The 10 Best Air Compressors For Operating Air Tools

Top 10 best air compressors and how you can choose the best

Last updated on September 25th, 2020 at 01:58 am

Air compressor machines have come a long way in ensuring that most of our present day living and technology are even possible in the first place.

Most of the tools used for making and creating our everyday necessities (e.g making of cars, trucks, farm machinery etc.) are powered with compressed air from air compressors.

Just as there are electric and battery powered tools, so are there air tools or pneumatic tools that makes use of compressed as their power source.

Pneumatic tools have high power to weight ratio, and are thus far lighter than their electric counterparts. That is why they’re still heavily used in many construction industries today.

The automobile industry for instance, rely heavily on air compressor machines for powering air tools like impact wrenches used for car assembly, disassembly and maintenance.

With that said, here in this article, we’ve reviewed the 10 best air compressors, and we have a buyer’s guide to help you pick the right one for your projects.

Whether you’re looking for a small air compressor for inflating mattresses and tires at home, a large one for powering your paint sprayer or other air tools like framing nail guns, or even something larger for your metal fabrication workshop projects, we’re certain that you’ll find one here that’ll meets your needs.

Our Top Picks

California Air 8010

8 Gallon

  • 1.0 HP
  • 2.2 CFM at 90 PSI
  • 120 Max Pressure

Powermate Vx

80 Gallon

  • 4.6 HP
  • 14 CFM at 90 PSI
  • 155 Max Pressure

Industrial Air

20 Gallon

  • 1.6 HP
  • 5.3 CFM at 90 PSI
  • 135 Max Pressure

Here are the 10 best air compressor reviews for 2020

1. Industrial Air IL1682066.MN Portable Air Compressor

Industrial air portable 20 gallon air compressor

What you get

If I’m to recommend the best 20 gallon air compressor, one of the first ones that will come to my mind is the Industrial Air IL1682066 20 galloon air compressor.

It’s a little bit on the pricey end. You’ll surely find other 20 gallon air compressors a lot cheaper than the IL1680266, but I like to think of it like flying first class instead of couch in a commercial airline. You know what I’m saying?

When it comes to products like this, one of the main difference between a good one and a bad one is the price difference. So, you may end up paying more for the same type of product, but after considering what you get as a result of that, you finally come to realize it’s worth it.

With the Industrial Air IL1680266, you get a compressor with a 20 gallon storage tank size, as with other 20 gallon air compressors. However, what makes this one special is the type of pump that comes with it.

It is equipped with a cast iron V-twin cylinder single stage pump. You can think of this as two pumps in one. Here the compression of the air takes place in two cylinders at the same time, hence more compressed air is produced at a time and directed into the cylinder at ones.

This type of compressor is ideal for you if you will be using tools that consume air a lot. Because the pump is producing more compressed air at a time, it can be able to keep up with the demand of an air hungry tool like a die grinder or sand blaster. Note though, that you have to be using one tool at a time.

This is just a 20 gallon sized compressor. So don’t expect that you and your buddy can use it at the same time, unless you’ll be using it for operating tools which don’t consume large amounts of air like nail guns.

You also get a heavy duty induction motor which powers the pump by means of a belt drive. The motor is wired for a 120 volts power outlets, which means you can easily operate it using your normal 120 volts power outlets in your garage.

However, it can also be converted so that it can be powered with 240 volt outlets to increase or maximize its performance and efficiency. The ball is in your court, whether you decide to use it as a 120 volts wired motor or you decide to convert it to 240 volts.

The 20 gallon tank is ASME rated, so you can be sure that it can handle high enough pressure to power your air tools. In fact, it can store a maximum pressure of 135 PSI, which is more than enough pressure needed to operate most air tools.

Moving the compressor around is also very easy, because it’s equipped with large pneumatic tires and good handles at the front. It really fits the description of a portable compressor.

To sum it up, I would say the Industrial Air IL1682066 is the ideal compressor for you if you intend to carry out simple auto maintenance projects in your garage, you got air hungry tools, and you’ll be operating one at a time.

The portability also makes it good for jobsite use. It’s heavy, but the pneumatic tires makes it easy for you to move it wherever you want it in the jobsite.

Related: How To Choose An Air Compressor For Spray Painting

What I like about it

I like most of the features I already mentioned. It’s a high flow air compressor, the V-twin cylinder pump produces compressed air on demand. Which means you’ll always have air for your tools.

You can continue running your high air demand tools, and the compressor will keep up with it. After the tank fills up, it will automatically shut off by itself, and it will restart by itself again when the air is running low.

I also like the fact that the compressor is really quiet. I didn’t mention it above, so I really can’t fail to mention it here. If you’ve used a very noisy air compressor before, then you’ll really come to appreciate the quietness of this one.

Overall, like I said above, it’s one of the best 20 gallon sized air compressor you can ever get your hands on.

Where it needs improvement

Like I said earlier, for a 20 gallon compressor, it’s a little bit expensive. However, if you happen to purchase it, you’ll easily discover that it’s worth every dime you spent on it.

2. Makita MAC700 Gallon Air Compressor

makita mac700 air compressor

What you get

Although the Makita MAC700 is one of the smallest air compressors you can get your hands on in terms of tank size, it certainly has its pecks, which makes it one of the most sought after hotdog compressors out there for home improvement.

Without mincing words, I’d say it’s one of the best small compressors out there for use by a handyman.

When you get the MAC700 air compressor, Makita promises a quiet single cylinder compressor that fills up very fast.

