Top 10 Best Portable Air Compressors 2018

Buying Guide

Air compressors have always been serving as a safe, flexible and convenient way to handle different tasks. Quite interestingly, these machines have evolved in the recent years, and it is even possible to find the best portable air compressor without having to go through a lot of hassle.

Best Portable Air Compressors

Before you could find the answer to the popular question, “what is the best portable air compressor”, you need to learn a bit about the types of compressors available out there.

Types of Compressors

Piston or Reciprocating compressors are commonly available in the market. These compressors are positive displacements compressors and you can find them in mid range fractional ones to high HP compressors. In order to work a positive displacement air compressors fills the air chamber with air and reduces the chamber’s volume. Rotary Screw, Reciprocating, and Rotary Sliding Vane are some examples of positive displacement chambers.Reciprocating compressors works like an internal combustion engine but in order to work it reverses the process.

All these compressors have pistons, valves, cylinders and housing blocks. As far as Rotary Screw Compressors are concerned they fill the void between two helical screws with air in order to turn them on. The volume is reduced by air filling which results in increase pressure of air. After the compression the air and oil are separated so that the system can use the air.

Rotary Sliding Vane Compressors are positive displacement compressors and consists of 8 blades and one rotor stator. The shape of the rotor is made like a crescent and when this rotor turns one revolution the compression is achieved. Rotary Sliding Vane Compressors increases the volume at the intake ports and decreases the volume at exhaust port. The vanes of this compressor are pushed outward for the sake of rotational acceleration.

Centrifugal compressors are not positive and they use high speed spinning impellers for the sake of acceleration and deceleration of the air in the compressor. Centrifugal compressors have many diffuse and impeller combination options and they have cooling mechanism in them to cool the air. These inter coolers also remove the condensate to prevent impeller damage.

Selecting Between Portable and Stationary Compressors

All these compressors are either portable or stationary. As far as Portable units are concerned they are used for small projects. For instance, you can find the best air compressor for tires – many sites offer the best portable compressor reviews for you to make a choice. They are highly efficient to use because they can be plugged anytime you need a compressor. They are employed in different applications like roofing, power pneumatic air tools or for framing.

On the other hand Stationary units are responsible to provide air to many points with the help of fixed pipes. These pipes can be attached to machine. In order to work perfectly stationary units need dry, clean and well lit areas. These units are used for heavy duty purposes.

Both Stationary and Portable units are available as Lubricated and Oil free. Lubricated units continuously produce oil to keep the cylinder and bearings well oiled while on the other hand oil-free units don’t require any kind of external lubrication to work.

Single Stage and Two-Stage Compressors

Whether you’re looking for the best potable air compressor for money or you are on the lookout for a stationary compressor, you need to understand the difference between single stage and two-stage compressors.

Two-stage compressors are mostly used for the sake of heavy duty purposes because they generate high levels of compressions. Very less heat is produced from two-staged compressor. Similarly, horsepower is an important consideration. Usually the HP is rated on two major levels: one which is needed to start the engine and the other which is required to operate the engine. Operating HP specifies the total amount of power any motor provides during its operation.

A compressor with 2HP can easily handle most tasks, but it is important that you check its air flow capacity at the same time. One great option is to opt for California Air Tools CAT-10020 compressor. This ultra-quiet compressor has an air flow capacity of 7CFM with a max weight capacity of 91 pounds. Ingersoll Rand portable compressor is another nice choice, as it comes with 90PSI and 4.3CFM, which may be less, but not for a portable compressor. So, be sure to consider your needs and don’t forget to check the capacity of a compressor before finalizing a buying decision.

