The Best Portable Air Compressor Reviews of 2016

By on January 14, 2016

The Best Portable Air Compressor of 2016We recently embarked on a search for the best portable air compressor on the market for the year of 2016. This article will explain to you what we found and what we suggest that you purchase if that is what you are looking for. If you are looking for any other tool advice, check out some of our other articles on the right hand side of this page.

When you say that you are looking to buy a portable air compressor, we assume that are a contractor looking something you can carry around with you. That is what we were focusing on while writing this article. The same pros and cons would apply if you are just looking for the best portable air compressor to put your crown molding up with.

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

PORTER-CABLE Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor with 13-Piece Accessory KitAfter doing all of the comparisons, it is my belief that the Porter-Cable Pancake air compressor is the best portable air compressor on the market. It provides you with proven success at one of the best prices possible. Add in the accessory kit that comes in this package, and you have a great value on top of a great product.

Weight and size are two of the most important things when you are looking to go portable. This great product weighs just over 30 pounds and takes up very little space. The pancake shaped tank sits very low and allows you to tuck it in wherever you need it to the fit. This could save a ton of valuable real estate in the back of my truck when I’m headed off to a job site.

If you are looking for something mobile, then you are probably looking to plug this in while you are working. The problem that many run into is that these air compressors need a ton of power to get started and tend to trip breakers more often than you would like. Porter-cable put in the extra time and effort to ensure that this low-amp “soft-starting” motor can be plugged into an extension cord and kick on without any ill effect.

As I mentioned above, this compressor is oil free just like the rest on the list. That means that you don’t need to maintain anything between jobs.

When it comes to air pressure, the best portable air compressor on our list has everything you need. It comes with a capacity of 6 gallons at a maximum pressure of 150 PSI. This means that you should get plenty of air power before you have to let it fill back up.

If this is your first air compressor, then you will be happy to know this kit comes with everything you need to get started. It comes with a 25 foot nylon hose and all of the basic attachments you might need to get your project going. As you may imagine, this is a huge benefit over some of the other options that don’t include the necessities.

Dewalt 6 Gallon 165 PSI Pancake Compressor

Dewalt 6 Gallon 165 PSI Pancake CompressorIf you are looking for something other than are first recommendation, The Dewalt version is a close second best portable air compressor. It also comes with a proven track record and is produced by a known brand. One of the major differences between this and the Porter Cable compressor is that it is sold for the same price but doesn’t include the start-up accessory kit.

This produce is just under 30 pounds, which makes it very mobile. You can carry this in one hand while loading your other hand up with any other tools you may need. Just toss it in the back of the truck, or even the back seat, and you will be ready to get to work in no time at all.

The tank is also designed to hold 6 gallons of air, but you get a slightly higher maximum pressure with this one. The Dewalt portable air compressor can hold 165 PSI, compared to the 150 PSI that its best competitor can hold. That means that you get more time to run your tools before the motor has to kick on and refill the tank.

When that motor does kick on, you will be glad to know that this unit was designed to provide a quite work setting. The motor produces a soft 75.5 dBA noise level. This is much softer than most of the other options we found while searching for best portable air compressor. If you have ever worked in a small space and had a loud air compressor kick on every few minutes, then you will know how beneficial this is to you.

The last notable advantage that this portable air compressor has over the others is that it features 2 universal couplers. This allows you to easily support two users at the same time. This is only advisable if both users are using a nail gun or something that will not drain the tank quickly. If you have two users trying to blow dust, that tank is going to be empty in now time at all.

Senco PC1010

Senco PC1010

This portable air compressor lacks the tank size of the pancake models, but makes up for it in power. It only takes 2 minutes to fill the tank from empty to full. Considering that it kicks on before you are empty, it only takes 35 seconds to recover back to full once it starts up. This motor should be able to keep up with anything you can throw at it.

With a 1HP oil-less motor, this baby cranks. It is also much quieter than the pancake compressors, so you don’t have to worry about waking the baby. This is the most powerful option we could find while searching for best portable air compressor on the market.

The fact that it has a powerful motor filling the 1 gallon tank is a huge advantage because of how much weight you can save. This very powerful unit weighs less than 20 pounds and can fit just about anywhere. The convenient handle makes it even more mobile, which is a huge advantage on job sites that change every day.

This is also the perfect little air compressor to keep around the house for small jobs. I would say that this is the best portable air compressor for someone that is looking for something to help them with their DIY jobs.

The maximum pressure for this air tank is 120 PSI. That is a little lower than some of the other options but it is more than enough to accomplish whatever you need it for. Chances are, if you need more than 120 PSI for something, you should be doing that in a workshop on a large compressor anywhere. It has enough power to power nail guns, brad nailers, air guns, tire gauges, and so much more.

Dewalt Heavy Duty 200 PSI Quiet Trim Compressor

Dewalt Heavy Duty 200 PSI Quiet Trim CompressorThe last, but not least, great option we found while searching for the best portable air compressor of 2016 is this heavy duty trim compressor. This thing is durable, lightweight, and has plenty of power to accomplish anything you need. This is another great time-proven product that will last long enough to be worth the investment.

This compressor is equipped with a 2.5 gallon tank that can store air at a maximum rating of 200 PSI. This is more than enough air for everything you could want to do portably. To help you use all of that air efficiently, they provided us with two valves for double the drainage.

When it comes to refilling the tank, this motor delivers 3 standard cubic feet of air per minute. For those of you looking for your calculator, that means it will fill up fast.

Much like the pancake compressors, this one is designed with a “soft start” in mild. Needing only 12 amps to start, it can be plugged into an extension cord without any issues. It is also oil free because we would never recommend that you use anything else if you can help it.


That completes our findings for the best portable air compressors of 2016. We did our best to keep this list down to products that weigh less than 40 pounds. We figured anything above that wouldn’t really be considered portable in our book. If you are looking for something larger, check out our page on the best air compressor of any type.

Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions, concerns, or anything to add. We like to get feedback whether you are searching for an air compressor or just want to correct something we said. You can also contact us using the “contact us” link at the top of the page.

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