Best Portable Air Compressor Reviews 2017

Fixed air compressors are a great tool to have but they are too large, impractical and heavy for personal or small office use. A portable air compressor is a great alternative - they are very practical and useful. Portable air compressors vary in size and are light enough to be carried from one place to another. This list focuses on the best portable and flexible air compressors that offer various uses. If you're searching for the top portable air compressors, check out our top 5 picks:
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Power
Capacity/PSI
Weight
Pump Type
Noise Level
Our Top Choice
Makita Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor
A powerful and hard-wearing compressor that's worth every penny.
Cast iron pump with Big Bore cylinder. Great CFM rating. Improved durability. 1-year Warranty
Heavier than many other portable compressor. Mid range in sound level.
2.5 HP (1730 RPM)
4.2 Gallons/90 PSI
81 Pounds
Oil-lubricated Pump
79 Decibels
Best Value
Porter-Cable C2002-WK Pancake Compressor
A reliable, space-saving and low maintenance air compressor that's budget friendly.
Quick recovery time; very portable and light weight. Includes 13 pc accessory kit.
A bit noisier than other portable air compressors (82 dBA); filling the tank takes time but that’s because it’s larger.
8 HP (RPM)
6 Gallons/150 PSI
30 Pounds
Heavy-duty Oil Free Pump
82 Decibels
Rolair 1 HP Oil-less Compressor
A well-designed and well-made product that really works well with staplers and nailers. The “quietest” one on our short list.
Cast Aluminum Cylinder.Operates ultra-quietly; quickly recharges pressure; very portable and lightweight.
No accessories included; gauge positioned inconveniently.
1 HP (1725 RPM)
2.5 Gallons/90 PSI
39 Pounds
Oil-less Pump
60 Decibels
California Air Tools 2.0 HP Air Compressor
Great high CFM rating, powerful air compressor that's great for tackling any home repair job.
Quiet pump yet powerful compressor. Tank has wheels for portability. Low maintenance.
A bit on the heavy side (but that’s because large tank); some reports of low quality wheels.
2 HP (1680 RPM)
10 Gallons/90 PSI
88 Pounds
Oil-Free Pump
70 Decibels
DEWALT 4.5-Gallon 200-PSI Air Compressor
A greatly design compressor that can withstand tough conditions at any job site or for the home handyman/mechanic.
Heavy duty motor. High Pressure Technology (200 PSI max storage). Wheels for portability. Vertical Stand. Collapsible Handle.
A little heavy to carry – tradeoff for power. Mid range in sound level.
1.6 HP (1,750 RPM)
4.5 Gallons/90 PSI
83 Pounds
Heavy-duty Oil Free Pump
78 Decibels

(Updated )
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How Do I Choose the Best Portable Air Compressor?

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.
Price
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.
Features
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.

What is the Best Portable Air Compressor?

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.
Our Top Choice
The Big Bore MAC2400 by Makita delivers higher output but with less noise for better job site performance. The company also offers various power levels from their Makita Big Bore Air Compressor line so you're sure to find the best one that suits your needs.
Makita Big Bore Air Compressor – Available in 2 HP, 2.5 HP, 3 HP and 5 HP

Makita MAC2400 Air Compressor


Features
If you're looking for a heavy duty portable air compressor for your home or office DIYs, the Makita MAC2400 Air Compressor may be just what you're looking for. Not only does the Big Bore pump have a cast-iron cylinder that is engineered for better bore and stroke for improved compression, but it also offers these great features:
  • Integrated thermal overload for motor protection
  • Industrial-grade air filter
  • Pump that runs at 1730 RPM for less noise
  • Low AMP function at start up for less tripped breaker incidents
  • 2.5 HP 4 pole motor; 4.2 cubic feet per minute (CFM) at 90 PSI
Construction and Design
The Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor is amazingly a well-designed unit, with everything well-positioned and very user friendly. It is obvious that the manufacturer put in a great effort into the details of the MAC2400 - evident in small things like the oil sight gauge for easier maintenance, and the lever-handle ball valve that's much easier to use than the usual valves. A roll bar is incorporated in its design to protect the pump and is built with a removable cast iron cylinder for trouble-free maintenance.
Performance and Ease of Use
The overall construction of the Makita MAC2400 Air Compressor gives it a faster recovery time for superior performance. It boasts of a 2.5 HP motor that produces 4.2 cubic feet per minute at only 90 PSI and produces less noise compared to its competitors. The large industrial air filter allows for a better air intake making it a more efficient compressor.

Since the unit is oil-lubricated, the oil gauge window makes it easier for users to spot if the compressor needs more oil. In fact, many users love how all gauges and controls of the MAC2400 Big Bore are easily accessible and of high quality.
Best Value
The very portable and oil-free Porter Cable C2002-WK Pancake Compressor boasts of a powerful engine that can serve a variety of home and small office projects. The trusted Porter Cable brand also offers a smaller 3.5-Gallon 135 PSI Pancake Compressor model.
Porter-Cable 150 PSI, 6 Gal Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor with 13-Piece Accessory Kit

Porter-Cable C2002-WK Air Compressor


Features
Porter-Cable has long been a trusted manufacturer of quality air compressors that's why it's no surprise that the C2002-WK Air Compressor is a reliable and durable unit. This pancake-style compressor comes with a 13-piece accessory set that's very handy to have around any home.