Check out the 10 Best Portable Air Compressors on the market right now:

#1. Ingersoll-Rand SS3F2-GM Garage Mate Compressor 135 PSI, 2 HP, 30-Gallon

  • Designed for professionals and serious do-it-yourselfers, the versatile Garage Mate is ideal for the home, shop or job site
  • Delivering maximum air, the Garage Mate can power impact guns, ratchets, grinders, drills, nailers, paint sprayers, sanders and more
  • The Garage Mate features a cast-iron, oil-lubricated pump for solid, reliable performance
  • 100% continuous duty for tough applications
  • Durable cast iron construction
  • 30 gallon horizontal tank
  • 5.7 acfm at 90 psi
  • Equiped with wheels for easy transport
  • Warranty on the pump extends to 2 years with the use of maintenance kit

Ingersoll-Rand SS3F2-GMPros: arrived in good condition, well made, 30 gallon large tank keeps pressure steady, enough air to handle all that you need, commercial quality air compressor for the home owner, no leaks, very quite operation, pumps up fast …

Cons: the compressor comes without oil, you should buy the Ingersoll-Rand lube oil for it …

=> Buy-Ingersoll-Rand-SS3F2-GM-Garage-Mate-Compressor





#2. Industrial Air CTA5090412 Air Compressor 155 PSI, 5 HP, 4-Gallon

  •  The Industrial Air Contractor CTA50904012 jobsite portable compressor has all of the features and durability to work long days on the job, week after week, year after year
  • If there ever is an issue, common parts and an extensive service network is always close by
  • With a compact 4 gallon twin tank design, a 5.0 hoursepower Honda OHC/OHV engine, and a low maintenance direct drive pump with a patented cooling system this unit will keep you running full bore when the days are long and the work is plentiful
  • This 155 psi Industrial Air pump delivers 5.0 cfm at 90 psi to run multiple nail guns at one time
  • This pump has a patented two part cooling system that lowers operating temperatures and increases cooling efficiencies, which extends the life of the pump
  • Machined out of thermally stable aluminum this oil free pump is designed to run cooler at high rpm
  • Honda 5.0 hoursepower OHV engine churns out high rpm to keep the Patented Industrial Air low maintenance pump running at peak output
  • This Industrial Air 4g is equipped with a regulator, tool and tank gauges, quick connect, and cushioned handle grips

Industrial Air CTA5090412Pros: great oil-less compressor for the price, light weight compact and dependable, it does not take up much room, Honda 5 horse power motor that gives a great performance and functionality, 155 PSI to do most of what you needs, smooth running, it is built to last …

Cons: the Honda 5 hp engine is a little loud, it is a little heavy …

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#3. ARB CKMTA12 On-Board Twin Air Compressor 175 PSI

  • ARB’s new CKMTA12 and CKMTA24 twin on-board compressor kits were designed to fill the market need for a compact sized yet high-volume compressed air source to suit the high volume air flow needs of most air powered tools, and also to suit the actuation and control needs of the ARB Air Locker, and the harsh and demanding environment of the ARB Air Locker user
  • Pneumatic supply and electrical control for ARB Air Locker(s) (Air Locker Manifold Kit 171503 required)
  • Rapid inflation of small, medium and large tires
  • Air tools rated up to 85LPM [3CFM] @ 6Bar [90PSI] continuous supply
  • Air tools rated higher than 85LPM [3CFM] @ 6Bar [90PSI] using an optional air tank suitable to the run time requirements
  • Fully assembled and tested air compressor (12V or 24V)
  • Complete wiring loom w/ Air Locker solenoid plug-in terminals
  • Automotive OEM quality compressor isolating switch. 2 x relocatable splash resistant air filters with washable high-flow sintered bronze filter cartridges
  • Mounting bolts and washers
  • Comprehensive photo illustrated installation guide

ARB CKMTA12Pros: great customer support, excellent air compressor, extremely well made, its powerful, this is the perfect pump to do anything, this is the best on board air system, it works very well, easy to wire, easy to install …

Cons: its heavy …

=> Buy-ARB-CKMTA12-On-Board-Twin-Air-Compressor





#4. NorthStar Belt Drive Single-Stage Portable Air Compressor 135 PSI, 2 HP, 20-Gallon

