The Best Portable Air Compressor Reviews

Do you have an outside job that requires the use of an air compressor? Maybe your job takes you to different project sites and you need an effective way to clean them up? The best portable air compressor reviews can help you to find the right brand and model that will help meet these needs for a fair, competitive price. Let’s find the best portable air compressor for you today!

The Best Chart for Portable Air Compressors

Trying to find the right portable air compressor can leave you feeling lost if you’re unsure of what you need. Although they may be small, these units have a wide range of options that can cover an equally wide range of applications. The chart below will help you get your air supply right.

PictureNameOur RatingSCFM (at 90 PSI)Price
Makita Big Bore 2.0 HP Air Compressor 4.7
NorthStar Belt Drive Single Stage Portable Air Compressor 4.2
Kensun YS-205 Portable Air Compressor 4.3
Bostitch 3 Tool Compressor Combo Kit 4.4
Viair Heavy Duty Portable Compressor 4.5
Porter Cable Oil Free Pancake Compressor w/ 13 Piece Kit 4.5
Campbell Hausfeld 3 Gallon Portable Compressor 3.5
LifeLine AAA 300 PSI 12v DC Air Compressor 4.0
Porter Cable 150 PSI 1.5 Gallon Oil Free Fully Shrouded Compressor 4.5
Bostitch 1.2 Gallon Oil Free High Output Trim Compressor 4.2
PictureNameOur RatingSCFM (at 90 PSI)Price

What Is a Portable Air Compressor and Why Do I Need One?

A portable air compressor is one of those tools you need, but you don’t always realize you need it. We all have odd jobs needing to get finished around the house. Maybe you’ve got some trim that needs to be put up around a room. There could be a cracked door jamb that needs to be fixed. Broken fences, missing shingles, or even the need to quickly paint a room might be on your to-do list. A portable air compressor can help you finish all of these tasks.

The benefit of using a compressor that is portable is that you can take it virtually anywhere and it’s still going to give you the pressure and volume requirements your job requires. You can add air tools to your unit, take it to any job site, and begin to work immediately.

Why do air tools work so well with a portable air compressor? It is because most only use short bursts of air when the tool is engaged. This means the tank is drained very slowly over time. This is why they are such a popular style for DIY homeowners. Instead of having a stationary 80 gallon tank and a long hose, they can purchase a much more affordable 2 gallon tank with a short hose and receive similarresults.

Common Issues with Portable Air Compressors

As you read through the best portable air compressor reviews, you’ll notice that many brands and models offer different tank sizes and air flows. This is critical information for you. If your tank isn’t large enough or the air flow isn’t powerful enough, you will find yourself waiting from time to time for the tank to fill up.

A portable air compressor is not generally designed for heavy duty jobs. You can use it for nail or brad guns, but they often work best for powering spray guns, glue guns, or for your inflation needs. If you use a portable air compressor to power an air tool that isn’t rated for your SCFM, then you’re going to find it difficult to get any work done.

What is SCFM? It is an acronym which stands for “Standard Cubic Feet per Minute.” It is essentially a measurement of your discharge pressure. Because air compressors can have a variable output due to humidity, temperature, and even height above sea level, this standard rating is given so you get a general idea of how the unit will perform. If you live in a high humidity area that is also more than 1,000 feet above sea level, your air compressor may not perform up to the expectations listed under the SCFM rating.  (This information should be on the home page.  It would be more useful there rather than buried in an article.)

How to Find the Best Portable Air Compressor for Me 

Many portable air compressors tend to be very loud. This is because most of these portable units are oil-free. If noise is an issue for you, then you’ll want to look for oil-lubricated models instead. Although these tend to need more ongoing maintenance and cost a little more, they’ll also typically last longer than their oil-free counterparts. Some brands see a lifetime ratio of oil-lubricated models to oil-free models of 10 to 1.

The benefit of oil-less air compressors is that they tend to deliver a purer quality of air. You won’t have to worry about oil droplets coating your work site.

One of the more popular types of portable air compressor is called a “pancake compressor.” These air compressors have a high pressure level, but typically have a low tank volume. These are good for small, but tough jobs that are in difficult to reach places around the house.

Hose length is also an important consideration when shopping for a new air compressor, Look through the portable air compressor reviews to see if your preferred unit even comes with an air hose. If it does, then you must consider where you plan to work with your air compressor and how much flexibility that environment is going to need.

What Are the Prices of the Best Portable Air Compressors? 

There are two basic types of portable air compressors that you’ll find while shopping online today: inflators and regular compressors. Inflators tend to be the cheapest air compressors in this category, with some units being less than $20. If you’re looking for a compressor that has a larger tank and more features, you’ll find then in the $50-$125 range.

Pancake air compressors tend to be the most expensive when it comes to a portable unit, with some models coming close to the $200 mark.

What Do Our Reviews Have To Say?

Kensun YS-205

If you’re using the 12v connection through your vehicle’s outlet, then you’ve got a power cord that is just under 10 feet long to use. The 110v cord is about 6.5 feet in length. This gives you plenty of room to get your inflation needs met when you combine it with the rubber hose that’s about 3 feet in length. If you do need some extra room to work, this compressor works pretty well on standard residential power cords.

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Bostitch Combo Kit

If you’ve used a pancake compressor before, then you know how ridiculously loud they can be. This is because most of these compressors have a big motor, a big pump, and have an oil-less design. Let’s face it – that’s what makes this type of compressor so attractive to own since it provides a good air flow and PSI in a small package. This Bostitich compressor features these as well, but it operates at 80 dB. That’s still loud, but not at a level where hearing damage can result if someone is nearby without hearing protection.

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Viair Heavy Duty Portable

We’ve seen more expensive compressor/inflator models use junk tire chucks that make it difficult to get an airtight seal. This brass tire chuck twists on quickly, is easy to keep clean, and will let you maximize the value of this tool when you’ve got a tire running low. Because you have to screw the tire chuck on, however, it is important to slightly over-inflate your tire because you’ll lose some air as you unscrew the chuck when you’re done.

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Porter Cable C2002

This pancake air compressor has a max PSI of 150, a 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI, and a 6 gallon tank. The motor starts easily and works with a standard 120v connection. It’s an oil-less design that you can take virtually anywhere, and with the coupler and plug being factory installed, there is a lower overall risk of experiencing leaks straight from the box. It’s relatively light, comes with the accessories you’ll need to successfully use it, and comes with a 1 year limited warranty. It’s a solid compressor at a price that is fair and competitive.

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This is more of an emergency air compressor that can help you out of a tight jam when you’ve got a flat in the middle of nowhere. With that said, with a max rating of 300 PSI, it’s a pretty powerful compressor that meets or beats many others with a similar design. It’s more of an inflator than a compressor to be fair, but you do have an included air gauge, quick connect air hose, and three nozzle adapters to help get the most out of this helpful tool. It’s priced at $20 or less.

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The best portable air compressor reviews will help you to find a great compressor to meet your needs wherever you happen to be. Fill up a tire in an emergency, run your air tools at a remote job site, or take care of your leaky roof quickly when you’ve got the best portable compressor available to meet your needs today.

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