If you're thinking of getting an air compressor that you can easily move around, here are some of this pancake compressor's amazing features that make it a good choice for an affordable air compressor:
  • 6 gallon Pancake-shaped tank for stability;
  • low maintenance oil-free pump;
  • quick recovery time with 2.6 standard cubic feet per minute at 90 psi;
  • 150PSI max tank pressure.
Construction and Design
The Porter Cable C2002 WK Pancake Compressor is an attractive tool that is expertly devised to have no sharp edges for user comfort and a small size for better portability. The "pancake" tank has a 6-gallon capacity - bigger than some of its competitors and is designed with a rubber base and a water-drain valve.

The handle, console and shroud cover protects the compressor's essential components. It is also very easy to transport and carry because of the installed handle. And at 30 pounds, you're guaranteed to have a very handy and transportable air compressor around the house, garage or shop.
Performance and Ease of Use
The smartly designed PORTER-CABLE 6 Gal Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor has up to 150 PSI max tank pressure and allows the tank to hold more air for longer running time. The 6-gallon tank may take a while to fill but once it's done, the pump doesn't have to do much in order to maintain working pressure.

This pancake compressor's dials are cleverly positioned and are easy to understand. The nicely positioned handle makes it easier to carry around. And the easy start up with a low amp 120V motor keeps the breaker from tripping and makes starting the unit easy even in cold conditions.
The Rolair JC10 Air Compressor is a super quiet portable compressor that guarantees to finish the job. Because Rolair specializes in manufacturing high-quality air compressors, if this one does not meet your needs, they are sure to have one that does.
Rolair 1 HP Oil-Less Hand Carry Compressor with Overload Protection and Quiet Operation

Rolair JC10 Air Compressor


Features
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.
The California Air Tools CAT-10020 Oil-Free 2.0 HP 10.0-Gallon Air Compressor is built with a 2.0 HP motor that runs at 1680 RPM. If you don’t need something this big, they also make a smaller 6.3 gallon tank model, the 1.0 Hp Ultra Quiet Air Compressor.
California Air Tools Ultra Quiet and Oil-Free 2.0 HP 10.0-Gallon Steel Tank Air Compressor

California Air Tools CAT-10020 Air Compressor


Features
Designed with a 10 gallon steel tank, the California Air Tools CAT-10020 Air Compressor compresses air quickly enough to fill its huge tank in just 2 minutes. Let’s look at the main specs you get with this compact, yet powerful compressor:
  • Oil free for less maintenance;
  • 10-gallon air tank made of steel;
  • 2.0 HP motor runs at 1680 RPM for less noise;
  • Attach multiple tools with its 2 compressor nozzles;
  • Has a built-in thermal overload protector;
  • Fast recovery period.
Construction and Design
The California Air Tools CAT10020 is a sleek, heavy-duty looking air compressor. With a 10 gallon steel air tank, it definitely is one powerful tool to have at home. It is a little heavy to carry around at 88 pounds but fortunately, it is built with wheels so it's easy to move it when needed.

The entire compressor is cleverly designed to be just 30" inches tall which makes it very easy to fit under roughly all workbenches. A drain valve is installed underneath is very easy to reach.
Performance and Ease of Use
A powerful 2.0 hp motor definitely is one of the reasons that the CAT 10020 Oil-Free Air Compressor is a popular portable air compressor. This specific model has received praises for being almost at par with those with 5 hp motors. The oil-free, dual piston pump takes around 120 seconds to fill the tank - which is fast for its tank size. The 5.30 CFM (cubic feet per minute) at 90 PSI makes it a powerful enough tool for even some of the most demanding home projects. ANd not to forget that is essentially operates quietly at 70 decibels.
The DEWALT D55146 Air Compressor is a well-designed and heavy duty compressor that has maintenance free pump for convenience. Dewalt has long been a trusted brand when it comes to construction gears and equipment – it this one doesn’t meet your needs, they are well known for making other great air compressors too.
DEWALT Hand Carry Compressor - 1.6 HP Continuous, 200 PSI, 4.5 Gallon Hand Carry Compressor

DEWALT D55146 Air Compressor


Features
The DEWALT Hand Carry Compressor has a great high-pressure motor and a rating of 5.00 CFM at 90 PSI – great for even the toughest of jobs. For a heavy duty yet portable and quiet air compressor, the DEWALT 4.5 Gallon Hand Carry Compressor packs in some incredible features:
  • 200 psi maximum tank storage pressure;
  • Maintenance free and oil free;
  • High-pressure motor;
  • Guaranteed maximum nailer performance with its high flow coupler;
  • Various nail guns and tools can work simultaneously.
Construction and Design
The DEWALT D55146 4 1/2 Gallon 200 PSI Air Compressor is designed with a slimmer frame compared to its competitors and has a very durable exterior. The tough metal panel protects the unit’s oil gauges as well as the regulator.

Its sleek and modern design makes it a very convenient compressor which can fit in most home cabinets or garage storage spaces. Though it is a bit heavy to carry at 83 pounds, the unit has an adjustable handle, vertical stand and wheels so you can easily move it around the house.
Performance and Ease of Use
Since the DEWALT D55146 Air Compressor is constructed with a large capacity pressure tank and a heavy-duty motor, this air compressor is guaranteed to get the job done. It is an oil-free unit and has a maintenance-free pump – surely doesn’t get any more convenient than that.

It’s also a great option for those looking for a powerful, quiet air compressor as it only rated at 78 decibels in operation. Dewalt also used their signature efficient high pressure (EHP®) technology in this unit for better motor and pump life.

Get the Best Portable Air Compressor of 2017!

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!

Our Top Choice
Makita Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor
Best Value
Porter-Cable C2002-WK Pancake Compressor
Rolair 1 HP Oil-less Compressor
California Air Tools 2.0 HP Air Compressor
DEWALT 4.5-Gallon 200-PSI Air Compressor