Air Compressors: a guide for buyers and customer reviews
Are you anxious to buy a good air compressor or just to look for the air compressor reviews? Well, you should look no further. The answer is here for you – for our site is the place where hours and hours of researching and testing are pooled to provide you with the necessary information. To make your search even easier, we have analyzed the situation on the market and posted a list of best air compressors available nowadays. Our information comes complete with comparison chart and user reviews.
How to select an Air Compressor that is fitting for you?
Nowadays, air compressors are common items to spot in a tool store, and are available in many different types. There are several key parameters that make the difference. Before choosing an air compressor there are things for you to consider, such as price points, specifications, durability and portability.
To save your time and money, it is very important to choose a fitting compressor that suits your job and your needs. A process of choosing an air compressor that is fitting to your particular wishes and needs is shown in the following video:
When it comes to the concept of air compressors, many people are still newbies – the use of these items across the population is still far from widespread. For those, our site will provide the necessary basics to keep you informed. You can be sure that when you need to buy an air compressor, you will be equipped with up-to-date, in-depth information, and of course that will help you to make a correct decision. So if you are currently in search of an air compressor, you may count yourself lucky to have stumbled on what may well be the best buying guide when it comes to choosing the air compressors.
In particular, we would like to specify the following important points (seven in total). Try to remember these and take them into consideration, and only then you will be successful in buying a right type of an air compressor:
1. Understand the needs that are specific to yourself.
Based on category they are used for, there are three types of air compressors one can buy:
These are ones that are less powerful, and mainly used for small tasks (inflating stuff like toys, sport tools etc) and sometimes in household equipments like staplers or brad guns.
Medium powered compressors that are large-sized, and designed to meet the professional requirements. Typically used for industry-related applications like repairing tools/nail guns on the job sites.
These high-powered units are also used in industry but in cases that require a continuous compressed air supply, for example, roller coasters.
When you are choosing an air compressor, you need to answer on the following questions in order to select the kind of air compressor which suits you best:
- Which are the things you need the most from the air compressor?
- Which category do you need it for? (i.e. household usage, industrial usage, or for commercial usage)
- Which are the specific requirements (if any) for the tool that you are going to power with the air compressor you plan to buy?
- Which are the pressure and volume needs for this specific tool you are going to use? (i.e. light-duty tool will need a lighter, portable air compressor; while the heavy-duty tool will need one that provides the high pressure)
For all intents and purposes, selecting the category of the air compressor is helpful, for it allows you to save your time. This is precisely because you are narrowing down your options, which optimizes the process of selecting your air compressor model.
2. Determine whether you need a piston-type compressor or a compact and portable one:
Portable compressors provide the instant supply of the compressed air, and lack the storage tank
Piston-type compressors use a tank for storing the air compressed with help of their internal motor. They also fall into two further categories:
Piston-type (Single stage)
Single stage piston-type compressors withdraw and compress the air in single piston stroke. This type of compressors is more efficient at low pressures. They have high CDM rating and are capable of compressing pressure of up to 150 PSI
Piston-type (Double stage)
Double stage piston-type compressors withdraw air during the first stroke, and then compress it during the second one. They are more efficient at high pressures and have lower CFM rating. Piston-type compressors are also capable of compressing pressure of up to 200 PSI.
Generally, it is recommended to choose a portable compressor for light-duty applications such as inflating tires, rafts, and powering various kinds of guns (spray guns, glue guns etc.).
Heavy duty applications require piston-type compressors, with single- or double-stage type preference being based on your pressure needs. Industrial usage typically requires air compressor to provide high pressure (which means double stage), otherwise you can stop on a low-pressure single stage air compressor.
3. Gain the understanding of air compressors’ technical specifications
CFM stands for “cubic feet per minute”. There are units to measure the volumetric flow of air, basically what CFM value tells you is how much air the compressor will produce.
ACFM stands for “actual cubic feet per minute”. It represents the volumetric flow of air taken after consideration of humidity, height, temperature, and other atmospheric factors.
