12 Recommended Portable Air Compressors for all Budgets

Air compressors are a surprisingly useful tool. Whether you need to add air to your vehicle’s tires, blow out a sprinkler system, paint the outside of your house, or require rapid nailing with a nail gun, an air compressor makes life so much easier. There are so many different types, though. You first should establish your needs with this tool.

Source: homethods.com

Buying Guide

Before you go out and buy the first portable air compressor that a friend recommends, figure out your guidelines for your needs.

  • What an air compressor does: Air compressors can do anything from refill tires to power nail guns, so be realistic about your needs and what type of tasks for which you need an air compressor.
  • Uses for an air compressor: A hand-held air compressor will work much differently than one with a giant tank or a “pancake” air compressor. Decide what you will be doing with your compressor.
  • Considerations to look for: “oil-less” pumps will provide cleaner air, and many electric models will be the quietest. Pancake air compressors (even when electric) will often be loud but are highly portable while still being robust.
  • Types of air compressors: The primary categories we will cover are hand-held or for tires only, larger tank air compressors, twin tanks, and pancake air compressors.

Buying Recommendations

AUTSCA Air Compressor Electric Inflator Portable Air Compressor Low Noise Rechargeable Battery Handheld Emergency 12V 130PSI
Powermate Vx PLA4708065 80-Gallon Electric Air Compressor
Kensun AC/DC Digital Tire Inflator for Car 12V DC and Home 110V AC Rapid Performance Portable Air Compressor Pump for Car, Bicycle, Motorcycle, Basketball and Others
DEWALT Air Compressor Combo Kit with Brad Nailer (DWC1KIT-B)
Max PSI
130
155
90
165
Tank Size (in gallons)
N/A
80
6
6
Noise (in decibels)
110
Not listed, but on the lower side
Not listed
75.5
Weight
4.15 lbs
354 lbs
5 lbs
37.9 lbs
Warranty
6 Months
2 Years
2 Years
1 Year
Best Budget
AUTSCA Air Compressor Electric Inflator Portable Air Compressor Low Noise Rechargeable Battery Handheld Emergency 12V 130PSI
Max PSI
130
Tank Size (in gallons)
N/A
Noise (in decibels)
110
Weight
4.15 lbs
Warranty
6 Months
Best Premium
Powermate Vx PLA4708065 80-Gallon Electric Air Compressor
Max PSI
155
Tank Size (in gallons)
80
Noise (in decibels)
Not listed, but on the lower side
Weight
354 lbs
Warranty
2 Years
Best for Cars and Tires
Kensun AC/DC Digital Tire Inflator for Car 12V DC and Home 110V AC Rapid Performance Portable Air Compressor Pump for Car, Bicycle, Motorcycle, Basketball and Others
Max PSI
90
Tank Size (in gallons)
6
Noise (in decibels)
Not listed
Weight
5 lbs
Warranty
2 Years
Best for Tools
Recommendations
DEWALT Air Compressor Combo Kit with Brad Nailer (DWC1KIT-B)
Max PSI
165
Tank Size (in gallons)
6
Noise (in decibels)
75.5
Weight
37.9 lbs
Warranty
1 Year

Budget Portable Air Compressors

Check out our top picks for budget friendly air compressors.

1. AUTSCA Electric Portable Air Compressor – Editor’s Pick

For an affordable air compressor used on small projects, we like the compact size and low noise from this electric unit.

Specs
pressure pump wheel Max PSI: 130 PSI
Tank Size: n/a
Noise (in Decibels): 110
Weight: 4.15 lbs
Warranty: 6 months
AUTSCA Air Compressor Electric Inflator Portable Air Compressor Low Noise Rechargeable Battery Handheld Emergency 12V 130PSI
AUTSCA Air Compressor Electric Inflator Portable Air Compressor Low Noise Rechargeable Battery Handheld Emergency 12V 130PSI
This ultra-compact air compressor is ideal for those who only need a device for refilling tires or inflating toys. This unit comes with a charging cord, has auto-shut-off with an LED display, and flame-retardant materials.

