Choosing the Best Air Compressor – Advice Guide

Have a look at our air compressor reviews to find the best air compressor. Air compressors are becoming an ever more useful tool to have in your workshop. As well as inflating tyres, they can also be used to power a whole host of other tools – powering nail guns for example. They can seriously shorten the amount of time it takes to do tasks you might otherwise do manually, by offering increased torque and RPM.

It is important to choose the correct air compressor for your needs, taking into account whether you are planning to use it for light or heavy duty tasks. Also whether you will require it to be portable. If you haven’t checkout the market for air compressors in a while – now is the time to see the latest models with our air compressor reviews!

Check out our interactive tables and the advice that follows for all the information you will need in order to pick the perfect air compressor for your needs. Click the pictures for air compressor reviews.

The tables have been split into the 3 main categories of Air Compressor Reviews:

  1. Portable – Electric (without storage tank)
  2. Portable – Gas (without storage tank)
  3. Stationary (with storage tank) – only available as electric


So Which is the Best Air Compressor?

‘Which is the perfect air compressor?’ is one question, but the more important question is definitely ‘Which is the perfect air compressor for me?’ Below I have listed my favourite from each category (a portable electric, a portable gas, and a stationary), and said a little bit about why I like them, (click the links for the air compressor reviews!) but be sure to make your own mind up based on your needs, and your price range. Check with the comparison tables below, and check out our more extensive list of product reviews.

Best Portable Electric Air Compressor – Rolair JC10

Rolair JC10 Super Quiet 1HP Oil Less 2.5 Gallon Air Compressor

Click here for Rolair JC10 Review!


Our top choice for best portable electric air compressor has to go to the Rolair JC10. This compressor is perhaps the quietest model available today – it works while making only 60db of noise. That’s easily quiet enough to have a conversation over. You can take this and work in crowded office environments without causing much disturbance. Now, obviously that would mean nothing if the Rolair JC10 didn’t perform as well – which it definitely does! The 2.5 gallon capacity allow it to work for long stretches at a time. It’s ready to go once you plug it in, even in cold weather. Despite being well protected in a roll cage, it’s also light enough to easily move between sites. Click here for full information and specifications, as well as the lowest price!



Best Portable Gas Air Compressor – Industrial Air Contractor CTA5090412

air compressor reviews

Click here for Industrial Air Contractor CTA5090412 review!


For our choice of best portable gas air compressor, we have opted for the Industrial Air Contractor CTA5090412. There is a lot we like about this air compressor. Firstly, it weighs less that 75lbs, and being gas-powered, it really is entirely portable! It’s also oil-less, which is something we like a lot here (especially on a gas compressor), so you’ll have no trouble starting it up in any weather on those cold morning starts. The 5HP engine, 4 gallon twin tank design and direct drive pump give you consistent, powerful output. You can run a jobsite jobs for hours on end, and this air compressor will not give up. Best of all, it’s very good value for money and has good warranty and customer support options. Click here for full information and to see our review!



Best Stationary Air Compressor – Maxair C5160V1-MAP


Click here for the Maxair C5160V1-MAP review!


For the choice of best stationary air compressor, we have opted for the Maxair C5160V1-MAP. This is an air compressor that you can always count on to get the job done! Cast iron cylinders, 60 gallon vertical tank, heavy duty belt guard and pressure switch – all this combines to make a beast of an air compressor. Solid and reliable. It has an excellent level of air flow as well, so it not only talks the talk, but it walks the walks too. It has a high pressure rating, and can give you 18.5 CFM at 100psi. All in all, it is a great piece of equipment and has many useful features: lower front drain valve, easy to read oil level and pressure meters and more. All this for a low price on Amazon – it definitely gets the thumbs up from us!


“Buying an air compressor was the best investment I’ve made for my workshop. All my projects have become easier and quicker!” Kevin McGraw, Texas


Best Air Compressor – Comparison Guides

Air Compressor Comparison Guide and Key

  • Air Compressor Brand and Name / Model (click the product name for more information)
  • Air Compressor picture
  • SCFM (Standard Cubic Feet per Minute): the volume of air that an air compressor provides at a certain pressure
  • Horse Power (the power of the air compressor)
  • Oil: Oil-less or Oil-lubricated
  • Tank Volume and Max Pressure
  • Two Stage or Single Stage
  • Weight of Air Compressor
  • Prices – based on most recent information from Amazon, but like any prices, these can fluctuate due to availability and special promotions.
  • Rating – the rating from customers, showing general satisfaction with their purchase. Anything above 4.5 is generally regarded as excellent, and scores are influenced by factors other that product quality, such as value and delivery experience.


