15 Best Air Compressor For Home Garage Use | Reviews 2019

Air Compressor comes in many different designs, functionalities, capacities, and capabilities such as roll cage, vertical, and pancake designs.

If you are willing to perform a specific job, you need to do a thorough research to find the best garage air compressor that can readily fulfill your needs.

An air compressor is a versatile tool that can work as a sidekick for many other tools. If you have the best air compressor for home garage, it can be used to operate air ratchet, air wrench, brad nailer, grinder, blow gun and even a small sandblaster.

A power tool needs a power source to be attached to them which makes it very heavy. On the other hand, a tool running with an air compressor as its power source can be light, handy and easily portable.

If we talk about the size of the air compressor, it depends on the type of tool you want to operate.

For example, if you are willing to operate a half inch air wrench, the best size air compressor for this purpose will be the one that can at least produce a pressure of 90 PSI.

But before getting in details of the pressure created by them, let us first discuss the different types of air compressors.

Types of Air Compressors

When it comes to types, there are three different types of air compressors. They are differentiated by how they increase air pressure. The three types are:

  1. Reciprocating Air Compressors
  2. Rotary Screw Air Compressors
  3. Centrifugal Air Compressors

Reciprocating Air Compressors

A reciprocating air compressor operates by decreasing the volume of air which results in an increased pressure, which means they are positive displacement machines.

The volume of the gas is decreased with the help of a piston, which resides inside a cylinder, working as the compressing and displacing component.

A Reciprocating air compressor has a simple design which makes them easier to install.

Their initial cost is low, but their maintenance cost is high. They have many moving parts, which means they might need a solid foundation which may vary based on the size of the air compressor.

Rotary Screw Air Compressor

As the name suggests itself, the rotary screw air compressors have two rotors inside their casing where they compress the air.

These are also positive displacement compressors, but they don’t have any valves.  These units are coiled, and the oil coolers are cooled by air or water coolers.

Since the internal rotating parts don’t have to endure extremely high temperatures, therefore these are heavy duty air coolers that can work easily for a longer period of times.

They are economical, easy to install and simply designed compressors with very less amount of moving parts. But the friend life of these compressors is low, and this airend is not serviceable.

Centrifugal Air Compressor

A centrifugal air compressor works by transferring the energy from a rotating impeller to the air. This operating mechanism makes it a dynamic air compressor.

This compressor is specifically designed for continuous air flow through the compressor.

Therefore it has a higher capacity. As the name suggests, a centrifugal air compressor converts the angular momentum of the impeller into a high-pressure discharge. When it comes to designs, these compressors are oil free.

The gear which is lubricated using oil is isolated from the air with the help of shaft seals. These air compressors are highly efficient, creating air pressure as much as 1200 psi.

However, the initial cost of these compressors is relatively high with specialized considerations when it comes to their maintenance.

How to Choose The Best One? 

While choosing the best size air compressor for home garage, four specific criteria need to be considered which are as follows:

1. CFM Requirement

While choosing an air compressor for a garage, you need to understand your Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM) of airflow. This depends on the air tool that needs to be operated using the air compressor.

2. Tank Size

The tank sizes can be as low as 6 liters and as high as 500+ liters. If you have chosen the right size of the take based on your tool, it will increase the efficiency of the air compressor.

3. Oil Based or Oil-Less

Although the oil-less compressor will be low maintenance, a standard compressor, which is oil-based, can be less noisy and produce greater output.

4. Usage

There are different warranties of the compressor based on either domestic or commercial usage. Therefore, choose your compressor wisely based on your usage.

Top 15 Air Compressor For Home Garage Use

Our team has formulated a list of fifteen best air compressors after a thorough review, research and evaluation of many different products.

This list will help you in choosing the best air compressor based on your usage and requirements. It will make the decision-making process easier for you.

1. Quiet Air Compressor, Lightweight

This is a lightweight air compressor weighing a mere 38 pounds. It is equipped with a dual piston pump which results in high performance.

Its capacity is 4.8 gallons and made up of Aluminum. The working of this compressor is not noisy and can be easily carried around.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros:

  • Quiet
  • Easy to use
  • Portable

Cons:

  • Heavier then it seems
  • Can’t wrap a longer hose around the handle

2. PORTER-CABLE Oil-Free Compressor

The tank has a maximum pressure of 150 psi which allows it to hold more air for running a longer period. The size of the tank is six gallons whereas the designing is pancake style.

