Best Portable Air Compressor of 2020 (Reviews)

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In a Rush?

Here’s 3 portable air compressors we picked out that we thought you would be interested in depending on your budget range and planer requirements…

BEST OVERALL PICK

Bostitch BTFP02012 6 Gallon 150 PSI Oil-Free Compressor

BEST VALUE

PORTER-CABLE C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor

BEST BUDGET

VIAIR 90P Portable Compressor

An air compressor is a must have for every home. They can be used for everything from pumping up tires to running home tools like air drills and air nailers. I enjoy working on different home projects, but I absolutely hate using old fashioned hand tools like traditional hammers. However, with a portable air compressor, it makes most home projects faster and more efficient, which is what makes getting the best portable air compressor possible an important thing for every home.

We have spent many hours researching portable air compressors in an attempt to find the best one on the market in several categories. We have considered all of their pros and cons and come up with the following results for the best portable air compressor.


The 8 Best Portable Air Compressors with Reviews

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


Bostitch is a well-known manufacturer of air compressors, and this model might be an excellent choice if you are looking for an oil-free compressor. This model was designed for light commercial and residential use. It is not meant for a professional contractor, and it has all of the features needed to provide adequate results for most projects.

The first thing about the BTFP02012 model is that it is an oil-free compressor, which makes it a lot easier to manage, and you will not have to deal with the extra messy process of oiling the compressor in order for it to work properly. This also means that it will require less overall maintenance, and you will no longer have to worry about messy oil stains on the surfaces of your work station, which means it can be used inside a house with very minimal cleanup.

Bostitch `added a high-flow regulator to this model, which helps to maximize your air tool performance. It will allow you to have better control of your tools and it will go for longer periods of time without have to be recharged. Finally, air compressors are often times very loud, which means it can be difficult to use them inside closed rooms.

With this model, it has a low noise level compared to other compressors. It has a 80 dBA operation noise level, but if it is being used in an enclosed space, it is still recommended to wear safety hearing gear whenever you are operating the compressor.

Pros:

  • Oil-free pump
  • High efficiency motor
  • High flow regulator
  • Produces less noise

Cons:

  • Difficult customer support
  • Heavy to move
  • Accessories cheaply made




2. PORTER-CABLE C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor


PORTER-CABLE is a well-known manufacturer of air compressors and many other tools, and they have designed this portable air compressor to provide the best value possible to those who choose to purchase it. This model is designed for home and light commercial use, and it has a low-amp motor, which makes it easy to plug into a regular electrical outlet without having worry about blowing any circuits.

They used an oil-free pump on this model to make it have little to no maintenance, and this also helps with ensuring that your work area doesn’t suffer from any damaging oil stains from leaks. Compared to other air compressors, this one is lightweight. It only weighs about 30 pounds, which makes it easy to move around from location to location with minimal effort.

Another excellent feature about this model is that it allows you to control the air output. This means that you are able to adjust your air output depending on the particular tool requirements that is needed. They placed rubber on the bottom of the legs of this compressor to ensure that it doesn’t damage the surface that it sits on, but there have been some reports about it vibrating. Plus, it is a little louder than some of the other models, but overall, it will do the job that it is intended. Plus, depending on the vendor, it does come with a 1 year limited warranty on some of the compressor components.

Pros:

  • Low-amp motor
  • Oil-free Pump
  • Limited Warranty on compressor components
  • Lightweight
  • Air output control

Cons:

  • Poor written manual
  • Makes strong vibrations
  • Loud




3. VIAIR 90P Portable Compressor


This portable air compressor is manufactured by VIAIR, and it was designed specifically to be a small traveling air compressor that can conveniently fit in your vehicle for emergency purposes. It comes with everything that is needed for it to work, and it even has a small bag to keep all of the components in, while traveling.

