Which Are the Best Portable Air Compressors? Mechanopedia’s Top Picks

Best-Portable-Air-Compressor-Cover

 It’s true that the portable air compressor’s obvious task, which is to compress air, might seem simple and not worth bugging one’s head about choosing the right tool to do the job. However, the appropriate product might go a long way in ensuring you get the task done with the less hassle. That’s why we recommend taking the time to find the best portable air compressor for your needs.

If you’re unsure which model to buy, consider yourself lucky because we have compiled a list of our top picks out of the best portable air compressors available on the market. Moreover, we added a handy section with tips and tricks to facilitate making the final call.

So, don’t waste any more time, and start reading through this article and your issue will be resolved in no time!

RECOMMENDED
Makita 2.5 HP Air Compressor
PORTER-CABLE C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor
BUDGET OPTION
VIAIR 90P Portable Compressor (93)
California Air Tools CAT-5510SE,1 HP,Portable Compressor,5.5 Gal,Horiz,120 PSI,2.2 CFM,1-Phase 110V
DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor, 6 Gallon, 165 PSI (DWFP55126)
Makita 2.5 HP Air Compressor
PORTER-CABLE C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor
VIAIR 90P Portable Compressor (93)
California Air Tools CAT-5510SE,1 HP,Portable Compressor,5.5 Gal,Horiz,120 PSI,2.2 CFM,1-Phase 110V
DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor, 6 Gallon, 165 PSI (DWFP55126)
$333.03
Price not available
$74.50
Price not available
$169.00
RECOMMENDED
Makita 2.5 HP Air Compressor
Makita 2.5 HP Air Compressor
$333.03
PORTER-CABLE C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor
PORTER-CABLE C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor
Price not available
BUDGET OPTION
VIAIR 90P Portable Compressor (93)
VIAIR 90P Portable Compressor (93)
$74.50
California Air Tools CAT-5510SE,1 HP,Portable Compressor,5.5 Gal,Horiz,120 PSI,2.2 CFM,1-Phase 110V
California Air Tools CAT-5510SE,1 HP,Portable Compressor,5.5 Gal,Horiz,120 PSI,2.2 CFM,1-Phase 110V
Price not available
DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor, 6 Gallon, 165 PSI (DWFP55126)
DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor, 6 Gallon, 165 PSI (DWFP55126)
$169.00

The Best Portable Air Compressors – Our Picks

#1 – Makita MAC2400 Big Bore

Among the products we’ll be covering in this article, this is our all-around top pick since it offers an industry-worthy level of power alongside an outstanding performance while doing its job. This is thanks to its Big Bore pump cylinder and Makita piston that are included in the machine.

Moreover, the unit’s 2.5 Horse Power motor is potent while also having a noise-reduction feature courtesy of its pump, which runs at 1,730 RPM and is lubricated with oil. The machine provides even more noise-reduction via its rubber feet that lessen vibrations. If you’re one to

As this portable air compressor is made of cast iron, you needn’t worry about sturdiness and durability, as it can withstand the toughest of environments, even bumpy ones. When it comes to the design, the particular shape of this machine is what makes one of the best portable air compressors around as it does not only help protect it, but it also enhances its portability, and the handle on top makes for even more convenience. 

All that said, it is not all sunshine and roses for this compressor as it is fairly on the heavy side, sitting at 77lbs due to using metal while making it which is far from being a light material.

What we like about it

The Makita MAC2400 Big Bore is our top pick for the title of the best portable air compressor available today for good reason. The combination of power, sturdiness, and portability, albeit a bit compromised, makes for an outstanding compressor that ideally does the job, withstands any beating and doesn’t make for too much hassle when taken around.

#2 – Porter-Cable C2002

The build quality and sturdiness of the Porter-Cable C2002 is obvious right when you look at it since the unique round design, which is the first that meets the eye, gives optimal stability relative to other styles. Moreover, under the hood, the induction motor enhances its longevity and productivity.

Additionally, the steel build and provided cover shield the internal components of this air compressor from corrosion and bumps. This product is one of the best portable air compressors available as it’s suitable for all uses – from the most trivial to the most demanding.

The portability of this compressor is outstanding as it’s really lightweight, sitting at only 30lbs and having a convenient handle on top for carrying around. And as a bonus, it as an accessory kit with 13 pieces included which features handy extras like a tire gauge, a blow gun, and a lot more.

The main inconvenience when it comes to using this product is that it is a bit loud when in use, although there are many louder counterparts. However, the longer run time more than compensates for that, as the 150 psi max tank pressure allows even more air to be stored in the tank.