SCFM stands for “standard cubic feet per minute”. These are units to measure the flow of free air (reference would be: 14.5 PSIA, 68” F,0% relative humidity)
DCFM stands for displaced cubic feet per minute. Used for for calculating the parameters of bore, stroke and rpm.
From these, SCFM is perphaps the best to use for comparing air compressors and their options. The tool you aim to use air compressor for also has SCFM rating. Therefore, it is a good idea to check it and shortlist the compressors that are the most compatible for your tool. For example, a tool requiring 5.0 CFM can work with air compressor that delivers approximately 6.5 – 8.0 CFM
HP stands for horsepower, generally falling within range from 1.5 to 6.5HP. Small horsepower is sufficient for light duty work, and if the application is heavy scale industry, you should look for high horsepower instead. But horsepower is not something you should base your choice of air compressor on. The first and foremost parameter for selecting and buying air compressor is it’s CFM rating.
Power Source is also an important parameter, since you might be working in a place that lacks electricity. However, if you have a constant electricity supply, there is no question that you should buy an electric compressor. The majority of electric compressors run on 110V, with only some larger ones running on 240V.
4. Select the best tank size (Piston-type air compressors only)
The large size of the tank naturally increases the volume, size, weight and bulk of the equipment. Choose a tank too large and it becomes difficult or impossible to use in smaller areas.
The smaller tank has a downside on its own, namely that it stores less air. The air supplied quickly becomes overheated, and the resulting condensation in the hoses and pipes reduces their working life. Not to mention the increased motor strain that reduces motor’s working life as well. So it is recommended for you to choose the size of tank carefully, and as rule of thumb, it’s better to buy a tank as big as possible, based on the size of your working area.
5. Choose between air compressors that are oil-free, and those that are oil-lubricated:
Oil-free air compressors are mostly soundless and easy to maintain. They are also easy to port due to their compact size. The downside is their shorter lifespan because of lack of lubricant.
Oil-lubricated air compressors produce sound and need regular maintenance and check. They are bulky and are too heavy to afford any frequent movement. But each their part works longer due to lubricant, increasing the lifespan of such air compressor significantly.
6. Choose between portable and stationary air compressors:
Air compressors can be roughly divided by their sizes – into those that are small and portable, and those that are large and fixable but more powerful. Portable models typically come with small tanks (5 gallons or less) and accessories for transportation such as a handle or wheel. Their stationary counterparts have big size, more powerful motor, and large tanks that can be oriented horizontally or vertically. The choice here is much to the personal preference of the consumer.
7. Ask an expert in field of air compressors for a professional guidance
It is recommended to ask details and information about the performance of various air compressor models from experienced users of air compressors, especially from those that use air compressors frequently as part of their job. Finding a technical advisor of sorts allows you to direct all your custom technical requirements to another person, one who has a better understanding of them than you do. This hopefully will result in you being directed to air compressor model that seems most appropriate in light of your current needs. Still, what suits someone else might not suit you, so the recommended course of action would be collecting and evaluating various options as you build your own knowledge. This will allow you to become a sort of expert in your own right, if only a bit, and to work out your requirements for such air compressor, that you deem fitting for yourself.
Four Air Compressors reviewed:
The four top air compressors are presented here for you to discuss. Hopefully, these air compressor reviews will help you to select the unit that suits your needs the most:
California Air Tools CAT-6310 Ultra Quiet and Oil-Free 1.0 Hp 6.3-Gallon Steel Tank model is a good choice for those searching for a portable air compressor that is both affordable and functional. According to description, this compressor model is oil free and ultra quiet. As you learned from our guide, this ensures that less costs and time will be spent for maintenance.
This air compressor is suited for a number of tasks such as: wood working, vulcanizing, spray painting, also can be used with dry cleaners, reservoir tanks, hydraulic pressure tanks, car washer, maintenance, repair and those are just a few examples. You can take this compressor and carry it with you anywhere, since it’s a lightweight one, which means you can use it both in household and industrial works. Any place where noise would be an issue (be it industrial or homework) makes this compressor a suitable and welcome addition.
