10 Best Portable Air Compressors [2019]

Best Portable Air Compressor

The air compressor is a practical tool to have both at home as well as at work. It has a wide range of applications, from inflating tires to power tools in your workshop.

But the problem with the air compressor is that it is usually big and heavy. The solution to this is quite simple. The portable air compressor has all the features of a regular air compressor but in a compact and lightweight form factor.

For those fresh on the market for a portable air compressor, we have you covered!

Our portable air compressor review below showcases a few handpicked models that are worth it. Let’s go see which model you need to buy right now!

10 Best Portable Air Compressors – Reviews

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​PRODUCT

​FEATURES

Makita MAC700

1. Makita MAC700 (Superior Performance at a Great Price)

  • Excellent performance with a high performing motor of 2 HP
  • Great price considering the performance
  • Superior air delivery of 3.3 SCFM at 90 PSI
  • Does not require regular maintenance
Viair 300P 12V

2. Viair 300P 12V (Ultra-Compact, Lightweight, and Highly Portable)

  • Extremely small and compact. Very portable
  • Excellent air delivery of 2.3 SCFM at 0 PSI considering its small size
  • It can inflate any type of vehicle tires up to 33 inches
  • Battery clamps contain a 40 A fuse for safety
California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S

3. California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S (Super Quiet and Long Life)

  • Quiet operation at 56 dB
  • Oil-free motor design that has a long lifetime
  • Good weight at 29.5 lbs. Portable
Bostitch BTFP02012

4. Bostitch BTFP02012 (Excellent Price to Performance Ratio)

  • Excellent price considering the performance
  • Flexible. It can be purchased in different styles
  • Does not need daily maintenance
Senco PC1010

5. Senco PC1010 (Ideal Portable Air Compressor for Small Jobs)

  • Good model for small and lightweight jobs
  • Small and compact design
  • Relatively lightweight at 20 lbs
Porter-Cable C2002

6. Porter-Cable C2002 (Easy to Use by Beginners)

  • Beginner-friendly. Does not need any experience to operate
  • Air delivery can easily be adjusted
  • Equipped with a heavy-duty handle
California Air Tools 8010

7. California Air Tools 8010 (Smooth and Ultra Quiet Operation)

  • The motor works quietly at 60 dB
  • Excellent model for light to medium tasks
  • Equipped with 2 rear caster wheels for better portability
Makita MAC5200

8. Makita MAC5200 (Heavy-Duty and High-Performing)

  • A superior model with a performing 2.1 HP motor
  • High air delivery of 6.5 SCFM at 90 PSI
  • The tank has a respectable maximum pressure of 140 PSI
DeWalt DCC2560T1

9. DeWalt DCC2560T1 Kit (Very Small and Compact)

  • Very small and compact form factor
  • It is equipped with a pressure gauge at the front
  • Quality portable air compressor. Made in the USA
DeWalt DWFP55126

10. DeWalt DWFP55126 (Superior Air Compression)

  • A very high maximum pressure of 165 PSI
  • Fast ignition that works in any type of weather
  • Big tank with a capacity of 22.7 L

PRODUCT

1. Makita MAC700

(Superior Performance at a Great Price)

Makita MAC700
  • Excellent performance with a high performing motor of 2 HP
  • Great price considering the performance
  • Superior air delivery of 3.3 SCFM at 90 PSI
  • Does not require regular maintenance

2. Viair 300P 12V 

(Ultra-Compact, Lightweight, and Highly Portable)

Viair 300P 12V
  • Extremely small and compact. Very portable
  • Excellent air delivery of 2.3 SCFM at 0 PSI considering its small size
  • It can inflate any type of vehicle tires up to 33 inches
  • Battery clamps contain a 40 A fuse for safety

3. California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S 

(Super Quiet and Long Life)

California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S
  • Quiet operation at 56 dB
  • Oil-free motor design that has a long lifetime
  • Good weight at 29.5 lbs. Portable

4. Bostitch BTFP02012

(Excellent Price to Performance Ratio)

Bostitch BTFP02012
  • Excellent price considering the performance
  • Flexible. It can be purchased in different styles
  • Does not need daily maintenance

5. Senco PC1010

(Ideal Portable Air Compressor for Small Jobs)

Senco PC1010
  • Good model for small and lightweight jobs
  • Small and compact design
  • Relatively lightweight at 20 lbs

6. Porter-Cable C2002

(Easy to Use by Beginners)

Porter-Cable C2002
  • Beginner-friendly. Does not need any experience to operate
  • Air delivery can easily be adjusted
  • Equipped with a heavy-duty handle

