Portability is a serious consideration for anyone who needs to operate air tools beyond the garage.
While the majority of mechanics need an air compressor within the boundaries of their garage, some of you may need a portable air compressor to power your air tool on the field outside the garage or somewhere on the road to inflate a flat tire.
Your selection of the best portable air compressor depends upon your intention of use. Today the market is so saturated with portable air compressors that it is difficult to select the right one of your choice.
Portable air compressors should not only be portable in their design but they should also be efficient enough with the best performance in the field without interruption.
Each portable air compressor is rated for a specific task like some are perfect in inflating tires while others are suitable for powering small tools. You will also look at whether a portable air compressor is AC power operated or could only rely on a car battery.
The size and weight of an air compressor are key points of consideration for a portable air compressor whereas efficiency and durability mark a line of differentiation between high and low-quality portable air compressors.
Types of Portable Air Compressor
The major point of differentiation between the portable air compressors available in the market is whether they have a tank or not. If they are not equipped with a tank, then these are specially manufactured for tire inflation and deflation.
Tank Air Compressor
These air compressors are more of a pancake style which typically resembles a garage air compressor. It provides a large amount of compressed air as compared to an air compressor without a tank.
Having an air compressor with a tank means that it has a higher capacity of holding compressed air up to a level of 6 gallons of specific volume.
This is extremely crucial if you are operating your pneumatic tools such as air drills that require a continuous supply of compressed air that a tankless or smaller air compressor cannot manage up to the mark.
However, these air compressors are slightly bulky which renders them a little bit difficult to be moved from one location to another thus affecting their portability.
Tankless Air Compressor
Tankless air compressors have shed a tremendous amount of bulk and weight perfectly enabled for easy movement from place to place. So if portability is your choice in product, then this air compressor fulfills your eligibility criteria.
However, a tankless air compressor cannot take the challenge of delivering sufficient amounts of compressed air to your tool.
This type of air compressor is suitable where a small burst of air is required such as inflation of tire and nailing and framing guns. Large pneumatic tools cannot be operated smoothly using tankless air compressors.
Power Sources of Portable Air Compressor
The portability of an air compressor is directly dependent upon the type of power source it is consuming.
Operating a portable air compressor with AC power could bother you to carry the generator as well as an air compressor to the work field that comes out very bulky and difficult.
Most portable air compressors function on AC power, extension wire from inside your home, or through a connection with a generator.
On the contrary, battery-operated air compressors are a level less efficient than AC power operated air compressors. They have limited delivery of power and compressed air to your pneumatic tool with a fear of running out sometimes.
However, they are rated at a higher degree for their portability as they don’t require a generator to run them in the work field.
At times of inflation and deflation in car tires, these air compressors can be directly plugged into the outlet of car batteries thus strengthening from DC power.
Review our guide on branded air compressors here.
- 1 6 Best Portable Air Compressors | Review Guide
- 1.1 1. CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor (CMEC6150K) | Best Portable Air Compressor for Car
- 1.2 2. PORTER-CABLE C2002 | Best Portable Air Compressor for Home Garage
- 1.3 3. Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 | Best HP Air Compressor
- 1.4 4. VacLife Air Compressor | Best Portable Air Compressors For Construction
- 1.5 5. DEWALT DCC020IB Inflator (Bare) | Portable Air Compressors 2020
- 1.6 6. HAUSBELL Portable Air Compressor | For Inflating tires of car and motorcycles
- 2 Buying Guide For the Best Portable Air Compressors
- 3 Conclusion
Comparison Table | Editor’s Choice
6 Best Portable Air Compressors | Review Guide
1. CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor (CMEC6150K) | Best Portable Air Compressor for Car
- 6 gallon pancake maximizes portability and stored air
- Durable, Oil free pump for long life and no maintenance
- 150 Max PSI to ensure adequate cut in pressure for a variety of applications
- 2. 6 SCFM @ 90 PSI allows for quick compressor recovery time. Voltage - 120 V
- Easily starts up in cold weather
Craftsman is one of the well-known industry for its good products. This air compressor by a craftsman is a pancake style portable air compressor.
Its 6-gallon air capacity little tank has vast pressure of 150 psi, which is ideal for inflation and almost other air tools. It has a quick compressor recovery time.
The oil-free pump feature enhances its durability and has no maintenance at all.
It is powered by 120v can be plugged into any household circuit. It can start in cold weather conditions.
