Best Air Compressors of 2017 – Top Picks & Reviews

air compressorAn air compressor is an incredibly versatile piece of machinery that has numerous uses that range from simple home projects to more complex construction jobs, plus much more! Because air compressors can be used in diverse environments, many consumers are attracted to just how convenient this product can be. While you may have a specific project in mind as you enter the marketplace for an air compressor, you should know that you will likely be able to use this product time and time again. We want to help you simplify the purchasing process and help you make the right purchase for your goals. Let’s take a look at the various uses of an air compressor as well as what you should know as a consumer before you commit to buying one.

MODELPRODUCT DIMENSIONSITEM WEIGHTUSER RATINGPRICE
California Air Tools 5510SE
California Air Tools 5510SE
23 x 10 x 19 inches
54 pounds
4.6/5
$$$$
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PORTER-CABLE C2002
PORTER-CABLE C2002
19 x 19 x 18 inches
32.1 pounds
4.5/5
$$$
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Senco PC1010
Senco PC1010
14 x 13 x 10 inches
20 pounds
4.4/5
$$$$
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Viair 00073 70P
Viair 00073 70P
9.2 x 8.5 x 8 inches
5.5 pounds
4.4/5
$
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VIAIR 85P Portable Air Compressor
VIAIR 85P Portable Air Compressor
11 x 4 x 8 inches
1 pound
4.4/5
$$
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Industrial Air ILA3606056
Industrial Air ILA3606056
31 x 27 x 68 inches
287 pounds
3.9/5
$$$$$
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This is how it works: The inlet on the air compressor sucks in air which the piston compresses. The trapped air is captured in the tank of the device where it is stored until it may be used by another tool, such as a nail gun or power drill. Once the air is reduced to a certain amount, the air compressor will suck in more air to compress and store in the tank for additional use. Essentially, this one product can simplify many jobs and products making it safer and more time efficient for the user.


The Best Air Compressors of 2017

To better help you answer the question “What is the best air compressor?” we encourage you to continue reading this guide. Here, we have compiled the most updated information and valuable air compressor reviews to help you locate the ideal device for your particular needs. Whether you plan to use an air compressor around your home to streamline DIY projects or want to utilize its efficiency for your business, or maybe just air up your tires from time to time–you won’t be let down by what the magnitude of uses that this product can offer!

#1 Senco PC1010 – Our Top Pick

Senco PC1010If you are searching for the overall best air compressor in the market, this may be the solution for you. For an average of $120 you can purchase this lightweight, portable unit that makes DIY and home projects an absolute breeze. At only 20 lbs. you can easily move this air compressor from place to place with little effort. Classified as “ultra-quiet” consumers are especially appreciative of the minimal noise—especially when many air compressors are incredibly loud and disruptive.

This unit provides more than just space-saving, lightweight solutions—it’s also simpler to use since the pump requires no oil. This means that you don’t have to worry about the breaks in work to lube up the pump or the mess that may follow! Instead, you can capitalize on time and complete projects quickly with much less clean-up. What’s more is that the one-gallon tank only takes 128 seconds to pump up and 35 seconds to recover so you’ll be able to have plenty of power in record time. An added bonus—the rubber covered feet protect your floors from scratching. Such added conveniences certainly lend itself to why this unit is classified as the best air compressor for home use.

Some reviewers have indicated that there are issues with the unit shutting off once it reaches full power after a few uses and other consumers indicate various parts break over a period of time. However, keep in mind that the product is protected by a one-year warranty and many of those issues can be addressed by the manufacturer.

Pros

  • Compact, easily portable
  • Oil-free pump
  • Ultra-quiet
  • Rubber-covered feet
  • Fast pump up and recovery
  • One-year warranty

Cons

  • Potentially defective shut-off on some unites
  • Parts may easily break

#2 California Air Tools 5510SE – Best Portable Air Compressor

California Air Tools 5510SEIf you are interested in low maintenance and efficiency, then this is the right air compressor for you. What sets this unit apart from the rest is that it not only is it incredibly quiet operating at only 60 decibels, but you will experience better tool operation due to the oil-free pump. You don’t have to worry about constantly lubing the pump to keep it operating correctly which saves time and money. A quiet operation and less mess? What more could you ask for!

Reviewers indicate that it takes about 90 seconds to fill up the 5-gallon tank and recovery time is incredibly quick as well. What makes this unit the best portable air compressor is that it can be used for quick projects such as airing up tires or you can attach your favorite power tools to complete home projects. For only $145 this space-saving air compressor can be yours to complete the projects you’ve been putting off.

Keep in mind that most people who bought this unit identify that it is best used around the home for simple DIY or smaller projects. Most people indicate that it is designed for residential rather than heavy duty business use.

