By Marko Jankovic | Last Updated: August 22, 2020
A garage air compressor is that piece of equipment which completes every mechanic's toolkit. Most power tools need the help of a garage air compressor to function properly.
You will be able to use the compressor to power your air ratchet, and pneumatic nail guns, and other tools.
PORTER-CABLE C2002 Oil-Free
California Air Tools CAT-4620AC Ultra Quiet & Oil-Free
The Best Air Compressors for Home Garage-Top 5 Products Review
If you have begun to assemble a toolkit for yourself and are confused about which garage air compressor to go for, do not worry. We have prepared a list of the best choices in the market currently. You can take your pick depending on the kind of work you are looking to do.
1. DEWALT DWFP5512 6-Best pancake compressors
If you are looking for a good garage air compressor, then you do not have to look far. This product from Dewalt will surely meet all your requirements. Granted that it is a little more on the expensive side as compared to the other products on this list, but that does not make it any less efficient. It has better technical specifications than most other pancake compressors on the market which will make you feel better about spending that extra money. Customer feedback on this product has also been great so far.
The compressor comes with powerful two horsepower motor which will work even in very cold temperatures. You will even be able to use it with a 50-foot extension cord and not have any problems.
It also comes with pressurization that can be set a maximum of 165 psi. When it comes to air delivery rate, this compressor stands at par with its competitors with a rate of 2.6 cfm at 90 psi. The turnover is fast which will allow you to use smaller tools such as nail guns.
The problem that you might face with this air compressor is with the six-gallon tank which might seem too small. However, at-home mechanics and amateurs do not mind it because they use the compressor occasionally.
The construction of this air compressor is very precise. The feet have heavy rubber fittings which will keep your machine from getting scratches when the compressor is being lugged around. You will also love the handle which is easy to grip.
2. PORTER-CABLE C2002- Best One-tank Air Compressor
This small compressor packs a punch that will even put its larger competitors to shame. It might not be the biggest in size, but it delivers a powerful performance.
This pancake air compressor comes with a small six-gallon tank which might not seem quite a lot, but it still offers a maximum pressure output of 150 psi. That makes it one of the most powerful one-tank air compressors that you can get your hands on within this price range.
The turnover rate of this compressor is also impressive. The 3.7 cfm flow rate at 40 psi allows the compressor to turn over quickly so that your work remains uninterrupted.
You must remember that this model is better suited to small air tools. If you want to do industrial work, then this model might not live up to your expectations. It may not be able to provide the continuous air supply needed for industrial purposes.
You will not face any problem with using the compressor even in cold temperatures. Extension cords are also compatible with the device. You might have to use them because this compressor is too heavy to move around.
If you cannot do without portability, then this air compressor is not for you. However, the three-year warranty will reduce your worries about the durability of the machine.
3. California Air Tools CAT-4620AC-Best Noiseless Air Compressor
If you are a professional who wants their compressor to go that extra mile, then this machine is for you. From the house of California Air Tools, this two-tank air compressor has been designed to meet the requirements of professional mechanics, and contractors who expect very fast turnover from their compressors. They need to power tools such as air ratchets and air drills which work continuously.
This air compressor guarantees a turnover rate of 6.4 cfm at 40 psi. The tanks measure only 4.6 gallons each as a result of which you will find that the compressor is working without a break. You will be able to power any machine you want at a consistent rate. The two horsepower motor is more than capable of handling the workload, and you do not have to be wary of a breakdown.
Customers have found that this air compressor works powerfully in cold conditions without having to draw a lot of current from the generator. If you are fond of some peace and quiet when you are working, then you will love this compressor because it makes very little noise.
In spite of the two-tank design, the compressor does not work well under extremely high-pressure conditions. The maximum value stands at 125 psi, and it is best that you are careful not to cross the limit.
4. Bostitch BTFP02012- Best Cheaper Air Compressor
You do not have to compromise with your compressor's performance just because you have a low budget. You have to find the perfect inexpensive air compressor which will fulfill all your requirements. We have done the job for you.
This relatively cheaper air compressor will be a great investment. Created by Bostitch, the machine delivers in spite of its unimpressive features.
The small 10.5-amp motor may not seem capable of handling serious heavy-duty projects, but you have to place your faith in the product and try it out once. This garage air compressor will do an excellent job.
It can deliver up to 150 psi maximum air pressure which is the standard in the market. It also has a flow rate of 2.6 cfm at 90 psi which ensures fast turnover. As a result, you will be able to power your tools frequently and use them as much as you need.
The compressor also comes with two output ports which will allow you to use two air tools at the same time. You will not have to disconnect them at any point. Having to reconnect tools when you are powering multiple devices can be tiring, but this compressor solves the problem.
You will be able to use it for most garage air tools, but it is best that you do not try it for industrial purposes because the six-gallon tank is a limiting factor.
5. WEN 2202-Best Portable Vertical Air Compressor
Whether you want to use an oil-lubricated air compressor or an oil-free compressor is completely up to your preferences. But this oil-lubricated air compressor is an excellent option if you are leaning towards the former. Wen has created an excellent compressor that has the ability to last a lifetime when taken care of properly.
It might be rather bulky, and that makes it difficult to carry these compressors around. They also require more maintenance than regular compressors in the market, but you should see your efforts as an investment for your compressor's long life.
