No matter for what you need a portable air compressor, choosing one can make you feel lost, if you are not aware of the things that you should look for. Thus, we are here to provide better information on the things to check for in an air compressor and help you choose the best one depending on various factors and needs. Movable air compressors are machines that provide pressurized air on command that can be used for a variety of tasks and applications. For instance, they can be used for spray painting
, industrial-sized operations in farms, manufacturing plants or building sites, inflating a flat tire during an emergency, operating a nail gun, etc.
Due to a lot of their uses, air compressors are nearly indispensable. Although, air compressors come in many different sizes and types, they all carry out the same function. They save your time as well as money in doing any project that is related to air. Most of the air compressors are powerful and usually lighter than battery powered cordless or standard electric tools.
The different types of transportable air compressors include hand carry, gas, electric, pancake, hot dog, twin-stack, wheelbarrow, oil free compressor, etc. Unlike larger industrial air compressors
, or “built-in” style compressors, since all these are types of portable compressors, they all have small storage tanks and wheels or handles, so that they can be easily moved to different areas of work. Plus, they are compact and ideal for quick and light applications.
Since you may require an air compressor as per your budget or a particular feature, we have provided you with reviews for different types. And, although our list includes the top 5 portable air compressors, we also have a runner up that is not listed here due to space constraints. The Campbell Hausfeld FP209499 3-Gallon Portable Compressor is a pocket-friendly option, great for people who don’t need to us a compressor all the time but want to have on hand.
So, if you want an accurate air supply, check out the things that you must look for, while choosing a portable air compressor.
A cheap air compressor that's portable may be great for inflating flat tires but you may not be getting the best bang for your buck for a moveable compressor that does just that. For a few dollars more, you will be able to purchase a portable air compressor that is versatile and perfect for spray painting, inflating flat tires and more.
Good portable air compressors don't necessarily have to be expensive. Since, different compressors have different levels of power, they are priced accordingly. To make it easy for you, we have listed the top air compressors that offer you the best value for your money. Check out our moveable air compressor # 5 for the most pocket-friendly option.
There are some portable air compressors that have different types of inflators, accessories, and fittings. On the other hand, some air compressors are very simple and basic. All of the air compressors covered in this review offer different features from drive systems, oil free vs oil lubricated compressors, adjustable exhaust and the included tools and accessories upon purchase. But, the one thing common in all is that all of them can be easily moved to wherever you need to work.
Construction and Design
The first and the foremost thing that you need to decide, when choosing a portable air compressor is how and for what purpose you want to use it. Whether it be for inflating tires or small rafts, to power a caulking or spray gun, or to operate a nail gun, you are sure to find the perfect portable air compressor that's versatile enough for your home or small business needs.Portable air compressors come in various types in terms of power source/supply and design.
In terms of power supply, one can choose between electric compressors and gasoline-powered compressors:
- Electric air compressors - the most popular types and involve less maintenance. This type is more appropriate for those working indoors and any dry area with an available electrical supply.
- Gasoline powered air compressors - are great for outdoor jobs or areas where power supply is not available or limited; this type usually come with a higher horsepower compared to the electric type.
In terms of design, movable air compressors have lesser storage tanks and have handles or wheels for some (or are simply light enough to carry), that allow you to easily carry or move them to different work areas. They are more compact compared to fixed/stationary compressors and come in a number of styles:
- Pancake compressors - have circular, flat storage tanks built at the bottom of the unit; this style takes up less space compared to other portable compressor styles.
- Twin stack compressors - have two cylindrical tanks built horizontally which is a great design for added capacity without increasing its needed floor space.
- Wheelbarrow compressor - built with a double cylindrical tank and characterized by a wheel and handles for easy portability.
- Hot dog compressor - has a single cylindrical tank that is horizontally designed.
Performance and Ease of Use
For better performance, the horsepower (HP) is one of the essential things that you must look for when choosing a portable air compressor. A higher HP generates greater air pressure that's measured in PSI (pounds per square inch). A higher PSI means that the compressor is capable of storing more air in the tank, allowing users to use air tools longer. Generally, air compressors that have horsepower between 1.5 and 6.5 HP are ideal for small-scale uses.
Besides the horsepower, one other valuable marker for choosing the right air compressor is its Cubic Feet per Minute(CFM) rating. The CFM changes as per the psi (pounds per square inch) of the compressor. When you lower the PSI output, the cubic feet per minute (CFM) increases. A portable air compressor with a more or greater CFM rating can deliver more air and is more suitable when it comes to working on heavier applications such as framing nail guns or operating air wrenches.
Another consideration when purchasing a portable air compressor is its tank size, which is measured in gallons. The larger the air tank, the more compressed air with higher pressures it can store. Four to six gallons is considered a sufficient tank size for operating nail guns as well as airbrushing.
As mentioned above, there are a lot of uses as well as benefits of portable air compressors. They can make your work really easy so you can complete it within a few minutes. So, let us look at some of the best moveable air compressors in the market that can come in handy for many of your household chores.
Looking for a handy air compressor that's quiet enough even for night time projects? Not only is this air compressor super quiet, but the Rolair JC10 1 HP Compressor with Overload Protection's oil-less design decreases down time and need for maintenance. Let’s take a look at some of its top features that make it a great choice:
- Protective roll cage design to keep motor secure
- Operates quietly at 60 decibel
- 2.5 gallon capacity
- Very lightweight and compact at 39 lbs.
Construction and Design
The Rolair JC10 1 HP Oil-less Compressor has a horizontally designed tank with a capacity of 2.5 Gallon. A mounted pressure gauge on the unit makes it easy for the user to tell the air pressure level in the tank. And close to the pressure switch is a gauge to show the pressure setting.
The unit weighs only 39 pounds which make it one lightweight and very portable air pressure around. It also features a protective roll-cage design that surrounds the tank and other vital components. The cage doubles as the compressor's handle so you can easily carry it around.
Performance and Ease of Use
The Rolair JC10 Air Compressor operates at a high volume direct drive pump that delivers 2.35 cubic feet per minute at 90 psi. And since it is built as an oil-less compressor, the unit requires less maintenance. Even with a small tank (2.3 gallon), users have commended the units fast recovery time - ready to fire nails again in less than 15 seconds.
The JC10 Oil-less Hand Carry Compressor is extremely versatile and can be used for a variety of applications such as:
power stapler, inflation devices, air guns, brad nailer, finishing nailer, just to name a few. And you'll be happy to know that it's considered a very quiet portable air compressor with a measured sound level of 60dB only. So you're sure that you can keep shooting nails without worrying of possible complaints from the neighbors.
We hope the information we have provide about our top 5 picks for the best portable air compressors has helped you find one that is right for you. Based upon our research, we believe you can’t go wrong by purchasing one of these, as per your preferences, applications, and budget. Moreover, all these compressors have almost no downsides at all!