Best Portable Electric Air Compressors

Portable Electric Air CompressorSCFMHPOilTank Volume and Max PressureWeight (lbs)Price ($)Amazon Rating
Rolair JC10 Super Quiet 1HP Oil-less 2.5 Gallon Air CompressorClick here for Rolair JC10 Review!2.35 at 90psi1Oil Free2.5gal39.0239.004.6
BOSTITCH CAP1512-OF 1.2 Gallon Oil-Free High-Output Trim Compressor
BOSTITCH CAP1512-OF 1.2 Gallon Oil-Free High-Output Trim Compressor
2.8 at 90psiPeak: 2
Running: 1.5
Oil Free1.2gal (150psi)23.5129.004.4
Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor
4.2 at 90psi2.5Oil lubricated4.2gal (130psi)77.0299.004.6


Best Portable Gas Air Compressors

Portable Gas Air CompressorSCFMHPOilTank Volume and Max PressureWeight (lbs)Price ($)Amazon Rating
Industrial Air Contractor CTA5090412 4-Gallon Grade Direct Drive Pontoon Air Compressor with Honda EngineClick here for Industrial Air CTA5090412 Review5 at 90psi
6.9 at 40psi
5Oil-less4gal (155psi)74646.744.8
Industrial Air Contractor CTA9090980.ES 9-Gallon Super Hi-Flo Single Stage Air Compressor, Orange
18 at 90psi9Oil Lubricated9gal (155psi)3601881.934
Hitachi EC2510E 5.5-Horsepower Gas Oiled Twin Pontoon CompressorClick here for Hitachi EC2510E Air Compressor9 at 100psi5.5Oil Lubricated8gal (145psi)144842.234.5


Best Stationary Air Compressors

Stationary Air CompressorSCFMHPTwo Stage / Single StageOilTank Volume and Max PressurePrice ($)Amazon Rating
Maxair C5160V1-MAP 60-Gallon 170 PSI Max Electric Stationary CompressorClick here for Maxair C5160V1-MAP Review18.5 at 100psi5Single StageOil Lubricated60gal (170psi)1089.004.5
Industrial Air ILA3606056 60-Gallon Hi-Flo Single Stage Cast Iron Twin Cylinder Air CompressorClick here for Industrial ILA3606056 Review11.5 at 90psi3Single StageOil Lubricated60gal (155psi)634.234.5
Campbell Hausfeld VT6275 15 Amp 3.2-Horsepower 60-Gallon Oiled Vertical CompressorClick Here for Campbell Hausfeld VT6275 Review10.2 at 90psi3Single StageOil Lubricated60gal (135psi)628.134.3


What Type of Air Compressor Do I Need?

We have divided the Air Compressors into 3 different groups, but the most important division is the first one – portable or stationary. This is the biggest factor to consider when making your choice.

1. Portable Electric Air Compressors

These are the best choice for home use. Some are light enough to carry, some come with wheels to pull them around. They come with enough range to suit powering small items such as nail guns, or inflating tyres; or larger gallon tanks can power bigger items such as a frame nail gun. These are best for household use, as heavy duty work (automotive, for example) would likely require a much more powerful stationary air compressor. Also electric is the better choice for the home, as gas compressors are not recommended for enclosed spaces.

2. Portable Gas Air Compressors

Portable gas air compressors are the best choice for builders and other site workers. As they don’t require a power point they are the most portable and convenient for working in different places. Also the gas is best suited for outdoor work so they are perfect for use on a building site, for example. They should provide all the power you need for work on the jobsite.

3. Stationary Air Compressors (Electric Only)

Stationary air compressors are used for the big jobs – the deliver high volumes of air required for automotive and production tools. They generally have much higher tank sizes and much more Horsepower. Stationary air compressors, as the name suggests, are bolted into the floor and wired directly into the main power supply. As such they can power large tools continuously, making them ideal for automotive work or professional workshops.

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