs without having the need for even a single drop of oil. It’s equipped with a steel shell, handle, and large easy rolling wheels that make moving the compressor around easy; as well as an oil-less 1.5 power induction motor which is known for its quick fill time. Include this Craftsman compressor to your tool kit and you’re guaranteed to finish any type of job with ease. For further information about Craftsman air compressors, click here for our Craftsman section.
Bostitch® and Stanley® have an astonishing story to share about product innovation, leadership, range, and quality. Formerly known as the Boston Wire Stitcher® Company, the first syllables of ‘Boston’ and ‘Stitcher’ were combined to create ‘Bostitch®’, which was used for products after they began manufacturing machines. Bostitch is a company that manufactures top-quality, world class, and ingenious fastening tools, as well as fasteners for industrial, construction, and home renovation applications. The company’s products include tools such as pneumatic nailers and staplers, compressors, hand operated tackers and staplers, glue guns, coil-fed screwing systems, an extensive array of collated nails, rivet devices, screws, staples, specialty fasteners in a collection of materials and finishes, as well as office products and carton closing staplers – a lot of them considered as industry firsts. Discover more about Bostitch air compressor here.
Harbor Freight Tools first introduced the Central Pneumatic line of compressors, accessories, and pneumatic tools to meet the increasing demand for quality and affordable products for automotive, and shop use. Apart from these, Central Pneumatic tools have also sold products such as grinders, impact wrenches, sanders, and ratchets.
With their headquarters in California, Harbor Freight Tools operate a chain of 400 plus retail stores that are found in 45 different states; originally established in 1977, and are considered as privately held companies with more than 11,000 employees.
Those from Harbor Freight know that every homeowner requires basic sets of tools on hand for various projects, maintenance, and also emergencies; and the air compressor is considered as the most versatile tool anyone can own. So if you want to have an air compressor without having to spend a lot – aim for Central Pneumatic air compressors for the best.
Hitachi – a Japanese multinational conglomerate company and parent of the Hitachi Group, also forms a sector of the DKB Group of companies. Headquartered in Chiyoda – Tokyo, Japan; Hitachi is a diverse company operating eleven business segments.
Hitachi Power Tools USA was created in 1980 to market the line of tools in the USA. During these years, Hitachi Power Tools built its prominence for quality on the success of the sliding compound miter saw and pneumatic framing nailer.
If you are a professional or do-it-yourself enthusiast who is in search of an innovative, contemporary, and professional-grade power tool, consider Hitachi as they continue to merge tradition with fresh features, enhancing their classic standard and quality.
Rolair has been around since 1959 and their objective has always been simple: To manufacture and produce the finest, quality made compressors known to all man. Decades after, the goal has remained and has not changed; as a third-generation manufacturer established in Wisconsin, Rolair has built a reputation for contributing professional contractors with compressors that are of the highest quality and craftsmanship. The attention to detail, heavy-duty performance, as well as the wide variety of options is greatly appreciated by customers yet above all, they acknowledge that Rolair’s sole and main focus is compressors — nothing else. So if you are someone looking to partner with a company established on decades of industry expertise, background, and unrivaled customer service – it’s Rolair that you’re looking for.
By now, you most likely have a concrete idea on which specific air compressor you will need to be able to accomplish your work, but whatever type of unit you choose, always remember the safety measures when it comes to handling air compressors, or basically any type of equipment.
Compressed air can be extremely powerful and when it is not handled with caution, it can become extremely hazardous. So to minimize the risk of any dangers when it comes to handling air compressors, it is necessary to familiarize yourself with how these devices work, along with the safety measures to follow to prevent unwanted accidents. Below are some safety measures on how you should operate and maintain an air compressor.
- New items and products are expected to function properly without having to worry about defects and breakages, however, it is still better to check and make sure that your air compressor is working perfectly before you even try and use it for work.
- Ensure good housekeeping in the work area. If possible, keep the compressor away from unnecessary objects that may enter the motor.
- If using the compressor for industrial work, refrain from wearing loose clothing or jewelry.
- Use safety glasses and protection for hearing when using the air compressor.
- Ensure that the pressure associated with the safety valve is operating properly.
- Make sure that the oil level is well lubricated; do not over fill or allow the oil to spill over the surface of the compressor. If this happens, wipe away the spilled oil before using the compressor. Remember that powering the unit without oil will most likely damage the compressor, and repairing it can be really costly or worse, you may end up having to replace the whole air compressor.
- Use the correct pressure rated hoses and fittings. Flexible air hoses should always be kept short to prevent tripping and to reduce whipping action from hose failure.
- When using compressed air, direct the air away from the eyes and skin.
- Never use compressed air to clean clothes, hair, or skin.
- If you are working with an air compressor in an area with flammable or explosive fumes, protect yourself by keeping the compressor grounded before starting it up since power tools can generate static electricity which is highly dangerous.
- Gas powered compressors should not be used indoors since these release toxic fumes that are hazardous to your health.
- Disconnecting the air compressor while it is still running can damage the unit, so always remember to shut down the compressor first before disconnecting the power tool from the unit.
- After using the compressor, make sure to clean the work area and return all the used tools back to where they should be kept.
Always be well-informed about the tools and equipment you use, and familiarize yourself with the risks when operating these kinds of tools. Read manuals included before you start using any device or tool to be 100% safe at all times.
When you have a lot of work on hand, and require the simplest yet most efficient and effective way to get certain jobs done, there is nothing better than having power tools to help finish your job with ease and precision. When finalizing our extensive research about air compressors, we have learned that these items are simple yet complex devices that provide accurate and quality-produced results for any professional or DIY enthusiast. There are dozens of reviews about compressors out there, but make sure that you do not just jump straight into one without having other references to make comparisons between air compressors.
After reading through our air compressor reviews, you may already have a picture of the perfect unit that is necessary for you to finish a variety of tasks and jobs. So while you go searching through hundreds of different air compressor models, make sure to accustom yourself with the most important features such as the size, power, CFM and PSI, as well as the price and portability before purchasing an air compressor or any other power tool. It is important to know that these air compressors are not only for professional use alone, but have become a staple household assistance for most DIY types of people around.