Pros

  • Space-saving
  • 90-second fill time
  • Quiet operation
  • Oil-free pump
  • 5-gallon tank
  • Ideal for quick projects

Cons

  • Designed ideally for residential use, limited ability for heavy duty projects

#3 Viair 00073 70P – Best For The Money

Viair 00073 70PAffordability is what first comes to mind when describing this air compressor. The average price is about $40, but the quality is still on par with much more expensive units. What makes this this best air compressor for the money? This 5.5 lb. compressor is capable of airing up car and bike tires, inflating pools and much more! Many buyers are surprised at it’s simple use and effective compression despite its smaller size. The estimate for filling up a car tire is about 3-5 minutes. That’s an impressive feature since the unit is much, much smaller than other options on the market. Most people indicate that this is by far the best 12-volt air compressor on the market and it is ideal to keep in the car for emergency use.

However, because it is a smaller device and doesn’t have as much air capability, this is not the appropriate unit for large-scale projects. People are not using this device to plug in tools or to tackle complex home repairs. Instead, this is best used for occasional, simple use. If you use the item as it is intended, you are likely to enjoy its convenience for a very long time.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Simple use
  • Ideal for emergency use

Cons

  • Limited capability
  • Longer recovery time

#4 PORTER-CABLE C2002 – Best Small Air Compressor

PORTER-CABLE C2002This particular unit is a best seller on Amazon. The perks and features clearly indicate why so many consumers are gravitating to this small air compressor. This six-gallon oil-free unit has an incredibly fast air-up and recovery time. Plus, it is such a durable unit that it can be used for simple tasks such as airing up tires or even more complex uses such as operating tools and everything in between.

Since it only weighs about 34 lbs. it is incredibly easy to move this unit from job to job. It is compatible with most household circuits which means that you can simply plug it in and get the work done! With a price tag of only $99, buyers are flocking to this product because of it’s simple, yet versatile use. Consumers also report that the one-year warranty cover internal components of the compressor which makes for easy replacement if those parts happen to be faulty.

One thing to note, consumers indicate that this is not the quietest option. While it is incredibly easy to move around, it is described as being a pretty loud device which is something that buyers should be aware of before purchase.

Pros

  • Amazon best seller
  • Portable
  • 6-gallon tank
  • Oil-free pump
  • Quick air up and recovery
  • Compatible with regular household circuits
  • Reasonably priced
  • One-year warranty

Cons

  • Louder than other units
  • Weighs slightly more than other units

#5 VIAIR 85P Portable Air Compressor – Best Air Compressor for Tires

VIAIR 85P Portable Air CompressorIf you are in the market for an air compressor that is especially used for airing up tires, then this is the one you should consider. This is another 12-volt compressor that is compact enough to move easily about. The unit is auxiliary powered, but does require at least 15 AMPs to correctly operate. For additional convenience, there is a tire pressure gauge reader mounted on the compressor for easy monitoring. Since the price is only $45 this air compressor is a prime option for most budgets.

Buyers have reported that the compressor, although smalls, feels incredibly durable. People are confident in its ability to be moved from place to place without fear that it will get damaged easily. It situates nicely in the backseat of a car or truck to be used whenever needed.

One feature that you should be aware of is that the unit will turn off in the event that it gets too hot. Which is certainly a bonus safety feature. However, some users have indicated that if plan on airing up all four tires, then you should allow the unit to rest in between each one or else it will shut off due to a high temperature.

Pros

  • Safety shut-off feature
  • Space-saving
  • Durable
  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy-to-read tire pressure gauge

Cons

  • Requires longer rest time in between use
  • Limited capability, most ideal for airing tires

#6 Industrial Air ILA3606056 – Best 60 Gallon Air Compressor

Industrial Air ILA3606056 Often times, businesses need a solid air compressor to help streamline their daily projects. This is a terrific option for those in the market for an industrial-grade air compressor. The price for this 60-gallon unit is about $660. This durable, cast iron compressor is built tough to handle even the most complex jobs. The 240-volt motor ensure that you will have all the power you need to operate various tools. If you are looking at this type of setup you are likely a mechanic or run some other sort of heavy duty operation.

This unit requires oil to lubricate the pump which allows the compressor to shift air quickly and effectively. Users are impressed with how quickly the multi-gallon unit fills with air and operates for a considerable amount of time before needing to be recharged. Although the unit is large, consumers indicate that it is a relatively quiet machine despite its size and power.

Pros

  • 60-gallon unit
  • Ideal for large-scale, industrial projects
  • Durable materials
  • High power unit
  • Fast air fill
  • Relatively quiet

Cons

  • Requires oil for lubrication
  • Large, requires more floor space
  • Some reviews have indicated that the on/off switch does not operate correctly and the machine will continue to run even once its reached max capacity. This doesn’t impact the overall use, but it isn’t the most efficient operation. Additional, it is up to the consumer to purchase the appropriate electrical cord for the environment you plan to use it in. You may need some additional knowledge to select the right cord or you may need to consult with the manufacturer for more information.

Air Compressor Buying Guide

Now that we have examined some of the top air compressors available, it is now time to sort through the finer details to become a more informed buyer. It is essential to consider the products we have outlined here, but we encourage you to take it a step further and truly examine the pros and cons of air compressors in general.

Here, we have outlined some of the top buying tips to help you hone in on the features that matter the most. Of course, your specific needs will play a critical role in your final purchase, but it is our hope that you can use some of these additional tips to help you streamline the process.

