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Best Air Compressors for the Money – Review and Guide

An air compressor is an essential machine to have in your workshop. Serving multiple purposes, this apparatus comes in various styles and sizes designed to adapt to domestic or industrial use.

This machine is essential for various things, from inflating beach toys to powering pneumatic tools. but which is the air compressor for the money?

Campbell Hausfeld DC080500

Here's a list of Top 5 Best Air Compressor

To help you in your quest of finding the best, we soured the market and identified the most promising models. Check them out below. But first, here’s what you should know before buying.

How to Pick an Air Compressor

Power Source

  • Electric-powered: Is a compact and lightweight machine that plugs directly into a wall socket or your car’s 12V receptacle. It is designed majorly for domestic use, although many models are reliable enough to address light to medium-duty industrial applications. Obviously, though, their mobility depends on the length of the power cord.
  • Gas-powered: Is larger and heavier than their electric counterpart, but its mobility has no limits. This type is also more powerful and capable of handling all heavy-duty applications. Gas-powered compressors are cumbersome, hard to transport, and hard to use by inexperienced operators though. That’s why these machines are often preferred by professionals, but they are rarely found in home workshops.

Compressor Type

Besides the power source, air compressors can also be classified into five further types based on their looks.

  • Pancake compressor: Maybe the most popular kind due to its compact and truly lightweight construction. This compressor rarely exceeds 30 pounds in weight and has a round, flat tank with a capacity from four to six gallons.
  • Wheelbarrow compressor: It is heavier and bulkier than the pancake, but still popular among home users. This machine comes with a sturdy handle and all-terrain wheels and is easy to wheel around the job site. Wheelbarrow compressors usually have large air tanks of at least gallons, adapting to heavy-duty demands.
  • Pontoon compressor: Is distinguished by a long, horizontal tank shaped just like a cylinder. This type of compressor has a small capacity, usually of fewer than 4 gallons and is usually heavier than the pancake style.
  • Hot-dog compressor: The funny name is owed to its shape. This type of air compressors maintains the same long tank on the pontoon, but it displays it vertically. It is great if you’re looking for a compact compressor with a small footprint.
  • Twin-stack compressor: Features two cylindrical tanks positioned one on top of the other. This arrangement enhances more power into a more compact design; this compressor typically has a small tank capacity of around four gallons but thanks to its excellent performance, is often used in industrial settings.

Compression Stages

Deciding upon a model and power source is hardly enough when it comes to choosing the best air compressor. These machines are further divided into single-stage and dual-stage units.

Both types work similarly, and the main difference between them is the number of times the air gets compressed while traveling between the inlet and outlet valves.

As it’s easy to figure it out, the name says it all; single-stage compressors compress the air only one time, whereas dual-stage units compress the air two times doubling the pressure.

CFM Factor

The most critical feature to consider when buying an air compressor is the CFM. This value determines how fast your compressor can supply the air to your tools. Most air compressors have CFMs ratings between 0.5 and 3, and you should pick the one with the highest possible value.

The reason is simple; if your pneumatic tool uses air faster than the compressor can provide it, you’ll have to stop working and wait for the tank to refill. Some of the most commonly used power tools may require:

  • 0.3 CFM – brad nailer
  • 3 to 6 CFM – pneumatic drill
  • 5 to 8 CFM – angle grinder
  • 12 CFM – LPHV spray gun

PSI Factor

Looking at the PSI factor is essential, but this number is not as essential as the CFM. Most air compressors on the market are made to work with all hobby pneumatic tools, and they output sufficient pressure for domestic and light commercial use. Furthermore, the high-end units are capable of handling high-volume industrial demands. For instance, all the equipment mentioned above requires only 90 PSI.

So, where is the clinch? Simple. Higher PSI means that a smaller tank can hold more air, which in the end means that you can invest in a smaller unit with a higher PSI have both portability and performance.

Top 5 Best Air Compressor

1. California Air Tools 8010

California Air Tools 8010


  • Ultra quiet
  • Low amps draw
  • Fast fill tank time
  • Powerful motor
  • 120 PSI


For medium-duty DIY tasks, this air compressor has a powerful 1.0-horsepower motor that runs at just 1680 revolutions per minute, which creates less noise, wear, and tear. The oil-free tanks ensure low maintenance while the extra-large dual piston pump delivers fast and continuous air delivery.

Quiet Operation

This air compressor from California Air Tools boasts one of the quietest operations in the industry as it operates at just 60 dB. In other words, you can use your power tools to your heart's content.