The parts come with a 1 year limited warranty, and it is capable of producing a maximum working pressure of 120 PSI. When using this product, the clamps that connect to the battery are a little small and the wires have proven to be a little short. However, this does not fully impact the overall benefits of this particular compressor. You can run it directly off of your car battery, and you can use your jumper cables as an extension if your vehicle is larger than most.

This air compressor is also excellent for using on smaller vehicles like ATVs and motorcycles to ensure that they are running properly with the maximum amount of air pressure needed in their tires.

Pros:

  • Can be powered by battery
  • Maximum working pressure of 120 PSI
  • Comes with everything needed
  • 1 Year limited warranty
  • Can be used in harsh climates

Cons:

  • Doesn’t work well with hard to reach batteries
  • Small battery clamps
  • Short wires




4. Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor


The MAC2400 is designed and manufactured by Makita, which is a well-known manufacturer of air compressors and other tools. This compressor is 2.5HP air compressor, and it is made with a Big Bore pump cylinder and piston that is designed to have a higher output, while producing less noise. It is also designed to help improve the overall job site performance.

The pump is made out of cast iron, and this is meant to help with the durability of the compressor when being moved around a job site. It also has a oil lubricated pump that is designed to help increase the air intake, which will provide greater efficiency when used.

This compressor is electric powered, and it only weighs about 80 pounds, which means you can easily move it around the work site where it is needed most with a minimum amount of effort. This compressor is not meant for filling up tractor trailer rig tires, but it is excellent for light weight residential and commercial use projects.

Although this compressor is heavy, it is stationary and durable when in use. You will not have to worry about it getting jolted and moved out of position, and it is possible to place it on some sort of cart if you have the need to move it around quite a bit, without having to worry about straining to the weight.

Pros:

  • Large diameter piston
  • Cast iron pump
  • Cast iron cylinder
  • Versatile design
  • Low AMP draw

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Not ideal tank size for air tools
  • Hard to read manual




5. EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump


This model portable air compressor is manufactured by EPAuto, and it has a lot of excellent uses but also a few limitations. It has an easy to ready display screen that makes it easy to get the maximum air pressure for your vehicle’s tires, even if you are not an expert.

They have also added in two safety features to ensure that the air compressor performs at its greatest. For instance, it has an auto shutoff feature that will kick in whenever your tire is full and no longer needs any air. This will help you ensure that your tires are always full when needed without being pushed above their limits.

It also comes with overheat protection. This feature was designed to make the compressor shut off if it begins to get hot. This keeps the motor from overheating and in turn breaking down. It only has a maximum PSI of 70, which means that it is not compatible with truck tires. It is a little slower to fill up, but the compressor itself still works excellent.

The hose that comes with this compressor is a little shorter than most, but it can easily be replaced with a longer air hose if preferred. Plus, you can easily plug it into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter socket to provide it with power, without having to worry about getting under you hook to your vehicle’s battery.

Pros:

  • Easy to read display screen
  • Auto shutoff feature
  • Can plug into cigarette lighter socket
  • Maximum 70 PSI
  • Overheat protection

Cons:

  • Doesn’t support truck tires
  • Short air hose
  • Slow to fill




6. VIAIR 00088 88P Portble Air Compressor


The 00088 88P portable air compressor is designed and manufactured by VIAIR, and it is designed to run directly off of your vehicle’s battery. The maximum working pressure that this compressor has is 120 PSI, but it is recommended to have spare fuses if you plan on using it to its maximum ability. This will ensure that you will not blow a fuse and be left with a worthless compressor.

It comes with an air hose that has a 13 foot maximum reach, but there are extensions available if your vehicle is larger and you need more hose to reach all four tires. It comes with an LED power indicator, which makes it easier to read and run this compressor, and it also comes with well-constructed alligator clamps designed to fit snug to your battery without any risk.

When using this unit, it is still recommended to use and handle with caution. After use, the compressor on the back end of the handle can be very heated and even burn you to the touch, if you are not careful.