What we like about it
  • Hand-held and lightweight
  • Comes with carrying case
  • Ideal for adding air to tires, basketballs, and pool toys
  • Electric
  • Has a safety lock to prevent accidental use
Drawbacks
  • Short warranty
  • Not for bigger projects
AUTSCA Air Compressor Electric Inflator Portable Air Compressor Low Noise Rechargeable Battery Handheld Emergency 12V 130PSI
  • LED screen and Three units - The compressor has three units of measurement: PSI, BAR, KPA. It can be used as a pressure gauge to show the current tire pressure, to see the air pressure consumption and the progress of the inlet. You can preset the required pressure and it will turn off automatically once this value is reached.
  • Excellent material, efficient - Heat-resistant and flame-retardant materials, copper hose at the end, which ensures firmness and prevents the hose from overheating and slipping during use. The inflation air pressure is - 50L / min, and the inflation work is completed more effectively (Not suitable for truck tires)
  • Multiple forms of use - Comes with a rechargeable 2200 mAh rechargeable battery and a car charging cable. The air compressor can be used in both wireless and cable operation.

2. AstroAI Portable Air Compressor

Specs
Max PSI: 100 PSI
Tank Size: n/a
Noise (in Decibels): not listed
Weight: 3.48 lbs
Warranty: 3 years
AstroAI Portable Air Compressor Pump, Digital Tire Inflator 12V DC Electric Gauge with Larger Air Flow 35L/Min, LED Light, Overheat Protection, Extra Nozzle Adaptors and Fuse, Yellow
AstroAI Portable Air Compressor Pump, Digital Tire Inflator 12V DC Electric Gauge with Larger Air Flow 35L/Min, LED Light, Overheat Protection, Extra Nozzle Adaptors and Fuse, Yellow
This air compressor is exceptionally lightweight, runs on a 12V DC electric gauge, and inflates items like tires quickly. We like that it also has an integrated in-line fuse to prevent overloading.

What we like about it
  • Overheat protection
  • Inflates up to 35 liters per minute
  • Extremely accurate pressure gauge
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Electric
Drawbacks
  • Does not support Presta valve, LT, HT and truck tires
  • Not the quietest on the market
AstroAI Portable Air Compressor Pump, Digital Tire Inflator 12V DC Electric Gauge with Larger Air Flow 35L/Min, LED Light, Overheat Protection, Extra Nozzle Adaptors and Fuse, Yellow
  • NOTE: Please ensure the current of your automobile cigarette lighter is from 10 to 15 amps to avoid automobile fuses from blowing and try to plug the compressor into the latter cigarette lighter of your vehicle to make sure of enough power supply; DOES NOT SUPPORT LT, HT and Truck Tires; DOES NOT SUPPORT Presta valve; It only can be used on DC 12V power source, but not compatible with AC 110V, AC 220V, DC 24V and DC 36V; Please make sure to start your vehicle first then plug the compressor into the cirgarette lighter to prevent fuse from blowing due to over-current protection
  • Check out our VIDEO on the left side and take a quick tour of AstroAI air compressor! INCREASED SAFETY: Properly inflated tires provide better performance in all weather conditions; prevent crashes, tire explosions, and premature tire wear
  • INTEGRATED IN-LINE FUSE prevents overloading the air compressor, making it safer for everyone to use

3. EPAuto Portable Air Compressor

Specs
Max PSI: 100 PSI
Tank Size: n/a
Noise (in Decibels): not listed
Weight: 1 lb
Warranty: none
EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump, Digital Tire Inflator
EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump, Digital Tire Inflator
This air compressor is one of the most budget-friendly units we looked at, and still maintains an incredibly high rating with customers. It’s only about a pound and roughly the size of a shoe, without the hassle of adding gasoline thanks to the electric motor. Decibels are not labeled, but we found it to me low-to-midrange in noise level.

What we like about it
  • Ultra-lightweight
  • Can plug into 12V DC or cigarette lighter with socket plug
  • Ideal for car tires up to mid-size vans and SUVs
  • Comes with carrying case
  • Built-in bright-torch LED flashlight
  • Electric
Drawbacks
  • Does not support LT, HT or any truck tires
  • No manufacturer warranty
AstroAI Portable Air Compressor Pump, Digital Tire Inflator 12V DC Electric Gauge with Larger Air Flow 35L/Min, LED Light, Overheat Protection, Extra Nozzle Adaptors and Fuse, Yellow
  • NOTE: Please ensure the current of your automobile cigarette lighter is from 10 to 15 amps to avoid automobile fuses from blowing and try to plug the compressor into the latter cigarette lighter of your vehicle to make sure of enough power supply; DOES NOT SUPPORT LT, HT and Truck Tires; DOES NOT SUPPORT Presta valve; It only can be used on DC 12V power source, but not compatible with AC 110V, AC 220V, DC 24V and DC 36V; Please make sure to start your vehicle first then plug the compressor into the cirgarette lighter to prevent fuse from blowing due to over-current protection
  • Check out our VIDEO on the left side and take a quick tour of AstroAI air compressor! INCREASED SAFETY: Properly inflated tires provide better performance in all weather conditions; prevent crashes, tire explosions, and premature tire wear
  • INTEGRATED IN-LINE FUSE prevents overloading the air compressor, making it safer for everyone to use

