Power, discharge rate, size, compressed air delivery; these are all the terms you will encounter when researching portable air compressors. Now, if you are a total beginner and how no idea what to look for in a good compressor, this can be somewhat intimidating. You want to be sure that you are getting a machine that you need, and not something that will prove to be useless in the long run. We are here to give you a hand! We know how difficult it is to come to a well-informed purchasing decision, so we prepared this guide for you. You will find some information about compressor in general, what they are used for, and a list of key features you should keep in mind when buying one! Also, you will find reviews of most popular portable air compressors that are perfectly suited for small to medium jobs, and are a great addition to your work shed!
Since you’re on this page, chances are you already know what air compressors are and what they are intended for. For the sake of complete novices, however, it does not hurt repeating. Air compressors are machines that supply pressurized air, and the industrial types of compressors are used in every industry, from automotive to food processing, all the way to wastewater treatment.
Their portable cousins are smaller in size and power, but much more convenient for around the house use. They do an excellent job powering up small tools such as airbrushes, nail guns, spray painters and a whole bunch of others tools, and are convenient for cleaning and inflation jobs as well. There is no need to drive around on flat tires, simply start up your compressor and top them up. You will be much safer on the road and the entire process takes only minutes!
Portable Air Compressor
Even if you have settled for a compact, portable compressor, there are still things to take into account before buying one. And we are not talking about just picking a brand, either; you have to decide whether you want a gas powered or an electrically powered compressor, and after that there is the hard task of choosing the style of your compressor! Hey, nobody said that buying an air compressor that works for you is an easy task.
In these reviews, we focused and portable, electrically powered compressor, since they are best suited for indoor use. Also, they are relatively easy to maintain and operate, and you should not experience any problems with them, even if you’re new to this whole DIY thing.
The first type we would like to include in this list is the mini air compressor. They are small, portable and practical lifesavers on the road and on camping trips. Don’t expect to be able to run tools with it, however. These air compressors are great for small inflation jobs, such as inflating your car or bike tires, or air mattresses while you’re out in the wild.
They are extremely practical as they can be comfortably stored in the corner of the trunk in your car. Also, these compressors are powered by your car battery is it is very easy to have them up and running whatever the circumstances.
This easy to use Kensun air compressor model is one of the more affordable ones currently on the market. The compressor is a great thing to have handy. It is small and portable, but yield excellent results with up to 33-inch tires, and is definitely a welcome addition to the trunk of any car. You can use it on all your inflatables, including tires, air mattresses, and balls.
Kensun is a well-known manufacturer of small appliances such as this compressor, and a great number of excellent reviews attest to the quality of this product. Weighing well under five pounds, it is very easy and extremely portable. The company offers a 1-year warranty on the product, which should serve you well if it happens to give out in that period.
The one thing that this compressor doesn’t have is sufficient cord length. The cord and the hose are about 5 meters long, so it is just enough to reach your back tire while charging it via your car lighter. It is a bit snug, so a longer hose would be a way better solution.
If you need a small portable solution for your inflatables and your tires, then this compact air compressor is right up your alley. Quality build and a reputable manufacturer guarantee years of use, making Kensun YS-205 Portable Air Compressor Tire Inflator your number one, affordable choice!
This type of compressor is probably the one you have encountered previously, and they are well-known to DIY enthusiasts and handymen. Pancake compressors have a very small footprint; they are relatively light (up to 35 pounds) and easy to carry around.
They are not well-suited for running larger tools, but powering up smaller nail guns is not a problem usually. They excel at all types of inflation jobs, have a good recovery time, and usually sport 1 – 6-gallon tanks, which is not bad for a compressor of portable variety.
DeWalt is a household name at this point, one of those brands that we rely on for quality and durability. This pancake compressor from them is no exception. Made for handymen and around the home use, this is a perfect portable compressor for inflating your tires and powering up small hand tools. Keep in mind that it will not work that great with industrial-grade tools, but might be enough for short bursts when using a smaller impact wrench or an airbrush.