Pros:

  • 120 PSI Max working pressure
  • Works on tires up to 33″
  • LED power indicator
  • Well constructed alligator clamps
  • Has a 13 ft maximum reach

Cons:

  • Slight fuse issues when reaching maximum working pressure
  • Compressor gets heated after use
  • Doesn’t come with storage bag




7. AmazonBasics Portable Air Compressor


AmazonBasics manufactures a number of excellent machines, and their portable air compressor has a lot to offer. First off, they provide you with a 1 year limited warranty on their air compressors to ensure that you are happy with your purchase. They designed it with a digital gauge with LED light to ensure that it is easy to read, and it also comes with auto shut off capability.

This feature makes it easy to ensure that your tires or projects gets the optimum amount of air needed, and the compressor will automatically shut off when it reaches that point. Plus, it comes with everything needed to start using this compressor right out of the box.

It has a convenient carrying case to store the compressor and all of the extra applications provided in one place, and it comes with its own dual alligator battery clamps, which allows you to plug it up directly to your vehicle’s battery.

Pros:

  • Digital gauge with LED light
  • Auto shut off capability
  • Limited 1 year warranty
  • Dual alligator battery clamps to connect to car battery
  • Comes with different tips for different applications an carrying case

Cons:

  • Must hold end of hose to keep from leaking
  • Some auto shut off issues
  • Issues when used in extreme cold temperatures




8. DEWALT DWFP55126 6 Gallon 165 PSI Pancake Compressor


DeWALT has been producing quality tools and machines for years, and this air compressor holds up to their household name. It produces less noise than most air compressors, and it is lightweight, which makes it easy to move from place to place. They designed it with a high efficiency motor, which allows it to be used even in the coldest weather conditions, and it has a maximum PSI of 165, which is enough to fill most types of tires for various vehicle models.

This particular compressor plugs into a home electrical outlet, and it has a ball drain valve, which helps with thoroughly and quickly draining the tank, as needed. It has a console cover that protects the controls, and they designed it to be removed easily, in case of repair. Unlike other compressors, it comes with 2 universal couplers, which allows two users to work with this compressor at the same time, increasing the time efficiency of a project.

Although this compressor tends to vibrate a bit when in use, DeWALT has added rubber feet to the bottom of the air compressor, which helps to ensure that you won’t see any damage to the surface that it is sitting on even when it does vibrate.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Quieter than most
  • Rubber feet to prevent scratches
  • Maximum of 165 PSI
  • High efficiency motor for cold weather use

Cons:

  • Poorly written instructions
  • Regulator issues
  • Some strong vibrations




9. Campbell Hausfeld FP209499AV – Portable Air Compressor


Campbell Hausfeld is the manufacturer of the FP209499AV portable air compressor model, and they have designed it specifically for residential use. It has a smaller 3 gallon horizontal tank, which makes it easy to store, and at just 20 pounds, it is lightweight and easy to move from place to place.

To top off everything, they included a full accessory kit, to ensure that you have everything you need to work effectively with this compressor like a 25 ft recoil hose air chuck, and blow gun, along with many other parts that will help with various residential projects. They designed this compressor with an easy to carry handle to make it more portable, and it has easy to read gauges, that will allow you to easily control the pressure output that you need for different types of jobs.

It can be run off of a traditional 120 volt house outlet, and it has an oil-free pump, that makes it easier to keep your workstation stain free, and it makes it easier to keep the air compressor maintained.

Pros:

  • Convenient gauges
  • Comes with 10 piece accessory kit
  • Maximum 110 PSI
  • Runs off of 120 volt house outlet
  • Oil-less free pump

Cons:

  • Louder than some
  • Not suitable for larger tires
  • Slow fill time




10. California Air Tools CAT-5510SE Portable Compressor


California Air is the manufacturer of the CAT-5510SE portable compressor model, and they have made a name for making good compressors and tools. This model is classified as an oil-free compressor, which means that it is easier to maintain. Plus, you will not have to deal with the messy application of using oil to keep it running properly. It makes it more convenient and more viable to be used in areas that you do not want to worry about oil stains appearing under the compressor.