It is very easy to use, pressure gauge and plugs are accessible.
They offer three items kit with little bit price variation, first one is 13 pieces of accessory kit which includes tire chuck with plug, blow gun with plug, tire gauge, blow gun with OSHA safety nozzle, rubber tip, three inflator adaptors, 25′ X 1/4inches Pvc air hose with coupler and plug assembled, second one bead nailer and last one is hand tool set.
This 6-gallon air compressor has a one year warranty.
2. PORTER-CABLE C2002 | Best Portable Air Compressor for Home Garage
- 150 psi max tank pressure stores more air in the tank for longer tool run times
- 2.6 SCFM at 90 psi allows for quick compressor recovery time, per ISO1217
- Six-gallon pancake-style tank for stability, includes water drain valve and rubber feet
- Low-amp 120-volt motor starts easily in cold weather or with extension cord
- 150 psi max tank pressure stores more air in the tank for longer tool run times
This is also one of the most portable units with just 31 lb of weight. The pancake-style 6-gallon capacity air tank can store more air in a small pack. The drain valve and rubber pads make it more stable while performing.
It has a maximum pressure of 150 psi which is good enough to run a variety of air tools exceptionally well and produces 2.6 scfm at 90 psi to allow quick compressor recovery time as iso 1217.
It is powered by 120 v and starts easily in lower temperature conditions. It has built-in automatic thermally protection. The pressure control gauges and twin regulated company installed coupler make it functional for more than one user. The oil-free pump has no maintenance issues. You can paint well with the selection of air compressors that are specially designed for commercial use.
Its main components are well protected by its console covering and its shroud handle makes it easy to move inside or outside the job site.
They also offer an accessory kit with minor price variation. This product has also a limited warranty of one year.
3. Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 | Best HP Air Compressor
- Cast iron pump with Big Bore cylinder and piston is engineered to provide faster recovery time for improved performance
- Low AMP draw reduces incidences of tripped breakers at start up. The 4.2 gallon twin stacked tank sustains an operating pressure of 130 PSI, and delivers 40 PSI (4.8 CFM) and 90 PSI (4.2 CFM), enough for two nailers
- Pump is oil lubricated for cooler running temperatures and reduced wear. Built in thermal overload for additional motor protection. Compressor Oil (181122 A). 1/4 inches Universal Quick Coupler (447013 E)
- Roll cage construction provides complete protection to withstand extreme jobsite environments. Lever handle ball valve tank drain valve improves upon standard petcock design for easier maintenance
- Large automotive style industrial air filter for increased air intake and greater efficiency. Durable cast iron cylinder reduces wear and increases pump life; removable for easy maintenance. Oil sight glass for fast, easy and efficient maintenance
This big bore 2.5 hp air compressor is engineered for heavy-duty jobs but is still highly portable because of its compacted structure.
The reason for calling it big bore is that it has bigger heavy-duty cast iron cylinders for better performance, a larger diameter piston for improved cfm and faster recovery time, and it also runs slower for better operation, the heavy-duty oil-lubricated cast iron pump for reduced fraction and cooler running in different temperature.
It has a maximum of 130 psi pressure which enough for running different air devices and it also supports dual users at a time.
This unit is powered by 120v and is fully protected from electricity fluctuation damage. Its maintenance is very easy due to its best feature like a drain valve, oil sight glass, and oil drain valve. The thin discharge tubing increases more heat protection.
It has a low noise of 79 DB as compared to other same compressors. The roll handle makes this 4.6 twin stacked tank unit transportable around the workplace.
4. VacLife Air Compressor | Best Portable Air Compressors For Construction
- [FAST INFLATING SPEED & EASY TO USE] This auto tire air compressor can inflate your standard car tire fastest in seconds. Simply plug it into the 12V power outlet in your car and attach the hose to the tire you wish to inflate. You can just flip the switch and the car air compressor will do all the work for you.
- [AUTO SHUT OFF] This car air pump uses simple and useful technology. You can preset the pressure you expect, and when the inflator tire reaches the desired pressure, the car air compressor will automatically turn off. So, you do not have to worry about over inflating or low tire pressure anymore. VacLife will convoy your safety all the way.
- [LED LIGHTING & 13 FEET-LONG RANGE] Our electric air pump comes with the LED light can help you to inflate your tire AT NIGHT. Besides, the 13 ft power cable is long enough for you to reach the front and rear tire with ease. A long cable eliminates the need to unplug it each time you switch from one tire to the next.
