The 10 Best Portable Air Compressors

The 10 Best Portable Air Compressors

The 10 Best Portable Air Compressors

The 10 Best Portable Air Compressors

Air compressors are one of those versatile tools that are handy for some many types of jobs and industries.

In this article, I’ll talk about some of these uses and the different types of air compressors.

I’ll also recommend my favorite air compressors and the features you should consider before buying.

Craftsman 6 Gallon Air Compressor

Craftsman 6 Gallon Air Compressor

  • 6-gallon capacity
  • Portable and lightweight
  • 150 max PSI
  • Delivers 2.6SCFM at 90 PSI
  • Voltage–120V
  • Quick start, even on cold days
  • 1 year restricted warranty

This Craftsman Air Compressor is built for longevity. It features a robust design and an easy start-up, even during colder months.

The package includes an assembled PVC hose with a plug and coupler, a tire gauge, a tire chuck & plug, 3 inflator adaptors, a rubber tip, and a blowgun complete with an OSHA-certified nozzle.

The compressor is also equipped with an oil-free pump, which means you do not have to worry about maintenance.

What makes it even better is its convenient portable and lightweight size of 30 lbs for easy mobility and use at different worksites. The unit also comes with a 1-year restricted warranty.

What customers are saying

Customers love this compressor and are most happy with its quick start operation, easy setup, and included attachments.

However, a few customers received faulty units or missing components, and some had units that stopped working after a short while.

Rolair Wheeled Compressor With Overload Protection

Rolair Wheeled Compressor With Overload Protection

  • Robust cast-iron cylinder
  • Capacity of 5.3 gallons
  • Splash lubrication for prolonged pump life
  • Powerful 3400RPM motor
  • Delivers 6.5 CFM at 90 PSI
  • Comes with a wheel for easy mobility
  • Overload protection
  • Manual reset

The Rolair Wheeled Compressor boasts impressive features, making it a great option to consider.

The unit includes overload protection, wheels for mobility, splash lubrication for prolonged pump life, manual reset functionality, a capacity of 5.3 gallons, and a durable cast-iron cylinder.

It is equipped with a powerful 3400 RPM motor and features a recovery time of 6.5CFM at 90 PSI.

What customers are saying

Customers gave this compressor excellent reviews. Many of them were satisfied with its easy maneuverability, compact size, solid design, and great value for money.

Still, a few customers had issues with malfunctioning units.

Campbell Electric 26 Gallon Air Compressor

Campbell Electric 26 Gallon Air Compressor

  • Capacity of 26 gallons
  • Vertical and oil-free design with minimal maintenance
  • Delivers 4 CFM at 90 PSI
  • Dependable 1.3 motor
  • Robust oil-free pump offers excellent operation and longevity
  • Large wheels and handle for mobility
  • Gauges for regulating airflow

The Campbell Electric Air Compressor has a capacity of 26 gallons and features an oil-free vertical design, perfect for the workplace or DIY enthusiasts.

The induction motor ensures the compressor’s longevity, and it has a user-friendly control panel for the complete regulation of air manipulation. This air compressor hardly requires maintenance.

The unit has a maximum of 150 PSI and delivers 4CFM at 90 PSI. The big wheels and steel handle make mobility hassle-free, and its vertical design helps save space.

This unit is multi-functional and suitable for various applications. It is our top choice in the category of electric air compressors.

What customers are saying

Most customers were extremely satisfied with their purchase, commenting on the compressor’s quick fill-up, sturdy design, and smooth operation.

However, some customers had issues with units that stopped working after a short period, and some reported receiving faulty units.

Porter-Cable Air Compressor

Porter-Cable Air Compressor

  • Lightweight and portable design
  • Capacity of 6 gallons
  • Delivers 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI
  • Pancake-style tan with a maximum capacity of 150 PSI
  • 120V motor
  • Robust pump for prolonged life and zero maintenance
  • 2 couplers to accommodate 2 operators
  • Console, handle and shroud for portability and protection of essential components

This Air Compressor is incredibly user-friendly and portable. Its features include a 6-gallon pancake-style compressor with a porter cable, rubber feet, and water drain valve.

Do not underestimate the size of this nifty product as it will surprise you with its powerful performance and 2.6SCFM at 90 PSI recovery time.

The unit is ideal for various applications, and the 120V low-amp motor starts effortlessly, even in cold weather.

You can run the compressor easily from standard household electrical circuits, and it requires minimal maintenance.

What customers are saying

This compressor received excellent reviews, with customers commending its easy setup, straightforward operation, lightweight design, portability, and value for money.

Still, some customers had issues with the unit being noisy and leaking pressure.

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You’ll have minimum maintenance and no oil usage with this Industrial Air Compressor. The unit has a 5 horsepower Honda gas engine and overhead valve.

It also boasts impressive features which include its quick-start and smooth engine operation, low fuel usage and emissions, separate check valves and pilot, and air throttle cylinder.

Cooling efficiency is amplified with its unique patented pump design and dual cooling system.

The pump life is prolonged with the unit running at cooler temperatures and a maximum of 155 PSI pressure capacity.

Included with the compressor are gauges, a quick-connect function, a regulator, and handle grips. This is our top choice in industrial compressors.

What customers are saying

This unit received mostly 5-start reviews, with customers saying it’s an overall great product, with a compact design and optimal efficiency.

Some customers, however,  had issues with missing or faulty components, and some said their units stopped running after a short time.

Bostitch Air Compressor Combo Kit

The Bostitch Combo Kit is perfect for finishing projects and trimming tasks in various areas such as staircases and cabinets.

The unit boasts a 6-gallon tank with a maximum pressure of 150 PSI and a 2.6 SCFM delivery at 90 PSI. This is convenient for prolonged run time and quick recovery.

