10 Best Portable Air Compressor 2021 Buyer’s Guide

best portable air compressor

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Portable air compressors have become more and more popular for the homeowner as well as the professional.
With all the options on the market, it may be hard to choose a good portable air compressor especially if you’re not sure what features to look for and how they work.
This is why we’ve tailored this guide to help you pick the best portable air compressor to suit your needs.

Portable Air Compressor – Comparison Table

Air CompressorMaximum Pressure Motor (HP)Weight (lbs)
Bostitch BTFP02012 2.6 SCFM 0.9 30.9
Makita MAC2400 4.2 CFM 2.5 81
California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S 1.20 CFM 1.2 29.5
DeWalt DWFP55126 2.6 CFM 0.9 30
California Air Tools 8010 2.20 CFM 1 54
Porter-Cable C2002 2.6 CFM 1 34
VIAIR 400P 2.3 CFM 1 .2 8.5

The 10 Best Portable Air Compressor


1. Bostitch BTFP02012 Best Jobsite Compressor 


 

BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor, Oil-Free, 6 Gallon, 150 PSI (BTFP02012)

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The Bostitch BTFP02012 is an updated version of a previous model, so it has some basic features with reduced noise, a narrow diameter tank, and small modifications with the plastic construction shroud.

Running on a 0.9 HP motor, the Bostitch BTFP02012 draws 15 AMP to operate at 2,700 RPM.
Moreover, its lube-free maintenance pump spares you the need to oil the pump for it to work properly. This also means the pump is easy to start.

Impressively, it can reach a maximum of 150 PSI inside the tank in under 2.5 minutes.

The 6-gallon pancake-style air tank is spacious enough for carpentry applications without the need to stop and wait for the tank to refill in the middle of the job.

But even if, the device recovers quite quickly in just 25 seconds.

As for the pressure, the Bostitch BTFP02012 can reach 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI which is suitable for running many tools around the house.

Working at 78.5 decibels of noise means that it operates quietly.

At 33 pounds and 17 x 17 x 19.2 inches, the Bostitch BTFP02012 is quite easy to move around and doesn’t take up that much space.

Pros

  • Quite portable
  • Easy to store and mount
  • Low-noise operation
  • Ability to work with two tools at a time thanks to the double coupler

Cons

  • Hoses and additional accessories aren’t provided
  • Requires proper draining after every use

At an affordable price and a compact size, the Bostitch BTFP02012 is one of the best small portable air compressors you can get on the market.

BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor, Oil-Free, 6 Gallon, 150 PSI (BTFP02012)
  • The portable air compressor has a long-life oil-free, maintenance-free pump for convenient use
  • 150 max PSI 6.0 gallon tank (22.7 L) and 2.6 SCFM* delivered @ 90 PSI pump enable long tool run time with quick recovery of...
  • BOSTITCH high efficiency motor of the 6 gallon air compressor is made for easy start up in cold weather or extension cord...
  • 78.5 dBA** operational noise level for a quiet work environment

2. Makita MAC2400 Best Tankless Electric Air Compressor


 

Makita MAC2400 2.5 HP Big Bore Air Compressor

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The Makita MAC2400 comes with a cast iron pump and a Big Bore cylinder and piston that were designed for the fastest recovery time and enhanced performance.

It doesn’t require high amperage to run which minimizes the tripped beakers incidences at start-up.
Moreover, the 4.2-gallon twin-stacked tank keeps the compressor working at pressures of 130 PSI and delivering 4.8 CFM at 40 PSI as well as 4.2 CFM at 90 PSI –enough pressure to operate two nailers.
The Makita MAC2400s’ pump runs at 1,730. This results in less heat damage affecting the motor as well as less operating noise (around 79 dB).

To reduce the wear and running temperatures, the Makita MAC2400’s pump is oil-lubricated. On top of that, there’s a built-in thermal overload to ensure protection.

Furthermore, there’s a tank drain valve for easier maintenance and a roll-cage construction that gives the compressor a greater ability to withstand extreme job site environments.

When it’s up and running, the Makita MAC2400 measures 20 x 18 x 18.75 inches and weighs 81 pounds, which is pretty heavy and sturdy.