What we like about it

Particularly, we love the ease of setup and the portability of the Porter-Cable C2002, which are coupled with longevity. But what makes this product one of the best portable air compressors around is the price tag which is easy on the budget, so it gives you more bang for your buck. Thus it is our top pick for the money.

#3 – VIAIR 90P Portable Compressor

Out of the bunch, we can classify this particular product as the best portable air compressor in the category of 12-volt compressors. The combination of small size and an outstanding output of 120 psi of pressure that enables it to rapidly fill 31-inch tires with air, which makes it the most appropriate for car tires. Additionally, it works for over 10 minutes straight. Moreover, it is simple to deploy since all you need to do is connect your car’s battery to its power leads.

The 12-foot cable might be a bit on the short side, but this is rarely a concern, especially if your vehicle is not one of the large ones.

Furthermore, the motor is astonishingly quiet in spite of its massive power. But this product is one of the best portable air compressors thanks to its meager weight, which is only 5.78lbs.

For extra convenience, the compressor is delivered with a storage and carry bag to carry the VIAIR 90P and its many attachments around. When it comes to the build quality, the durability is ensured by the building material, which is metal, as well as the rubber feet, protecting it from bumps and vibrations.

The only area where this product lacks is the inaccurate gauge which gives jittery readings that are a bit far from the actual values. Otherwise, this is a recommended product as it does excellently in all other areas.

What we like about it

The main traits that make the VIAIR 90P one of the best portable air compressors are the meager weight that makes it highly portable as well as the niche it fills since this is the best portable air compressor for car tires, and we can assure you that it does this job better than all of the competition.

#4 – California Air Tools 5510SE Air Compressor

What makes this one of the best portable air compressors is the surprising quietness it sports, with only 60 decibels of sound, it beats all of the competitors in this regard. And that makes for an ideal product if noise is a problem, especially indoors. Furthermore, you don’t even need ear protection when using it thanks to the 1 Horse Power motor that functions at just 1680 RPM, and this additionally enhances its longevity.

This compressor’s outstanding performance is thanks to its dual piston pump system which is also oil-free. Moreover, it weighs a good 45 lbs, which isn’t too bad, considering that its size is 5.5 gallons. Furthermore, it has two wheels which bolster its portability, especially in getting around working spaces, and it also has two handles for extra convenience. Being one of the best portable air compressors, it has a high-quality build.

 One perk that sets it out from other products is that it is incredibly rapid in filling up, taking only a bit above two minutes to fill up completely. And finally, it comes at a reasonably good price for the features it offers, which makes it the most suitable product for low to average use.

What we like about it

We find that the 5510SE is one of the best portable air compressors thanks to its quietness and power and the impressive filling up time. Moreover, its portability and sturdiness round out the features this product sports that make us fall in love with it, and that’s why we recommend it to you if you have low to moderate needs.

#5 – DeWalt DWFP55126 Portable Air Compressor

The versatility of this product is what makes one of the best portable air compressors as it is suitable for all weather and temperature settings, as its performing motor enables it to start easily even in the cold.

Some of the perks of this compressor include a relatively stretched tool time and a rapid recovery. This is due to the motor which has 165 max psi and a 6.0-gallon tank, even though it might be a bit lacking in terms of power. But it is a tranquil one, generating only 75.5 decibels of noise which makes it appropriate for indoor use.

The DeWalt DWFP55126 is one of the best portable air compressors simply because it is conveniently easy to carry around, thanks to its compact size and low weight, which is only 30 lbs. Moreover, it has rubber legs for protection and a cord wrap for easy storage.

Furthermore, it is even more protected by a console cover which shields the controls, and two couplers give it the ability to accept two users simultaneously.

 This compressor is mainly suited for low, mundane use like filling your car tires. The main shortcoming, however, is the 6-gallon tank which might lack in effectiveness when dealing with certain tools.

What we like about it

When looking for the best portable air compressors, this is one of our recommended products, particularly for small jobs since it is both easy to use and conveniently mobile. Moreover, it is an overall good product and will do the job if you’re in need of the best portable air compressor in the budget sphere.

Choosing the Best Portable Air Compressor – Mechanopedia’s Buying Guide

When selecting the best portable air compressor for your toolbox, there are several considerations to put in mind before making the final choice. From the tools you’re using to the power of the motor, we’ll be giving you a rundown of what you’ll exactly need to put in mind in order to make the right choice for you.

