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Best 6-Gallon Air Compressors 2020 – Top Picks & Reviews

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a 6 gallon air compressor

You can get a lot done with a good air compressor, but there are so many options that navigating this immense market without some guidance can be daunting.

We understand that you’d like to get a firm understanding of the air compressor market. That’s why we’ve been spending so much time with air compressors lately. We did the research you can’t do. All that’s left now is to read our 6-gallon air compressor reviews and decide for yourself which one is the winner.

A Comparison of Our Favorites:

ModelPriceWarrantyEditor Rating
California Air Tools 6010LFC
California Air Tools 6010LFC Industrial Air CompressorBest Overall

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Bostitch BTFP02012
Bostitch 6 Gallon Pancake Air Compressor (BTFP02012)Best Value

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1 year4.6/5
PORTER-CABLE C2002 6 Gal. Pancake Compressor

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1 year4.5/5
Excell U256PPE
Excell U256PPE

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RIDGID 6-Gallon 150 PSI Compressor
RIDGID 6-Gallon 150 PSI Compressor

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1 year4.1/5

The Best 6-Gallon Air Compressors:

1. California Air Tools 6-Gallon Air Compressor – Best Overall

California Air Tools 6010LFC Industrial Air Compressor

Quiet efficiency is the name of the game with the California Air Tools 6010LFC Industrial Air Compressor. This unit is made to run virtually silently while still performing at top levels. It registers at only 60 decibels and features an oil-free pump to minimize the effects of its emissions.

The durable steel tank is also made to last for a long time. The company guarantees at least 4000 hours of use. To put that number in perspective, it’s about 40% more than other companies can offer.

What’s not to like? There is one small issue you might want to look out for. The unit is fairly wobbly, which can be hazardous in a shop environment. Otherwise, it’s a great compressor that will be suitable for most people.

  • Quiet operation
  • Oil-free
  • 4000 hours of use guaranteed
  • A little wobbly

2. Bostitch 6-Gal. Pancake Air Compressor – Best Value

Bostitch 6 Gallon Pancake Air Compressor (BTFP02012)

If you want the best pancake air compressor you can get for the money, the Bostitch 6 Gallon Pancake Air Compressor might be right up your alley.

It’s compact, affordable, oil-free, and optimized for quiet operation. It even includes an easy start feature, so you can use it even in the colder months that air compressors don’t always thrive in.

The tool also features a high-flow capacity regularity to help ensure that it’s always pumping at an optimal level.

So why didn’t this tool grab the top slot? A few things hold it back. For one thing, this compressor is louder than our top pick, which will be a problem for people who want to avoid noise pollution. The operational valve also tends to get stuck from time to time, which is naturally pretty frustrating.

Bottom line? It’s a good tool at a great price, but a few small issues keep it second on our list.

  • Best for the money
  • Oil-free operation
  • Easy start feature for colder locations
  • High capacity flow regulator
  • Valve may get stuck from time to time
  • A little louder than our top choice

3. PORTER-CABLE C2002 Pancake Compressor

PORTER-CABLE C2002 6 Gal. Pancake Compressor

The C2002 6 Gal. Pancake Compressor from Porter Cable is a moderately priced unit that will serve as a great backup choice if you aren’t completely sold on the last options we looked at.

The unit features rubber feet for maximum stability, an easy start feature for when the weather gets cold, and a durable build that should last for a long time.

Of course, there are some problems to be aware of. The C2002 is louder than the other compressors we’ve looked at. If you want something that will go easy on the eardrums, this might not be it.

It’s also very heavy, which will make it hard to transport.  These setbacks aren’t enormous, but they are worth keeping in mind as you make your decision.

  • Affordable
  • Easy start
  • Rubber feet for maximum stability
  • Heavy
  • Noisy

4. Excell U256PPE Air Compressor

Excell U256PPE

The Excell U256PPE is designed to be efficient and easy to use. The controls are deliberately laid out for ease of access, even for beginners.

The unit is optimized for travel, with a handle on top that will make it easy to transport. It’s also made for cold weather, boasting a cold start feature that will make it easy to use in low temperatures.

It looks great, and for most uses, it even performs well. However, two red flags might lead you to look for something else. The first problem is flimsy hardware. The valves break or snap off easily, which is a real problem if you’re bringing this compressor to a worksite.

Some users have also reported smoke issuing from their units, which is concerning. Granted, user reports should always be taken with a grain of salt, as it’s impossible to account for all the variables involved. Still, smoke is never good to see from a compressor.

The bottom line is that the U256PPE is a good product with some unfortunate problems to work on.

  • Affordable
  • Easy to transport
  • Quick start
  • Flimsy hardware
  • Some user reports of units emitting smoke

5. RIDGID 6 Gallon Air-Compressor

RIDGID 6-Gallon 150 PSI Compressor

Finally, we look at the RIDGID 6-Gallon 150 PSI Compressor. This tool is moderately priced, and features a nice, useful handle for ease of transportation.

Though it looks a lot like the other options on our list, it does have a couple of serious faults. It’s loud, it can be hard to start in the cold, and its valves and control hardware won’t stand up well to wear and tear.

If you need an affordable option, you could consider this unit, but most of the other compressors on our list are similarly priced while performing better.

  • Affordable
  • Hard to start
  • Flimsy controls
  • Noisy

Buyer’s Guide

You’ve seen the reviews, and it’s time to make sense of them. Read on for some buying considerations that will hopefully make your decision easier.

Noise Level

Air compressors are infamous for being really loud. If you’re using yours in a workshop environment, this can be particularly problematic, as the space is already hectic enough as it is.

The good thing is that there are lots of compressors that are optimized for silent operation. We reviewed a few of them here. If you want to do your ears, and perhaps even your neighbors, a favor, investing in an air compressor optimized for quiet operation is a must.

Easy Start

Air compressors don’t always do so well when the weather starts to get cold. But you won’t suddenly stop needing this tool just because the temperature isn’t right.

To keep your air compressor running year-round, some manufacturers include a quick-start feature that should mean the unit can operate during any time of year. If you live in a cold community, this is something you’ll want to be on the lookout for.


You might’ve noticed that the options on our list vary quite considerably in price. You can get a good air compressor for $100, or for considerably more. While the basic function is always going to be the same, more money will usually buy you better features.

For example, if you’re interested in the easy start function, or the quiet operation technology, you may need to spend a little more money to get it. For buyers who demand the very best, the extra expense is well worth it.

Related posts you may like:

–> An overview of the most popular 10-gallon compressors

–> An overview of the most popular 60-gallon compressors


All five of the 6-gallon air compressor we reviewed have their own strong suits. But you don’t want all five of them. You want one high-quality air compressor that can do everything you need it to accomplish.

Choosing is hard, but we do have some recommendations that might make it easier. The California Air Tools 6010LFC Industrial Air Compressor wound up in our top slot by offering uncompromising quality and performance. It will be the perfect option for buyers who need something reliable.

Still, sometimes a blend of quality and value is what the doctor ordered. In that case, you might consider our best for the money pick, the Bostitch 6 Gallon Pancake Air Compressor.

The good news is that you’re now equipped to confidently make the decision all on your own!

About the Author Adam Harris

Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!