Premium Portable Air Compressors

These air compressors are our premium picks.

1. Powermate Vx Electric Air Compressor – Editor’s Pick

If you’re looking for a robust air compressor with a large tank that also runs quieter than many competitors, we love Powermat’s Vx Electric Air Compressor.

Specs
Max PSI: 155 PSI
Tank Size: 80 gallons
Noise (in Decibels): not listed, but on the lower side
Weight: 354 lbs
Warranty: 2 years limited
Powermate Vx PLA4708065 80-Gallon Electric Air Compressor
Powermate Vx PLA4708065 80-Gallon Electric Air Compressor
This air compressor is for more intense projects, as long as you don’t need one that moves around easily. You get plenty of power in the 240-volt, 4.7 hp electric engine, and don’t need to deal with gasoline. This device offers a steady and clean airflow.

What we like about it
  • Durable cast-iron body
  • Electric with oil-lubricated pump for quieter performance
  • Ideal for use with spray guns, hammers, ratchets, and nail guns
  • Large tank for long airflow before refilling
Drawbacks
  • Extremely heavy
  • Expensive
Powermate Vx PLA4708065 80-Gallon Electric Air Compressor
  • Features a Powerful 240-Volt, 15-Amp Motor that Delivers 4.7-HP
  • Offers a 155-PSI Maximum Pressure
  • Provides 14-CFM at 90-PSI for Longer Air Tool Run Times on Ratchets, Impacts, Spray Guns and Hammers

2. Makita 3.0 Hp Air Compressor

Specs
Max PSI: 140 PSI
Tank Size: 5.2 gallons
Noise (in Decibels): Roughly 110
Weight: 88 lbs
Warranty: 1 year parts and labor
Makita MAC5200 Big Bore 3.0 HP Air Compressor
Makita MAC5200 Big Bore 3.0 HP Air Compressor
Makita has a name for making higher-quality tools (at least compared to several off-brands), and this compressor is no different. The “Big Bore” cylinder and piston 3.0 hp engine is long-lasting and durable. This model is one of our favorites for a more robust air compressor that is still portable.

What we like about it
  • Hand cart/dolly style body with wheels and tall handle
  • Comes assembled
  • Suitable for use with some tools
  • Electric with oiled pump
Drawbacks
  • Not ideal for frigid weather (runs less smoothly in the cold)
  • Can be moved, but a little heavy
Sale
Makita MAC5200 Big Bore 3.0 HP Air Compressor
  • Cast iron pump with Big Bore 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

3. BOSTITCH Stack Tank Air Compressor

Specs
Max PSI: 135 PSI
Tank Size: 4 gallons
Noise (in Decibels): 90.2
Weight: 58 lbs.
Warranty: 1 year limited
BOSTITCH CAP2041ST-OL 4 gallon 135 PSI Oil-Lubricated Stack Tank Compressor
BOSTITCH CAP2041ST-OL 4 gallon 135 PSI Oil-Lubricated Stack Tank Compressor
Twin tanks extend the run time of this high-quality air compressor, and PSI stays steady when you need it. The larger oil pump capacity also prolongs the time between adding oil, and the cast iron cylinder is robust and durable.

What we like about it
  • Starts quickly even in cold weather
  • High-quality construction and durable materials
  • On the quieter side
  • Protective roll bar
  • Maintains high PSI well
Drawbacks
  • More difficult to precisely adjust pressure output
  • The noise is a higher frequency than some air compressors
BOSTITCH CAP2041ST-OL 4 gallon 135 PSI Oil-Lubricated Stack Tank Compressor
  • Oil-lubricated pump with cast iron cylinder delivers 3.8 SCFM @ 90PSI* to support multiple tools
  • Powerful induction motor and cold start valve for fast and easy starts
  • Upgraded industrial quality pressure switch and regulator for durable operation

Best Portable Air Compressors for Cars and Tires

These air compressors are ideal for cars and tires.

