Best Air Compressor for Home Garage 2020 Buyer’s Guide

Best Air Compressor for Home Garage

An air compressor is an amazing tool to extend the versatility of your work and to be able to work on more projects in an easier way.

In the past, they used to be found only in industrial settings and gas stations, but now they’ve been upgraded to fit more diverse environments that you can get one to use at your home in a garage.

But finding a good air compressor for your home garage might take a little research and it depends on a couple of factors.

Having done that research myself and tried out some of the most recommended choices, I’ve created this lit where you can find all the best air compressors for home garage.

 

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Motor and Performance

The motor of the Makita MAC700 is one of the best features of it as it’s quite strong and durable.

Being made out of cast iron with a big bore cylinder and piston means that it will provide you with the best, most stable performance.

A larger bore and a longer stroke mean you’ll get better compression with quieter operation and quicker recovery time.

The Makita MAC700 provides a maximum pressure of 130 PSI and can deliver 3.3 CFM at 90 PSI and 3. CFM at 40 PSI thanks to its strong 2 HP motor with an ample tank capacity of 2.6 gallons.

Pump Design

Although oil-free compressors require less maintenance, putting a little bit of extra care with this oil-lubricated model is worth it as it has superior durability and can work for extended periods.

The MAC700 comes with sight glass through which you can check the oil level in your compressor.

Tank

The hot dog type tank on this model has a short recovery time that allows you to get back to work quickly.

Furthermore, you can purchase a separate tank to get more airflow.

The 130 PSI capability lets you work with a lot of things without facing any trouble.

Portability

Measuring 18 x 10 x 22 inches and weighs 52 pounds, the MAC700 is not the most compact unit or the most portable, but you can still move it around with relative ease compared to other models.

Noise

Operating at 1720 RPM, it’s quiet enough for a home garage. However, it still produces more noise than the competition at 80 dB.

Pros

  • Great performance
  • Durable construction
  • Quiet operation
  • Doesn’t require a lot of maintenance
  • Efficient power use

Cons

  • Harder to maneuver since it lacks wheels
  • A little heavier than similar models
  • Airflow isn’t the purest

Bottom Line

The Makita MAC700 is one of the best garage air compressors as it’s more on the compact side, has a powerful motor and sufficient capabilities to work with a diverse number of tools.

Moreover, its durability and robust construction make it a great long-term investment.

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2. DeWalt DWFP55126 6-Gallon 165 PSI Pancake Compressor


DeWalt DWFP55126

 

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Motor and Performance

At the core of the DeWalt DWFP55126 is a high-efficiency motor capable of working at a 165 PSI maximum pressure.

The 6-gallon tank enables the unit to work at 2.6 CFM at 90 PSI while the high flow regulator optimizes its performance –making it perfect for air cleaning, tire inflation, and small repairs.

On top of that, it comes with 2 universal couplers so you can run two power tools at the same time.

Pump Design

The oil-free pump design makes it easier to maintain while the bell drain valve makes emptying the tank an easy task to extend the durability of the compressor.

Being oil-free means that you won’t find any trouble with its maintenance and your bearings will always be lubricated for the smoothest performance.

Noise

You’d imagine a unit with that reaches the pressure numbers of this one to cause a lot of commotion but the DeWalt DWFP55126 is actually relatively quiet at 75 dB.

Portability

Coming at only 32.2 pounds, the DeWalt DWFP55126 is also easy to move from one location to another. Its rubber legs make its operation more stable and leave your floors unmarked.

Pros

  • High tank capacity
  • Superb 165 PSI maximum pressure
  • Relatively quiet operation
  • The oil-free pump makes it easy to maintain
  • High durability

Cons

  • Substandard fittings
  • Batteries are difficult to charge

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a lightweight and portable home garage air compressor, this pancake is one of the best choices you can make.

It has a generous tank capacity and an impressive max pressure. Not to mention, it provides you with great value for the price.