Pros

  • Quite durable
  • Enhanced efficiency
  • Operates without noise
  • Easy to clean and maintain

Cons

  • Controls aren’t placed conveniently on one front panel
  • Heavy and not portable
  • Not very affordable

With its sturdiness, smooth and efficient performance, the Makita MAC2400 is one of the best 120 V portable air compressors you’ll find on the market.

Makita MAC2400 2.5 HP Big Bore Air Compressor
  • Cast iron pump with Big Bore cylinder and piston is engineered to provide faster recovery time for improved performance
  • Powerful 2.5 HP 4-Pole motor produces 4.2 CFM at 90 PSI for increased productivity and lower noise
  • Roll-cage construction provides complete protection to withstand extreme jobsite environments
  • Low AMP draw reduces incidences of tripped breakers at start-up

3. California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S Portable Tire Inflator


 

California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S Light & Quiet Portable Air Compressor, Silver

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If you’re looking for the ideal portable compressor for tires, the California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S is the one for you.

Being only 12.5 x 14 x 14.75 inches in size and 29.5 in weight, it’s very easy to carry around with you to different sites.

Its compact size does affect the size of its tank, however, as it’s only 1 gallon. This small size means fast refills to 120 PSI at only 50 seconds.

Moreover, to go from 90 PSI back to a full 120, it only needs 15 seconds.

The fact that it’s equipped with a 1.2 HP motor is quite impressive relative to its size.

The California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S is quite great for inflating tires and other items and powering finish and pin nailers as well as small airbrushes.

Moreover, the California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S features a 1P series motor that has overload protection to extend its durability.

On top of that, the large single-piston pump can do 3,000 hours’ work before needing maintenance.

Pros

  • Very portable
  • Fast performance
  • Quiet operation

Cons

  • Maximum pressure is inferior to many rivals
  • Small 1-gallon tank

If your main concern is portability and quality of operation over spacious tanks and higher pressures, then you’ll be satisfied with the performance of the California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S.

California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S Light & Quiet Portable Air Compressor, Silver
  • Ultra quiet only 56 Decibels
  • Oil-Free pump for less maintenance & costs
  • Lightweight for easy transporting - 29 lbs
  • 1.0 gallon steel tank

4. DeWalt DWFP55126 Top Portable Electric Air Compressor For Construction


 

DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor, 6 Gallon, 165 PSI (DWFP55126)

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Looking for a spacious 6-gallon tank on a compact compressor that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg? Although it seems impossible to find, the DeWalt DWFP55126 is there.

It provides you with a maximum pressure of 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI.

At 75.5 dB, its noise is also manageable and the regulators and couplers are of high flow, so you’ll be getting the most air to your tools.

Moreover, for the features on it, the DeWalt DWFP55126 is rather light at only 30 pounds.

The console cover protects the important components of the device but still gives you access when you need it.

And although it might face some problems when it comes to the dual-tool features, it’s still an overall great purchase for a portable jump starter and air compressor.

When it’s up and running, the DeWalt DWFP55126 has a 17 x 16.6 x 20.1-inch footprint and weighs around 30 pounds.

Pros

  • Big storage tank
  • Quiet operation for its class
  • Premium-quality construction
  • Comes with two hose connectors
  • Portable for its functionality

Cons

  • Mostly suited for smaller or non-continuous tools
  • Doesn’t work well for sealing or painting
  • Horsepower is a little disappointing

The DeWalt DWFP55126 is a very solid and sturdy air compressor that’s made from high-quality materials. It’s also quite durable and portable for the features. However, to get the best performance, you won’t be able to use its features to their extreme.

DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor, 6 Gallon, 165 PSI (DWFP55126)
  • 165 max PSI 6.0 gallon tank (22.7 L) and 2.6 SCFM* delivered @ 90 PSI pump, enable long tool run time with quick recovery for...
  • High efficiency motor of the electric air compressor is made for easy start up in cold weather or extension cord application....
  • 78.5 dBA** noise level of the 6 gallon air compressor is made for a quiet work environment
  • High flow regulator and couplers of DEWALT portable air compressor are designed to maximize air tool performance

5. California Air Tools 8010 Construction Air Compressors Tire Inflator


 

California Air Tools 8010 Steel Tank Air Compressor | Ultra Quiet, Oil-Free, 1.0 hp, 8 gal

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The California Air Tools 8010 is one of the best options on the market for a quiet air compressor.
It’s also quite fast as its tank will refill in just 165 seconds and doesn’t draw too much amperage at only 8.5 AMP to run its 1 horsepower motor.

