Save on Pinterest

The Best Portable Air Compressors

Our favorite air compressors for whatever your pneumatic needs may be.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.

1 / 9

7 Best Portable Air Compressors And Best Inflator Ft Via Milwaukeetools.comVia Merchant

Since the mid-1600s, humans have been playing with the idea of compressing air and putting it to work. By the late 1800s, air compressors began appearing in the mining and ship building industries. But it wasn’t until the 1960s, with the invention of the pneumatic nail gun, that portable air compressors became common on jobsites around the world.

These days, with the push of a button, you can power pneumatic tools, inflate a car tire, winterize your sprinkler system or clean dust out of a hard-to-reach spot. With an abundance of uses for any work day, it’s easy to see why a portable air compressor is a fantastic addition to every tool collection.  

When considering a portable air compressor, you’ll find a horde of numbers and acronyms heaved your way. It’s important to separate the vital characteristics from the mumbo-jumbo, and we’re here to help.

Here are the top things I look for when choosing a portable air compressor: 

  • Airflow rate: Portable air compressors are rated by the volume of air delivered at 90 pounds per square inch (psi). This number is expressed in standard cubic feet per minute (CFM). This is the single most important characteristic when looking for an air compressor.
  • Tank size: The amount, in gallons, of compressed air the tank can hold.  Tank size is only important if you’re using an air tool like a paint sprayer or orbital sander that goes through a large amount of compressed air quickly. Larger tank sizes also usually mean the compressor is bulkier and more difficult to transport. 
  • Noise rating: Air compressors, especially the beasts of the past, are extremely loud and obnoxious machines.  These days, tool companies are conscious of this. Most produce machines that perform near 70 decibels (db), similar to a washing machine. 
  • Weight: Transporting a heavy air compressor can be a daunting task. Though weight is not the only thing to consider  when determining mobility, it’s definitely the leading factor. 

After looking over all the portable air compressors, here are my best-of-class for 2022:

2 / 9

Senco Portable Air Compressors Ecomm Via Homedepot.comVia Merchant

Best Lightweight Portable Air Compressor

The lightweight and compressed construction (pun intended) of the Senco Portable Pancake Air Compressor is ideal for running trim and finish tools, inflating vehicle tires or tackling tasks around the house. This one-gallon compressor runs on an ultra-quiet, oil-free, 1/2-hp motor. At just over 25 lbs., it’s easily transported wherever your compressed air needs lay.   

  • Airflow rate: 0.7 CFM @ 90 psi; 
  • Tank size: One gallon; 
  • Noise rating: 68 db; 
  • Weight: 25.25 lbs. 

Shop Now

3 / 9

M18 Fuel 2 Gallon Compact Quiet Compressor Ecomm Via MilwaukeetoolVia Merchant

Best Cordless Portable Air Compressor

Many tools offer cordless options, and portable air compressors are no different. The Milwaukee M18 Compact Quiet Compressor comes with a 18-volt battery operated brushless motor, quiet pump and quick-connect air hose coupler. Its compact design and roll cage make it durable and easy to haul. It can shoot up to 1,600 brad nails on a single charge! 

  • Airflow rate: 1.2 CFM @ 90psi; 
  • Tank size: Two gallons; 
  • Noise rating: 68 db; 
  • Weight: 31.25 lbs. 

Shop Now

4 / 9

Bostitch Compressor Combo KitAce Hardware

Best Portable Air Compressor Combo Kit

If you’re new to air tools or just want an extra nail gun for the job box, Portable Air Compressor combo kits are an inexpensive way to load up on air tools and accessories.

The Bostitch combo kit comes with a powerful six-gallon, oil-free compressor that puts out 2.6 CFM of air and includes a two-coupler design. This kit also includes a 18-gauge brad nailer, a box of nails and a 25-ft. air hose with the fittings. This combo is perfect for trim and finish work, and backed by Bostitch’s seven-year manufacturer’s warranty. 