  • Heavy-duty NorthStar compressors are built with durable cast iron V-twin pump with cast iron heads for good heat dissipation and no transfer of heat between cylinders
  • Belt drive oil-lubricated pump runs quietly and delivers long pump life. 20-gallon vertical tank is ASME certified
  • Built tough enough for commercial shops
  • Enough capacity to operate an air ratchet, impact wrench, siphon feed sand blaster, nibbler, nailer, air brush, touch-up spray gun and more

NorthStar Belt Drive Single-StagePros: perfect choice for the homeowner, nice portable compressor, best compressor performance for the price, the parts are marked up super high, setup is relatively easy, it is well-built and quite capable, this runs fairly quiet, it will easily give you 7 CFM at 90 PSI for short run-times, its performance satisfies all of your needs …

Cons: the unit comes wired to operate on 110v …

=> Buy-NorthStar-Belt-Drive-Single-Stage-Portable-Air-Compressor





#5. California Air Tools CAT-10020 Steel Tank Air Compressor 90 PSI, 2 HP 10-Gallon

  • The CALIFORNIA AIR TOOLS 10020 Ultra Quiet air compressor is designed to be one of the quietest 2.0 Hip electric air compressors in the industry having only 70 decibels of sound
  • The powerful 2.0 HP motor operates at only 1680 RPM creating less noise and less wear
  • The Oil-Free Dual Piston Pump System is engineered for high performance and durability
  • The oil-free pump allows you to use in different temperatures and uneven terrains
  • The 10.0 gallon steel air tank with wheels is easy to store and move freely
  • The 10.0 gallon air tank will fill (from empty to full) in less than 130 seconds
  • The control panel comes complete with 2 – 1/4″ quick release connectors that will allow you to use up to 2 tools at the same time
  • This air compressor delivers 5.30 CFM at 90 PSI allowing you to use larger air tools and more air tools at the same time
  • Having a low amp draw of only14.0 amps allows you to use normal 15 amp outlets
  • Powerful and maneuverable this air compressor is ideal where noise in a shop, garage or work area is a major issue

California Air Tools CAT-10020Pros: delivered on time, great price, friendly phone support, worth every penny, the fit and finish are good, it uses a very nice dual piston compressor, it is fast to reach max PSI and is quiet, this is the quietest, the 10 gallon tank big enough, no leaks, no oil on the floor and no racket, heavy enough to not walk around while running …

Cons: handle a little low to the ground …

=> Buy-California-Air-Tools-CAT-10020-Steel-Tank-Air-Compressor





#6. Makita MAC5200 Big Bore Air Compressor 140 PSI, 3.0 HP, 5.2-Gallon

  • Cast iron pump with Big BoreTM cylinder and piston is engineered to provide faster recovery time for improved performance
  • Powerful 3.0 HP motor produces 6.5 CFM at 90 PSI for increased productivity
  • Pump is oil-lubricated for cooler running temperatures and reduced wear
  • Durable cast iron cylinder reduces wear and increases pump life; removable for easy maintenance
  • Folding handle with low profile design for easy storage with handle folded
  • Rugged wheels for jobsite portability
  • Built-in storage compartment conveniently stores air fittings and accessories
  • Air hose wrap stores 50 ft. of 3/8″ air hose with handle folded or upright
  • Tool hangers store tools when not in use
  • Large automotive style industrial air filter for increased air intake and greater efficiency
  • Roll cage construction for extra protection to pump and motor assembly
  • Oil sight glass for fast, easy and efficient maintenance
  • Finned discharge tubing for increased heat dissipation and reduced moisture in the air
  • Lever handle ball valve – tank drain valve improves upon standard petcock design for easier maintenance
  • Convenient oil drain at the front of the pump for easy access
  • Built-in thermal overload for additional motor protection