The California Air Tools 8010 can reach impressive pressures of 2.20 CFM at 90 PSI. This means that it’s suitable for use by both amateurs and professionals alike.

It also suits both indoor and outdoor projects and is sufficiently portable at 54 pounds. So you can carry it around with you or even use the wheels if necessary and where possible.
However, it’s not the most compact at 26 x 14 x 23 inches.

Pros

  • Affordable running cost thanks to the 8.5 AMP
  • Easy to maneuver and carry around
  • Adequately quiet
  • Being a corded-electric compressor spares you the hassle of dealing with oil changes or problems

Cons

  • The cable may limit the space in which you can work
  • Relatively lower horsepower

The California Air Tools 8010 is quiet enough to be used indoors but also powerful enough for outdoor use. It’s pretty versatile, compact, and will give you great value for your money.

California Air Tools 8010 Steel Tank Air Compressor | Ultra Quiet, Oil-Free, 1.0 hp, 8 gal
  • Comes complete with Wheel Kit & Air Filter | No hose included | Consider you will need a ¼” Universal / Industrial Male...
  • Product dimensions – 26" L x 14" W x 23” H | Max Pressure – 120 PSI | Voltage – 110V / 60 Hz | Min running watts –...
  • Oil-Free Pump for Less Maintenance & Costs | Powerful 1.0 HP (Rated / Running) 2.0 HP (Peak) Motor
  • The large 8.0 Gallon Steel Air Tank is Lightweight (48 lbs) and the wheel kit makes it very easy to transport

6. Porter-Cable C2002 Oil-Free Best 4 Gallon Air Compressor Tire Inflator


 

PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor, 6-Gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free (C2002)

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The Porter-Cable C2002 is a pancake-style air compressor that provides you with compactness, portability, and stability.

The 6-gallon storage tank provides you with a lot of air tool performance time.

Moreover, its maximum pressure reaches 2.6 CFM at 90 PSI. This is quite adequate for a lot of tools.

However, its 82-decibel noise can be a little too much for some.

And although it comes with a 13-piece accessory kit, the pieces aren’t very high-quality.

There’s no need to worry about user labor or leaks as the air coupler and plug are factory installed and ready out-of-the-box.

Its footprint is around 19 x 19 x 18 inches and it has a shroud, a handle, and a console cover to protect it and maintain it for a long.

Pros

  • Large tank capacity
  • 90-day return policy
  • No assembly required
  • Lightweight design

Cons

  • The attached accessory kit isn’t of the best quality
  • Noisy operation

Although the Porter-Cable C2002 is a little noisy when it’s working, it produces great pressure for its compactness and lightweight.

PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor, 6-Gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free (C2002)
  • 150 psi max tank pressure of the portable air compressor allows more air in the tank for longer tool runtimes
  • 2.6 SCFM @ 90 psi of the electric air compressor allows for quick compressor recovery time, per ISO1217
  • 6 gal Pancake style tank of the PORTER-CABLE air compressor is made for stability, includes water drain valve and rubber feet
  • Low Amp 120V motor of the 6 gallon air compressor starts easily in cold weather or with extension cord

7. VIAIR 400P  Small Air Compressor Machine Portable Tire Inflator


 

VIAIR 400P Portable Compressor

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Operating on 12 Volt, the VIAIR 400P has a pressure of 2.3 CFM at 0 PSI.

It’s quite lightweight at only 8.5 pounds, which makes it the perfect car or truck tires portable air compressor.

Moreover, it comes with a 25-foot hose that gives you plenty of space to maneuver it and work freely.

On the other hand, you can use the direct heavy-duty dual battery clamps with a 40 AMP inline fuse.

The VIAIR 400P is also quite compact at 13 x 11 x 9.5 inches.

You can rest assured that the VIAIR 400P will last with you for a satisfactory period of time with its 1-year limited warranty.

Pros

  • Long cable and battery-capable
  • Superbly lightweight
  • Compact design

Cons

  • Lack features that you can find on rivals of the same price range or less

While the VIAIR 400P may not seem like the biggest bang for your buck, it’s the most compact and lightweight air compressor you’ll find on the list, so its price would seem justified for catering to this critical need.