7. California Air Tools 8010

(Smooth and Ultra Quiet Operation)

California Air Tools 8010
  • The motor works quietly at 60 dB
  • Excellent model for light to medium tasks
  • Equipped with 2 rear caster wheels for better portability

8. Makita MAC5200

(Heavy-Duty and High-Performing)

Makita MAC5200
  • A superior model with a performing 2.1 HP motor
  • High air delivery of 6.5 SCFM at 90 PSI
  • The tank has a respectable maximum pressure of 140 PSI

9. DeWalt DCC2560T1 Kit

(Very Small and Compact)

DeWalt DCC2560T1
  • Very small and compact form factor
  • It is equipped with a pressure gauge at the front
  • Quality portable air compressor. Made in the USA

10. DeWalt DWFP55126

(Superior Air Compression)

DeWalt DWFP55126
  • A very high maximum pressure of 165 PSI
  • Fast ignition that works in any type of weather
  • Big tank with a capacity of 22.7 L

1. Makita MAC700 – Superior Performance at a Great Price

Makita MAC700
  • Motor power: 2 HP
  • Weight: 59.6 lbs
  • Max. pressure: 130 PSI
  • Air delivery: 3.3 SCFM at 90 PSI

The Makita MAC700 is a powerful and heavy-duty portable air compressor that supports a 2 HP motor. This motor has been specially designed with big bore cylinder holes for optimal performance.

And, what really makes this portable air compressor unique is its excellent price at around the $300 mark. This model is one of the most powerful portable air compressors that you can purchase at this price point.

The tank of this compressor is tough, and it can host a maximum pressure of 130 PSI. You will also appreciate the fact that the air delivery of 3.3 SCFM at 90 PSI will guarantee that it can be used for any type of jobs, from lightweight air compression to heavy-duty tasks.

And when it comes to portability, no problem. There is a roll-bar handle at the top that not only makes this model portable but also helps protect it from the top.

The only caveats with this model are that it is a little bit louder than others, at 80 dB.

Furthermore, considering that this model does not have rear caster wheels and it weighs 59.6 lbs, it is not the most portable compressor in this review.

Pros:

  • The powerful motor of 2 HP with big bore cylinder holes
  • Attractive price considering its performance
  • Superior air delivery of 3.3 SCFM at 90 PSI
  • Oil-free design. Does not require regular maintenance

Cons:

  • Louder than other models at 80 dB
  • Heavy at 59.6 lbs and does not come with rear caster wheels

2. Viair 300P 12V – Ultra-Compact, Lightweight, and Highly Portable

Viair 300P 12V
  • Motor power: N/A
  • Weight: 2 lbs
  • Max. pressure: 150 PSI
  • Air delivery: 2.3 SCFM at 0 PSI

If you need one of the most portable air compressors in the world, then the Viair 300P will not disappoint. Indeed, this model is not only one of the most compact, but also one of the lightest with an impressive weight of only 2 lbs.

And despite its small size, it still packs some punch. It has a maximum air pressure of 150 PSI which means that it can compress a lot of air inside the tank. Moreover, its air delivery of 2.3 SCFM at 0 PSI can power any light tasks with ease.

If you want to inflate a tire with the Viair 300P then no problem. It will do it fast and easily. Moreover, this tiny compressor is powered by a car battery. To connect it to the battery, you get a battery clamp that has an in-line fuse rated at 40 A. It is quite safe to use.

The only real disadvantage is with this model is that it is a little bit expensive considering what you get. Also, the power cord is a bit short and could have been longer.

And even if this model is not one of the best price air portable compressors in this review, it is still worth it, especially if you’re only looking for an air compressor to inflate tires.

Pros:

  • Very small and highly portable
  • Decent air delivery of 2.3 and CFM at 0 PSI
  • Can inflate any type of vehicle tire up to 33 inches
  • The battery clamp has a 40 A fuse for safety

Cons:

  • The price could have been better
  • The power cord is short

Notes

This portable air compressor can use with a tire of up to 33 inches

3. California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S – Super Quiet and Long Life

California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S
  • Motor power: 0.6 HP
  • Weight: 29.5 lbs
  • Max. pressure: 120 PSI
  • Air delivery: 1.2 SCFM at 90 PSI

The California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S is one of the quietest portable air compressors that you can buy. Since it produces low noise levels at 56 dB, you will have no problem letting it run at night.

And, this model is also known for its long lifetime of 3,000 hours before wear. It uses an oil-free single piston motor design. The metal case of this compressor is also made from steel, so it is very durable and long-lasting.