Makita MAC5200Pros: it came in perfect shape, this is a great little compressor, compact unit with nice features, worked well, cycles fast, recovery is very quick, pleasantly quiet, wheels were good and appeared upgraded and solid, it has wheels making it easy to transport, easy to use …

Cons: it’s heavy so it isn’t very portable out of the box …

=> Buy-Makita-MAC5200-Big-Bore-Air-Compressor





#7. Rolair JC10 Oil-Less Compressor 90 PSI, 1 HP, 2.5-Gallon

  • 2.35 CFM at 90 psi
  • 1725 RPM motor
  • Oil-less design reduces maintenance and downtime
  • 2.5 Gallon tank capacity
  • Cast Aluminum Cylinder

Rolair JC10Pros: shipped promptly, nice compressor for cheap, this is a great one if you need a small compressor to do small jobs, small and lightweight, it takes up less floor space, small footprint, it runs well and provides a strong airflow, this compressor is quiet for sure, very little vibration, manageable, great recovery …

Cons: the pressure gauge faces out rather than up …

=> Buy-Rolair-JC10-Oil-Less-Compressor





#8. DEWALT DWFP55130 Heavy Duty Quiet Trim Compressor 200 PSI, 1.1 HP, 2.5 gallon

  • 3.0 SCFM delivered @ 90 PSI pump, 2.5 gallon tank and 200 max PSI enables large amount of nails to be fired and provides quick recovery
  • Durable oil free pump provides extended maintenance-free operation
  • Low 71.5* dBA allows for quieter operation (*Tested per ISO3744)
  • Low 12 amp draw motor provides easy start-up and reduces breaker tripping
  • Lightweight (36 lbs), thin (12.5″) and compact design is easy to carry and store
  • Compressor can be operated/stored in either the vertical or horizontal position

DEWALT DWFP55130Pros: arrived on time, packed very well, very nice air compressor at a great price, it does pump up to 200 psi, it’ll meet your needs for what you want it to do, compact and easy to use, it works like a dream, this compressor handled your job easily, not too heavy but kind of, fills up super fast, relatively quiet, you’ll very happy with this purchase …

Cons: none …

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#9. Senco PC1131 Compressor 100 PSI, 2.5 HP, 4.3-Gallon

  • SENCO’s PC1131 workhorse compressor generates 4.4CFM which provides enough power for all types of applications, from finish to framing
  • The oil spalsh design and induction motor provides the durability expected for professional contractors

Senco PC1131Pros: fast shipping, inexpensive for what you get, good build quality, it’s a quiet compressor with quick re-charge, high performance at a great price, dependable and portable, holds pressure really well, overall a durable and dependable tool …

Cons: not bad but it’s fairly heavy, no wheels …

=> Buy-Senco-PC1131-Compressor





#10. PORTER-CABLE PCFP02003 Pancake Compressor 135 PSI, 0.8 HP, 3.5-Gallon

  • The PORTER CABLE PCFP02003 3.5 Gal 135 PSI Pancake Compressor
  • Air delivery of 2.0 SCFM delivered @ 90 PSI pump, with a 3.5 gallon tank and 135 max PSI for longer run time and quicker recovery
  • It features a durable oil-free pump for long life and no maintenance
  • The low Amp 120V motor starts easily in cold weather or with extension cord and has a factory installed quick coupler for quick access to regulated air
  • This unit weighs only 26 lbs. for easy portability. 82dBA decibel level; 2 guages; 1 Quick-Connect coupler
  • Supports multiple trim finishing nailers, small framing/roofing jobs and all general inflation, blowing and smaller SCFM air tools

PORTER-CABLE PCFP02003Pros: it arrived very quickly, very reasonable, no assembly required, great for small jobs, perfect family size compressor, it’s a good compressor for quick dusting or filling of small tires, nice small and portable compressor, its a small footprint, easy to carry handle, it’s exactly as advertised …

Cons: works well but not for big jobs, it is a little noisy ….

=> Buy-PORTER-CABLE-PCFP02003-Pancake-Compressor