HomeCompressorThe 8 Best Small Air Compressors

The 8 Best Small Air Compressors

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Finding the best small air compressors is by considering a mix of the power, size, noise, CFM, air pressure, and purpose of using the particular air compressor. Every top-rated small air compressor is less than 1 HP and allows the users to plug it into a standard home electrical outlet. We will introduce the best small air compressors based on the buying guide factors described in the primary sections of this article.

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Air compressors are the means for powering pneumatic tools, including sprayers, nail guns, jackhammers, impact wrenches, and so on. Small Air compressors are known by various names, such as mini compressors, handheld compressors, or even portable compressors. Homeowners use small air compressors for their extremely light and portable designs.

Small Air Compressor Benefits 

Advantages that make small air compressors superior for typical garage and workshop use include the following:

Portability 

A small air compressor provides the user a conveniently sized motor that powers pneumatic devices. It is small and relatively light-weight. These portable compressors can be placed easily in the back of any truck or car for transportation.

Cost 

Small air compressors are cheaper than larger units while providing sufficient power for most users.

Increasing Productivity 

Small air compressors are used with pneumatic tools, which can remarkably increase productivity in different contexts. The features of small air compressors allow the user to move them around easily and complete tasks where they might be inaccessible with pneumatic tools.

Air Compressors Types

Based on the power supply, air compressors are classified into two categories:

Electric Small Air Compressors 

Two types of electric small gas compressors are AC-powered and battery-powered air compressors.

AC-Powered Air Compressors 

Most small air compressors are powered through AC (alternating current) electricity. These units need a standard 120-volt power outlet to work. Therefore, they are excellent choices for garage and workshop applications.

Battery-Powered Air Compressors 

Although most small air compressors work on AC power, a few are supplied by battery power. Some of them are rechargeable, and many of them use car batteries to produce air pressure. The primary purpose of using these units is to help off-roaders inflate their car tires. However, with a more limited capacity, they can be used for other goals as well.

Gas Small Air Compressors 

The Gas-powered small air compressors utilize a gasoline engine to run their compressor pump using an internal combustion engine.  At partial loads, the best gas air compressors have higher efficiency.

Compared to electric air compressors, the gas-powered units have more weight and are less portable. Also, they need more attention for maintenance. They need regular oil checking and fuel filter replacement. Another drawback of these machines is that they require a ventilation or exhaust system for indoor use to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Buying Guide for the Best Small Air Compressor

Here are some key features to consider when purchasing a small air compressor that meets the needs.

Power 

Air compressors have a power rating, measured in horsepower (HP), which indicates the capability of the compressor motor. The more powerful the motor of the air compressor, the faster it fills the air tank.

Keep in mind that a small electric motor must have at least 0.5 HP, and the gas-powered unit can use as much as 5 HP.

Air Tank Capacity

The capacity of an air compressor tank, measured in gallons, shows the volume of compressed air that the unit can hold. The important point is that the capacity of the air tank should be high while the CFM is low for the air tank to last a long time.

Air Flow Rate

The flow rate of air may be the most important factor among all the metrics that the manufacturer provides to the buyers. It is measured in CFM (cubic feet per minute) or SCFM (standard cubic feet per minute) to determine the amount of air put out during one minute while still keeping the pressure. The suitable CFM rating to meet your needs depends on the tools you use. Most air compressors come with a CFM at 90 PSI. Therefore, users should look for an air compressor with at least 2.0 CFM at 90 PSI.

Noise Level 

Noise can be considered a factor in finding a suitable air compressor. Most air compressors are used for extended times, so a low decibel rating air compressor is prescribed.

Accessories 

An air compressor comes with an accessory kit. It often includes tire inflators, blow-off chucks, and quick-connect fittings. Unfortunately, sometimes the accessory kit does not fit your unit, so you have to buy a separate accessory pack with the tools necessary to set up the air compressor.

Maintenance 

Maintenance requirements vary depending on the air compressor type. Most air compressors have sealed and oil-free motors. So they do not need to be checked and filled frequently. However, the oil-lubricated compressors require oil changes and are heavier than the oil-free units. Also, compressors vibrate a bit and work in dusty environments. It is therefore recommended to check the compressor regularly for loose parts.