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3. California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S Light & Quiet Portable Air Compressor


California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S

 

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Motor

If you’re looking to finish light-duty tasks such as inflating tires or using various kinds of guns such as staple, brad, finish nail guns, airbrushes, or blow guns, this model with its 0.6 HP motor, 1.2 CFM at 90 PSI pressure, and 1-gallon tank will be ideal for you.

It’s worth mentioning that the motor comes with thermal overload protection to prevent any damage from happening to it due to overheating.

Furthermore, its large single-piston pump has a 3000-hour service rating.

Pump Design

To get a full tank (120 PSI) from an empty one, you’d only have to wait for 50 seconds. Its recovery time from 90 PSI to 120 PSI is as quick as 15 seconds.

Noise

The CAT-1P1060S’s operation is as quiet as a whisper at only 56 dB.

Portability

Coming at around 29 pounds, the CAT-1P1060S is ultra-portable and can easily be moved around from one location to another.

Pros

  • Very quiet operation
  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Ultra-portable
  • Highly affordable

Cons

  • Low airflow
  • The 1-gallon tank is a little too small

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for the quietest air compressor for a garage, you’ll find none better than the California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S. It’s the ideal choice for someone who’s looking for a compact and lightweight air compressor to finish light-duty tasks.

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4. Porter-Cable C2002-WK Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor with 13-Piece Accessory Kit


Porter-Cable C2002-WK Oil

 

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Motor

The Porter-Cable C2002-WK comes with an ample 0.8 HP motor and replaceable brushes that extend the longevity of the unit.

The “soft-starting” motor enables you to connect it to house plugs without it becoming overloaded.

Pump Design

Delivering 90 PSI of pressure at a rate of 2.6 CFM and a maximum pressure of 150 PSI is quite impressive for this affordable and compact unit. It gives you enough diversity to work with many tools around your garage.

Moreover, it has a pre-installed air coupler and a plug on the air hose to spare you the hassle of installation as well as prevent air leaks.

The 6-gallon pancake air tank provides you with enough air to finish light to medium-duty tasks and has a drain valve that enables you to regularly get rid of the accumulating moisture.

Portability

At around 30 pounds and a footprint of 18.3 x 18 x 19, the Porter-Cable C2002-WK is compactly-designed and lightweight enough to be portable.

Accessories

The Porter-Cable C2002-WK comes with a 25-foot hose, tire gauge, tire chuck, blowgun, and many other accessories. 
This addition makes it very versatile and spares you the need to spend extra on any accessories.

Pros

  • Can work for extended periods of time
  • High capacity tank
  • Ample pressure
  • The oil-free pump requires little to no maintenance
  • Portable and easy to carry around
  • Comes with a water draining system
  • 13-piece accessory kit included

Cons

  • The air gauge is made from plastic
  • Very noisy operation

Bottom Line

Anyone looking for a small air compressor for their garage will definitely find the Porter-Cable C2002-WK a useful choice. It’s fully-integrated as it comes with a 13-accessory kit. It’s also very affordable and has generous tank capacity and great pressure capabilities.
The only downside is how noisy it is and that its motor is not that powerful.

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5. Bostitch BTFP02012 6 Gallon 150 PSI Oil-Free Compressor


Bostitch BTFP02012

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Motor

The Bostitch BTFP02012 will help you take on any small airing tasks and can even be used for some medium-duty ones with its ability to deliver 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI.

The fact that it can run two air tools simultaneously makes is very versatile and helpful. This is thanks to the two universal couplers it’s equipped with.

Its 6-gallon tank fills up pretty quickly at only 5 minutes to reach 150 PSI from 0.

Furthermore, its recovery time from 120 PSI to 150 PSI takes only 30 seconds.

Pump Design

The fact that the Bostitch BTFP02012 has an oilless design means that it’s always well-lubricated and ready for the smoothest use.
This also means that you won’t need to maintain it as frequently if at all.

Portability

Measuring 17 x 17 x 19.25 inches and weighing 29 pounds makes the Bostitch BTFP02012 very compact and lightweight compared to other models. In my opinion, this is what makes it a great air compressor for home garage use.