This model does not deliver the highest level of compression we have seen, as it is limited to only 1.2 SCFM at 90 PSI. However, for light and medium air compression jobs, it’s more than enough.

Best, it weights only 29.5 lbs which are quite lightweight by portable air compressor standards. It even comes with a handle at the top for easy lifting.

However, the motor capacity of 0.6 HP could have been a little beefier considering its price point.

But regardless, the California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S is still one of the best small air compressors for the money. Mostly because if its ultra-quiet operation.

Pros:

  • Very quiet at 56 dB. Can be used at night
  • Long motor life that does not require oil or regular maintenance
  • Fairly lightweight at 29.5 lbs

Cons:

  • The motor capacity could have been a little bit better

Notes

We recommend you inspect the tank carefully for the presence of steel beads before first use

4. Bostitch BTFP02012 – Excellent Price to Performance Ratio

Bostitch BTFP02012
  • Motor power: 0.9 HP
  • Weight: 31 lbs
  • Max. pressure: 150 PSI
  • Air delivery: 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI

With its motor power of 0.9 HP and competitive price, the Bostitch BTFP02012 is a top-rated portable air compressor that sports one of the best prices to performance ration in this review.

It is by no definition a weak compressor, as this unit has a lot of capacities if you use it for light to medium tasks. After all, it has a respectable air delivery of 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI which is pretty much an industry standard for portable air compressors.

Furthermore, you can purchase this model in different styles to suit your need. If you are freshly starting out, going with the combo kit version makes a lot of sense.

And when it comes to maintenance, no problem there. The motor uses an oil-free design which means that you do not have to perform daily maintenance on it in case you use it every day.

The only problem we see with this unit is that the air delivery regulator lack accuracy. Also, it is quite loud for an air compressor of this size.

Pros:

  • Good price considering this is a 0.9 HP compressor
  • Can be purchased in different styles
  • Oil-free motor design. Does not need daily maintenance

Cons:

  • A bit loud
  • Regular is not very accurate

5. Senco PC1010 – Ideal Portable Air Compressor for Small Jobs

Senco PC1010
  • Motor power: 0.5 HP
  • Weight: 20 lbs
  • Max. pressure: 120 PSI
  • Air delivery: 0.7 SCFM at 90 PSI

The Senco PC1010 is not the most powerful portable air compressor in this review. It has not been designed for power but for efficiency. Indeed, this model is excellent for small jobs as it is equipped with an average of motor rated at 0.5 HP.

After all, it’s 0.7 SCFM at 90 PSI is not enough for demanding air compression tasks. Moreover, since its motor is small, this model is also very quiet in operation.

And it is easy to carry and highly portable. This model weighs only 20 lbs, so it is one of the lightest that you will find in this review.

When installed, it does not need a lot of space so you can use it in tight areas. Moreover, this portable air compressor is backed by a 1-year warranty by the manufacturer.

The only thing we don’t like about the Senco PC1010 is its small motor of 0.5 HP. However, it remains one of the best portable air compressors for home use because home air compression jobs usually do not have big demands.

Pros:

  • Excellent model for lightweight jobs
  • Small and compact. Does not need a lot of installation space
  • Very quiet in operation
  • Fairly lightweight at 20 lbs. Easy to carry

Cons:

  • Not very powerful with a 0.5 HP motor

6. Porter-Cable C2002 – Easy to Use by Beginners

Porter-Cable C2002
  • Motor power: 1 HP
  • Weight: 31.3 lbs
  • Max. pressure: 150 PSI
  • Air delivery: 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI

The Porter-Cable C2002 is a popular portable air compressor that is regarded as one of the best portable air compressors based on ease-of-use. Indeed, it is extremely beginner-friendly.

What we like about this model is that it does not require oil to run, and the pump is durable and long-lasting. You can easily adjust the air pressure right at the front of the unit, and it also comes with a handle for portability.

It also has no problem starting in cold weather. And with its air delivery of 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI, this is an excellent model for light to medium tasks.

In addition, you can also purchase the Porter-Cable C2002R, which is a renewed version and comes at a significantly lower price. This means that despite the Porter-Cable C2002R is a used product; it looks and works like a new unit.

The only caveats are that you need to be careful with the pressure switch because it is not heavy-duty. Also, the kit version of this compressor is quite expensive considering what you get.

