Best Small Air Compressor (Review & Buying Guide) in 2022

Best Small Air Compressor: Review And Buying Guide

Best Small Air Compressor

Air Compressors are a versatile tool that can be used to do a variety of different jobs in different types of scenarios. Air compressors have their uses in the manufacturing industry, construction work and even in day-to-day life. One can use an air compressor for nailing, bolting, fastening of screws, inflating tires, painting to even running high-speed engines of ships and aeroplanes.

Air compressors come in a variety of different types, categories, sizes and power options. Choosing the right kind of air compressor becomes necessary for the proper completion of the job that we are trying to do. One size fits all mantra does not bode well in the case of air compressors. Different jobs have different types of requirements and a specific type of air compressor can only do the job properly.

You should not blindly go for the biggest, most powerful air compressor on the market and hope that it will be enough for all your needs. Doing so fill drain your money faster than you can drink a cup of coffee and will also leave you with a headache as the top-of-the-line air compressors cost a lot of money.

You should always look at the job requirements that you would be taking up or are doing to understand what type of air compressor will be required to do the job and then invest properly. Buying the biggest, most powerful and expensive air compressor is not only a bad idea but also a very dumb one. As someone has rightly said bigger does not always mean better. 

There are plenty of air compressors out there that despite being small pack quite a punch and then there are those that well they are large but do not have impressive stats. It all comes down to how well a manufacturer has researched the product and then built it. An air compressor from a reputed brand is always going to be much better than an air compressor from an off-brand source.

Some manufactures put in serious effort into making their air compressors as compact and portable as possible without the need to compromise on their power. While some manufacturers will just build a bigger air compressor in the hopes of attracting the consumer base who have a mentality of bigger means better.

Air compressor should always be measured in CFM which stands for cubic feet per minute which is the capacity of air that an air compressor can provide in a minute. The size of the air compressor has nothing to do with the airflow capacity of the machine and therefore should not be considered while trying to make a decision of buying one such air compressor.

ProductNoise LevelTank SizeWarrantyBuy Now
1. Makita Big Bore Air Compressor 79 dB 4.2 Gallon 1 Year Parts & Labor Buy This
2. AstroAI Air Compressor36 dB 50 Cubic Centimeters 3 years warranty Buy This
3. CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor 78.5 dB 6 Gallon 1 Year Buy This
4. DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor 78.5 dB 6 Gallon 1 year limited manufacturers warranty Buy This
5. Senco PC1010 68 dB 1 Gallon 1 Year Buy This
6. Bostitch Oil Free High Output Air Compressor.68 dB 1.2 Gallon 1 Year Limited Buy This
7. Smittybilt Universal Air CompressorNA 72 Liters 1 Year Buy This
8. Viair Portable Air Compressor NANA1 year manufacturer defect warranty Buy This
  1. Makita MAC2400 2.5 HP Big Bore Air Compressor

The Makita MAC2400 is a compact big bore air compressor with a weight of 80.0 pounds. It has a tank size of 4.2 gallons and is equipped with a cast-iron pump. It has a maximum pressure of 130 PSI and airflow of 4.2 CFM at 90 PSI and 4.8 CFM at 40 PSI. The pump is oil-lubricated to provide lower temperatures and also draws less amp to reduce the possibility of accidents. It also features a convenient oil drain and oil sight glass, a tank drain valve for easy maintenance and a finned discharge tube to dissipate heat better.


  • Has a high-pressure rating so can be used for a variety of applications.
  • 4.8 CFM can provide adequate airflow to a number of power tools.
  • Oil sight glass makes it easy to spot the level of oil present.


  • Tank size is limited to 4.2 gallons.
  • Noise levels not quite as low as the competition.
  1. AstroAI Air Compressor

The AstroAI is a very compact mini air compressor that is extremely lightweight and portable and packs quite a punch, it runs on 12 Volts DC power which gives it the ultimate portability as it can be run off of just a small battery pack. It weighs just 2.2 pounds and is useful for inflating the tire of your car or motorcycle in a jiffy. It is capable of inflating a 195/55/T15 car tire from 0 PSI to 35 PSI in under 5 minutes. It is also calibrated to only provide a 1.5 per cent margin of error and also has the ability to preset the amount of pressure that you would like to pump in your tire. It has auto-shutoff technology which prevents it from over-inflating your tire and causing uneven tire pressure. Its power cable has a length of 10 feet so that you can easily reach the four tires of your vehicle.