The pump is oil-free and durable with no maintenance required. The motor runs on 120 volts at a lower amount of current, therefore its easy to start either in cold weather or by using an extension wire.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros:

  • Works with pneumatic tools
  • Lightweight
  • Portable

Cons:

  • Necessary to Break-In the compressor
  • noisy 

3. Bostitch 150 PSI Oil-Free Compressor

The compressor is equipped with an oil-free pump which doesn’t require maintenance. The sic gallon tank can produce a maximum pressure of 150 psi.

The high flow regulators and couplers are incorporated in this air compressor to increase and maximize the performance of the air tool.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Portable

Cons:

  • noisy
  • hose not included

4. Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor

The compressor is equipped with a 3 gallons tank producing a maximum pressure of 110 psi and operable at 120 volts. It has an oil-less pump.

Therefore, the maintenance cost is almost zero. This product is highly recommended for use with air/ brad nailers, ball and tire inflations and upholstery projects.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Portable

Cons:

  • Air leakage
  • Low capacity
  • Noisy

5. California Air Tools Steel Tank Air Compressor

The compressor is equipped with an oil-free pump with very less maintenance cost. It has a steel tank which produces a maximum pressure of 120 psi.

The compressor is very quiet and gives longer continuous run times.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros:

  • Quiet
  • Portable

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Low capacity

6. Central Pneumatic Vertical Air Compressor

The air compressor is vertically designed and can be connected to different types of air hoses. The vibration is reduced by the usage of dual rubber foot stabilizers.

It can produce a maximum pressure of 90 psi, and there is an oil level indicator that allows for easier maintenance.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros:

  • Easy to assemble
  • Portable

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Low-quality valve
  • Noisy

7. DEWALT 165 PSI Pancake Compressor

The air compressor is pancake designed operable at 120 volts. The size of the tank is 6 gallons producing a maximum pressure of 90 psi.

Its highly efficient can easily start either in cold weather or via an extension cord.

The air tool performance and efficiency are increased and maximized due to the high flow couplers and regulators.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros:

  • Easy to assemble
  • Portable
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Undersized ball bearings
  • Leaking hose fitting
  • Low-quality safety valve

8. California Air Tools Portable Air Compressor

The air compressor is equipped with a one-gallon tank which creates a maximum pressure of 90 psi.

The maintenance cost is bare minimum because of its oil-free nature, and it can be easily transported as a result of its light weight of only 29.5 pounds. The compressor is also ultra-quiet.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros: 

  • Quiet
  • Portable
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Low Capacity
  • Low-quality finishing

9. PowerPro Oil Free Air Compressor

The air compressor is designed oil-free. Therefore its maintenance cost is almost zero. It is operable at 120 volts and can provide a maximum pressure of 100 psi.

The compressor can be very useful but for limited usage.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros:

  • Economical
  • Quiet
  • Portable
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Low power
  • Small tank
  • Low Quality

10. Porter Cable Portable Air Compressor

The air compressor is vertically designed with a whopping 20 gallons tank producing a maximum pressure of 150psi.

The compressor is made stable by the use of rubber foundations whereas it is equipped with 7” wheels to ensure mobility.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros:

  • Large Tank
  • Easy to assemble
  • Portable

Cons:

  • Very Heavy
  • Noisy

11. Makita AC001 Compact Air Compressor

The compressor is rolled cage designed equipped with 1.67 hp induction motor producing a maximum pressure of 125 psi.

It is easily portable due to its lightweight and can be easily used indoors due to its low noise.

Since it draws less current, therefore it also reduces the probability of tripped circuit breakers.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros: 

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use indoors
  • Small size
  • Portable

Cons:

  • Limited usage
  • Small Tank

12. Campbell Hausfeld Quiet Air Compressor

The compressor is rolled cage designed equipped with 8-gallon cylinder producing a maximum 125 psi.

The compressor is low on noise, and its oil-free dual piston pump asks for very low maintenance.

Mobility is high due to the inclusion of large wheels and steel handle with a rubber grip.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Quiet
  • Large Capacity
  • Portable

Cons:

  • Limited usage
  • Heavy

13. WEN Portable Vertical Air Compressor

The compressor is vertically designed equipped with 20-gallon cylinder producing a maximum 135 psi.

Rubber tires make it easy to carry around, and the quick drain valve can be reached easily.

The pressure can be adjusted using the regulators and dual gauge.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Reliable
  • Large Capacity
  • Portable

Cons:

  • Heavy

14. PORTER-CABLE Oil-Free Fully Shrouded

The compressor is equipped with an oil-free pump which guarantees very low maintenance costs and longer run times for different tools.