Environment

If you’re reading this article, then you must be in need of a portable compressor. Just like cordless circular saws, cordless pole saws, cordless tool sets, cordless impact wrenches, and portable table saws, portable air compressors are convenient and easy to move around. The problem is that these tools are usually behind when it comes to power.

If your projects require great power, you might want to consider buying a stationary model rather than a portable one since they come with more power and tank capacity for better use time.

Some models are even designed to be vertically shaped so they can take as little space as possible. However, if you move around a lot while doing your job, you should opt for a portable one.

Noise

Noise is a factor that you shouldn’t ignore when getting any power tool, be it a table saw, contractor table saw, sliding compound miter saw, or portable air compressor since some products can be quite noisy. If you’re looking for a unit to use inside your home since in that case, you’ll exclude many of the available machines. However, most of the best air compressors are on the quiet side, and if you’re looking for power, you will most likely have to opt for a model that balances the two.

Air Tool Requirements

This factor is of a high priority since you don’t want your air compressor not keeping up with your pneumatic tools, such as your angle grinders. So, if your job is on the heavy side, like industrial use, you should opt for a stationary one having a tank. However, if you just want indoor use, then picking one of the best portable air compressors should do the job for you. Of course, you should have your tools’ pressure and volume in mind.

Space and Portability

This is one of the features that make a difference in terms of convenience. This is different from product to product since the weight can vary from 7lbs to as much as 70lbs. Handles are provided on most of them though for ease of carrying around, and many even have wheels. Your need mostly comes down to the frequency of use and if the job is spread around many places or concentrated chiefly in one place.

When searching for the best portable air compressor, you also want a long hose if you’re opting for a heavy, cumbersome model. The best portable air compressors also vary in size, so you should keep that in mind as well.

Style

For this aspect, you can choose one of the numerous available designs, which vary a lot as demonstrated by the differences between the products we just reviewed. The main ones include the pancake style, which has a small size and doesn’t take up much space.

Wheelbarrow units have two tanks and are highly portable thanks to handles and wheels. The Pontoon ones are designed horizontally and have only one tank. Lastly, Twin-stack has dual-tanks that are horizontal, so they don’t take up more space. In terms of design, one of the best portable air compressors must suit your need!

Horsepower, PSI, and CFM

The horsepower offered by portable air compressor varies between 1.5 and 6.5, while industrial ones might go beyond that. However, this isn’t an essential feature for indoor use. As for PSI, most of the best portable air compressors provide what you’ll need for your everyday use.

When it comes to CFM, which denotes how quickly can your compressor provide air, you’ll want one that is higher than that of your tools least you’ll end up waiting a lot for it to charge up more air which isn’t convenient.

Power Source

This one is obvious. If you can power your compressor with electricity, then choose an electric one (hint: they’re a tad more powerful)! Otherwise, there are ones that either run on batteries or fuel. Just make sure to check the voltage that it runs on before making your pick.

Picking the Best Portable Air Compressor – Frequently Asked Questions

Why Should I Get a Portable Air Compressor?

If you are here, then you must already have an idea of what air compressors do, although there are probably uses you aren’t aware of yet. There is the common use of powering tools like nail guns and the like. Moreover, it’s versatility lets it fulfill a lot of jobs such as inflating tires, sandblasting, and airbrushing. Thus having one of the best portable air compressors is a good deal since one tool can do so much.

What Are the Advantages of a Portable Air Compressor?

If you aren’t yet convinced that having one of the best portable air compressors is a good idea here is a summary of the benefits of such a power tool:

  • First of all, it helps in saving time, since they render the job of nailing and spraying a rather rapid one.
  • Second of all, it reduces the labor required to do these jobs since you’ll need less movement on your part, and that means less exhaustion.
  • Moreover, it is the right way to go if you want to make your work more professional.
  • Furthermore, this is an obvious one, but the portability is a good selling point since it makes life easier by the convenience it provides.
  • Lastly, it requires little to no maintenance apart from regular checks at regular intervals.

Conclusion

Akin to buying a computer, tile saw, or chainsaw under 200 dollars, purchasing a portable air compressor is not an easy task since there are numerous products that you have to choose from. Thus, you should take your time and consider your needs and how each one can fulfill them, as they exist in a variety of styles, power, and other factors.

Any of the above recommendations can be the best portable air compressor for you. To pick the right model for your workplace, just go over our buying guide thoroughly, and it won’t take long for you to choose!

References:

  • https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/how-to/a151/how-air-compressors-work/
  • https://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/air-compressor-types-d_441.html
  • http://www.tpub.com/fireman/102.htm
  • Our own experience

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