Best Portable Air Compressor Reviews

Best Portable Air Compressor Reviews

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!​

The Best Portable Air Compressors

Types of Portable Air Compressors

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.​

Mini Air Compressors

Kensun YS-205

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.

Kensun YS-205 Review

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.

Features of Kensun YS-205​

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.

  • DC 12V or AC 110V powered – This unit can be powered by both your car battery, and regular household electricity. Regardless of whether you need it on the road or in the house, it is easy to power up and get to work!
  • 11 liters per minute – The output of this air compressor is around 11 liters per minute. It is not the best output you can buy, but for the price, it is more than convenient. It will get small jobs done in a couple of minutes, and what more can you ask for!
  • Different nozzles – You will get three different nozzle attachments in the package. They are great for tackling small to medium jobs, from inflating your tires, to inflating your air mattresses and various kinds of balls.

Advantages of Kensun YS-205


  • Small and compact – Compact and lightweight, this portable air compressor is a great addition to every car and every motorcycle, not to mention a have to have camping accessory. Don’t get caught without it on the road!
  • Quiet operation – It is very quiet, not at all noisy as some of those larger portable air compressors, so you don’t have to worry about running it and disturbing your family or neighbors.
  • Easy to use – This compressor is easy to use right out of the box, as there is no complicated setup process. Also, the unit doesn’t require any maintenance at all, so that’s one less thing to worry about.

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.

Bottom Line​

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!​

Pancake Air Compressors

DEWALT DWFP55126

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 DWFP55126 Review

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.

Features of DEWALT DWFP55126​

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.

  • 165 PSI – The maximum that this compressor can store air is at 165 PSI, and the cut-in point is somewhere around 135 PSI. This means that the pump will kick back in when the pressure falls below that point. It refills the tank quite quickly but you can expect some noise at this point.
  • Rated at 2.9 CFM at 90 PSI – The maximum this compressor will deliver is around 2.9 cubic feet of air per minute. This will allow you to re-inflate your tires, including truck tires, and power up small handheld tools for a short period of time.
  • Oil free – This compressor is completely oil-free and that definitely cuts down on maintenance time you need to invest in it. Simply plug it in and you are good to go.
  • 6-gallon tank – While most portable compressors come with a 3-gallon tank, this one boasts an impressive capacity of six gallons. This means that you can run the tools longer before the compressor kicks up again.
Advantages of DEWALT DWFP55126

  • Easy to maintain – There is not much to worry about with this compressor. After you finish the use, allow it to reach 20 PSI, after that open the valve and let the remaining air out, thus getting rid of condensate that might be trapped inside.
  • Quiet operation – A great thing about this compressor is that, while being powerful, it still manages to be relatively quiet. When running, it is not louder than 75db, and if you step a couple of feet from it the noise levels will drop even lower. This is considerably less than other compressors in its range.
  • Can run 2 tools simultaneously – You can power up two small tools with this compressor, which is great if they are small tools that do not require more than 1 CFM to operate. However, best results are experienced when you run just one tool.

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.

Bottom Line​

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 Air Compressors

Rolair JC10

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.

Rolair JC10 Review

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.

Features of Rolair JC10​

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.

  • 2.35 CFM – At around 90 PSI this unit will dish out around 2.35 cubic feet of air per minute. This is by all means not groundbreaking but it is more than enough for around-the-house use if you do not own any industrial –grade tools.
  • 2.3-gallon tank – The tank itself is a bit on the smallish side, meaning that you cannot power up the tools for a long time before the pump switches back on. It will serve to top up around six car tires if they are not completely empty.
  • 11-second recovery time – A great thing about this compressor is its very fast recovery time. It will go from 80 PSI to 135 PSI, which is the maximum capacity of the tank in less than a quarter of a minute, actually in 11 seconds to be more precise.
The Advantages of Rolair JC10

  • Rubberized feet – Rubberized feet contribute to the reduction of vibration when the machine is running. This consequently means that the machine is suitable for running in the house; there is no fear of it damaging your floors.
  • Extremely quiet – As we already mentioned, this air compressor is very quiet. It runs somewhere around 60db, that is even quieter than a regular dishwasher. It is so quiet that you are able to run it during the night without disturbing your neighbors.
  • Extended duty cycle – This compressor can run for forty minutes out of every hour. This kind of extended duty cycle is difficult to find even in more expensive air compressors.

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.

Bottom Line​

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 Air Compressors

Makita MAC2400

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.

Makita MAC2400 Review

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.

Features of Makita MAC2400​

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.

  • Electrically operated – This air compressor is electrically powered, which means that it is convenient for workshop and around-the-house use. It also means you will not be lugging around gas canisters, or worry about getting out of steam in the middle of the job.
  • Strong motor – Strong, 2.5 HP motor delivers compressed air at a rate of 4.2 CFM at 90 PSI. This means that the machine is able to tackle any job, including powering up heavy-duty construction machines, and is not limited to blowing up air mattresses and similar mellow jobs.
  • Oil-lubricated pump – This is a great feature that allows for a more steady operation, allowing the compressor to work while remaining relatively cool, and reducing the wear and tear to a minimum.
  • Low amp draw – One thing that allows for a constant smooth operation of the compressor is the low amp draw. This means you will experience no tripped breakers at start-up, and the machine tolerates drops in voltage a lot better.
Advantages Makita MAC2400

  • Quieter operation – Thanks to the oil-lubricated pump, this machine is quieter than most while in operation. At around 79db it is still noisy, but not as much as others in its tier. This is an important consideration since high noise levels can present a safety and health hazard.
  • Quality air filter – Large air filter ensures a steady intake of purified air. Car-grade air filter on this compressor cleans out the air and, in the end, contributes to the longevity of the machine and improve its efficiency.
  • Easy maintenance – One important consideration to keep in mind when getting an air compressor is how easy it is to maintain. This model is fairly straightforward. Give it a good wipe after use and make sure to change the oil when the indicator announces its time for that, and you are all set!

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.

Bottom Line​

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!​

What to Look for In a Good Portable Air Compressor

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.​

  • Cubic feet per minute – This is one of the most important considerations that you will face when buying a compressor. This, coupled with discharge pressure (PSI) will give you an idea of how powerful a compressor is. The more CFM it can deliver, the faster you will be done with your inflation jobs. This number will also determine whether a compressor can power up a specific tool or not.
  • The size of the tank – Size of the tank is also important. Smaller tanks are limited in the amount of power they can deliver before the cut-in point (the point at which the pump starts working again to pump more air in the tank) but are also more portable. Large tanks will allow you to work longer periods without being disturbed by the pump (and are also more likely to run more power-hungry tools), but might be a bit difficult to transport and carry around.
  • Recovery time – Recovery time is the time needed for the tank to go up to its maximum capacity when it drops below certain discharge pressure (PSI). Always try to get a compressor with shorter recovery time, it allows you to work for extended periods without waiting too long for the tank to fill up.
  • Duty cycle – This tells us how long the compressor can work without the need for a break. A 100 % duty cycles are hard to come by, but there are even those on the market. This means that you can run the compressor continuously for as long as you like without the fear of damaging it. 75 % duty cycle is more common and is something that we recommend in order to extend the longevity of the unit. This means that for every 45 minutes of use you will need to take a 15-minute break and let the machine rest.
  • Additional features – There are several other important considerations that you need to keep in mind. If you are getting a hot dog or a twin-stack compressor make sure it has a roll cage. A roll cage will help protect the machine from external damage. The quality of air filters and drain valves is also something to consider as they tend to extend or shorten the expected lifespan of a compressor.