The Best Air Compressor Reviews of 2016

By on January 10, 2016

The Best Air Compressor For Your Money

If you ended up here, you are probably searching for the best air compressor for your money. You are in luck, because we created this list of the best we could find on the market.

Finding the right air compressor for you is easy you know what you need. One of the biggest determining factors is whether or not you need to be mobile. If you need an air compressor that you can carry on and off the job site every day, then a 100 pound stationary air compressor just isn’t going to be right for you.

On the contrary, you don’t want to be a small mobile compressor if you are trying to support a whole body shop. You will end up running out of air in a less than a minute even though you bought the best air compressor in the world. Pay attention and we will make sure that you don’t make that mistake!

You are about to see the 6 air compressors that we would recommend as the best air compressor of their respective category.  There is also a short review of each air compressor containing our reasoning for the selection. If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to drop us a comment or contact us.

The Best Small Air Compressor

We will start out looking at what we found while searching for the best small air compressor possible.  Don’t be fooled by the small size of these, they have plenty of power under the hood.

PORTER-CABLE Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor with 13-Piece Accessory Kit

PORTER-CABLE Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor with 13-Piece Accessory KitIf you are looking for the best air compressor to take on the job, this one is the clear winner. It is light, portable, refills quick, and is maintenance free. You can’t ask for a better air compressor when you need something that you can quickly move around as needed.

The 6 gallon storage tank is shaped in the traditional “pancake” shape so that it is easy to store and keeps itself balanced. The tank is designed to store air at a maximum of 150 PSI, giving you longer run times before the motor has to kick in and refill the tank. There are not many other portable air compressors in this price range that will give you this much power.

When the tank starts to run log, the low-amp 120-volt motor is designed to start up easily in the cold weather. It is also designed for “soft starting” so you can plug it into any circuit and not worry about overloading a fuse. Pumping the tank with 2.6 Standard Cubic Feet Per Minute (SCFM), you would really need to try hard to run out of air with the Porter-Cable Pancake Compressor.

One of the reasons I considered this in my search for the best air compressors is because it has an oil-free pump. That means that you don’t have to deal with the messy oil and maintenance that you do with most other compressors.

I suggest that you purchase the package I linked above so that you have everything you need to get started. Along with a handful of useful tools, this kit comes with a 25-foot hose with the ends already attached. Anyone that has ever tried to attach the ends to an air hose without a leak knows how valuable that is.

Dewalt 6 Gallon 165 PSI Pancake Compressor

Dewalt 6 Gallon 165 PSI Pancake CompressorIf you are looking to step your game up from the reliable Porter-Cable Pancake Compressor, the Dewalt Pancake Compressor is the best air compressor to look at. It offers the same convenient pancake design with a handle so that it is ready to go wherever you need it whenever you are ready to go.

At just over 30 pounds, you can’t get much lighter than this compressor. You can carry that onto a worksite with one arm while carrying everything else you need in the other. A mobile unit like this could also cut your clean up time in half and give you more time at home with you family.

Just like the compressor reviewed above, this tank can hold 6 gallons of air. The big difference between the two is that this air compressor allows you to store up to 165 PSI, giving you more valuable time using your tools before the motor has to catch up. This is the highest maximum rating that I have seen out of any pancake air compressor.

The motor provides the same 2.6 SCFM, but this motor is designed to produce much less noise. At a much more manageable 35.5 dBA, everyone on the worksite will think want to run out and buy the best air compressor they have ever seen! The engine is also meant to “soft start” so that you can use an extension cord to safely provide enough juice.

This tank does not come with all of the accessories or a hose to get you started, but it is a quality tank at a great price. You can find an accessory kit for cheap if you don’t have what you need already

Dewalt 4 ½ Gallon Handle Carry Compressor

Dewalt 4 ½ Gallon Handle Carry CompressorWhen the pancake air compressors just don’t have enough air for your, this might be the best air compressor for you. It holds more air, at a higher pressure, but still comes on a convenient carrier with wheels and an extendable handle (like an airport suitcase). This compressor will give you all the power you could need on a worksite without taking up too much room in the back of your truck.

The quality stand is built to get you in and out a jobsite every single day. With a steel frame and 10-inch non-flat tires, some might consider it an off road vehicle.

