As for someone who is not so familiar with power tools, it can make choosing the new air compressor to feel a bit challenging. To find the right one, it requires an enormous amount of research, and who’s got that kind of time nowadays?
That’s why we have come up with all the most vital tips to offer some guidance when choosing the best air compressor for your next project.
Top 5 Best Air Compressor For Air Tools Yet
Tips For Choosing The Best Air Compressor For Air Tools
Do You Need Piston Or Portable Air Compressors?
Let’s cut down to the chase and say the main difference with both of these air compressors is that one is grounded and you can move the other one around.
A piston compressor often comes with a tank that keeps it stable in one place for the duration of using. This model uses a functioning motor supporting the air pressure, which means the more you use it, the more air pressure climbs. The maintenance of this machine can be quite demanding. Therefore, it would be suitable for bigger projects than household ones.
A portable device has the tendency for using in a household with its relatively smaller tank and its ability to be moveable. Also if you keep the motor running, the compressor will continue producing air pressure, with a small footprint.
Some people believe a portable air compressor equals small weight. While there are some truths to that statement, it’s not entirely true that weight is the deciding factor — the shapes of the machine factor in quite a lot too.
Both kinds have their weaknesses and strengths and serve different purposes. That’s why you should consider the type of your work, and your interests as well before choosing one or another.
What Is CFM?
When research for your next air compressor, you will see ‘CFM’ a lot, let’s make sure you know what it stands for and how important it is in the process of choosing your ultimate machine!
CFM stands for cubic feet per minute. It shows the amount of time that the air compressor can provide air for. And why should you consider this factor as well? The reason for this is whether the machine can provide air fast enough for your tool. Nobody likes to stop the work in the middle of the way and wait for their compressor to play catch up.
So, what CFM rating is perfect for you? This question only you can answer for yourself, as it depends on how much tools you use and how fast those tools use up air. You should check out more CFM ratings if you decide to use more than one large tool at a time.
Is Tank Size Important?
Before you make up your mind about the air compressor for you, you might want to check out the tank size on that machine. Why? It’s obvious the bigger the tank, the more air it can maintain. However, there’s a much more crucial reason why you should delve more into it. It’s the space to place the device.
Let’s assume you’d get the portable one. And you are looking forward to packing it in for the next trip to the beach with your family. Can you imagine how much space your van has left after all the picnic stuff? Also, the space in your garage, have you cleared all the boxes out of your garage for your new air compressor yet?
That’s why it matters.
Do You Have A Look At The Pump?
The pump settings of each model represent how fast the air compressor can top up its tank. I know it’s kind of clear that everyone wants their tank filled up quickly; however, there are so many types of pump settings out on the market right now, it might confuse you.
To break it down, we will go over each kind of pumps:
- Oil-free (or oil-less) compressors: the majority of small compressors have this kind of pumps now, cutting down the maintaining and changing the oil for you. Most of them focus mainly on household projects. However, it can burn out rather quickly, if using frequently.
- Oil-lubricated air compressors: contrary to the first kind, this one, as you can guess, uses oil to lubricate the components in its pump. Also, it’s bigger than the oil-free model, and need a lot of maintaining. Without cleaning and changing oil routinely, the pumps can break down and stop working altogether but doesn’t burn out as quickly as the oil-less version.
- Single stage air compressors: it usually means the machine uses a single cylinder.
- Two-stage air compressors: and this one has two cylinders, which is superior to the single stage machines, can pump up to 200 psi faster, holds more air in, and doesn’t wear out quickly. These compressors can work much more intense and powerful projects in the shops.
Do You Check How Loud It Is?
These kinds of machines can cause quite a lot of noise while operating. So, you’d better watch out for those devices that extremely loud and uncomfortable for users.
Most of the oil-free air compressors can’t help but be a bit loud. Several brands have worked on this problem for some time, and some put out their results to the market and are welcomed warmly by consumers. Some are not that bad as you can wear ear protection while operating them.
Any Extra Features You Should Know About
Aside from all the significant factors mentioned above, you should still check out other features the machines offer so you can make an informed decision.
- Thermal protection: this feature will come in handy when there’s a surge in your electricity, or you just keep your compressor running for too long, causing its overcharge and overheat. As you know, from common knowledge, nothing can survive constant heating, so thermal protection provides cover for all the components in your compressor.
- Air-cooling system: this feature couples with thermal protection give you the ultimate cooling system for your machine. It makes sure the air pumped wouldn’t get too hot.
- Oil-free pump: if you don’t have much time to care for the device, it would be ideal for getting the one coming with an oil-free pump. It minimizes the maintenance that you have to do for the machine and also prevents your device from short-circuiting.
- Drains: to ensure all the condensed water get out of the compressor as it can cause all kinds of troubles, from leaking to rusting, the manufacturers have built in drains in each machine. However, not all types of drains have excellent designs. For example, the cock design is a bit complex, and you have to use pliers as well. The ball valve design is currently in demand on the market as for its effortless use.
Top 7 Best Air Compressor
1. PORTER-CABLE CMB15 (1.5 Gallon) Oil-Free Fully Shrouded / Hand Carry Compressor Kit with 25′ Hose
What’s made this model so special to consumers? We can say with confidence is because of its size. It’s lightweight and compact, but still powerful enough to surpass much larger products out on the current market.
