Popular Portable Air Compressors – Buying Guide


Out of all the portable air compressors, how do you pick the right one? They come in different shapes, colors and sizes. Therefore, it might be overwhelming to choose the right one. Well, it is always easier to begin by asking some pressing questions like how will you use it? Will you use it every once in a while? Do you own an auto motor shop? Which air compressor is suitable for you? Well, to demystify these questions, continue reading this article. Don't forget to read other air compressor buying guides to get additional information.

An air compressor is a machine that converts power from diesel or electricity, into a storage pressured air. For simpler meaning, it is the machine that inflates your tires.

They can be used for different jobs and applications and the uses of the air compressor are broken into two:

  • Commercial use
  • If you are an automotive worker or a freelance engineer, you might need a professional air machine. The professional kinds tend to be oil-lubricated, and they have two tanks or sometimes one large tank. They are quite expensive but they are powerful and they have a longer lifespan that the ordinary ones.

  • Consumer use
  • They typically have one tank, they don't need oil and they are affordable and lighter in weight. They are made for house use like inflating tires and DIY projects (for example, DIY cart for the same air compressor).

It is also important to note that there are few questions that you need to ask yourself before buying an air compressor:

  • How will you be using it?
  • If you need it just to inflate tires and few occasional home projects, stick to a less expensive and less intricate compressor. However, if you need one regularly for heavy duty, go for a professional one with a powerful motor that can stand heavy duty.

  • Where will you use it?
  • Will you use it in one place or will you have to move around with it? If you will move around with it, you might consider taking a portable and lightweight.

    We shall now delve into the best picks on the market but before that, there are few words you need to learn to understand what I'm talking about.

    SFCM: Standard Cubic Feet per minutes

    PSI: Pounds per Square Inch

Top Picks

PORTER-CABLE C.M.B-15 150 PSI 1.5-Gallon Oil-Free Fully-Shrouded Compressor

This low-priced 1.5-gallon Porter-Cable product which is 2.0 SCFM delivered at 90 PSI with water drain valve, as well as rubber feet, is ultra-portable. Because its MAX PSI is 150 and it already has a small tank so you will have to wait less for it to recover. The pump inside the air compressor is the standard oil version and it needs little to no maintenance over the years. It does weigh more than it carries.

It carries 1.5 Gallon and it weighs 20 pounds, some people might find that unfair. Because of its weight and the fact that it has a handle on top makes the air compressor very easy to carry around. It could be quite loud at 79 dBa, so that might be an issue for some people as well. It is small and compact, so storing it wouldn't be a hassle. The manufacturer offers a 1-year warranty on the compressor.

DEWALT DWFP55126 6-Gallon 165-P.S.I Pancake Compressor

This is a professional high priced air tool. It has 2.6 SCFM delivered at 90 PSI oil free pump all in a 6-gallon tank. The MAX PSI is 165 and the machine is durable and almost maintenance free over the years of usage. It's pretty quiet but it can still be noisy to some people with use. It is 75.5db so it wouldn't be the loudest thing you have. It’s quite fast and convenient too and has a ball drain value which handles the tank draining easily.

The design makes the compressor portable and sleek. It's thin so that makes storing it an easy mission. The equipment weighs 30 pounds and comes with a handle, so that means that transporting won't be a difficult mission.

The warranty is a limited 1-year warranty so it isn't that great. But since its durability is not question, you might not use that warranty.

Makita MAC5200 Big Bore 3.0 FIP

Like any other Makita product, the compressor is well built and well thought of. It has a 2.5-Gallon tank and has 6.5 SCFM delivered at 90 PSI. Its MAX PSI is 140, and its tank is very durable and sturdy. Additionally, because the tank is well sealed, it can hold air overnight. One of its turn offs is that it is rather loud. The Makita MAC5200 is portable with its 8 inches wheels and a great compressor if you want something that is in between the consumer and professional use.

It weighs about 100 pounds. Yes, it's heavy but with the folded handles and the wheels, it is easy to move around and even store. It is powerful, sturdy and durable, making it one of the best air compressors in the market.

Makita gives you 30-day return policy and they will refund you if you weren't satisfied with their product or even replace it for you.


There are a lot of manufacturers that make air compressors. I have only mentioned the ones that are worthy of every penny because they are some of the best in the market right now. I hope this article answered all your questions. Now that you are armed with information, you are ready to buy your air compressor.