- [MULTI-PURPOSE with 4 Additional Nozzles] Our tire pump’s 13ft long power cord and 4 additional nozzles allow you to reach all tires of your car, bike, motor, ATV, compact or midsize Sedan SUV, etc. Also, sports equipment and inflatables adaptors included, makes it perfect for your air mattress, inflatable boats, balls and other inflatables.
- [BEST SERVICE] Get a full refund or a replacement FOR LIFE under your normal use. Please contact us ASAP if there are any problems.
This is the tiny air compressor weighing only 24 lb, best for your long drive tour by car. This unit is powered by12v, just plug it into your car outlet and it will fill the tire in no time.
This little buddy has an automatic switch-off feature, adjust your desired pressure to inflate it will stop upon reaching the desired pressure, so you have not to worry about over inflation.
This unit has also led light which can use during night time and a 13ft long power cable to help you inflating without moving the unit from place to place.
It contains 4 additional nozzles for different inflation plugs and sports equipments, inflatable boats and inflatable mattresses, etc. This compressor is highly portable, very easy to use, and very handy to have one in your car or home.
The company offers a full refunding of your money and replacement for life under its normal use. You can also contact them if facing any trouble. If you need some more air compressors for costruction work, Review our Guide 2020 here.
5. DEWALT DCC020IB Inflator (Bare) | Portable Air Compressors 2020
- High pressure inflation mode with automatic shutoff
- High volume inflation and deflation modes
- Three power sources for inflation on a jobsite and on the go: 20V MAX battery, 12V DC, or 110V AC (20V max battery, charger and 110V AC cord sold separately
- Led light helps to provide illumination
- Convenient onboard accessory storage
This is one of the mini air compressors with a maximum of 160 psi pressure. This unit is highly portable having only 2.94 lb weight. This device can be powered by three different desired powers, maximum 20v battery, 12v DC, or 110v AC power.
This unit has a digital gauge setting for desired pressure once obtained it will shut off automatically. The led light feature helps you to operate it at night or even in emergency situations.
It can inflate many things other than just inflating tires like soccer balls, basketballs, mattresses, and boats, etc and it has also the feature of deflation if required.
The rubber paddings make it stable while operating.
6. HAUSBELL Portable Air Compressor | For Inflating tires of car and motorcycles
- 【Max 150PSI Working Pressure】The 12V DC portable air compressor with digital gauge display has MAX 150PSI working pressure. Plug directly into Cigarette Lighter Socket of your vehicle. Tire pump works fast and accurate. It will auto shut off when reaches the desired set tire pressure. Overheat protection shuts off automatically when overload. 120W high power engine delivers super fast inflation rate 35L/min.
- 【 Multiple Uses 】 The portable air compressor pump comes with a 9.8ft (3 meters) long power cord and inflatable adaptors (3 additional nozzles), convenient connecting to front and rear wheels. Perfect air compressor pump for cars, some small trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, Jeeps, SUVs, inflatable boats, sports balls, air mattress and other inflatables.
- 【 Bright LED Flashlight 】The 12V DC tire air compressor inflator has a built-in LED flashlight which is bright and long-lasting, allows easy access and convenient use at night. The LED light allows you to be seen in darkness to avoid any potential dangers during operation.
- 【 Easy to Set Tire Pressure Gauge 】 The tire inflator is equipped with a precise and bright digital tire pressure gauge display that is helpful for you to calculate the required values. You can preset the tire pressure. Press M to switch unit, press + or - to increase or reduce values. Turn on air pump switch for operation several seconds later after the value figure stops flickering.
- 【Customer service】1 * Digital Air Compressor; 1 * Fuse; 3 * Nozzle Adapters; 1 * User Manual included for the package. Easy to reach customer service. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us. We are happy to help.
This is the smallest rabbit-style compact air compressor. This tiny unit has a maximum of 150 psi air pressure which can inflate car tires, balls, mattresses, boats, and many more things very comfortably.
It can be plugged from the cigarette lighter socket and the 9.8 ft long cord with 1.9 air hose can be used easily for all tires from front to rare.
The digital pressure gauge display allows you to set the desired pressure, and the overheat protection feature allows it to shut off automatically upon overloading.
It has a built-in flashlight to help you at night and even in emergency saturation.
Overall it is very durable and long-lasting. The high-quality pure cooper motor improves its performance and saves energy as well.