Overall Assessment

If you have to work in challenging conditions, know that it comes with an aluminum rust-free 8-gallon tank designed for a variety of terrains and temperatures. Furthermore, its 50lbs lightweight design and included wheel kit make it very easy to transport. This user-friendly compressor also has a tank that goes from empty to full in just 120 seconds, while the low amp draw means it can safely be used even inside your home.

California Air Tools 8010 Video Review

2. Campbell Hausfeld DC080500

Campbell Hausfeld DC080500


  • Oil-free maintenance
  • 125 max PSI
  • 8-gallon tank
  • Rubber-grip handle
  • All-terrain wheels

Working Performance

You will be able to complete all your projects quickly and easily with this compressor driven by a reliable oil-free induction motor. The dual maintenance-free piston pump is guaranteed to last at least four times longer and produce at least 25% more air compared to other 1.0 horsepower air compressors.


Whether you are inflating a tire or fixing something around your home, the 8-gallon horizontal air tank is easy to move around thanks to the large wheels and durable, rubber-grip handle made of steel.

Overall Assessment

This air compressor boasts power and is super quiet.  It has a wheelbarrow style and delivers excellent working performance. It runs as low as 68dB, a feature that makes it at least 50% quieter than other units on the market. So if you have to get done any hobby painting, tire inflation, or home repairs, this is the right compressor for you.

Campbell Hausfeld DC080500 Video Review




  • Pancake style compressor
  • 13 accessories
  • 150 PSI
  • 6-gallon capacity
  • Quick recovery time

Pancake Style

A pancake-style air compressor that has made it to our list, the PORTER-CABLE features a powerful, smooth performing induction motor and an oil-free pump. It also comes high flow regulators and couplers and a large 150 PSI 6-gallon tank. Performing and reliable, this compressor provides 2.6 CFM at 90 PSI so that you can expect top air pressure, long run time, and quick recovery time.


Extra-features include a 13-piece accessory kit you can use for a host of alternative uses, such as inflating tires and beach toys. The compressor is also covered by a 1-year manufacturer warranty. Just know that you will need some earplugs for this compressor, as it has a loud 82dB rating.

Overall Assessment

This compressor is ideal for the average household, and if you need to work in challenging outdoor winter conditions, know that it comes with an upgraded shroud, console and handle cover designed to protect it from wear and tear. It is also quite lightweight at 30lbs, and fairly easy to transport and store.

Porter-Cable C2002 Video Review

4. Bostitch BTFP02012

Bostitch BTFP02012


  • 150 PSI
  • 6-gallon tank
  • High-efficiency motor
  • High-flow regulator
  • Oil-free operation

Great Value

This compressor features a maintenance-free oil pump that delivers 2.6 CFM at 90 PSI, and a 6-gallon tank capable of outputting up to 150 PSI for long run time and quick recovery. If you are working with a buddy, you’ll love the high-flow regulator and two universal couplers which maximize tool performance and applications.


Weighing 29lbs, this compressor is quite lightweight and easy to store. It has a sturdy handle and rubber-grip feet that keep it securely on the floor. The large air pressure gauge located at the front of the unit for easy access, just perfect for light industrial settings.

Overall Assessment

Extremely affordable, the Bostitch BTFP02012 is a pancake style compressor designed for professionals, but that makes quick work of any indoor DIY projects. This air compressor is also covered by a 1-year limited warranty.

Bostitch BTFP020212 Video Review

5. Makita MAC700

Makita MAC700


  • Large displacement pump
  • Oil lubricated cooler
  • Quick recovery time
  • 2-horsepower engine
  • 3.3 CFM at 90 PSI


The Makita's compressor is powered by a strong 2 horsepower motor and comes with a cast iron cylinder with greater stroke and bore for increased compression, less noise, and faster recovery. The oil lubricated pump comes equipped with a large filter which allows for superior air intake and the right amount of air pressure and fast recovery time.

High PSI

With this compressor can expect greater pump and motor life. MAC700’s motor runs cooler and at lower revolutions per minute than other units on the market. The 2.6-gallon tank also sustains an operating pressure of 130 PSI, while the low amp reduces any possibility of voltage drop or tripped breakers that can cause premature failure.

Overall Assessment

If you need to work in a harsh environment or in hot weather, the discharge tubing of this unit helps to dissipate heat more efficiently. This compressor has a compact design, but also a substantial weight of 52 pounds. It’s heavy but the sturdy, and it can surely serve you well in all your projects.

Makita MAC700 Video Review


An air compressor can certainly serve a host of purposes. No matter why you need it, we hope you now know which are some of the best models on the market. All you have to do is choose your favorite from the list above and start enjoying its benefits.


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