This compressor has dimensions of 23.6 x 13.3 x 24 inches, which, coupled with weight of 50 lbs, indicates it’s portability and lightweight. 1 HP motor featured is very quited yet sufficient to accomplish various small tasks. So that water build up would not destroy the compressor (water can cause rust which then triggers other malfunctions), there is a feature known as water trap that allows to remove excessive water from air. Additional features include dual valve design, four pole motor and additional cylinders for more effective use.
1.2 Rundown of compressor’s features:
Dimensions: 23.6 x 13.3 x 24 inches
Motor: a powerful motor of 1 HP (rated/running) and 2 HP peak performance, with 1680 RPM motor speed and low vibration. Has low amp draw (7.6-amps)
Pump: dual piston pump of extra large size that is oil-free and provides increased compression. It can be uses under various temperatures and in various terrain types. Requires less maintenance and repair costs, and has extra long working life (over 3000 hours).
Tank: steel horizontal tank of 6.3 gal. Has two wheels, as well as one handle. Can be filled in only 155 seconds.
Pressure produced: to ensure more CFM, this model comes with dual valve plate design. At 90 psi it produces 2.35 CFM, and at 40 psi – 3.80 CFM. Maximum pressure equals to 120 psi. It also is equipped with a pair of pressure control gauges and a single water trap.
Noise level: ultra quiet (60 decibels only)
Cooldown and heat management: has thermal overload protector and produces less heat by dissipating it more effectively
Weight: lightweight (49 lbs) for easy portability.
Other: comes with universal quick connector
Warranty: 1 year limited warranty.
1.3 Customer reports:
Majority of the customer reviews for California Air Tools CAT-6310 are positive, so we will note the minor complaints. For one, there were reports of this air compressor model being ill-suited for heavy jobs. And true, an 1 HP power motor included with this model is not powerful enough to work with heavy machinery even if its two stage compressor is arguably designed for industrial use. Some complained about the noise reduction feature, more specifically about the rotation speed being decreased to reduce noise, which makes this air compressor less powerful than it could possibly be. And finally, there were even complaints about lightweight of this air compressor. You would think this is an obvious advantage, since it offers better portability, but as some people have experienced, a lightweight air compressor can easily fall to the ground and become damaged from the impact as result. Looking on a broad picture, it isn’t hard to realize that the disadvantages noted here are merely minor faults, with certain ways to solve them. Overall, the California Air Tools CAT-6310 is not something you should miss, for it is a great air compressor.
One of the most popular air compressors at Amazon, PORTER-CABLE C2002-WK oil-free UMC Portable Pancake Compressor is a really good choice for those looking for a quiet portable oil-free air compressor. It is cheap, suitable for professional jobs of light usage type (such as powering a tool like stapler or a nail gun) and attached with a drain. This air compressor didn’t become the best selling one by an accident. As a quality product produced by one of the best and well-known companies and equipped with great features, this air compressor may be a perfect option for those people who are searching for a compact design (complete with portable tools) and enhanced performance.
PORTER-CABLE C2002-WK Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor is equipped with built-in handle and weights 30 lbs, which makes it easy and comfortable for one person to carry around. Package also includes an accessory kit of 13 pieces – namely it comes with three inflation adaptors, 25′ x 1/4″ PVC air hose complete with coupler and plug, blow gun with rubber tip and OSHA safety nozzle, blow gun with plug, and tire gauge. No additional oir separator is needed for this model, since it comes with an oil free feature, which prevents the oil leakage from the compressor. For optimal use, oil is kept sealed inside the compressor unit. The unit is equipped with soft start motor of 0.8 HP and 120 volt. The motor’s durability and longer working life are ensured by replaceable brush, and it provides an output of 2.6 SCFM at 90 psi, filling the 6 gallon tank at reasonable rate to a maximum value of 150 psi. PORTER-CABLE C2002-WK is compatible with most of small air tools, making your tool collection more useful and functional.
2.2 Rundown of compressor’s features:
Dimensions: 18.3 x 18 x 19 inches.
Motor: Low-amp 120-volt, 0.8 HP soft start motor. Has an extension cord, which allows to start the motor easily in cold weather.
Pump: Oil-free pump. Requires no maintenance and provides long working life and durability of the compressor.