  • Has a high-pressure rating so can be used for a variety of applications.
  • Can quickly and effortlessly inflate tires of different sizes.
  • Long power cable makes it easy to reach to all wheels of the vehicle.
  • Has a very quiet operation.


  • Tank size is limited to 50cubic centimeters.
  • Runs on DC power so cannot be run off of a wall outlet.
  1. CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor

The CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor is a portable, lightweight air compressor that features a 6-gallon tank that has an oil-free pump for low maintenance, it has a maximum pressure rating of 150 PSI and an air output capacity of 2.6 CFM @ 90 PSI. It is suitable for a variety of options. It also comes bundled with a 13-piece accessory kit. It also supports two users at the same time and runny quietly at 78.5 decibels. It comes with a 25’ x ¼ inch PVC air hose with coupler and plugs assembled, tire chuck with plug, blow gun with plug, tire gauge, blow gun with OSHA safety nozzle, rubber tip and three inflator adaptors.


  • 150 PSI provide adequate pressure for a range of jobs.
  • Large tank makes it so that it can run for long without need to refill.
  • Relatively portable.


  • Air output low compared to other models.
  • High noise levels make it difficult to use indoors.
  1. DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor

The DEWALT pancake air compressor is a small and lightweight air compressor that is portable and powerful at the same time. It comes with a 6-gallon storage tank that has a maximum pressure rating of 165 PSI and an air output of 2.6 CFM at 90 PSI. It can be used to do a variety of jobs without much effort. And has a high-efficiency motor that can also be started in cold weather. It also makes 78.5 dB of noise for quiet working and has an oil-free pump for maintenance-free operation. It also comes with two universal couplers to connect two devices simultaneously.


  • 165 PSI provide adequate pressure for a range of jobs.
  • Large tank provides enough air storage to not require constant refilling.
  • Relatively portable.


  • 2.6 CFM is low among air compressors in this segment.
  • Noise levels not quite as low as the competition.
  1. Senco PC1010

The Senco PC1010 ½ Horsepower 1-Gallon is a compact portable air compressor with a maximum pressure rating of 1 Horsepower and provides ½ Horsepower while running. It has a 1-Gallon tank capacity and is an ideal product for small projects. It delivers 20 to 44 drives per minute. It is also very quiet at just 68 dB so that it does not disturb others around you. Being so small and lightweight it is easy to carry around and can be taken anywhere with you.


  • Good 125 PSI pressure.
  • Easily portable.
  • Good duty cycle.


  • Very low air output at just 1.4 CFM.
  • Storage tank of just 1-gallon capacity.
  1. Bostitch CAP1512-OF Oil Free High Output Air Compressor

The Bostitch CAP1512-OF Oil Free High Output is a compact and lightweight air compressor that comes with a 1.2-gallon storage tank and has a powerful oil-free pump capable of delivering 2.8 CFM at 90 PSI and has a maximum tank pressure of 150 PSI. It is useful for a lot of different types of jobs like painting, bolting, fastening, etc. It can provide a maximum of 2 horsepower while at peak and 1.5 horsepower while running and also runs on a low 12-amp power supply for safety. It weighs just 23.5 pounds are is very portable.


  • 150 Max PSI
  • Can be easily carried around
  • Powerful 2 horsepower motor


  • Small 1.2-gallon tank
  • Low air output of 2.8 CFM
  1. Smittybilt 2781 5.65 CFM Universal Air Compressor

The Smittybilt 2781 is a small, lightweight, portable air compressor that weighs 20.3 pounds. It has a 72 litres tank size and has a maximum pressure of 150 PSI. Its duty cycle is 40 minutes at 40 PSI at 75 degrees Fahrenheit and runs on 120 volts AC power supply. It features an auto thermal cutoff switch that protects the motor against damage and has a maximum airflow of 72 litres per minute. It also has a quick-release 24-foot coil hose and an integrated easy to read 150 PSI pressure gauge. It also comes with an included storage bag for easy storing and carrying.


  • 150 PSI provide adequate pressure for a range of jobs.
  • Large tank provides enough air storage to not require constant refilling.


  • Has a large footprint.
  • Does not have oil free motor for low maintenance.
  1. Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor

The Viair 00088 88P is an extremely compact, lightweight portable air compressor that weighs a meagre 4.5 pounds. It has a maximum pressure of 120 PSI and an air output of 1.47 CFM at 0 PSI It is extremely power efficient and runs on just 12 volts of DC power supply which means it is capable of running off of any battery source or power bank. It is also more reliable than the cigarette plugs powered air compressors as it clamps directly to the battery. It is capable of inflating tires of small vehicles like motorcycles, cars, and trucks with a tire size of up to 33 inches. It has a 10 feet power cord and a 16 feet hose so that you are easily able to reach further out places and a 3-piece inflation tip kit.