Top Small Air Compressor Reviews 

In the following, we will review the specifications of the best small air compressors according to the buying guide described in the previous section and their advantages and disadvantages.

1. Craftsman CMEC6150K 6-Gallon Air Compressor

best small air compressor
Craftsman CMEC6150K 6-Gallon Air Compressor (Reference: amazon.com)

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • ● Stable and decent flow rate
  • ● Low maintenance
  • ● one-year limited warranty
  • ● a 13-piece set of accessories
  • ● Ideal only for household use
Cons
  • ● Noisy for enclosed spaces (78.5 dB)

Specifications 

Capacity 6 gallons
Weight 32.5 lbs
Dimensions 16.5 x 16.5 x 17.88 inches
Maximum air pressure 150 PSI
Air flow rate 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI
Oil-free pump Yes

 

General Description

Craftsman CMEC6150K 6-Gallon Air Compressor is a portable pancake-style air compressor. It features an oil-free motor for long life and low maintenance.

Read More on Linquip

2. Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor

best small air compressor
Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor (Reference: amazon.com)

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • ● high-quality air filter
  • ● Durable cast- iron cylinder
  • ● Long motor and pump life
Cons
  • ● Relatively heavy

Specifications 

Power source electric
Capacity 4.2 gallons
Weight 80.8 lbs
Dimensions 20 x 18 x 18.75 inches
Maximum air pressure 130 PSI
Air flow rate 4.8 CFM at 40 PSI and 4.2 CFM at 90 PSI
Horsepower 2.5
Oil-free pump No (oil-lubricated)

 

General Description

The Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor 4.2 gallon twin stacked tank delivers air flow enough for two nailers. Low Amp draw decreases incidences of breakers at starting up.

The oil-lubricated pump provides cooler running temperatures and less chance of wear. In addition, Built-in thermal overload is provided for additional motor protection.  It features a large automotive-style industrial air filter to increase air intake and efficiency. The noise level created by this machine running at 1730 rpm is 79 dB.

3. PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor (C2002)

best small air compressor
PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor (C2002) (Reference: amazon.com)

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • ● 8-piece inflating kits
  • ● High portability
  • ● Low weight
  • ● easy start-up at varied temperature
Cons
  • ● Debatable accessories quality
  • ● Not suitable for medium-duty air tools
  • ● Quite small rubber legs

Specifications 

Power source electric
Capacity 6 gallons
Weight 80.8 lbs
Dimensions 19 x 19 x 18 inches
Maximum air pressure 150 PSI
Air flow rate 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI
Horsepower 1
Oil-free pump Yes

 

General Description

Pancake style tank of the PORTER-CABLE (C2002) air compressor helps the stability. Low Amp draw 120V motor of the air compressor starts quickly in cold weather. The durable oil-free, maintenance-free pump is provided for a long lifespan. Two regulated, factory-installed air couplers are provided to support two users.

4. Master Airbrush Air Compressor Kit Model TC-326T

best small air compressor
Master Airbrush Air Compressor Kit Model TC-326T (Reference: amazon.com)

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • ● Suitable for most paint tools
  • ● Powering multiple airbrushes at the same time
  • ● High-quality
Cons
  • ● missing some items in the startup pack (reported by some users)

Specifications 

Capacity 6 gallons
Weight 20.8 lbs
Dimensions 15 x 14.25 x 12.75 inches
Maximum air pressure 57 PSI
Air flow rate 0.8 CFM
Horsepower 1.5

 

General Description

Master Airbrush 1/5 HP Air Compressor Kit Model TC-326T features high-quality parts designed for efficient operation. This model is a versatile one working well with most paint devices and surfaces.

It has a 1.5-HP motor to deliver higher air volume and pressure for a longer period. At the same time, this unit is portable due to its compact design. In addition, the built-in handle makes it more comfortable to transport and store.

This air compressor unit is maintenance-free, oil-less, with a super-quiet operation of only 47 dB.