As we mentioned, since DeWalt is an established brand, you can expect nothing short of pure quality when it comes to this compressor. It is a great machine to have in your home workshop, and will help you out immensely when carrying out little repairs around the house. It weighs around 30 pounds and can be easily transported wherever you need to use it. It also has a relatively small footprint, so storing it when it is out of use will not be a problem.
The only thing we can fault this compressor four is the fact that you will get no accessories when buying it. You will have to invest in hoses and connectors as they are not included, and this will bring your total costs up a bit. Other than that, there is not much wrong with it.
DEWALT DWFP55126 6-Gallon 165 PSI Pancake Compressor is a great, compact compressor for around the house use, and it is also easy to transport if you need it to be portable. With its affordable price and enviable power, we are sure you will be able to find a use for it in your workshop!
Hot dog compressor got their name thanks to the appearance of the tank they are sporting. They are heavier and bulkier than pancake air compressors; still portable, but not really suited for constant moving around the job site.
Hot dog air compressors have larger tanks and are there for better suited for powering up small tools. They also usually have more output power than smaller, pancake air compressors and can power up to two tools at the same time. Also, if they are not oil-lubricated, then the maintenance is reduced to a minimum.
This is another great hot dog air compressor, great for home and around the house use, and manufactured by Rolair. One thing that sets it apart from the competitors is the fact that it is extremely quiet, one of the quietest air compressors we have tested. While not the best choice for powering up commercial-grade tools, if you need it to run a nail gun or an air brush you will be more than satisfied with its performance.
Rolair JC10 is made of high-quality materials that include steel, aluminum and plastics components. The unit has a roll cage around it that both protects the tank from bumps and bruises and also doubles as a handle. Weighing around 39 pounds it’s definitely not a very light compressor, but it is still manageable if you need to transport it around your workshop or take it on the site.
Some users note that buyers get no accessories with this purchase, so connectors and hoses are something you will have to invest to additionally after buying this compressor. They also note that the construction is not up to par to some branded compressors, but they are quick to point out that these minor faults are definitely not deal-breakers.
The greatest selling point of this compressor is definitely its quiet operation. Rolair JC10 1 HP Oil-Less Compressor is one of the quietest compressors on the market and it is capable of tackling inflation jobs and some light carpentry as well. Considering that is also affordable, we believe it might be a great choice for your workshop!
Twin-stack compressors are a sub-variety of hot dog compressor, but with one important distinction; they have larger capacity tanks, therefore, they are more suitable for powering up power tools, especially those that require constant bursts of power.
This makes them less portable than the other types of compressors. For that reason, it is usually possible to mount wheels on the feet of the units. This makes transporting them a whole lot easier.
When it comes to top class portable air compressors, you will be hard-pressed to find anything better than this MAC2400 Big Bore model from Makita. It is one of the best and versatile models currently on the market, and the one that delivers tons of power to users. It is only rivaled by large, commercial-grade air compressor, and we believe it completely justifies a slightly higher price-point it comes at.
As with all other tools from Makita, this air compressor is also build to last. Makita is a frontrunner in innovation and attention to detail, so it is safe to assume that only the best and most resilient machines come out of their workshop. Its sturdy design and quality materials are a guarantee of a long operational life. The bulk of the machine is made of cast iron, and thanks to the protection cage it is able to withstand a lot of beating while on the work site.
It is really difficult to find a fault with this model. It’s got pretty much everything needed for home use, and can even be of assistance on a commercial construction site. Some users note that it is a bit on the expensive side, and while we agree with that generally, once you take into account its power and longevity, the price actually makes sense and becomes reasonable.
Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor is a great addition to any workshop or a household that is big on DIY projects. It will power up all your tools with an ease, and you can even run two tools on it at the same time. Considering the amount of power it dishes out and the durability of the product, we highly recommend you get on for yourself as soon as possible!
There are a lot of different things you will have to consider when you set out to buy a portable air compressor. Not all of them are something you will consider on the first go, but it’s important to buy a machine that will do the job at hand and will last for several years (compressors are not a cheap investment, at least not for everyone). Here are the most important considerations.