Tank: pancake-style flat & wide 6-gallon tank
Pressure produced: at 90 psi produces 2.6 SCFM for compressor’s quick recovery time, and at 150 psi produces maximum tank pressure. This ensures that more air is stored inside the tank for cases when longer performance time for particular tool is required. 150 psi maximum tank pressure ensures that there is more air stored inside the tank for extended tool run times.
Other: water drain valve is included as protection against rust and corrosion. It keeps air moisture-free. Leaks are prevented by air coupler and plug. Unit is equipped with rubber feet, and it’s internal components are being protected by means of shroud, and a console cover. There is also a handle, making the unit much easier to carry around.
2.3 Customer reports:
Most of customer reviews posted for the PORTER-CABLE C2002-WK Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor are on positive side. There are however some drawbacks reported by part of customers. For example, oil-free pump, while not the loudest one around, is still considered loud by some people since it produces 82 decibels loud sound. The noice may eventually become a problem when air compressor is turned on for overly long periods of time while being inside of confined space or indoors. Other customers reported that when this model of air compressor stackis up, it may cause malfunctioning. But overall, this air compressor unit was considered a reliable, high-performance one. Customers praised it’s accessort kits, portability and good quality when evaluated within its price range.
Designed with a cast iron cylinder and a big bore pump, the Makita MAC700 Big Bore 2.0 HP Air Compressor is an efficient and powerful air compressor, able to give increased compression complete with less noise and faster recovery time. It demonstrates great durability even when used under strenuous conditions due to the quality of compressor’s construction. Makita MAC700 comes with a tank of 2.6 gallons, able to sustain the operating pressure of 130 psi. The increased efficiency and better air intake are provided by large, automotive style filter while a low amp draw prevents the premature failure of the motor by reducing instances of dropping of voltage and tripping the circuit breakers. And something very important, the Makita MAC700 compressor model is oil-lubricated and as such has longer life span compared to oil-less compressors (oil ensures longevity). This means that remaining oil level needs to be checked every time before operating the compressor as it requires regular oil change.
3.2 Rundown of compressor’s features:
Dimensions: 18 x 22 x 10 inches
Motor: air compressor is powered by 2.0 HP motor.
Pump: to deliver top performance, a 1720 RPM cast iron pump with big bore cylinder and piston works in combination to provide greater bore and stroke, while oil lubrication provides enhanced pump performance and reduces equipment wear.
Tank: 2.6 gallons
Pressure produced: operating pressure equales to 130 psi
Noise level: the 1720 RPM pump, which ensures that noise level is greatly reduced
Weight: around sixty pounds.
Other: comes with automotive styled large filter to ensure better efficiency.
Warranty: a one-year warranty from the manufacturer.
3.3 Customer reports:
The customer reviews for Makita MAC700 Big Bore 2.0 HP come from various customers, such as home shop owner, remodeling contractor, a weekend handyman or a full-time working carpenter, but one constant is that this particular air compressor model has received universal acclaim and 5 star ratings from all of them. Customers specifically noted that the unit is reliable and can be used for long perioid of time due to it’s high quality construction. Aside of not breaking quickly, it also performs well in diverse work conditions – the customers used it for cleaning RC cars, framing nailers, filling tires, pumping up large inflatable objects and various other similar projects. Other positive remarks noted it’s efficiency, reduced noise level and high performance. Overall, Makita MAC700 seems to be going ahead of it’s competition within its price range and class, boasting excellent build quality and better output than its competitors.
Senco PC1010 air compressor is very easy to maintain – you will only need to check the condition of safety relief valve once per month, and the exterior surface needs cleaning once per week. As you can see, even if the unit is used often, less maintenance is necessary. The capacity of compressor equals to one gallon. It is also portable and very easy to carry around the working area, as its weight is only 20 lbs with dimensions of 14 x 13 x 10 inches. As you can see, the small size may be a blessing for customers that work in confined areas. Senco PC1010 is oil free (no need to check the oil level and change) and uses a direct drive type motor, highly effective for various types of jobs such as refurbishment, remodeling, craft projects and hobbies..
