Finding the Best Air Compressor: A Buyer’s Guide

air compressorIf you are one of those do-it-yourself (DIY) types and you have power tools at home, you might want to buy an air compressor to help you in your DIY work. As many of those who have purchased these types of machine can tell you, air compressors can help you save time and improve efficiency.

There are several types of air compressors for sale in the marketplace today. To help you make a better informed buying decision, we have gathered the top three air compressors ranked according to consumer reports and reviews on sites such as Amazon.com. But first, here are some factors to consider when shopping for an air compressor you want to use at home.

Air Compressor Buyer Guide

All compressors normally function the same way: compressed air is stored in a container. The resulting pressure of the compressed air that is released can inflate tires or even toys, and provides power to some tools like paint sprayers.

Here are some things to keep in mind before you buy an air compressor:

1. For what purposes will you be using a power compressor?

Think about the requirements of the tools you will be using, especially the air pressure and volume they’ll be needing. Getting a compressor with a tank that’s too large for a certain application will actually make your work less efficient since you will find yourself waiting for the tank to fill up.

2. Where will you be using your power compressor?

Compressors that are powered by gasoline are thought to be more powerful than electric-powered compressors. However, gasoline-powered compressors are not recommended for indoor use because of the exhaust fumes they emit. Electric would be better if you will be using your compressor in a room or building or any other enclosed space.

3. Will you be carrying it or moving it around?

Those for whom space is a problem would probably appreciate vertical compressors since they require only a small storage space. But if you think you will be moving your compressor from area to area, you might want to consider a horizontal compressor because its weight and shape make it easier to transport.

Finally, consider the amount of money you are willing to spend. The best thing of course would be to find the equipment that will satisfy your needs at a price you’re happy with. There are many air compressors for sale that meet almost every budget.

What Is the Best Portable Air Compressor?

To help you find an air compressor that’s perfect for your needs and budget, we have compiled the three best-selling and most-highly reviewed and best-rated air compressor models on Amazon.com.

1. Makita MAC700 Big Bore 2.0 HP Air Compressor

This Makita power air compressor has one of the highest ratings and reviews on Amazon. Its cast iron pump with big bore cylinder and piston, coupled with greater bore and stroke, ensure high output. It has a large 1,720-RPM pump and a low-amp draw that lowers the risk premature motor failure. Wear and tear is minimized because it is oil lubricated.

Pros:
- It is unusually quiet compared to other air compressor models. Almost all of the hundreds of five-star reviews for this Makita machine emphasize this feature.
- The cycle times are very short because the tank fills with air in less than 20 seconds.
- One reviewer said that for the price, it is a much better buy than a Husky air compressor or a Campbell Hausfeld air compressor.
- It is sturdy and heavy. Also, its ergonomic design makes sure there are no exposed wires or lines exposed that can be inadvertently snagged.
- Changing and maintaining oil levels is easy because of the convenient location of the oil drain and oil sight glass.

Cons:
- It is heavier than some other portable compressors.
- Some say the user manual is poorly written.
- A reviewer observed that the unit did not work on most 15 amp circuits.

2. Porter-Cable C2002-WK Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor with 13-Piece Accessory Kit

This Porter-Cable air compressor has quite a number of 4- and 5-star reviews on Amazon. It weighs 34 pounds and measures almost 21 inches high. It is an oil-free pump that has a maximum tank pressure of 150 psi. The six-gallon tank is designed Pancake style, and includes rubber feet and a water drain valve. Here are what users say they like most about this air compressor in their reviews.

Pros:
- It is great for running finish guns, which don’t have high CFM requirements.
- The higher pressure permits 120 psi cut-in or restart.
- It’s more than enough for the everyday homeowner’s needs, such as tire inflation and filter cleaning.
- It is lightweight and easy to move around.
- It is durable; a reviewer stated that his machine still works fine after one year of use.

Cons:
- Some have complained about design flaws such as the short air hose and the tendency of the exposed gauges to be easily damaged.
- One reviewer said the tank pressure gauge stopped functioning after four months of sporadic use.

3. Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak 1-Gallon Compressor

This Senco air compressor gets a lot of rave reviews from Amazon customers. It is lightweight at 20 pounds and is thus easy to transport to and from various locations. It doesn’t make a loud noise when running, making it suitable for indoor use. It features a direct drive motor, a one-gallon aluminum tank and a lubeless pump. It is recommended by many people for use with small to medium jobs requiring the use of pneumatic tools.

Pros:
- One reviewer said it works great as a second compressor that supports small nail guns, and works well for small trim projects or framing projects.
- It emits very little noise, and the rubber feet keep it in place during operation.
- It is durable; one reviewer wrote that his Senco air compressor is functioning well after two years.
- It runs quietly compared to pancake compressors and is very easy to move around.
- It is also used by professionals such as hardwood flooring contractors and carpenters for small jobs.

Cons:
- One customer noticed leaking from one of the welds holding the tank to the frame.
- Another user described a rust problem with the tank.
- Manufacturing defects can occur sometimes.

Comparing costs, features, and prices online are great ways to find the right type of air compressor. But reading air compressor reviews written by users who have purchased and used them is also an important part of finding the best air compressor for your needs.

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