The motor needs a mere 120 volts. Therefore, it can easily start in cold weathers as well as with extension cords.

The tank’s capacity is 1.5 gallons which help the compressor to deliver a maximum pressure of 150 psi.

It is very much portable and easy to carry due to its low weight.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Reliable
  • Portable

Cons:

  • Low capacity
  • Noisy

15. Senco PC1010 1-Gallon Compressor

The compressor is designed in a pancake style and is equipped with a 0.5 hp motor.

The capacity of the tank is one gallon the unit is very lightweight, a mere 20 pounds.

More photo & price on amazon.com

Pros: 

  • Lightweight
  • Reliable
  • Portable

Cons:

  • Low capacity
  • Noisy

Frequently Asked Questions

What size air compressor do I need to run air tools?

To run air tools, buy an air compressor who’s CFM and PSI exceeds the air tool’s airflow requirement.

A compressor offering 1.5 times more PSI and CFM than air tool’s requirement is preferred which allows both the devices to work efficiently and last long.

What size air compressor do I need for a finish nailer?

Nailers don’t require large air compressors with excessive airflow, but they need a specific PSI to work efficiently.

Apart from central pneumatic 95275, all the other compressors provide adequate pressure (approx. 120-10 PSI).

For framing nailers, compressor with CFM rating of about 2 or above is preferred.

What size air compressor do I need for sandblasting?

Sandblasters require air compressors with large tanks and continuous airflow; hence, SCFM and CFM are basic units to be considered.

CFM can be determined by the nozzle size of the blaster which is directly proportional. Mostly, 20 CFM is required.

What should I look for when buying an air compressor?

  1. Type of air compressor: stationary or a portable one.
  2. Usage: look for an air compressor whose CFM and PSI meets your requirements.
  3. Tank size and airflow in accordance to your air tool.
  4. Additional features such as an oil-free pump, thermal protection, belt-drive, etc.
  5. Cost and warranty/ guarantee offered.

Can you use an HVLP gun with an air compressor?

Yes but not an ideal choice for an HVLP gun since the gun requires a large volume of air at low pressure, e.g. 12 CFM @ 70 PSI or 10-14 SCFM at 40 PSI which cannot be provided by an average air compressor so you will need an expensive large air compressor in order to use an HVLP gun.

What is the difference between CFM and SCFM?

CFM (cubic ft. per minute) is the SI unit for measuring airflow of a system (e.g. HVAC SYSTEMS) and varies with system to system on the basis of its design, whereas, SCFM (standard cubic ft. per meter) measures airflow under standard temperature and pressure and does not vary with design of the system.

What is the duty cycle on air compressor?

Duty cycle is defined as the duration of time it should function against the time it should rest. E.g., with a 75% duty cycle, it works for 45 min and rests for 15 min.

Duty cycles can be of 100%, 75%, 50%, and 25%.

How do I know the CFM of my air compressor?

  1. Find out the tank volume and multiply by 7.48
  2. After emptying the compressor, note the time needed to refill it in seconds.
  3. Subtract the psi reading when the compressor kicked in from when it kicked out and note it.
  4. Use the formula: Tank volume x 0. 536 x Psig divided by time (seconds).

How much CFM do I need?

One CFM (cubic ft. per minute) is required per square foot of floor area is a standard rule for a room or an entire building.

However, the optimum conditions for this are no additional windows, 8 ft. ceiling and adequate insulation.

How do I calculate CFM for my house?

  1. Find out the room’s width and length.
  2. Multiply the measurements from step 1.
  3. Multiply the term in step 2 by the number of times you want the air to exchange in an hour.
  4. Divide your result from step 3 by 60 to calculate CFM.

Is more CFM better?

Definitely. CFM is the measure of how many times air passes through your device in a minute so more the CFM, the greater the cooling effect.

Conclusion

Having an easy to use, a portable and efficient air compressor is a very good option for your regular day to day needs.

The best garage air compressor can be useful in operating other tools as well such as impact wrenches, spray paintings or air pistols.

This compressed air can also be an effective cleaning tool in your garage and can be of great convenience.

The list above can help you choose the best air compressor depending on the tank capacity, maximum pressure, and usage.

Different types of best size air compressor for home garage can be used to fulfill different tasks.

(Last Updated On: March 15, 2019)

15 Best Air Compressor For Home Garage Use | Reviews 2019
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