4.2 Rundown of compressor’s features:
Dimensions: 14 x 13 x 10 inches
Motor: direct drive motor of ½ HP, and peak power displayed is 1 HP
Tank: 1 gallon
Noise level: uses technology of ultra noise reduction
Cooldown and heat management: quick cool down allows to pack up the unit in 30 seconds after shutting it off
Weight: this compressor is lightweight, around 20 lbs
Warranty: one-year warranty
4.3 Customer reports:
In customer reviews, Senco PC1010 model is praised for being very lightweight, small and highly portable air compressor, easy to carry from site to site. It is considered to be ideal choice for home renovation and improvement jobs as well as hobbies. The reported downsides (or more correctly, the limitations) of this air compressor model are the long time it takes to refill the tank, and the fact that it is only suited for small and medium jobs and light use in general. This is because Senco PC1010 is not designed for being a professional construction unit. For example it is not suitable for operating two or more nail guns at same time, and in such case it is recommended to consider air compressor with higher SCFM.
Air Compressor brands listed
Air compressors are pretty much a common commodity nowadays, as they take part in variety of mechanical processes (including ball mills and pump sets), hence they are purchased for manufacturing units and industrial units alike, both big and small. A clear analysis of market currently saturated witb various brands is thus required to determine their specialties and what they offer versus the purpose you are buying an air compressor for. An easy example would be – there is no need to buy an top product in case you are not going to use it often. In such case it surely will be better to search for a basic reciprocating piston compressor. But purchasing a compressor for manufacturing needs is another story, for you may need to take a more detailed look at the brands and their compressor types.
California Air Tools specialize in lightweight compressors that are ultra quiet and oil free, which aere to use in workshops or at home. While this particular set of compressors is their specialization, they also have oil-lubricated air compressors in case you need these. Additionally, you can buy from them different kinds of accessories and air tools. This is handy because most of other big manufactures tend to skip these things as miscellanneous.
This brand is an oldest company from Ohio, and a household name in the USA. It is well-known manufacturer of goods and tools for DIY, suitable for home use. There you will find tools that don’t cost a fortune and are great to use for your home needs – or you can use them at any kind of workshop. Other items that can be bought there aside of air compressors include spary guns, pressure washers, generators and winches.
This company is a part of Black & Decker and manufactures a variety of compact compressor units that usually have both of either electric or diesel motors. Dewalt is also well-known provider of air compressors for contractor market. And since these are portable by their nature, it makes Dewalt a perfect company to hire air compressors from in case you need them for temporal use only or if sudden maintenance problems arose for air compressors that you happen to own already.
A public company and big brand manufacturer, Ingersoll Rand provides air compressors and many related tools (lifting tools, electric tools, blowers, etc). This is the best company to purchase air compressors for industrial needs, for it is well known in business for the sheer quality of their products and also provides great support. Not only that, apart from air compressors Ingersoll Rand also provides solutions regarding climate control, residence, security, and even refrigeration technologies.
Makita is Japan-based top manufacturer of both consumer and professional power tool, particularly famous for their line of extremely robust high power generators. Extreme reliability, performance and efficiency is a hallmark of all their products, so you can expect similar quality from their air compressors as well.
A mexican company that introduced many new power tools to the market such as helical-drive circular saw, and a subsidiary of Black & Decker, Porter-Cable is primarily known as power tool manufacturer. This makes them industrial/manufacturing counterpart of Dewalt (another subsidiary of Black & Decker), and ensures that you will get high-quality air compressors for your workshops or manufacturing units.
Of course there are many other famous air compressor brands out here – such as BOSTITCH, Craftsman, Hitachi, Husky, Industrial Air, Senco and others…
As different customers each have unique needs, their reviews are expected to vary from each other even for the same product. Narrowing down the necessary parameters of an air conditioner type you are going to buy, and then proceeding with a complete research about this product type is the recommended course of action for you before choosing and buying anything. Once in the store, you should also look and feel the product, as well as try how it works. Online purchase may work fine too, but it is recommended to locate the model and test it with your own hands before buying it online. We also hope that our article was a useful buying guide in your journey to select best air compressor.