Not to mention, due to its size, it’s easy to carry around and ready to pack, which makes it perfect for garage and home use. It’s useful for us adults is a plus, it’s also user-friendly so our kids can use to pump up their bike tires. And that is such a relief for you as parents, isn’t it?
By the way, the machine is oilless so that maintenance will be a breeze! However, because of that, it might cause some noise problems. And one of the features that may discomfort you is its ability to balance, as expected of its size.
2. DBPOWER 12V DC Portable Compact Tire Inflator, Auto Electric Air Compressor for Cars, Bikes, Motorcycles, and Sports Balls
DBPOWER certainly understands customers’ needs. They put into this machine enough cable for us to go around the floor without worrying when it’s going to pull us back!
They also built the device so easy to use. You just have to set a target PSI and push the button “go” rather than going through the process of pumping a little bit then waiting for the air to get into the pressure sensor. The cycle repeats a few more times until you reach your goal.
It also comes with an adaptor for you to be able to top up other inflatable objects such as the mattress, beachball, etc. Regardless, the machine can get a bit hot around the cord, so you should wear glove wire touching it. And some has reported it broke down after just a few uses.
3. Campbell Hausfeld FP209499AV Air Compressor
Campbell Hausfeld offers three sizes of the tank for consumers to decide which one is the best for your work. So, whether you want one for small jobs around the house, easy to carry around or pack for the van to go to the beach, or bigger jobs that require a lot more air, this product gets your back!
One might worry with the 8-gallon tank; it might put up a lot of weight; however, contrary to that belief, Campbell still manages to build the machine lighter than expected and portable as well. With this kind of price, the brand has taken a position in the current market.
Having said all that, the biggest complaint about this machine is the amount of noise it might produce while operating. So, ear protection is recommended.
4. PORTER-CABLE C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor
If you are tired of dragging around those 30-something gallon air compressor for simple jobs such as filling tires or nailing, you have come to the right place. This model from Porter-Cable is definitely one for transport as it performs excellently and easy to carry.
The Pancake Air Compressor can sustain an acceptable level of air pressure, which is completely surprising for a machine with this price. Its tank can top up pressure rather rapidly, and it doesn’t have to keep the motor running long for the constant pressure.
It’s also big enough to be in the category to operate with impact wrenches. And this model, in optimal condition, can reach 150 psi just under several minutes. However, it is typically for an oil-free machine to make some noise while operating. Besides even though the manual doesn’t mention it, you should have a break-in procedure (which ensures long term use) for this device.
5. DEWALT DWFP55126 6-Gallon 165 PSI Pancake Compressor
This newer model from Dewalt has been one of our favorites as it fixes the one thing that is consistently drawback from our previous suggestions, which is the noise. The machine is reasonably quiet, especially if you compare with other air compressors with the same 6-gallon tank.
And, upgrading from its older version, you don’t need to run a break-in procedure to ensure long term use anymore as the brand guarantees. Still, the process doesn’t hurt, so if you want to do it, it’s okay. The device also works with the gauge; it can maintain stable inflation pressure for some time before completely taking effect.
Also, the machine can provide the level of pressure up to 165 PSI. It is enough to handle almost all your household work. Nevertheless, several reports have stated that the air can seep outside from the hose fittings. So, when you notice that problem, it’s time to change the fittings.
6. Makita MAC700 Big Bore 2.0 HP Air Compressor
This product is one of the most satisfying quiet-yet-small air compressors we have the chance to pass by. Makita did its best to lower the volume each time we use the machine without compromising any functions. Its 2.6-gallon tank also gets filled very quickly with its own unique type of pump.
Even though the device cycles more often than not, it doesn’t mean you will run out of air for your next project. Besides the Big Bore 2.0 appears to be well-built and smoothly adjustable. At the bottom, Makita installed rubber feet which does the job of protecting your flooring very excellent.
Be that as it may, you can see the size of the tank is not really big compared to other similar products. Not to mention with the tank that small, it poses a question as to how the weight can be 52 pounds — somewhat heavy.
7. BOSTITCH BTFP3KIT 3-Tool Portable Air Compressor Combo Kit
Finally, we get to the last and also the number 1 air compressor on our list. They continually put out new and better products for different types of customers, never stop changing itself. This Bostitch product will without any doubts be value for money purchase. It handles its power well enough to reach and sustain its pressure level. The tank gets filled very quickly as the brand’s promise.
And even though, 6 gallons might not seem like a lot for all your air tools, but with the motor running, this model regains its power fast for you to continue using. Besides its materials, components, and workmanship are sturdy and durable.
The device is apparently easy to move around the house or bring along for the trip. Bostitch even installed a big grip on top of the machine just for you to grab it more comfortable. However, all of that doesn’t mean this product comes without faults. Because of its oilless feature, it might be a good idea to wear some ear protection as it can get noisy, especially when depressurizing the tank.
Time For A Decision
We sincerely hope you can at least have a picture of your new air compressor in your mind right about now. It would make it a lot easier to know now than to be overwhelmed later in the mall.
Air compressors industry has grown plenty over the last few years, as the demands from consumers are also evolving. Our reviews base mainly on their actual performance and current prices. So, in fewer words, we have summed up the current market for you to choose!
Whether you have bought one or not? What are your thoughts about air compressors? If you have any more to add in, please let us know in the comments below!
I am a licensed architect who is passionate about all things home improvement industries, I have been doing DIY painting projects and have developed lots of experience around home improvement over the 10 years.