1. Kensun AC/DC Digital Air Compressor – Editor’s Pick

Excellent customer reviews, a reasonable price, and a durable yet compact design make this one of our favorites to keep in a vehicle if needed.

Specs
Max PSI: 90 PSI
Tank Size: 6 gallons
Noise (in Decibels): not listed, but comparable to an average tire pump
Weight: 5 lbs.
Warranty: 2 years
Kensun AC/DC Digital Tire Inflator for Car 12V DC and Home 110V AC Rapid Performance Portable Air Compressor Pump for Car, Bicycle, Motorcycle, Basketball and Others
Kensun AC/DC Digital Tire Inflator for Car 12V DC and Home 110V AC Rapid Performance Portable Air Compressor Pump for Car, Bicycle, Motorcycle, Basketball and Others
This air compressor is one of our favorites for traveling on road trips. The flashlight and long cord make it useful when adding air to several tires, even in the dark. The electric motor is relatively quiet, and accessory nozzles come as part of the package.

What we like about it
  • Compact and lightweight enough to keep in the trunk of a car
  • Built-in LED flashlight
  • Both AC and DC compatible
  • Long cord to reach around to each tire
Drawbacks
  • Screw connection to a tire can be difficult
  • Lower PSI than some compressors
Kensun AC/DC Digital Tire Inflator for Car 12V DC and Home 110V AC Rapid Performance Portable Air Compressor Pump for Car, Bicycle, Motorcycle, Basketball and Others
  • FAST INFLATION: With Kensun's advanced engineering, the 120W solid metal motor provide superb power, which will make your tire inflation super-fast and easy.
  • AC/DC FOR CAR AND HOME: Kensun’s unique AC/DC switching with 12V car cigarette light plug as well as 110V wall plug for home outlet makes this inflator more useful since you can use it anywhere.
  • AUTO SHOT-OFF DIGITAL GAUGE: Unit shuts off automatically when preset pressure is reached. Large, bright, back-lit LCD display with unit conversion (PSI/Bar/KPA) makes this unit super easy and safe to operate.

2. VIAIR 400P Portable Compressor

Specs
Max PSI: 150 PSI
Tank Size: 5 gallons
Noise (in Decibels): not listed, but quieter than many
Weight: 8.5 lbs.
Warranty: 1 year
VIAIR 400P Portable Compressor
VIAIR 400P Portable Compressor
The VIAIR is a durable constructed air compressor that is fantastic for keeping in an RV. The oil-less engine provides cleaner air output with a somewhat lower noise level.

What we like about it
  • Oil-less engine
  • Quieter than many air compressors
  • 25-foot air hose
  • Easy-to-attach tire nozzle
Drawbacks
  • A little expensive
  • The zipper can break easily on carrying bag
Sale
VIAIR 400P Portable Compressor
  • 12 VOLT Operated - 150PSI Max Working Pressure, engine must be running during use.
  • 2.3CFM Free Flow @ 0 PSI. The air hose length is 25 feet
  • 150 PSI maximum working pressure and 33% duty cycle

3. BOSTITCH Air Compressor Kit

Specs
Max PSI: 150 PSI
Tank Size: 6 gallons
Noise (in Decibels): 80
Weight: 29 lbs.
Warranty: 1 year limited
BOSTITCH Air Compressor Kit, Oil-Free, 6 Gallon, 150 PSI (BTFP02012-WPK)
BOSTITCH Air Compressor Kit, Oil-Free, 6 Gallon, 150 PSI (BTFP02012-WPK)
This pancake air compressor has an oil-less engine for cleaner output and durable construction from a reliable brand name. We found this compressor to fill tires super quick, making it a fantastic option to keep in the garage.

What we like about it
  • Fill tires rapidly
  • Easy to carry around
  • Can be used with smaller power tools, also
  • Several compatible accessories available
Drawbacks
  • Vibrates a lot (we recommend a mat underneath)
  • A little pricey for tire use only
BOSTITCH Air Compressor Kit, Oil-Free, 6 Gallon, 150 PSI (BTFP02012-WPK)
  • OIL FREE: Requires no daily maintenance and eliminates risk of oil stains on work surfaces
  • LIGHTWEIGHT: 29 pound weight and narrow tank diameter make unit easy to carry/store
  • HIGH FLOW REGULATOR AND DUAL COUPLERS: Maximizes air tool performance

Best Portable Air Compressors for Tools

Learn more about our top picks for tools.

