The 8 Best Air Compressors of 2018

There are lots of great uses for an air compressor so having one around the home can always come in handy. These machines aren’t just great for inflating tires in a hassle-free manner, but they can also deliver the air required for certain tools to work, such as brad nailers. The market has lots of air compressors to choose from, some of them fitting better for general purposes while others can target more specific projects.

In most cases, selecting an air compressor if you’re not familiar with these tools can be a daunting process. We’ve looked at what the market offers and came up with a helpful list of products to assist you in your searches. Some air compressors manage to stand above the competition due to their superior performance, convenience features, and overall reliability. Those are the products we’ve tried to find so you can be sure to choose only from the best.

There are lots of decisions when considering the purchase of an air compressor. You will have to select the right electric or gas motor and a solid air tank capacity adequate for your needs. Our selection should cover a more diverse range of products to find the best one for your projects and without breaking the bank. Take a look at individual reviews of the best air compressors on the market. You might also be interested in our articles about the best airbrush for cake decorating and the best laser levels.

1. PORTER-CABLE C2002 Pancake Compressor

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Pancake air compressors are very popular options to consider as they offer an excellent mix of performance and portability. A solid example is the PORTER-CABLE C2002 which features a high-quality oil-free pump and an efficient motor. This air compressor is built with portability in mind while at the same time offering a decent 150 PSI of air pressure. It can store enough air so you can get the job done fairly quickly.

When it comes to its construction, the manufacturer focused on creating a durable compressor. The body is made using reliable steel and important components are safeguarded by a console cover. The pump is also robustly designed to last for a long time. This air compressor can cover lots of inflation or cleaning applications thanks to its 120V motor. You can also use the device when it’s cold outside without drops in performance.

The cost of this model is reasonable considering the wealth of features including the 13-piece accessory kit included. Overall, the PORTER-CABLE C2002 is a solid pancake-style air compressor that’s easy to use and performant enough to handle most common tasks. It’s also recommended for the quality construction which seems a step above the competition.

2. Makita MAC700

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If you need a more powerful air compressor, take a look at what the Makita MAC700 has to offer. This unit packs a 2.0 HP motor which gives you enough power to inflate a car’s tires in an effortless manner. There are lots of other applications where this air compressor can be put to good use as it’s a very versatile model.

The main attraction of this air compressor is probably the Big Bore pump which has been built to last in time. It’s not only durable but also very efficient in terms of temperature management. The system keeps the RPM in a lower range which means less heat and that further translates to extended pump and motor life. The included 2.6-gallon tank can deliver reliable air pressure.

The air intake is greatly increased by the addition of a powerful filter which is commonly found in the automotive industry. When it comes to the outside construction, the manufacturer tried to add some protective elements for the delicate components and increased the portability thanks to a roll bar. A rugged and performant air compressor, the Makita MAC700 deserves a high spot on this list considering its features for the money.

3. California Air Tools 5510SE

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The California Air Tools 5510SE could be considered a strong candidate for those looking to blend efficient performance with reduced noise in their air compressors. This machine comes with a low dB rating of 60 which means it would suit well certain environments where excessive noise creates issues. Other highlights include the sturdy 5.5-gallon tank, oil-free design, and the short recovery time.

While it may appear difficult to maneuver, this air compressor isn’t really that heavy. There’s a wheel kit to help with transporting. One of the most interesting aspects regarding this air compressor is the 1.0 HP motor which works more efficiently at just 1680 RPM. This is the reason for a more noiseless experience, but there are other advantages as well, such as the reduced wear on the engine.

Overheating dangers can be prevented thanks to the overload protection feature. This air compressor can go up to 120 PSI and provides 2.2 CFM at 90 PSI with minimal recovery time. When you take all its features into account, the price starts to look quite reasonable. It’s safe to say that the California Air Tools 5510SE does a good job for the money due to its quiet operation, flexible usability, and overall performance.

4. Senco PC1010

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Built with versatility and portability in mind, the Senco PC1010 is one air compressor that you shouldn’t miss. It doesn’t have huge tank capacity, but that can have its advantages. This is the kind of unit recommended for smaller projects for crafters and hobbyists in need of a lightweight unit. It’s also not as loud compared to other units so it makes for a more enjoyable workflow.

Similar to other air compressors on the market, this one features oil-free operation which means you don’t have to worry about oil stains getting in the way. The exterior construction may not look like much, but this compressor has been crafted with attention to details. It offers a padded handle to make it more portable and it comes with rubber feet for avoiding hardwood scratches.

