Air compressor is a useful piece of equipment with an extensive range of applications. It can support you in providing high-pressure purified air to stuff gas cylinders, to activate pneumatic tools, to fill in flat tires, or even contributing to industrial processes in large scale like oxidation.
There are various classifications of compressors, but the most common choice nowadays is an oil-free air compressor.
You may find a number of units on the market. However, the wrong decision can be a waste of money and cause destruction to your jobs.
So finding the best oilless air compressor is crucial.
If you don’t have any model in your mind, here is our recommendation. From our experience and review from others, these are the top-rated machines for pressurizing the air.
Top 5 Best Oilless Air Compressors
In-depth Reviews Of The Best Oilless Air Compressors
1. Best Overall: Bostitch BTFP02012 Oil-Free Compressor
Bostitch can be the oldest company in their industry, so no wonder they supply the best oil-free air compressors in the market. With more than 120 years of experience in producing tools and devices for both home and industrial uses, the company can create a flexible and feasible air compressor.
The unit contains a 6-gallon tank, easily draining with the help of a ball type drain valve. In the product package, you will have a brad nailer, a straight nailer, and a crown stapler, so you don’t have to pay for the extra tools.
The BTFP02012 is very quick to reload due to the bottom loading. There is an indicator to inform you when to reload.
The dBA rating of the compressor is 78.5, not a very high number so that your ear is not damaged while the product is working.
The only thing that may make you have a second thought is the price. Compared to other units, this is definitely expensive. Still, the attachments which come with the product are very helpful.
- A sufficient storage tank
- Many tools in one package
- The loading system from the bottom
- Low level of noise
- Very high cost
2. Best For Entry-level Users: PORTER-CABLE C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor
If you want to own an as effective compressor as the Bostitch BTFP02012 but at a more reasonable price, you can try PORTER-CABLE C2002.
This is a user-friendly machine with an air coupler and a plug, which can be installed to the air hose with no hassle. If you are new to the air compressor, it will not take much time to get accustomed to PORTER-CABLE C2002.
The maximum PSI at 150 allows the equipment to be able to work longer. The recovery time is also shortened if you use the compressor at the average 90 PSI, 2.6 SCFM.
The motor requires a low amp of 120 volts to start, so even in adverse weather, you can still make it work efficiently.
One minor problem with this product is that you will have to buy the extra accessories for specific purposes, which will raise up the overall price.
- Ease of use even with first-timers
- Sufficient running time
- Short recovery
- No additional tools included
3. Best For Heavy-Duty Jobsite Use: DEWALT DWFP55126 Pancake Compressor
Among all pancake compressor, DEWALT DWFP55126 gives you the highest pressure at 165 PSI. With a tank capacity of 6 gallons, this product can handle well from small to large sized projects.
Though it is quite heavy-duty, the noise level is not that high, 75.5 dBA to be more specific. That is even lower than our top pick the Bostitch BTFP02012.
What we appreciate most about DEWALT company is their attention to details. To avoid marring, they put protective rubber covers around the legs. This feature comes in handy when you need to move the machine on vulnerable surfaces like wood or marble.
Catch point issues rarely happen thanks to the outlet tube which is rerouted. There are two universal couplers to reduce the burden when you use the machine.
The cord has convenient storage so that every part is neat and clean, also extending the lifespan of the product.
Although DEWALT DWFP55126 is an oil-free air compressor, its structure is not similar to other models. That’s why you may find a little strange when breaking in the unit for cleaning and maintaining.
- Powerful motor with broad applications
- Less noise than most other counterparts
- Console covers to prevent marring
- Rerouted outlet tube
- Traditional inside construction
4. Best For Budget: Excell U256PPE Pancake Air Compressor
With a super affordable price of less than $100, Excell U256PPE Pancake Air Compressor becomes the most budget-friendly product you can find in the market for compressing air.
When you first look at this equipment, you will notice that it is a bit larger than other oilless models. The detailed dimensions are 17.91 x 17.32 x 21.7 inches, so it is heavier than usual. The body itself weighs nearly 40 pounds, which makes movements a little harder.
Still, it features an oil-free maintenance motor and pump. Replacements if any are easy to find as all the components are universal.
The control panel located conveniently to facilitate an accessible spot. So, there’s not much trouble operating the unit.
The Excell U256PPE runs on a 1.5 motor delivering 2.8 CFM at 90 PSI while the maximum pressure can reach 150. Apparently, the performance of the product is no inferior to other equipment on the list.
- Very low price
- Efficient performance
- Simple operation
- Large size
- Somewhat weightiness
5. Best Portable Air Compressor: Hitachi EC28M Ultra Quiet Oil-Free
Hitachi is a popular name for industrial appliances. The EC28M Ultra Quiet Oil-Free Portable Air Compressor belongs to the product series “Low Noise”, so the sound rating of the machine is incredible. It is only 58 dB, which is almost half of the counterpart’s noise level.