Pros:

  • Easy to use by absolute beginners
  • Can be purchased in different styles depending on your need
  • Easy to adjust the air delivery right at the front
  • Heavy-duty handle at the top for portability

Cons:

  • The pressure switch is not very durable
  • The kit is overpriced and fragile

Notes

The Porter-Cable C2002R is the same as the Porter-Cable C2002 but significantly cheaper

7. California Air Tools 8010 – Smooth and Ultra Quiet Operation

California Air Tools 8010
  • Motor power: 1 HP
  • Weight: 54 lbs
  • Max. pressure: 120 PSI
  • Air delivery: 2.2 SCFM at 90 PSI

It is a fact that most portable air compressors tend to be noisy, and people generally avoid using them at night because of the noise. This is not a problem with the California Air Tools 8010 because it is one of the quietest models in this review, producing only 60 dB.

Moreover, it still delivers plenty of air delivery with 2.2 SCFM at 90 PSI. At the rear of this portable air compressor, there are 2 rear caster wheels that allow you to easily drag this unit around.

Also, the pump of this portable air compressor does not require oil, so this is less maintenance to you.

All in all, the California Air Tools 8010 is one of the best small electric air compressors that you can get, especially if you need a silent model. The only problem we find with it is that the motor may get hot even when not in use.

Pros:

  • Quiet operation at 60 dB
  • Decent portable air compressor for light to medium jobs
  • Equipped with 2 rear caster wheels for better portability

Cons:

  • The motor gets a bit hot

Notes

We recommend that you disconnect this portable air compressor from the power socket when not in use. This model may still get hot even when not in use

8. Makita MAC5200 – Heavy-Duty and High-Performing

Makita MAC5200
  • Motor power: 2.1 HP
  • Weight: 88 lbs
  • Max. pressure: 140 PSI
  • Air delivery: 6.5 SCFM at 90 PSI

The Makita MAC5200 is one of the most powerful portable air compressors on the market.

After all, this model has a powerful motor that delivers a peak power of 3.0 HP and regular working power of 2.1 HP. This makes it very high-performing and able to compress a lot of air in its tank fast.

The tank itself is rated with a maximum pressure of 140 PSI which is decent. We like its superior air delivery of 6.5 SCFM at 90 PSI. This shows that this portable air compressor can power very demanding tools that require compressed air.

Moreover, the pump inside the motor is oil lubricated to reduce regular wear and tear. It also helps keep the motor running cooler. But online is, you get a performing air compressor that will last a long time.

And even if this portable air compressor is heavy at 88 lbs, it has 2 rear casters as well as a handle. Those will allow you to tilt the compressor and move it around easily.

The only negatives we can point out with this model is its high price and that the rear wheels are not very heavy-duty. They can easily bend if not used properly.

Pros:

  • The powerful motor of 2.1 HP
  • Decent maximum pressure of 140 PSI
  • Superior air delivery of 6.5 SCFM at 90 PSI
  • It can easily be moved around with its rear caster wheels

Cons:

  • Rear caster wheels are not very heavy-duty
  • The price. It’s expensive

9. DeWalt DCC2560T1 Kit – Very Small and Compact

DeWalt DCC2560T1
  • Motor power: 0.4 HP
  • Weight: 21.5 lbs
  • Max. pressure: 135 PSI
  • Air delivery: 1.2 SCFM at 90 PSI

The DeWalt DCC2560T1 is a true winner when it comes to size. This model is one of the most portable models that you can purchase in this review. And due to its small size, you will not need a lot of installation space for this air compressor.

You can easily regulate the pressure with the pressure regulating knob located right at the front of this compressor. It even has a pressure gauge. Moreover, its maximum pressure capacity of 135 PSI is very decent, considering its small size.

Furthermore, this model is made in the USA and is very durable and long-lasting. The air delivery is 1.2 SCFM at 90 PSI. This is not a lot of pressure, but for casual applications that require a small air compressor, this model will do the job.

The only negatives we can point out with this unit remains the fact that it is a little bit noisy at 79 dB. And the motor in on the weak side at 0.4 HP.

However, when you consider its size and feature-set, this model is one of the best compact air compressors on the market.

Pros:

  • Small and compact. Does not need a lot of installation space
  • Easy to adjust the pressure and comes with a pressure gauge
  • Quality build construction. Made in the USA

Cons:

  • A little bit noisy at 79 dB
  • A weak motor at 0.4 HP

10. DeWalt DWFP55126 – Superior Air Compression

DeWalt DWFP55126
  • Motor power: 0.9 HP
  • Weight: 32.2 lbs
  • Max. pressure: 165 PSI
  • Air delivery: 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI

One distinguishing feature of the DeWalt DWFP55126 is its high maximum pressure of 165 PSI. It has a 22.7 liters tank made from metal that is very tough. Without such a big capacity tank, the motor can compress a lot of air for delivery and does not have to constantly work.