1. DEWALT Air Compressor Kit with Brad Nailer – Editor’s Pick

The high quality, excellent performance, and reliable name of this pancake air compressor make it our top pick for use with tools.

Specs
Max PSI: 165 PSI
Tank Size: 6 gallons
Noise (in Decibels): 75.5
Weight: 37.9 lbs.
Warranty: 1 year limited
DEWALT Air Compressor Combo Kit with Brad Nailer (DWC1KIT-B)
DEWALT Air Compressor Combo Kit with Brad Nailer (DWC1KIT-B)
DEWALT made one of the more quality air compressors we evaluated on this list, with portability that can fit in the back of a truck, but enough power and a smooth flow of pressurized air to use with tools. We love this compressor for home improvement, and the added brad nailer is a fantastic add-on.

What we like about it
  • Comes with a brad nail gun
  • Oil-less motor for cleaner output
  • Ideal for a job site compressor
  • Electric
Drawbacks
  • Loud when releasing air
  • Not the most budget-friendly
DEWALT Air Compressor Combo Kit with Brad Nailer (DWC1KIT-B)
  • DWFP12231 Brad Nailer drives 18ga nails from 5/8" to 2" length.
  • DWFP55126 Compressor offers 2.6 SCFM delivered at 90 PSI pump, 6 gallon (22.7 L) tank and 165 max PSI
  • Tool-free depth-of-drive adjustment and tool-free jam release

2. PORTER-CABLE C2002 Oil-Free Air Compressor

Specs
Max PSI: 150 PSI
Tank Size: 6 gallons
Noise (in Decibels): not listed
Weight: 31.3 lbs
Warranty: 1 year limited on components
PORTER-CABLE C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor
PORTER-CABLE C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor
This pancake compressor is another fantastic option for job sites, and the airflow is smooth and reliable, much like the DEWALT unit. This compressor is loud, but for the price and durable design, we still love it for use with tools. Just make sure you wear earplugs and you’ll enjoy the performance of this model.

What we like about it
  • Starts quickly in cold weather
  • Oil-less electric pump
  • Handle and console cover protects outer components
  • Affordable
Drawbacks
  • On the louder side
  • Vibrates a lot, best with a mat or padding underneath
Sale
PORTER-CABLE C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor
  • 150 psi max tank pressure stores more air in the tank for longer tool run times
  • 2.6 SCFM at 90 psi allows for quick compressor recovery time, per ISO1217
  • Six-gallon pancake-style tank for stability, includes water drain valve and rubber feet

3. Craftsman Pancake Air Compressor

Specs
Max PSI: 150 PSI
Tank Size: 6 gallons
Noise (in Decibels): 78.5
Weight: 32.5 lbs.
Warranty: 1 year limited
CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor, 6 gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free with 13 Piece Accessory Kit (CMEC6150K)
CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor, 6 gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free with 13 Piece Accessory Kit (CMEC6150K)
This Craftsman air compressor is our top pick for use with tools, especially if you have more than one person on a project. The two couplers allow for two hose hookups, enabling more than one person to utilize the air compressor on a job site.

What we like about it
  • Excellent value for product quality
  • Comes with two adapters for tires
  • Two couplers for two users
  • Starts well in cold weather
Drawbacks
  • Confusing instructions for setup
  • Loud like most pancake compressors
Sale
CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor, 6 gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free with 13 Piece Accessory Kit (CMEC6150K)
  • 6 gallon pancake maximizes portability and stored air
  • Durable, Oil free pump for long life and no maintenance
  • 150 Max PSI to ensure adequate cut in pressure for a variety of applications

Final Thoughts

Air compressors come in all shapes and sizes, from handheld to giant, heavy units with large tanks. Be realistic about your air compressor needs. If you aren’t likely to use it with power tools, and only need to inflate some tires, you can go much smaller (and usually more affordable).

If you want a reliable compressor for tools but need to move it around frequently, we recommend a pancake air compressor. They can be loud, but they get the job done, and you can still lift them off the ground. Check out your favorites today.

Last update on 2020-02-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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