Air Compressor Buying Tips

Who wouldn’t want to be an informed customer? We think we can help you do just that. Here are a few tips we have compiled to assist you with your air compressor purchase. While this list is not all-inclusive, it is certainly a solid blueprint for how you can identify the highest quality air compressors available. Read on for specific considerations that you should keep in mind as you shop.

Sound

Sound is certainly something you should think about, especially if you plan on using the air compressor for residential purposes. Many units are now built with sound in mind and you shouldn’t have to settle with purchasing an incredibly loud product if there are quieter options are readily available.

Considerations:

  • What type of environment will you use the air compressor in? If you live in an area where neighbors are close by then you should probably consider purchasing units that operate quietly so you can work when it’s convenient to you and not an interruption for them. If you plan to use the compressor for your business, then you should think about sound in terms of safety and the ability to communicate with other employees as you work.
  • Will consistent loud sounds impact your hearing? Some compressors can be incredibly loud and over time, that can impact a person’s ability to hear. Of course, if you do purchase a louder machine then you should also invest in a good pair of safety headphones.

Capability

Air compressors offer versatility that is second to none to other types of machines that you may use for your home or business. However, there are certainly specific models that are designed to accomplish certain tasks. To ensure that you have chosen the right air compressor for your needs, please consider the following:

  • Is the unit dual purpose? Some air compressors can be used for industrial-level and residential level projects—but not always. Make sure to research what other consumers have used the product for and how their experience went. Plus, consider the fact that industrial-level air compressors are incredibly powerful, which may be overboard for what you are trying to accomplish if you only need an air compressor for DIY projects.
  • Do you have the proper circuit for the unit? Because some units have a higher capability, they need a more durable circuit to operate while others can work perfectly on a much lower level set-up. Make sure to see what type of power system the air compressor requires.

Durability

Nobody wants to purchase an item that won’t work after a few uses. To ensure that you are buying a quality-grade air compressor you should think about the following:

  • What kind materials are used? You definitely should focus on units that are made with long-lasting material that can withstand the test of time.
  • Does the product have a solid reputation? Read what others have to say about the prolonged use of the compressor. Is it built to last for years or are people reporting that it malfunctions after a few uses?
  • What type of warranty is included? The warranty can offer peace of mind when it comes to the future repairs of your air compressor. Many companies will offer a warranty if they trust their product.

Safety

Anytime you purchase a piece of equipment, you should be aware of the safety features. Here are the questions you should be asking:

  • What safety features are included? Often, there are safety shut-off features in the event that the air compressor overheats or tips over.
  • Is the unit built with safety in mind? Make sure that the unit has a solid foundation that helps avoid tip overs (as many of the air compressors can be heavy). Also, make sure that the power cord is the appropriate length so that the unit is kept a safe distance away from other objects.

Size

This is another point that may not be at the top of your list, but should definitely be a consideration. Size of an air compressor can certainly matter, especially in the long-term. Here are a few considerations:

  • Where will you store the compressor? Think about if you have the space in your workshop, home or vehicle for the compressor to be safely stored while not in use.
  • Do you have enough space for operation? Make sure that the compressor can be safely situated in the area that you plan to use it and is not in any threat of being tipped over or near flammable objects.

Price

The price of any item is definitely a consideration made by most consumers. When it comes to pricing an air compressor, here are few things to keep in mind:

  • What type of features are included? If an air compressor is dual-purpose or comes with additional features, then it is likely to cost more than a single-use basic model. Consider if you will benefit from an all-inclusive compressor or if you only need a standard version as cost will certainly be impacted by the various features.
  • Does price impact quality? You know the saying, “You get what you pay for”, can certainly be true when purchasing an air compressor. Pay attention to the quality and reputation of the brand before committing to a cheaper purchase. It’s not that affordability should be a bad thing, but you want to be sure that you aren’t throwing away your money on a poor air compressor that will need to be replaced in a few short months.

Conclusion

Upon reading this guide, we hope that now when you think of an air compressor you think of versatility and usefulness. This particular machine makes completing a project easier by offering more convenience and less stress for the user. As you can see, there are many options, several price points, and many different capability levels to choose from. The various options may feel overwhelming, but we hope to help you simplify that process.

This product has certainly developed better features as consumers have offered their insight and review about various products. Quality information is key to making the best purchase not only for now, but well into the future. The intention for providing you this information is that now you can take it and put it to use as you enter the marketplace.

Whether you need an air compressor for emergency situations, to complete home projects, or for your business—there are certainly a number of products to choose from. There are a variety of features that make certain units better suited for specific situations, which we have attempted to highlight in this guide. Because there are so many ways that you can use an air compressor, it is certainly worthwhile to research the best use for a particular model. Keep in mind, what makes a good industrial air compressor may not be so for a residential unit. It is our hope that we have been able to assist you in narrowing down your search and guiding you toward the best purchase for your needs. The next step is to move closer to making the appropriate selection by using this guide to point you in the appropriate direction.