  • Airflow rate: 2.6 CFM @ 90 psi; 
  • Tank size: Six gallons; 
  • Noise rating: 78.5 db; 
  • Weight: 41.1 lbs. 

Shop Now

5 / 9

California Air Tools Air Compressor Ecomm Via LowesVia Merchant

Best Quiet Air Compressor

The California Air Tools Two-Gallon Quiet Series Air Compressor features an efficient 1-hp, oil-free electric motor. It runs at fewer revolutions per minute (RPM) than most other units, so the pump and motor last longer. The rust free aluminum air tank is lightweight and easy to transport. And with a noise rating of only 60 db, this compressor works well for any indoor projects. 

  • Airflow rate: 2.2 CFM @ 90 psi; 
  • Tank size: Two gallons; 
  • Noise rating: 60 db; 
  • Weight: 35 lbs. 

Shop Now

6 / 9

Ridgid Portable Air Compressors Ecomm Via LowesVia Merchant

Best Value Portable Air Compressor

The Ridgid Six-Gallon Electric Pancake Air Compressor is the perfect budget model for trim and finish work. It features a dual connector to run two tools at once, rubber scratch-free feet, and an oil-free pump for steady, maintenance-free performance. 

Available for less than $130 and backed by the Ridgid three-year manufacturer’s warranty, this value air compressor definitely gives you more bang for your buck. 

  • Airflow rate: 2.6 CFM @ 90 psi; 
  • Tank size: Six gallons; 
  • Noise rating: 80 db; 
  • Weight: 35 lbs. 

Shop Now

7 / 9

Ridgid Portable Air Compressors Of45200ss 64 1000Via Merchant

Best for Large Jobsites

The Ridgid 4.5 Gallon Portable Electric Quiet Compressor works well on jobsites, especially indoor ones. It features a pair of 2-1/2-gal. steel tanks and dual hose couplers, and it’s quieter than most other large dual-tank units. The burly, oil-free pump and motor put out a massive 5.1 CFM. It can easily keep any framing or roofing crew supplied all day long. 

  • Airflow Rate: 5.1 CFM @ 90 psi; 
  • Tank Size: 4.5 gallons; 
  • Noise rating: 77 db; 
  • Weight: 61 lbs. 

Shop Now

8 / 9

Dewalt Pancake Air Compressor Ecomm Via DewaltVia Merchant

Best Overall Portable Air Compressor

If you walked through any construction site in present-day America — and you shouldn’t, without permission — I’ll bet you’d see at least one DeWalt Six Gallon Pancake Air Compressor.  They’re everywhere, and for good reason.

This DeWalt model features a powerful electric motor and long-life oil-free pump, perfect for tackling larger jobs like framing and roofing. It features dual couplers for multiple users and scratch-free rubber feet, and only weighs 30 lbs. No wonder it’s so popular. 

  • Airflow rate: 2.6 CFM @ 90 psi; 
  • Tank size: Six gallons; 
  • Noise rating: 75 db; 
  • Weight: 30 lbs.

    Shop Now

9 / 9

Ryobi Inflators P737d 64 1000Via Merchant

Best Inflator 

If your motive is simply to inflate tires, sports equipment or pool toys, don’t bother with an air compressor. The Ryobi 18V One+ Cordless High Pressure Inflator can handle all those needs.

It features a clear digital gauge that provides better-than-expected accuracy, and includes various attachments for different inflation needs. Best of all, at less than 1-1/2-lbs., you can easily bring it with you to the beach, your kid’s soccer game or the mountain bike trailhead. Battery and charger sold separately.

  • Airflow rate: Not specified;
  • Tank size: N/A; 
  • Noise rating: 80 db; 
  • Weight: 1.35 lbs. 

Shop Now

 

Ethan O'Donnell
Ethan comes from a custom woodworking, set and prop building and exhibit construction background. He has completed projects all over North America and for several Fortune 500 companies as well as the United States Park Service. When not working, you can find him riding his bicycle, reading, drawing or at a nearby brewery discussing the recent Formula 1 happenings with friends.