Does size really matter when it comes to how an air compressor performs? That really depends on the project you’re planning to work on. The best small air compressor reviews won’t help you to find a large stationary compressor that can run continuously, but they will allow you to discover a great small compressor that can inflate tires or equipment, give you power for helpful tools around the house, and other DIY benefits.
The Best Chart for Small Air Compressors
Small air compressors are generally designed to meet one specific need very well. They might have some additional features and benefits, but each has a specific strength. If that strength matches up with the needs of your project, then you’ll have a great tool. The chart below will help you to quickly compare and contrast these strengths so you can find a compressor that best meets your needs.
|Got Air Portable Mini Air Compressor w/ Pump & Inflater|| 4.2 ||4.4 lbs|| $$$
|Kensun Multi-Use Tire Inflator & Portable Compressor|| 5.0 ||3.8 lbs|| $$$
|Wagan Quick Flow Compact Air Compressor|| 4.1 ||1.4 lbs|| $$
|Viair Heavy Duty Portable Compressor|| 4.5 ||5.5 lbs|| $$$
|Black & Decker 12v Cordless Air Station|| 3.8 ||5.2 lbs|| $$$$
|Coleman Quick Pump|| 4.3 ||3.4 lbs|| $$
|Black & Decker 12v or 120v Inflator|| 3.7 ||6.1 lbs|| $$$
|Kensun High Pressure Air Compressor|| 4.5 ||1.9 lbs|| $$
|Swimline Electric Pump|| 4.4 ||2.2 lbs|| $$
|LifeLine AAA 300 PSI 12v DC Air Compressor|| 4.0 ||2.2 lbs|| $
What Is a Small Air Compressor and Why Do I Need One?
Let’s not confuse tank size with the amount of run time an air tool is able to have. Most compressors have their tank size listed in gallons, but in some ways the size of the tank on a small air compressor is a useless measurement. If you’re planning on using your small compressor in a portable way, it is more important to have a big motor and pump than to have a big tank. That should allow you to never run out of air, no matter what your DIY job might be.
Although tank size may not be an important consideration, the design of the tank is an important part of the compressor to consider. You’ll find that there are four basic types of small compressors available right now.
- Inflators. These compressors don’t generally have a tank. They are ultra-portable units, sometimes equipped with a battery unit that can jump-start a vehicle, and are designed to fill tires, air mattresses, sports equipment, and other inflatables.
- Wheelbarrow. This small air compressor generally has a horizontal tank. It may or may not be equipped with a roll cage. There will be a handle and wheels attached to the support frame to allow for easy transportation between project sites.
- Pancake. These small air compressors have a small, flat, and round tank that may only be 1 gallon in size, but have a huge motor that can support continuous high flow output.
- Dual Option. Some of the air compressors in this category allow you to do more than just inflate items. You might find flashlights, USB ports, or even deflation capabilities available on certain models.
Knowing what your DIY needs are will help you choose the right small air compressor design. That way you can have the confidence to know that your job will be completed quickly and efficiently.
How to Find the Best Small Air Compressor for Me
There are several common factors that must be evaluated when shopping for the best possible small air compressor: weight, materials, craftsmanship, warranty, and ease of use. The materials used to construct the compressor will have a direct reflection on the weight of the unit. Many inflators, for example, use plastic components to create their ultra-portability. Larger compressors may be made from steel or aluminum.
Once you’ve determined how lightweight you want your compressor to be, you’ll need to take a look at the craftsmanship of the brand itself. Some brands outsource their manufacturing processes to other air compressor brands. Some manufacturing occurs in the US. Some of it happens in Mexico. China also has a large manufacturing segment. Look through the best small air compressor reviews for reliability ratings so you can match up your needs with the durability of the compressor.
Warranties are also an important part of the shopping process when shopping for a small compressor. A standard warranty in the industry today for residential use is 2 years against defects in materials or craftsmanship. Anything less than this and you will want to comparison shop other brands. For commercial or industrial use, a 90 day warranty is pretty standard, but there are longer options available.
What Are the Prices of Small Air Compressors?
You’ll find that small air compressors have a very wide price range when you start looking at the different brands and models. Compressors that function primarily as inflators can be found for as little as $15 on a good day. At the other end of the spectrum, high-powered small compressors with good SCFM and PSI ratings for air tool use might cost $350 or more.
This makes the average price of about $175 a little misleading. Many households are just as satisfied with their $15 models as households with their $350 models. Finding out what needs you have is critical to knowing how much you’ll need to budget because more features typically mean a higher price in this category.
What Do Our Reviews Have To Say?
This mini air compressor gets very, very hot when it is being used. Imagine touching the power supply brick for a computer and then multiplying that heat by 10 and you’ll get the idea of how hot the Got Air compressor gets. There’s a handle included with the design, but you might brush a knuckle against the unit. We recommend not using this mini compressor for more than about 10 minutes at a time. Universal adapters don’t always work with this mini air compressor either. If the adapter doesn’t support a minimum of 14 amps, then you’re going to ruin this compressor. Trust us – the results aren’t pretty. Just don’t do it.
We found that this small compressor operates best in conditions that are above 60F. If it’s cold outside, you might want to move your car or inflatables into the garage to reach the right PSI level. When operating at a peak performance, we could reach about 10 PSI per minute. In cold conditions, we were lucky to hit 3 PSI per minute on some tires. The pressure gauge is really nice because it’s big and it sits right in front of your face. Like most compressors of this style, the needle tends to vibrate a little bit when the unit is operating, but it will give you a practical look at what is going one.
This gives you up to an 11L per minute flow rate. You can pretty much fill up everything but your largest inflatables in 20 minutes or less thanks to the maximum 150 PSI rating. This model also doubles as a flashlight in case you have an emergency in the middle of the night. A pressure gauge is included in the casing of the unit to help give you an idea of how much air is already in your tires. It may weigh less than 2 pounds, but despite this fact, the slim design features metal gears instead of plastic ones so you can have a dependable and durable performance that can be measured in years instead of weeks.
This cordless small air compressor charges in about 5 hours. It contains a 12v battery, allowing you to take this compressor anywhere to inflate tires, toys, camping equipment, basketballs, and just about anything else that needs air. We really love the accuracy of the digital pressure gauge, which is consistently accurate to within 1-2 PSI. You can store the accessories you need right on the unit. How long does the battery last? You can inflate 4 standard 16” tires completely in a single charge. Whether you want something for emergency purposes or you just want an easy way to manage your inflatables, you’ve got to consider this tool.
This quick pump is designed to give you a fast inflation experience. Unlike other compressors in this category, you can also use this quick pump to deflate your inflatables. It is remarkably fast at what it can do. It filled up a queen-sized air mattress for us in about 3.5 minutes. Included with the purchase are adaptors, which allow you to inflate or deflate items that have pinch valves or Boston valves. You’ll need to plug it into a 12v outlet, but there are alternative power options if you’re so inclined. With an MSRP of $24.99, you can’t beat the value of this product.
The best small air compressor reviews will help you find a brand and model that is best suited to meeting your unique needs. You don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars to get a good compressor, but you do need to do some research to make sure you don’t wind up regretting your purchase. Start that process today and we’re certain you’ll find a great compressor at a price your budget is going to like.