This compressor has only 2.14 lb of weight and the handle makes you carry it anywhere you want.
If you are facing any difficulty using it you can ask questions directly through the helpline.
Benefits of Portable Air Compressor
Stationary air compressors can serve your purpose the same way as portable air compressors. However, there are some aspects in which the portable ones excel the stationary to provide additional benefits. Some of those aspects are worth mentioning.
This is the top tier and elite advantage of a portable air compressor. The operator is no more confined to the location of an air compressor. The portable unit can be moved easily from one site to another for purposeful applications.
These air compressors are therefore rated with outstanding efficiency for a large number of industrial tools. They are easily carried from one location to another as compared to those with heavy stationary design.
2. Compact Size
The portable air compressors are available in various sizes in the market. Most of these portable units are light in weight and small in size in contrast to standard stationary air compressors. Due to their size and weight, they can easily be adjusted within a limited space such as the corner of a garage or a workshop.
3. Low Level of Noise
Portable air compressors are way quiet when it comes to noise production as compared to loud stationary units. Due to high levels of noise production, stationary air compressors are not usually favored for indoor uses. Instead, portable air compressors are the most demanded due to minimum noise production both indoors as well as for commercial use.
Buying Guide For the Best Portable Air Compressors
Selecting the best portable air compressor while not having adequate information about the desired product can be unsettling and confusing.
Here we provide you with a detailed structure of all important aspects you can look for in your portable air compressor.
1. PSI and CFM
These are the important metrics for measuring the efficiency of any air compressor.
Pressure per square inch PSI gives you the measure of pressurized air whereas cubic feet per minute CFM measures the output of power.
It is crucial to know the values of CFM and PSI since the ill-matching of these values to your pneumatic tools can destroy both. Selecting an air compressor with a high value of PSI can be beneficial for a large variety of purposes.
Usually, the value of CFM of any portable air compressor is taken with reference to 90 PSI.
Any tool that requires short bursts of air such as inflating tires and nailing and framing guns need 2 CFM at 90 PSI.
For high power tools such as ratcheting and air drills, air at 2.5 CFM flow rate is required to operate without interruption.
2. Motor of Portable Air Compressor
Another vital consideration in judging the performance of a portable air compressor is the motor.
Most pancake-style large portable air compressors utilize a powerful 120V motor that can even function without influence in extreme cold conditions and has the ability to compress large volumes of air in a limited period of time.
For small bursts of air such as tire inflation, smaller size motors can work efficiently with the caution of how much time it will take to inflate tires without running short of power.
3. Power Draw
Portable air compressors utilize 12-volt power sockets of your vehicle for their function.
This means that your car battery can be sufficient for powering portable air compressors to inflate and deflate tires.
The optimal range of power of a portable air compressor is 120 Watts to 150 Watts.
4. Size of a Portable Air Compressor
As the name suggests, portable air compressors are specially designed for easy movement from one site to another. This intends to make portable air compressors small in size and light in weight to make them ideal for on the go purpose.
The smaller and compact your portable air compressor, the more it will be convenient for you to fit it in the trunk of your vehicle and take it on the worksite.
5. Cord Length
You need to connect a portable air compressor with a 12-volt power socket of your car, it requires a cord length that reaches all the four tires. In short, the cord should be long enough for ease of use. Some of the portable air compressors have 10 feet long power cord, others may be available in a longer length of 15 feet power cord.
15 feet power cord length is more in practice as it can be used over an extensive range of purposes without any trouble.
6. Warranty and Durability
A wise selection of portable air compressor is a significant investment that gives you the product with no fear of wear and tear.
Air compressors that have metal parts in their making such as tank, fitting, and regulators are at a lower risk of getting damaged, thus giving you a long life out of a portable air compressor.
Do consider the rubber feet and powerful handles of a portable air compressor as they are the only means of movement whenever you carry it by hand.
Before investment on any portable air compressor, make sure that the manufacturers claim at least a 1.5 years warranty with a policy of return and exchange of any torn or damaged part within the mentioned time.
A portable air compressor is a prime investment for your indoor as well as outdoor purposes. They are light in weight, small in size, and produce negligible noise pollution. They are highly rated for inflating flat tires ensuring the best performance from your car.
Depending upon your budget, the smaller portable unit can be used for low air burst activities like an inflation of tires and nailing and framing. A mid-price air compressor can offer you a powerful unit with multiple features assisting your high power pneumatic tools or an industrial spec for a costly price tag.