VIAIR 400P Portable Compressor
  • 12 VOLT Operated - 150PSI Max Working Pressure, engine must be running during use.
  • 2.3CFM Free Flow @ 0 PSI. The air hose length is 25 feet
  • 150 PSI maximum working pressure and 33% duty cycle
  • Direct heavy-duty dual battery clamps with 40-amp inline fuse

8. Oasser Best Air Compressors Portable tire inflator


 

Oasser Air Compressor Portable Mini Air Inflator Hand Held Tire Pump 2000mAh with Digital LCD LED...

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If you’re an ambitious, smart driver from the East Coast looking for a competitive edge in today’s market, then Oasser has an air compressor that will surprise and delight you. This tire inflator is engineered to provide instant support when it matters most.

It comes with everything you need to quickly inflate tires wherever you are-whether in your home garage or on the side of the road. In addition to our portable pump is powerful enough to fill up car and truck tires with ease, it also features LCD digital pressure gauge that flips between PSI, BAR, KPA, and Kg/cm² units. giving drivers choices as they see fit.

The Oasser air compressor automatically stops filling when preset values are reached so there’s no risk of over-inflating, and it features a relay protection system so that you can leave your car’s engine running while the Oasser inflator fills up the tires.

benefits:

  • Save money on tire inflator purchases.
  • Avoid the hassle of finding a gas station in an emergency. 
  • Spend more time driving and less time worrying about tire inflators. 
  • Keep your family safe with peace of mind when you’re out on the road.
Oasser Air Compressor Portable Mini Air Inflator Hand Held Tire Pump 2000mAh with Digital LCD LED...
  • Built-in Lithium Battery 2000mAh: Mini-body, extra-Large capacity with 2000mAh. The rechargeable Oasser air compressor can be...
  • LCD digital pressure gauge with backlight: With 3 optional units as PSI, BAR, KPA, Kg / cm². You can preset tire pressure to...
  • Super Bright LED Flashlight: 8 LED Light Beads can be controlled by the independent switch to provide you with convenient for...
  • High inflating efficiency: Equipped with permanently usable metal gear that can complete the inflation of a car tire in less...

9. AstroAI Air Compressor Portable Tire Inflator


 

AstroAI Air Compressor Tire Inflator Portable Air Pump for Car Tires 12V DC Auto Tire Pump with...

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AstroAI Air Compressor Tire Inflator is made with high-quality materials and provides an accurate reading in a short amount of time.

The device can inflate your car tires from 0 to 35 psi in under 5 minutes. Features auto reset the timer for continuous use after 10-15 minutes to let the air compressor cool down and rest before continuing.

Delivers fast inflating at 35 L/Min through professional calibration for accuracy within 1.5% of tire pressure on every usage. Comes with “M” setting so you can set frustration level you need, plus “+” & “-” buttons allow you to control inflation pressures during use.

benefits:

  • No more waiting for your air compressor to cool down.
  • Save time and money on gas by inflating tires with this device. 
  • Get back on the road faster than ever before. 
  • Feel confident that you’ll never be stranded again.
Sale
AstroAI Air Compressor Tire Inflator Portable Air Pump for Car Tires 12V DC Auto Tire Pump with...
  • FAST INFLATION & ADVANCED ACCURACY: High-quality materials were sourced for this tire inflator as it can pump up your car's...
  • PROGRAMMABLE INFLATION: Use the "M" button to set your desired pressure unit, and then press the "+" and "-" buttons to set...
  • PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS: One-click to change pressure units among PSI, kPa, BAR and KG/CM; Large white backlight LCD screen makes...
  • WIDE RANGE OF APPLICATIONS: 3 Nozzles and Extra Fuse Included. Inflates any Schrader valve on cars, SUVs, motorcycles, and...

10. Stanley J5C09 Jumpit Portable Power Station


 

STANLEY J5C09 Portable Power Station Jump Starter: 1000 Peak/500 Instant Amps- 120 PSI Air...

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Got a flat tire with low pressure? Bring your vehicle back to life and inflate those tires effortlessly. We’ve got you covered, no worries.

The STANLEY JumpiT is a lifesaver for every automotive enthusiast (or apparently even just an average driver) because it tackles a problem you might not even know existed-inflatable car tires! Maybe it’s been a while since the last time you refueled the car, or maybe summer has had some unpredictable weather changes already, and all of sudden you find yourself strapped with your latest flat tire problems.