This particular model is made lightweight, which makes it easy to move around from place to place, and on top of that, it also has a set of wheels so that it can be moved without physically being picked up. It has a decent sized tank, which holds 5.5 gallons. It will not work well for a professional contractor, but it will do an adequate job for most residential or small commercial practice.

Pros:

  • Decent sized tank: 5.5 Gallons.
  • Lightweight.
  • Oil-Free Piston system.
  • Produces little sound.
  • Low voltage requirement.

Cons:

  • Small tank
  • Bad power cord placement
  • Low pump life




Conclusion

Even if you don’t plan on working on any home projects involving air nail guns or other tools, purchasing the best portable air compressor can still come in handy to ensure that your vehicle’s tires are properly pressured and any other small air pressure job. Overall, the Bostitch BTFP02012 6 Gallon 150 PSI Oil-Free Compressor will provide the best of both worlds. It is capable of performing most residential needs, and it has features like an oil-free pump to low maintenance and produces very little noise, which is convenient for residential use. Plus, it is light weight. These are just a few reasons why the Bostitch BTFP02012 6 Gallon 150 PSI Oil-Free Compressor is the overall best potable air compressor.




Buyer’s Guide: Portable Air Compressors

When purchasing a portable air compressor, it is important to know different features and aspect of what a compressor has to offer and can do before making your final purchasing decision. There are different types of air compressors that can be stationary or portable, and each one is designed differently and have their pros and their cons. In this buyer’s guide, we’re going to discuss a few things about air compressors that you should be aware of and what to look for in your next air compressor, to ensure that you gt the right one.


Types and Styles of Portable Air Compressors

Stationary air compressors are not meant to be moved around from job site to job site. They tend to be best for areas where they can be placed and left, like in a garage or shop. These compressors are generally larger and have a higher horsepower than portable compressor types.

Portable compressors are usually light weight and the go to for most general home products that require the use of tools like nail guns or airbrushing. They come in a few different styles:

  • Hot Dog – These portable compressors usually come a single cylindrical tank, and they are horizontal.
  • Wheelbarrow – These portable compressors provide excellent mobility by adding a wheel and a handle. Plus, they usually have twin cylindrical tanks.
  • Pancake – The storage tanks on these portable compressors are usually flat and round. They take up little space than most other compressors and add a sense of stability when placed.
  • Twin-stack – This portable air compressor style consists of two horizontal cylindrical tanks, which provided a larger air capacity without taking up more room.

Useful Features To Look For In Portable Air Compressors

If you are in the market for an air compressor, then you probably already know the basic uses for the machine. However, you might not be familiar with the different features that are thrown around in the many descriptions. Here are a few key features to consider when purchasing your portable air compressors:

  • Multiple Couplers – This feature will allow you to perform different tasks without having to constantly switch out and reconnect various tools.
  • Included Tools and Accessories – These are not a must to purchase a compressor, but they will add value to your overall investment. It is important to note that not all compressors come with air hoses. So, you should be weary and make sure that if the one you want doesn’t that you order the correct hose at the same time.
  • Oil-Free Pump – This feature means that the compressor will require little to no maintenance, and it will not leave behind messy stains in your work station from leaks.
  • Thermal Protection – Like most machines, compressors can get rather hot, and thermal protection helps to cut off the motor of the compressor, ensuring that it doesn’t overload or heat.
  • Belt-Drive System – This feature will help with providing less noise pollution while the compressor is running.

These are just a few tips on features you should look for to ensure that you are purchasing the best portable air compressor to suit your individual needs.

Ryan

Ryan

Ryan is a writer for ToolboxAdvice.com. He's been a hobbyist and painter for a long time, and now enjoys teaching others. His content primarly focuses on reviews and guides for painters and construction professionals.

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