In terms of performance, this air compressor’s 4-amp motor is able to deliver up to 120 PSI. The 1 HP peak power is solid for its price range and one area where this model shines is the operation speed. The Senco PC1010 is an excellent tool for the money and the final conclusion is definitely a positive one. Both compact and quiet, this performant little compressor represents a satisfying choice.

5. Bostitch BTFP02012 Oil-Free Compressor

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One of the best air compressors to have around the house is the Bostitch BTFP02012. This oil-free unit has great performance potential for a pancake-style model while maintaining reasonable noise levels. It can deliver 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI and its motor is adapted for cold environments. The compact design of this compressor could be very suitable for a wide range of applications.

There are two universal couplers integrated into this unit which makes it more convenient for two people to use the compressor simultaneously. The performance of the compressor may not seem impressive initially, but at a closer inspection, many great enhancements have been made. For example, the high flow regulator can ensure that the unit works in an optimal manner. Thanks to the oil-free lubrication, this is an easy compressor to maintain.

Bostitch went for a lightweight design with this model as evidenced by the 6-gallon tank capacity and compact dimensions. If you’re in the market for a capable air compressor to tackle various jobs around the house, the BTFP02012 is a great model to keep in mind. Its 0.8 HP rating is more than enough performance-wise and the rest of the features make this air compressor worth the cost.

6. Makita MAC2400 Big Bore

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Makita has a solid reputation when it comes to power tools. In the air compressor department, this manufacturer has lots of capable models to choose from. One of them is the MAC2400 which sports the same Big Bore construction for the cylinder and piston. If you want to be more productive, this could be the unit for you as its optimized performance makes for faster recovery time.

With the help of its 4.2-gallon tank, you can get an air pressure of up to 130 PSI. This unit’s engine runs at 1720 RPM which is surprisingly low given the 2.5 HP performance. The air compressor is packed with industrial-grade features such as an automotive-style filter for the pump and an advanced valve drain system. While this model relies on oil lubrication, the manufacturer included a convenient oil sight glass.

Despite the extra maintenance required, the Makita MAC2400 is a great air compressor in all regards. Considering its cost, this model is obviously geared towards users wishing to tackle more demanding jobs. It’s not your everyday air compressor, but for those who need uncompromising performance and durability, this should fit the bill.

7. DeWalt DWFP55126

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Another pancake air compressor that looks promising is the DeWalt DWFP55126 that can reach a great pressure of 165 PSI. It barely needs any maintenance and the motor has received some reliable durability enhancements. There are other aspects that make this unit stand out including the long operation time before it’s time to recover and the ingenious design of its 6-gallon tank.

Lots of applications can benefit from the performance of this air compressor. It can reach 90 PSI at 2.6 SCFM and the noise level of 75.5 dBA is also within an acceptable range. To keep the operation in check, this air compressor makes use of a high flow regulator. The tank is constructed to be as robust as possible and draining is managed through a ball drain valve. The durable construction is completed by the removable console cover that protects the controls of the compressor.

The name DeWalt has become strongly associated with quality when it comes to power tools and, as we have seen, the DWFP55126 air compressor is no exception. This model has the potential to surpass your expectations even though it’s a little costlier compared with the competition. The only flaw is the engine noise which appears to be louder than specified.

8. Bostitch CAP1512-OF

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A more budget-friendly option from Bostitch to take into account is the CAP1512-OF. This air compressor has a small tank which is great for those who prefer more portable units. In fact, the whole design of the tool is very compact, its weight reaching just 23.5lbs. Despite the size, this compressor features a decent output of 1.5 HP that can reach 2 HP in peak operation.

Although this is an affordable unit, the construction is very durable for its price range. The manufacturer added a roll-cage to protect the control panel from damage. Thanks to a convenient handle and cord wrap you can maneuver the air compressor more easily. The oil-free lubrication represents an advantage over standard models that are more difficult to maintain. To help with the lifespan of the 1.2-gallon tank, a ball-type drain valve has been integrated.

The Bostitch CAP1512-OF charges quickly and delivers some solid amount of air. Even though the small tank could concern some people, this can help with portability and ensures a faster recovery. As this model can take some abuse and considering how it delivers on its promises, it’s safe to say that Bostitch did a solid job. Recommended for fans of affordable air compressors that blend well compactness with performance.