Moreover, with air delivery of 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI, this portable air compressor will be able to power common applications. From power tools to inflating a tire, it can do it all.

Also, the ignition is fast, and it will have no problem in any type of weather. There are 3 stands that provide good stability to this compressor, and the top plastic handle provides you with a good grip to carry.

Also, the front is equipped with pressure indication gauges as well as a pressure adjustment knob. It is quite versatile.

The only negative with this air compressor is that it may leak when it nears its maximum pressure capacity of 165 PSI. It is recommended to keep it between 140 – 150 PSI. Despite this, this DeWalt model is an excellent small and powerful air compressor that we can safely recommend.

Pros:

  • Superior maximum pressure of 165 PSI
  • Ignition is fast and can work in any type of weather
  • Tough and durable tank
  • The tank is quite big at 22.7 liters

Cons:

  • May start leaking if too much air is compressed

Notes

This compressor should be installed at least 10 feet away from the wall for proper airflow

How to Buy the Best Portable Air Compressor

How to Buy the Best Portable Air Compressor

Before finding the best portable air compressor for home use or work, there are some important factors that you need to consider. Here they are:

1. Purpose of Buying

First and foremost, you need to consider the purpose of the air compressor. Not all air compressors are created equal, and they have different capacities, sizes, as well as prices.

For example, if you are planning to purchase a portable air compressor to inflate tires, then you do not need the most powerful model. In this instance, size and portability are more important than motor power and air delivery.

On the other hand, for use with power tools in the workshop, you may want to go with a model that has a higher motor power that will produce greater air pressure.

2. Portability

The portability of the portable air compressor is directly linked to both its size as well as to its weight. The heavier the air compressor, the more difficult it will be to carry.

Therefore, if you need a model that is highly portable, then it is best to go with a lightweight unit.

Furthermore, in order to make the portable air compressor easier to carry, check if your model of choice comes with handles or caster wheels.

3. Motor power

The motor in a portable air compressor is responsible for sucking air and compressing it in the tank.

Therefore, the higher the motor power, the faster and higher volume of air it can compress.

For casual use, a portable air compressor that is equipped with a motor power of 2.0 HP is more than enough.

However, if you have bigger demands, then you need to go with a model equipped with a higher capacity motor.

4. Corded or Cordless

The portable air compressor comes in 2 types. Corded and cordless.

Corded: Since the corded portable air compressor is connected directly to a power socket by electrical wires, it has more power for the motor.

So, you will normally find that a corded portable air compressor is generally more powerful and more heavy-duty than its cordless counterpart. However, it lacks portability.

Cordless: One of the biggest advantages of the cordless portable air compressor is portability. It usually has a battery that provides the motor with all the necessary energy to function.

You can use this type of air compressor in remote locations that do not have electricity.

However, it obviously lacks the power of a corded model as it is generally equipped with a less performing motor.

5. Max pressure

This is basically the maximum pressure that the various components of the portable air compressor, including its tank, can sustain.

The maximum pressure will vary anywhere from 90 PSI up to 150 PSI for your typical portable air compressor.

6. Air delivery

The air delivery is the final point of the air compressor where the air has already been compressed and is exiting the compressor.

This airflow rate is normally denoted as SCFM (Standard Cubic Feet per Minute) at a specific PSI.

A typical portable air compressor normally produces 2.6 CFM at 90 PSI. However, some of the most powerful and capable models out there can deliver 6.5 CFM at 90 PSI.

Moreover, there are many models out there that contain a pressure gauge as well as a pressure adjustment setting. This will allow you to change the air delivery depending on your need.

If you need varying air delivery, then you should go with portable air compressor models that have this feature.

7. Noise level

Air compressors are reputed for being very loud. In fact, a typical air compressor will produce a noise anywhere from 50 dB up to 100 dB, which is very loud.

One of the biggest advantages of the portable air compressor is that it has a lower noise level than a regular air compressor.

Typically, even the most powerful portable air compressor will not be louder than 80 dB.

So, it is always best to see if the manufacturer makes any mention about noise if noise levels are important to you.

Conclusion

The portable air compressor is one of the most versatile and practical tools to have. It can be used for a wide range of applications, and if you are a handyman, sooner or later you will have good use for it.

But best, you do not need any advanced skills or knowledge to operate the portable air compressor. It is very beginner-friendly both to use as well as to install.

And if you have read our portable air compressor review above, then you have seen that this tool comes in a wide range of motor power and air delivery capacities.

So, regardless of what project you are working on, you will find a decent model for the money in our review.