Wen also offers a two-year warranty on this device to give this air compressor the support it needs. They believe in their product and want you to fall in love with it. It does not come with promises of extraordinary performance, but the compressor is reliable.
The tank measures six gallons and offers a maximum air pressure of 125 psi. You will also appreciate the adjustable regulator which will help you monitor the output pressure when you are working. The 4.2 cfm flow rate at 40 psi works decently to keep your tools powered.
6. Makita MAC2400-Best two-tank air compressor
If you want a two-tank air compressor but are not willing to for the professional model from California Air Tools, then you can check this one out. This twin-tank garage air compressor comes in a smaller size and is not as powerful as that one. However, it will get the job done if you are not into doing very heavy-duty industrial projects.
You must remember that this is an oil-lubricated model which means that it needs oil to run. Since the oil is necessary for lubrication, you will have to do more frequent maintenance as compared to what you do for an oil-free compressor. But, you will be happy to know that oil-lubricated air compressors tend to last longer than others.
You will be impressed by how quietly this air compressor works without compromising its performance in the slightest. It has a maximum output of 130 psi pressure. The 4.8 cfm at 40 psi turnover rate makes it more than suitable for amateur jobs. The 2.5-horsepower motor only makes your work easier in so many ways. You will not have to worry about your machine breaking down, because this design is one of the most reliable ones in the market.
7. California Air Tools 5510A-Quietest air compressors
This oil compressor leans towards the pricier, but it is a great investment if built-in noise reduction is a priority for you. It only produces sound at 60 dB, which makes it one of the quietest air compressors you will find in the market. You can even use it in short burst without wearing any ear protection.
It comes with a tank measuring 5.5 gallons which means that you will not be able to do heavy-duty projects with it. This compressor is perfect for powering small air tools. The performance may lag when it comes to air ratchets or air-powered drills. You will need to refill the tank every 10–15 seconds when you are working with these tools. It offers a maximum pressure of 120 psi which is lower than the standard range in this market segment.
Some users have complained that the compressor is not durable, and tends to stop working after a year or two.
8. California Air Tools CAT-10020-The Best Steel Tank Air Compressors
If you do not want to compromise with the capacity of your air compressor no matter what, then this model with its 10-gallon tank is the one for you. Designed by California Air Tools, this compressor is perfect for semi-professional mechanics who want to use a range of tools. The larger air volume will allow you to power tools such as air ratchets and air drills without frequent interruption.
Like most other six-gallon air compressors, the air tank is arranged in a vertical manner. The compressor also comes with wheels so that it can be moved from place to place easily.
You will find that the two horsepower motor packs quite a punch and delivers a lot of power even when you are operating the machine in cold weather conditions. However, the maximum pressure is 125 psi which is rather low as compared to other models in this price range.
What to Look for When Buying The Best Air Compressor for Home Garage
If you are planning to buy a garage air compressor, you will be spoilt for choice more often than not. They can be extremely versatile as a result of which will have to sort out your preferences in the following matters.
You can either for a one-tank or a two-tank air compressor. In a one-tank air compressor, air is sucked into the tank once and then it is compressed to the final pressure with just a single stroke of the piston.
On the other hand, a two-tank air compressor, the air is first compressed by a piston stroke and then cooled to a second tank where it is compressed further with the help of a second piston stroke. Usually, one-tank air compressors give a maximum pressure of around 150 psi, while two-tank air compressors can go up to 200 psi.
You can go for an oil-free compressor or one that runs on oil lubrication. You need to lubricate the piston which is responsible for compressing and pressurizing air so that it can work properly. There are two ways to do so. While some compressors require oil, others have a Teflon coating around the piston which offers permanent lubrication. Oil-lubricated compressors require more maintenance than their oil-free counterparts, but they also tend to have a longer life.
The power source required to run an air compressor usually varies with the kind of machine you are using. Most air compressors can run using electricity while some require gasoline to work properly. The power source depends on the size, pressurization and volume of an air compressor. Compressors that are powered by electricity are inexpensive and also require less maintenance.
The tank volume of an air compressor refers to the amount of pressurized air it can carry in one pressurization and release cycle. The tank volume plays an important role in determining the performance of your air compressor. You need to decide what the ideal tank volume would be for you based on what you want to use the machine for. If you want a constant turnover, you will have to opt for a larger tank.
You can evaluate the performance of a garage air compressor based on the pressure of air that it can deliver. This value is measured in psi, which refers to pounds per square inch. You can also measure the performance based on the air delivery rate which is expressed in cfm or cubic feet per minute. You need to choose the perfect combination of these values based on the tools that you want to use with the compressor.
A garage air compressor is essentially an investment just like all other tools. Your air compressor should offer a long lifespan so that you can use it for quite a few years without replacing it. Durability is an important consideration. Oil-based compressors tend to run longer than oil-free air compressors because the Teflon coating tends to dry out and crack. You should also check the warranty on the machine before purchasing it. Most companies offer two to three years of warranty.
All the air compressors mentioned in this list come with their own set of pros and cons. The Porter-Cable C2002 pancake-style compressor has combines excellent features, affordability, portability and strong performance into one machine. The compressor from Dewalt is a close second, but it is more on the expensive side.
If you are a professional and are looking for a two-tank air compressor, then the California Air Tools CAT-4620AC is your best bet.