Noise

At 78.5 dB, the Bostitch BTFP02012 isn’t the most silent but it also doesn’t cause too much noise. So there’s no worry about using it in a confined place.

Pros

  • Easy-to-read gauges
  • Simple design makes it easy to control
  • High-quality materials make it durable
  • Can supply air to two tools simultaneously
  • Relatively quiet
  • Lightweight design

Cons

  • Not suitable for heavy-duty tasks
  • Short 5-foot power cord restricts mobility

Bottom Line

The Bostitch BTFP02012 is constructed with durability in mind. It also provides the user with great overall features at a very affordable price.

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6. California Air Tools 8010 Ultra Quiet & Oil-Free 1.0 hp Steel Tank Air Compressor


California Air Tools 8010

 

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Motor

Although its motor is a 1 HP one, it has a 2 HP peak.

To reach a full tank from an empty one, it requires 165 seconds –which is higher than the average time on the market.

Moreover, its recovery time to go from 90 PSI to 120 PSI is around 60 seconds, which is also higher than the average air compressor on the market.

You can use it for a variety of purposes such as inflating, airbrushing, engraving, and for a wide variety of air tools.

Moreover, its motor has thermal overload protection to prevent overheating.

Pump Design

The oil-free dual-piston pump system makes the California Air Tools 8010 functional in various temperatures and makes it require little to no maintenance throughout its 3000-hour duty cycle.

It comes with a bottom manual drain valve that helps you get rid of the moisture in the tank regularly for the best performance.

Finally, the air filter provides you with cleaner air for improved tool operation and helps remove any dust from the unit to extend its lifespan.

Portability

Measuring 26 x 14 x 23 inches, the California Air Tools 8010 isn’t the most compact. Moreover, it’s also heavier than most options at 54 pounds.

The wheels on the tank help a little with its portability, but if you’re going to move around a lot, I’d recommend a lighter model.

Noise

With a 60 dB rating, the California Air Tools 8010 operates quietly enough to use in a confined place such as a home garage. The fact that it operates at 1680 RPM highly contributes to its quietness.

Pros

  • Very high tank capacity
  • Ample motor power
  • Relatively quiet operation
  • Has wheels to be transported more easily
  • Comes with two support stands that secure it in place when not in use

Cons

  • Takes up a lot of space
  • On the heavy side
  • Pricier than models with a more horsepower

Bottom Line

The California Air Tools 8010 isn’t the most compact garage compressor, but it has a high-capacity tank and operates very quietly, so it’s still suitable for use in a garage.

While it’s not very affordable, it performs superbly. I definitely think it’s worth the money.

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7. Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor


Makita MAC2400

 

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Motor

Makita MAC2400’s 2.5 HP 4-pole motor enables it to deliver an impressive 4.2 CFM at 90 PSI.

The twin-stacked 4.2-gallon tanks provide it with enough airflow to take on a variety of tasks.

They provide a consistent and smooth airflow that helps you work with any tool you attach to this compressor.

Pump Design

The Makita MAC2400 has an oil-lubricated pump that makes it run for extended periods of time without overheating and protects it against wear and tear.

Moreover, the cast-iron construction makes it very sturdy and prevents any wobbling or vibration during operation.

The fact that it’s equipped with Big Bore cylinders and pistons to enable it to compress a larger volume of air and provide you with consistent airflow and the minimum recovery time.

Additionally, it has an air filter like those found in cars that filters the air to enhance the intake of the unit.

Noise

At 1730 RPM, I’d expect the Makita MAC2400 to operate at a slightly noisy 79 dB rating.

It does come with rubber feet to help stifle some of the noise and increase stability.

Pros

  • Has a high CFM rating
  • Equipped with a roll cage to protect the compressor
  • High-quality cast-iron construction extends its durability
  • Two hose outlets provide the user with more flexibility
  • Industrial air filtering makes it more efficient
  • Capable of handling heavy-duty tasks

Cons

  • Very heavy
  • A little noisy
  • Not compatible with many external kits
  • Substandard tank capacity

Final Thoughts

With its powerful motor, high-pressure capacity, and ample tank size the Makita MAC2400 is definitely the best air compressor for a home mechanic.