Also, this is the lightest oil-free air compressor, which is 25.2 pounds. So, you don’t have to struggle when transporting the product.
Another plus point of Hitachi EC28M is the industry grade gauges and regulator. With this feature, you can adjust the PSI level accurately.
The roll cage is made from premium steel to secure all essential parts of the machine while there is a rubber console on the handles so that you can have a comfortable grip.
However, Hitachi EC28M has a very low capacity of one gallon only. We understand that it is a trade-off for the low noise, but you can’t really do so many things with that tank storage.
- Super quiet model
- Very lightweight machine
- Ultimate portability
- Comfortable handle
- Limited gallon tank
Benefits of Oil-Free Air Compressors
Users of all kinds of levels often get confused between the oil and oilless versions of air compressors. To our way of thinking, the latter model is superior to the former. Below are our explanations.
A tremendous advantage of oil-free over oil air compressor is the overall weight. As there are fewer components inside, it is much lightweight than the big brother.
An innovation oilless compressor can be as little as 20 pounds while the older counterpart may weigh up to several hundred.
Oil-free air compressors are especially ideal for home DIY projects such as fill up the tires, adding air to jackhammers or spraying paint.
Little To No Maintenance
The conventional air compressor, which runs on oil, requires liquid changing frequently. The more you use it, the more times you have to oil it. Some specific design of oil air compressors also needs more careful and regular maintenance than others.
Also, you have to prepare some specialized elements to separate between air and oil and a filter to discard oil aerosols.
However, there is no hassle like that if you use an oilless air compressor. It doesn’t need oil changing, so you can save a lot of resources. To help an air compressor without oil last longer, all you have to do is to drain the tank of the machine completely after use.
So simple and easy, isn’t it?
Unlike the oil-based version, the oil-free ones can maneuver in multiple directions. Plus, their lightweight and compact size enable you to carry the unit around and move them both vertically and horizontally. You will have full control of the compressor.
As it is free of oil, there’s no worry about leakage when you bend the pipe.
Thanks to the minimal construction, the price for an oilless compressor is reduced to a great extent. Moreover, it is more durable with less maintenance, less replacement required.
As a result, you can cut down a wide range of expenses.
If you buy a machine with the regulator, it will allow you to use energy on demand. There will also be an on-off switch which will automatically shut down the device in case of excessive heat. That feature helps to reduce fuel consumption and enhance your safety too.
Indeed, a traditional air compressor is larger in size, so it requires more amps to start working. When the weather is cold, it takes even more time due to the bulkiness.
The more updated model, on the other hand, is quick to begin operation as the structure is pretty simple and needs less pressure.
Since our world is contaminated with the toxic gas release, we should also give a hand in limiting the harmful emissions. While oil-based compressors produce smoke, we can keep our surrounding clean by removing the oil and using an oilless one.
How Does An Oilless Air Compressor Work?
Keen awareness of how your tool operates will not only help you achieve the best application but also allow you to choose the best oilless air compressor for your task.
We will give you a step-by-step demonstration from the starting stage until you get the compressed air
Step 1: Taking The Air Inside
All air compressors start with getting the outside air into a component called the unloader valve. Then, it passes through an inlet air filtration for purification.
There can be several layers of filters to make sure the air is as clean as possible. By eliminating all the dust and small debris, the filtration reduces the possibility of damage to your oilless air compressor.
The valve will open to enable the compressor to pump air into the chamber, turning on the “loaded” condition. After the unloader valve closes, the machine gets into the “unloaded” position, ready to work.
Step 2: Compressing At The First Element
In operation, the air compressor can produce heat, often within the low-pressure element of the compressor. That’s the result of operating without oil.
On average, a compressor element will work at approximately 2.5 bar. The process of compressing air only can make the equipment reach a maximum of temperature up to 180 degrees, doubling the heat of oil-lubricated compressors.
Step 3: Accessing Intercooler
After the air is compressed, pistons will push it through an intercooler, where the cooling process begins to facilitate further compression. Based on the model of your oilless air compressor, this can be the final phase or the air can be moved to another compressing procedure.
Step 4: Going Through Aftercooler
During the final phase of compression, the temperature of the air will reach about 150 degrees, so it needs another cooling stage to be able to use in other devices.
In the reciprocating model, pulsation dampeners are placed right in front of the aftercooler to minimize vibration and pulsation from suction and discharge valves.
When the tank is full, you can now use the air inside for your job.
Last But Not Least
Now that you have understood oil-free air compressors, selecting a suitable device can become such a piece of cake. If you don’t know what to choose, the best decision is to try out one of our best oilless air compressors, depending on your budget and your frequency of use.
In our opinion, Bostitch BTFP02012 is the star of the show. An excellent product with a lot of utilities and various applications.