  • 120 PSI is enough to do most jobs.
  • Very portable.
  • Very portable.
  • Powerful motor can inflate a tire size of up to 33 inches.


  • Very low air output of 1.47 CFM.
  • Needs to be clamped directly to the battery which means cannot run of internal power supply of the car

What to look for in a portable air compressor?

What to look for in a portable air compressor?

When you are out in the market to purchase a new portable air compressor, you need to look at several things to make sure that the air compressor that you are buying is the right one for your requirements. Some of the most common things that you need to look at while purchasing a portable air compressor are portability, tank size, pressure, weight and air output.

Pressure – Pressure is one of the most important things to look for in an air compressor. To be able to properly be utilized in the workflow an air compressor should have the right pressure rating and should provide the right amount of air pressure. An air compressor should have an adjustable pressure valve so that its pressure can be adjusted to suit a wide range of requirements.

Air Quality – To be able to be utilized properly an air compressor should also be able to provide a good quality of air. Good quality of air refers to air that is clean and free from any sort of dust, debris, moisture or other impurities. You should always look if the air compressor has a filter built-in or not as an air compressor with a filter is going to filter out the impurities and provide cleaner air as compared to air compressors without a filter.

Air Flow – Air Flow of an air compressor is measured in cubic feet per minute or CFM. It is a measure of the amount of air that an air compressor can provide to the connected tools in a minute. Different types of power tools have different airflow requirements and the air compressor should be able to provide the right amount of airflow to the respective tools. Some air compressors have the ability to connect more than one device to the compressor simultaneously. If such is the case you should look at whether the compressor has the ability to provide adequate airflow to all the connected devices or is only able to provide one device with the right amount of air.

Tank Size – The size of the tank that an air compressor comes equipped with is also an important deciding factor when trying to purchase a new air compressor. Since you are looking to buy a small air compressor, they will usually have a smaller tank compared to the bigger ones in favour of portability. You should look at what kinds of projects you will be using the air compressor for and then buy the air compressor with the appropriate tank size. If you are just going to be inflating car tires you do not need an air compressor with a storage tank as the air is being pumped directly from the compressor to the tire.

Pressure and Duty Cycle– These two are the most important points for the safety and reliability of the air compressor. The pressure cycle is essentially the number of times or how frequently the compressor turns back on while it is being used. In simpler terms when a compressor is being used by a tool its pressure is decreasing. There is a certain pressure that when reached inside the storage tank the compressor turns back on automatically to repressurize so that the tank does not get emptied. The duty cycle on the other hand is the count which measures the amount of time the compressor remains on and off for the duration of an entire job. It should not be more than 60 per cent of the time turned on and 40 per cent of the time turned off. This is because compressors produce heat while they are turned on and only a few compressors are designed to run continuously. So, therefore, to prevent the compressor from overheating the compressor need to shut down periodically to be able to cool down. If you are going to be using the compressor for larger workflows you should choose a compressor with a larger tank so that it can store a large volume of air and not run frequently or should use tools that are less hungry for air.

Benefits of small air compressors

Benefits of small air compressors

The best and obvious benefit of small air compressors is the portability they offer. You can carry them with you anywhere you go from your garden to the garage or even on the roof. You can also put it in the trunk of your car and use it anywhere that it is required. Some more reasons to buy a portable air compressor are: – 

Ability to inflate your tires – Having a portable air compressor with you will help you inflate your tires in case of a puncture by yourself instead of waiting for a mechanic to arrive or drive to the nearest service station.

Power air tools – a portable air compressor can also be connected to some air tools to nail a few nails, fasten a few bolts or airbrush a shoe if your heart desires.

Better efficiency – If you work in construction having a portable air compressor is going to be a boon to you as you will be able to carry your own personal air compressor to different places on the job site and connect power tools to it and start working without waiting for a large format air compressor to arrive or become functional.

Less Noise – Portable air compressors also tend to be on the quieter side and produce only a low humming noise when operating so that you are able to use it indoors without disturbing the people in your house or even the neighbours.

Easy storing – Owing to the compact and lightweight nature of a portable air compressor it can be easily stored anywhere in the house as it will only require a small amount of space.

Versatility – Air compressors are a very versatile tool and can be used in a variety of scenarios. Having a portable air compressor is like the icing on a cake. You can use the versatile piece of hardware anywhere you like.