All of these powerful features are reflected in its quite expensive price, however.

I’d recommend it for someone who’s doing more professional, heavy-duty jobs.

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How to Pick an Air Compressor?

While picking a suitable air compressor isn’t tough, you need to know some features and how they affect your tool’s performance before you make a final decision. These features include:

HP Rating

This feature is pretty important, and one of the main things you should look for when shopping for an air compressor.

The motor is what drives the compressor, and the bigger it is, the more airflow you can drive and consequently the better your compressor works.

Moreover, larger motors have less wait time between emptying their tank and recovery for you to start working again.

Since you’re shopping for a home garage compressor, a 1.5 or 2 HP would suit most air tools around.

However, you shouldn’t just count on the power of the motor as it only paints part of the picture.

Max PSI and CFM Flow Rate

PSI or Pounds per Square Inch is the measurement of your tool’s ability to compress air, and it feeds the airflow measured in Cubic Feet Per Minute (CFM).

Different tools would require higher or lower CFM numbers depending on their size.

You should know that the pressure increases, the CFM decreases as the airflow is restricted.

For example, an average nail gun would require 2 CFM at 90 PSI.

Tank Size

The smaller the size of your tank, the more frequently you’ll need to air it up. 

Even though a 2 or 3-gallon tank size would make your compressor more compact and portable, it will also make it kick on more often.

The Bostitch’s 6-gallon tank makes it turn on less frequently. It also uses the size of the tank to compensate for how long it takes to refill with air as it has a smaller motor.

The larger the amount of air you need to finish your job (such as spray-painting cars), the larger the tank you’ll need.

Oil vs. Oil-free

A lot of air compressors offer oil-free compression seems excellent when you think about how you won’t need maintenance and wouldn’t have to worry about the tool tipping over and to leak oil all over the place.

However, oil is quite important. It keeps the compressor working at a cooler temperature and for a longer time without suffering wear and tear.

 If you’re going to use your compressor extensively and want fast-paced action, you should go for an oiled air compressor.

For example, if you’re going to use it for higher volume activities such as running sandblasters and angle grinders, you can’t work without an oiled system.

On the other hand, if you have plenty of time to let your tank get refilled between uses, you can go for an oil-free system.

Noise Level

Since you’re going to be using your air compressor from a home garage, you can’t have one that produces too much noise.

Being exposed to sound above 85 dB can cause trouble with hearing over time. So go for less noisy tools –especially when working from a confined place.

Weight

If you’re going to move your air compressor around, weight is a very important consideration.

Look for something that you can carry in one hand while you carry the air hose and power tools in the other.

Bleed Valves

Most air compressors have their valves on the bottom to let the pressure out.

If you own a gasoline-powered model, you’ll have to completely empty the tank before you can start it.

Draining the tank helps keep your air compressor’s performance efficient and extends its durability.

What Air Compressor Size is Good for a Home Garage?

It doesn’t depend on your compressor as much as it does on the size of the tools you’re going to use it with.

If you’re going to be working with medium to smaller-sized tools, around 5 CFM would be sufficient.

How to Set Up a Garage Air Compressor System?

Installing an air compressor is actually quite simple.

First, determine where in your garage you’re going to install it and make sure it’s a suitable area.

If you place some isolator pads, it’ll help keep the compressor more stable and reduce the noise.

Finally, make sure that your attachments are of the right size and then plug it in to get started.

Final Thoughts

I’d say the best air compressor for a home garage depends on the tools you’re going to be using it with.

But generally, the DeWalt DWFP55126 is a great choice for the ideal combination of price-affordability and diversity of functions.

On the other hand, I’d recommend the California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S for anyone who’s looking for a budget-friendly compressor that can take on most airing tasks.

For powerful performance and a little extra money, you can get the Makita MAC700 Big Bore 2.0 HP which has a powerful motor and great pressure. However, its tank capacity is a little underwhelming.

Finally, the Porter-Cable C2002 is a great choice for a lightweight and compact compressor that you can relocate from one place to another.

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