With a 4 ½ gallon tank that has a maximum tank pressure of 200 PSI, it will take a while to run out of the air in your initial charge. When you do run out, the motor is designed to replace the air at 5.0 SCFM. Dewalt claims that they offer 80% more usable air than the industry leader with this tank.

Another reason I included this in my search for the best air compressor is because it has dual connections so that you can operate more than one tool at the same time. The manufacturer says that it was designed to simultaneously operate up to 3 framing nail guns, or 2 roofing nail guns.

This compressor is versatile enough to be great for just about any job site. It’s perfect for deck builders, remodelers, trip carpenters, and even small framing crews. This could be a game changer for you or your business if you are ready to make the investment.

Dewalt Heavy Duty 200 PSI Quiet Trim Compressor

Dewalt Heavy Duty 200 PSI Quiet Trim CompressorThis compressor does not have wheels for travel, but it is very light for the amount of punch it packs. It only weighs 36 pounds and is just over a foot thick. That makes it easy to move and store on a regular basis.

Don’t be alarmed at the 2.5 gallon tank, because it can be stuffed at 200PSI and refill incredibly fast. The pump fills the tank at 3.0 SCFM, meaning it will be full in no time at all. I was surprised to learn that a pump that powerful runs at a low 71.5dB, making everyone around you much happier.

You will love the fact that this compressor is oil free and built to last. There is nothing worse than having to lubricate your compressor with messy oil. You can grab this one out of the back of the truck and then toss it back in when you are done without having to worry about scheduled maintenance.

Another reason it is included in my search for the best air compressor is because it only has a 12 amp draw. That means that you can plug it in anywhere on the job site and have a low likelihood of tripping any fuses. There is not much worse than tripping a fuse every time that you need to fill the tank!

Best Workshop Air Compressor

If you are not looking for the best small air compressor, then you are probably searching for the best workshop air compressor.  These are much larger than the others, but give you that much more air storage and power.  If you are looking to run several air tools at the same time, you are going to need something like these.

PORTER-CABLE 20-Gallon Portable Air Compressor

Porter Cable 20-Gallon Portable Air CompressorIf you need to run air tools that require a steady supply or air in long draws, you will need something with a larger tank. An example would be if you are running a paint gun or disk sander off of your air compressor. If this describes you, then the best air compressor for you should be able to hold at least 15 gallons of air.

On top of being able to hold an impressive 20 gallons of air at 150 PSI, the motor is designed to refill at a rate of 5.0 CFM. Between the amount of air stored and the motor replacing expended air at such a high rate, it would take some extensive work to run this tank dry.

This is one of my favorite large capacity tanks because you don’t have to completely sacrifice mobility if this is what you need. You aren’t going to be able to carry it onto the worksite with one hand like the pancake compressors, but the wheels allow you to remain pretty mobile. It is also very stable when it stands up straight on the wheels and two rubber feet.

This fine piece of machinery is ready to go with regulators, gauges, and a single quick connect all set straight out of the box. It does not come equipped with multiple connections like some of the other high capacity tanks, but it’s designed more for a single tool that needs an excessive amount of air. This is perfect for someone who is looking to do some automotive work in their garage or something else like that. Just like all of the other compressors on this list, the Porter Cable 20-gallon compressor is oil and maintenance free.

Dewalt 15 Gallon Workshop Compressor

Dewalt 15 Gallon Workshop CompressorThis compressor has a smaller tank than the Porter Cable equivalent, but makes up for that in the maximum pressure. What caught my eye here while searching for the best air compressor was that you can store 15 gallons of air at 200 PSI. It is also designed using state of the art efficiency to ensure that you get the longest run times possible. I would be interested to see these two go head to head so we can see which would last longer.

Comparing it again to the Porter Cable compressor above, this Dewalt air compressor can replenish your air at the same speed. A rate or 5.0 SCFM will fill that tank in no time at all so that you have as little downtime as possible.

The compressor was designed to work perfectly for a workshop, but it has wheel if you need to be mobile. I also like that they spent the extra effort to makes sure this compressor produces a tolerable noise level. Producing sound that never surpasses 78 dBA, you will be much happier working around this instead of some of the other options out there.

You may have noticed a bit of a pattern here, but this one is also oil free. That means that you won’t have to do any sort of regular maintenance. Maybe I am just the Laziest person on earth, but I would much rather buy a product that I don’t have to maintain regularly if I have the choice.


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