The compressor kit is oil-free with zero maintenance required and has quick-start functionality in colder weather. All in all, a great buy.

California Air Tools Aluminum Tank Air Compressor

The California Air unit is made for powerful performance with its robust 1.0 horsepower motor that runs at 1680 RPM, ideal for less wear and lower noise levels.

This unit is incredibly compact and is a portable choice for job sites or DIY projects at home.

The unit also features a no-oil pump, which makes it easy to use in various temperatures and rough terrains.

Included with the purchase is a complimentary toolkit, making transportation from one site to another extremely convenient.

Dewalt Pancake Air Compressor

The Dewalt Air Compressor comes equipped with a powerful motor that starts up promptly, even in colder temperatures. It can also be operated with an extension cord.

The unit has a 6-gallon tank with a maximum PSI of 165 and delivers 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI. This is ideal for prolonged run time and fast recovery.

It accommodates two users, plus you can enjoy zero maintenance with an oil-free pump that offers extended life. The high-flow regulator and couplers are beneficial for tool performance.

Another standout feature is the lower noise level compared to other compressors.

Makita Quiet Series Electric Air Compressor

The Makita Air Compressor is a well-liked option because of its quick recovery time and extended tool life, along with excellent ongoing performance.

With this air compressor, you can enjoy powerful operation with less noise. The unit features a 1 horsepower motor, 2-gallon tank, and oil-free operation.

This product is the perfect choice for using indoors with a running noise level of only 60dBA. It operates at lower RPM, which is beneficial for prolonged pump and motor life.

The motor delivers 135 PSI maximum pressure, and the unit weighs only 44 lbs for easy mobility.

Metabo Pancake Air Compressor With Brad Nails

The Metabo air compressor has a 6-gallon tank with a maximum pressure of 150 PSI and delivers 2.8CFM at 90 PSI. You can run multiple nailers contingent on how they are being used.

The unit boasts a 1 horsepower oil-free motor with a quick start-up function in cold temperatures.

All the essential components are protected by the rugged steel roll cage with rubber grip handles.

The unit runs quieter than other models at 73 dB, and PSI adjustments are straightforward with the industrial gauges and regulator.

Air compressors are used for various applications, and the tank capacity usually dictates what we use it for.

There is a selection of low pressure, high pressure, or medium pressure compressors. Air compressor capacity ranges between 150 PSI, 151-1000 PSI, and exceeding 1000 PSI.

There are also several types of air compressors, such as centrifugal compressors, rotary vane pumps, turbo compressors, etc.

Another way to differentiate between compressors is by the method of displacement mechanism.

Positive displacement

With positive displacement air compressors, the air is pushed into the air compressor’s chamber and the storage chamber’s capacity lowers because of the compressed air that is entering.

Once the storage chamber’s capacity is attained, the outlet valve will open and release the air. Rotary, valve, and piston compressors are all examples of positive displacement compressors.

Dynamic displacement compressors

Dynamic displacement compressors use an impeller.

Centrifugal force is applied to accelerate air and decelerate the contained air before pressurizing it. This compressor makes use of kinetic energy.

There is a broad selection of air compressors available and there are a variety of ways to use them. You can buy an air compressor for business, industrial, or home use.

For home use

These air compressors are typically compact, small, and easy to maneuver.

Most of them are wheeled and you generally have a choice between a portable air compressor or a tire inflator for inflating vehicle tires, depending on your needs.

Reciprocating piston compressors are a popular choice for home use. Some activities that involve using air compressors for home use include:

  • Inflating balloons or balls
  • Using pneumatic tools that are suitable for use with air compressors
  • Inflating tires
  • Cleaning items
  • Spray painting cars or other objects

For small business use

Small businesses prefer air compressor-powered tools over electric ones because it is safer and lighter to use, plus they can be used for extended periods without heating like electric tools.

Some small business uses for air compressors include:

  • Medical or dental practices
  • Pneumatic tools such as nail guns that are used for roofing, etc.
  • Spray painting vehicles at auto repair shops
  • Carpenters use it for sanding projects
  • Sandblasting operations by manufacturing companies

Industry use

These types of compressors are usually enormous and have a high capacity exceeding 1000 PSI.

The ideal air compressors for particular industries are chosen based on size, CMF rating, noise level, and capacity.

Some applications where such units are used include:

  • Farms that spray crops
  • For powering dairy machines at dairy farms
  • Operating pneumatic material machinery
  • At cement manufacturing facilities
  • Freezing or cooling beverages and food
  • Pharmaceutical companies that perform spray coating

Roll cage

A roll cage helps protect essential components and prevent damage. An excellent roll cage usually features a low center of gravity to avoid knocking over accidentally.

Pressure switch

The pressure switch’s primary function is to stop the motor when the inside pressure of the tank reaches a certain value.

It will also turn the motor back on once the pressure goes under a specific value. This is an exceptional safety feature.

Thermal overload protection

When there is prolonged use, it creates heat between the compressor and mechanical components, and if this heat reaches a specific value, it could end up damaging the compressor.

Some air compressors feature a thermal overload protection device that immediately cuts the motor power when the compressor is at risk of overheating.

Drain valve

Drain valves are useful for draining excess moisture that accumulates inside the compressor’s tank over time and could damage components, particularly when they are manufactured with cast iron.


When shopping for a portable unit, look for an air compressor that has carry handles and see if the unit’s weight distribution is listed in the specs.

Sometimes air compressors feel a lot heavier due to improper weight distribution. Some units are wheeled, making them easier to move.

Air filters

Air filters are a feature that is usually found on air purifiers; however, it can be incredibly useful for air compressors too. Air filters on the end of intake capture all toxic particles in the surrounding air.

Even though these molecules are tiny, they can eventually damage your compressor, particularly if they are moisture-based.