Whatever the case may be, we’re here to help: With 1000 peak amps capacity and 500 instant starting amps capacity, this jumper will start up any automobile in a pinch when there simply isn’t enough juice to do so.

benefits:

  • Quick and easy to use.
  • Comes with a carrying case for storage.
  • Works on all vehicles, including cars, SUVs, trucks, and more! 
  • You’ll never have to worry about being stranded again. 
  • Never be stuck in the middle of nowhere without any help or hope of assistance ever again.
Sale
STANLEY J5C09 Portable Power Station Jump Starter: 1000 Peak/500 Instant Amps- 120 PSI Air...
  • Delivers serious jump-starting power with 1000 peak amps and 500 instant starting amps
  • Reverse polarity alarm alerts when there is an improper connection; Connect the clamps to the battery, turn on the switch and...
  • Features a 120 PSI air compressor to help inflate tires with low pressure; High-powered LED light rotates 270 degrees to help...
  • Built-in 12V DC outlet and USB port provide portable power for electronic devices; Includes a limited 1 year manufacturer...

What’s an Air Compressor?

Basically, the job of an air compressor is to contain air whose pressure exceeds that of the atmospheric air on the outside.

You can use this air to operate many tools of various sizes and functions.

How Do portable Air Compressors Work?

Air compressors consist of 3 parts

The drive: Provides the compressor with the power to propel its pump. It can be a gas engine or an electric motor.

The pump Uses the energy from the drive to suck in atmospheric air and compress it until it reaches very high pressures.

Through a discharge tube, the compressed air is sent to the storage tank.

The storage tank: Equipped with a check valve that stops the compressed air from escaping or applying back pressure on the pump.

How to Pick The Right portable Air Compressor for Me?

There a couple of things to consider when you’re buying an air compressor:

Gasoline or electric-powered?

Gasoline-powered ones are more suitable for outdoor work where the noise and ventilation wouldn’t be a problem.

An electric-powered compressor would be better for indoor jobs where there wouldn’t be much ventilation and airflow.

Horsepower:

This indicates how powerful the motor is and consequently how high the pressure would be. It’s also an indicator of how effective your air compressor will be at providing your air tools with power.

CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) or SCFM (Standard Cubic Feet per Minute):

This number indicates the volume of air that your compressor will be capable of delivering at specific levels of PSI.

As the PSI decreases, the CFM increases, and the higher the CFM is, the more your compressor will be suitable for heavier duty jobs.

Storage Tank Size:

How much air can your device compress and store? Don’t settle for one that is less than 4 gallons. The average would be 6 to 8 gallons.

Decibel rating:

Air compressors can be used continuously for extended periods of time. This is why you should try to get one with a low decibel rating so that its noise wouldn’t bother you.

Why Are There Different Shapes of portable Air Compressors?

It has to do with functionality. On twin tank compressors, the tank that’s further away from the compressor remains cooler for longer periods.

And of course, on twin ones, you’ll be able to store more air and therefore will be able to run your air tools for longer periods.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for the Top portable air compressor, you’re definitely going to find it on that previous list.

You should opt for the California CAT-1P1060S Light & Quiet Portable Air if your main concern is getting a budget-friendly model. It’s also a very quiet and portable choice. However, its CFM is inferior to many other choices on the list.

The VIAIR 400P Portable Compressor and the Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor has some of the highest pressure ratings. However, only the latter runs on a powerful 2.5 horsepower motor as the former’s isn’t that powerful.

Moreover, the Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor is quite expensive and a little noisy.
The California 8010 Ultra Quiet is your best bet if you’re looking for the quietest air compressor.

The DeWalt DWFP55126 6-Gallon 165 PSI Pancake Compressor is the model that combines affordability, versatility, durability, and portability. So it gives you the best bang for your buck.

The Bostitch BTFP02012 6 Gallon 150 PSI Oil-Free Compressor has one of the biggest tanks as it can store 6 gallons and runs on an adequate 0.9 HP motor. It’s relatively portable.

Finally, the Porter-Cable C2002 is on the more lightweight and compact side. It can also store 6 gallons of pressurized air. However, it’s a bit noisy when it operates.

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