What are the different types of Air Compressors?

What are the different types of Air Compressors_  

Air compressors come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are of different types. There are many types of air compressors that are available for different purposes. Air compressors can not only be used for painting but can also be used with power tools for nailing, bolting, fastening and a variety of other things. 

Many different manufacturers produce many different models of air compressors aimed at people with a range of different needs. Some are designed to be portable, while some aren’t, some have a large storage tank while others have a small one, some have a high maximum pressure rating while on the other hand, some do not have such a high-pressure rating. They also have different types of motors to suit everyone’s needs and come with regulators as well.  

There are two main categories of air compressors based on the mechanisms they utilize for their inner workings namely positive displacement air compressor and dynamic displacement air compressor. 

Positive Displacement Air Compressors – These compressors use positive air displacement to work and are used for a variety of construction works. These types of air compressors work on the principle of generating power with the help of displacing the air.  

The main work of positive displacement air compressors is that these machines take air from the surroundings and filter it. After the air has been filtered, they store the air inside the storage tank where the air is compressed gradually as more and more air is brought in from the outside of the tank and this, in turn, increases the air pressure and the energy of the stored air inside the storage tank. To do this process air compressors are due to many different types of mechanisms. 

Dynamic Displacement Air Compressors – These types of air compressors are also known as centrifugal air compressors as they use a fan type mechanism to bring in outside air inside the compressor. These dynamic displacement air compressors are used in large scale projects and manufacturing plants. 

These types of air compressors work by using a fan-like mechanism to pull in outside air into the compressor which is then filtered to clean the air from any dust and debris that may be present in it. After the filtered air has been brought in these compressors restrict the air from escaping outside thus creating pressure that can then be used to do a multitude of different tasks. 

Apart from the two main categories of air compressors, there are also four common types of air compressors: –  

Rotary Screw Compressor – Rotary Screw compressors fall under the umbrella of the Positive Displacement Air Compressor and utilize two internal rotors to generate the air pressure. These types of air compressors are largely used at construction sites as they require the least amount of maintenance and utilize a very simple mechanism that can be easily repaired if damaged. These compressors also are equipped with fans to prevent them from overheating. 

Most Rotary Screw types of air compressors are large and hence are not very portable. They also can run without any oil lubrication. 

The main working principle of these compressors is that they have two built-in rotors that rotate in the opposite direction due to which the surrounding air gets trapped in between. The trapped air is directed toward the storage tank whereas more and more air enters the pressure starts building up gradually.  

These compressors are designed to be used 24/7 so they also come with built-in cooling fans to keep the temperature of the machine in check. 

Reciprocating Compressor – Reciprocating Compressors are also a type of Positive Displacement Air Compressors as they also utilize the use mechanisms that pull air from outside and store it within the body of the compressor. 

These types of air compressors are mostly seen in tire repairing shops to fill air into the tire and are also used in the painting projects of small houses or cars. These compressors typically have a piston that is present inside a cylinder which does the job of pulling in outside air and compressing and pushing it inside the tank.  

Unlike other types of air compressors, this type of compressor has more moving parts and cannot be used continuously. The moving pistons create heat and if not properly maintained and lubricated can cause damage to the machine and not work properly.  

These compressors can also come in a multi-stage variant that can adjust the pressure that the machine is making. Multi-stage variants of reciprocating compressors not only have an adjustable pressure threshold but also come with more power than may be required in case you are working with automobiles. 

Axial Compressors – Axial Air Compressors are large-format air compressors that are very powerful. These types of compressors are very efficient in their workings but usually cost a lot of money. Axial Compressors are typically used in the engines of aeroplanes and ships. 

These compressors being very expensive are not suited for construction projects and are instead used in the high-speed engines of ships and aeroplanes. These compressors are highly efficient but are also very expensive compared to other types of air compressors.  

Axial Compressors are among the most powerful of air compressors and can have motors capable of producing thousands of horsepower. 

Centrifugal Compressors – Centrifugal Compressors are a type of Dynamic Displacement Air Compressors that utilize a multi-stage compression process to produce a very large amount of energy. Centrifugal Compressors are mainly used in manufacturing plants. 

The working principle of Centrifugal Air Compressors is that they cool and slow down the air coming in from outside through a diffuser to build up potential energy. As these compressors utilize multi-stage compression, they can produce a high amount of energy in a small machine. 

Centrifugal Compressors require less maintenance compared to other compressors and some models can even produce oil-free air. These types of compressors are usually used in construction sites or chemical plants and steel manufacturing centres as they can produce close to 1000 Horsepower.