Read More on Linquip
Everything You Need To Know About Different Types Of Compressor

5. BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor (BTFP02012)

best small air compressor
BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor (BTFP02012) (Reference: amazon.com)

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • ● Lightweight
  • ● Portable
  • ● High flow regulator
  • ● Low noise level
  • ● High-output electric motor
  • ● Quick and convenient connect for air tools
Cons
  • ● Ear protection requirement when depressurization the tank

Specifications

Power source electric
Capacity 6 gallons
Weight 29 lbs
Dimensions 17 x 17 x 19.25 inches
Maximum air pressure 150 PSI
Air flow rate 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI
Horsepower 1.5
Oil-free pump Yes

 

General Description

BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor (BTFP02012) has a high flow regulator. Its two universal quick-connect airlines support two air tools simultaneously. This unit is easy to transport and store, due to it weighing only 29 lbs. The unit is much stable when working.

This air compressor does not have a hose or gun kit. The motor of the compressor is suited for the use of an extension cord. So, there is no problem with starting up with long cables.

6. Campbell Hausfeld FP209499AV Portable Air Compressor

best small air compressor
Campbell Hausfeld FP209499AV Portable Air Compressor (Reference: amazon.com)

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • ● Compact and lightweight
  • ● High portability
  • ● oil-less and maintenance-free
Cons
  • ● considerably noisy
  • ● Low flow rate

Specifications 

Power source electric
Capacity 3 gallons
Weight 21.3 lbs
Dimensions 15.74 x 7.87 x 19.58 inches
Maximum air pressure 110 PSI
Air flow rate 0.36 CFM at 90 PSI
Oil-free pump Yes

 

General Description

The 3 Gallon Campbell Hausfeld FP209499AV Portable Air Compressor is featured with a ten-piece accessory kit. This unit is ideal for stapling, painting, and inflation tasks. It also has a lightweight design and handles for portability. Additionally, easy-to-read gauges make it easy to control the pressure.

7. California Air Tools 8010A Ultra Quiet 1.0 HP Air Compressor

best small air compressor
California Air Tools 8010A Ultra Quiet 1.0 HP Air Compressor (Reference: amazon.com)

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • ● Extremely quiet
  • ● Dual-stage motor
  • ● Lightweight
Cons
  • ● Relatively large for home uses
  • ● Relatively expensive

Specifications 

Power source electric
Capacity 8 gallons
Weight 37.2 lbs
Dimensions 26 x 14 x 23 inches
Maximum air pressure 120 PSI
Air flow rate 2.2 CFM at 90 PSI
Horsepower 1.0 HP (Rated) and 2.0 HP (Peak)
Oil-free pump Yes

 

General Description

The California Air Tools 8010A Air Compressor is designed to have one of the lowest noise levels among air compressors in the industry of only 60 dB. The powerful 1.0 HP motor runs at 1680 rpm and causes less wear.

The oil-free dual Piston Pump System is manufactured for great performance and durability. The pump life cycle before wear is more than 3000 hours compared to other air compressors with life cycles of only 500 hours or less. The oil-free pump allows use in different temperatures and uneven terrains. The wheel kit provided with the unit makes it easy to transport. The low noise level of the air compressor is excellent for indoor applications.

8. PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor Kit (CMB15)

best small air compressor
PORTER-CABLE CMB15 – The Most Powerful Small Air Compressor (Reference: amazon.com)

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • ● Oil-free, maintenance-free
  • ● Quiet operation
Cons
  • ● Relatively large for home uses
  • ● Relatively expensive

Specifications 

Power source electric
Capacity 1.5 gallons
Weight 20 lbs
Dimensions 15.5 x 13.25 x 20.5 inches
Maximum air pressure 150 PSI
Air flow rate 2 SCFM at 90 PSI
Horsepower 0.8
Oil-free pump Yes

 

General Description

PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor Kit (CMB15) is the most potent small air compressor you can buy online. There is no light or medium-sized task that this small air compressor cannot complete.

Its electric motor air flow generation is sufficient to simultaneously power up to two or three medium-duty pneumatic devices.

The design of this air compressor makes it more like a home appliance than a tool. The motor is powered on a 120V AC and has a low current draw at startup. This air compressor works excellent in cold climates because it starts in sub-zero temperatures without any difficulties. This unit includes a 25-feet coil hose and an 8-piece accessory kit that helps different inflation tasks. Another strength is low recovery time.

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