Tips To Buy Small Air Compressor

  • Adhere to directions – It might appear glaringly evident, yet perusing the manual for your air blower is humble speculation with huge results. You’ll become familiar with the support plan just as working rules for your blower. With this data, you can broaden the existence of your hardware and limit personal time.
  • Check oil levels day by day – For blowers that utilization oil, really takes a look at oil before each utilization. Working with lacking oil is a fast approach to truly harm your blower.
  • Clean admission vents – Keep your air consumption clean, particularly if your current circumstance is messy or dusty. Development on admission vents will compel your blower to work more diligently and deny it of tension.
  • Supplant the separator component – This separator component should be supplanted each 2,000-8,000 hours of utilization (contingent on make and model of the blower) and forestalls unreasonable oil use. Investigation has shown that blower energy costs ascend by 1% for every 2 PSI of separator pressure drop.
  • Keep things tight – Vibration from blower activity can extricate screws, stray pieces. Check them occasionally and fix whatever has squirmed free.
  • Watch out for hoses – Inspect every one of your blower’s hoses routinely in light of the fact that any breaks can prompt holes, which thusly forces strain on the blower’s different parts. Supplant any hoses that are broken or harmed.
  • Channel dampness and pollutants – The recipient tank gathers dampness from the air that it’s compacting. Void this consistently to forestall water develop in the framework. Additionally, check frameworks like channels and separators for eliminating different impurities like oil. Watch for condensate stuck upstream of the channel.
  • Screen temperature – Your maker will determine satisfactory working reaches. Unreasonable hotness will cause uncommon wear and abbreviate your blower’s life. To assist with this, your blower might have an underlying security closure framework on the off chance that it gets excessively hot, so test this element to ensure it’s working.
  • Watch for spills – Leaks can begin from lines, gaskets, fittings, valves, clips and associations. They can redirect an expected 25 per cent of your packed air, so check the whole framework routinely. Ultrasonic hole finders can be useful.
  • Look and tune in – Keep your ears tuned for odd clamours and watch for things like extreme vibration or belts that slip. Know what your blower’s measures should understand when it’s working ordinarily. In case you are observing your machine intently, you can forestall significant harm.



For home use a small air compressor with an airflow of under 10 CFM and a pressure of 25 PSI is fine. The size of the tank can be anywhere from 1 gallon to 4 gallons for easy storage.

Choosing a small air compressor may look like a daunting task at first and you may get confused by the all the terms like PSI, CFM and a large number of different models available in the market but fret not. This article talks about all the intricacies involved with buying a portable air compressor.

You may have heard that ‘This is the best air compressor’ or ‘No other air compressor comes close’ but it is all a marketing tactic to get you to buy something that you do not want or need. There is no perfect air compressor. All air compressors are different and serve different purposes so the best air compressor for you according to your requirements may not be the best air compressor for someone else who has a completely different set of requirements.

There are a lot of air compressors that are available today in the market that make less noise but as mentioned above there is no best air compressor as the ‘One size fits all mentality does not bode well in the case of air compressors.

Both oil and oil-less air compressors have their pros and cons. The biggest advantage of an oilless air compressor is the lack of maintenance. As there is no oil being used in the compressor there is no need to maintain it like it is in the case with oil air compressors. The biggest advantage of oil-powered air compressors is the less wear and tear produced as the oil lubricates the different parts of the machine and therefore it also produces less heat.

A good size air compressor to run air tools is one with at least 2-3 gallons of storage tank capacity and an airflow rate of about 10 CFM.

There has been no evidence to show that a particular type of air compressor is better than the other. There is little to no difference between a V Twin or an Inline air compressor and the decision to buy an air compressor should not be based on whether the air compressor has a V Twin motor or an Inline motor. The only difference between a V Twin or an Inline motor-powered air compressor is that a V Twin motor has slightly fewer vibrations than an Inline motor which is not an important difference as these are industrial machines and little vibrations do not matter. The choice of an air compressor should rather be based on points like PSI, CFM, air quality, tank size, horsepower, pressure and duty cycle and portability.


So, every home requirement for an air compressor is varied as you need to know what your home caters to. But don’t worry we’ll cover you up for various needs. 

Choose the most suitable home air compressor from our given list and check them out swiftly. This absolute how-to and thorough guide will give you the best home air compressor mind map. So, you can choose the best air compressor for air tools which is right for your job. Comment below if you have any queries left. Happy buying!

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