Well, after testing out this compressor, I think they made good on their words. After breaking in to the compressor, the moment you start filling up the tank, you’ll discover that it fills up in less than 2 minutes.

Now, if that’s not fast, I don’t know what is.

The Makita MAC700 is able to fill up so quickly because of the type of pump it’s equipped with.  The pump cylinder has a greater bore, larger piston to go with it, and longer stroke length compared to other pumps of the same class.

Hence, it’s able to take in more air, compress the air and fill up the 2.6 gallon tank faster than other pumps in its class.

Another important thing to note about the MAC700 is that the pump is oil lubricated. So, if you’ve read my differences between an oiled compressor and an oilless one, you’ll know that oiled compressors run cooler and last longer than compressors that don’t use oil.

Being an oiled compressor is also another reason why the MAC700 runs very quietly. Seriously, you can get a good conversation going on, even when the compressor is running.

It’s equipped with an oil sight glass which allows you to easily check the level and color of the oil in the compressor, in order for you to either top it up to the required oil level or drain out bad oil using the oil drain valve, replacing it with fresh compressor oil, which is usually supplied with the unit.

With a weight of 52 lbs., I think it’s a little bit on the heavy side of things, though not too heavy to carried and transported by one person. In fact, it’s equipped with a role bar handle just above the whole set up, which you can use to carry and transport it conveniently.

At 90 PSI, it produces about 3.3 CFM of air. Which is just enough CFM to power most of the basic air tools you normally use in your garage like framing nail guns and staplers.

Overall, as long as you don’t forget to read the instructions manual that came with the compressor, and follow the break in instructions before using the compressor, then I’m sure that you’ll end up getting the best user experience from using the Makita MAC700 portable air compressor.

Related: The Best Pneumatic Brad Nailers For Your Woodworking Project

What I like about it

The two main selling points for the Makita MAC700 is quietness and quick recovery when the tank runs low of air.

Many small compressors like this one make a lot of noise. That is why I really appreciate having this little beast that performs well without all the annoying noise that’s usually associated with air compressors.

This is a compressor you can actually use in your garage and outdoors as well without angering your neighbors. I’ve used my own fair share of noisy compressors, and I tell a noisy compressor when I see one. The Makita MAC700 is definitely not a noisy one.

Apart from the quiet nature of MAC700, I like the fact that it recovers quickly when it starts cycling. When the tank in the compressor gets below the ideal pressure for operation, it starts cycling or the pump kicks on by itself and start filling the tank again, and in less than 2 minutes, the 2.6 gallon tank is filled up again, ready for use.

So, you don’t have to wait too long for the compressor to recover when it runs low on air. In less than 2 minutes, you’re up and running again, reducing downtime.

Where it needs improvement

I have nothing less than admiration for the quality of the Makita MAC700 air compressor. The strong built and high performance of this seemingly small machine really leaves little to no chance for improvement.

However, I would like to say that despite its relative small size compared to other compressors, it’s a little bit on the heavy side of things.

Weighing a little bit over 52 pounds after adding hose and fittings, I think it’s a bit heavy. Though not too heavy to carry, but I can assure you that carrying this little compressor around by yourself will definitely not be your favorite part of owning and using the Makita MAC700, if you ever get one.

This is not actually a problem, though I think it is worth mentioning. Apart from the little weight issue, I think the MAC700 is definitely one of the best small portable air compressors you can get your hands on. So feel free to acquire one for yourself.

Related: 7 Best Air Needle Scalers For Metal Surface Preparation

3. Dewalt DWFP55126 Air Compressor

Dewalt 6 gallon air compressor

What you get

If you need an air compressor to handle non-demanding home improvement projects at home or even to carry out small handyman services, a 6 gallon air compressor will do just fine.

There are several fine 6 gallon air compressors out there which you can choose from. However, the Dewalt DWFP55126 6 gallon air compressor is one of the best ones you can ever part with your cash for.

Talking about specs, the Dewalt DWFP55126 has the capacity to produce 2.6 SCFM of air at a pressure of 90 PSI. If you are in need of air at higher pressures, it has the capacity to produce air at a maximum pressure of 165 PSI, which is a lot of pressure for whatever home improvement or handyman service you want to undertake.

All the 6 gallon compressor you’ll see are all oil-less compressors, and one thing common with them is that they make lots of noise, their noise rating mostly in the range of 70 to 80 decibels. Majority of them are 80 decibels which is really noisy.

You can’t have a conversation with someone if you they’re on. However, this Dewalt DWFP55126 6 gallon air compressor is more on the quiet side, more quiet than most of the other ones you’ll encounter. At around 70 decibels of noise, you can have a conversation with someone even when it’s on.

So, compared with the other 6 gallon compressors, choosing this one would be a no-brainer for me.

Like I said earlier, the compressor is oil-less or oil-free, which means you don’t need to add oil when using it, which means less maintenance is needed on your part.

It has a good high flow regulator to regulate the amount the pressure of the air that you allow through the hose to whatever you’re filling or powering with the air compressor.

When you’re done using the compressor, the recommended thing is for you to drain the air that’s left in the tank. To make this easy, Dewalt equipped the DWFP55126 with a ball drain verve at the bottom (not the center), in order for you to remove any stored up air in the tank.

In terms of weight, it weighs just 30 lbs which is kind of light if you ask me. Having this kind of weight, you can easily carry it by yourself to and from your truck in case you need to use it elsewhere.

It’s a very portable air compressor for home use. As far as price go, it’s more expensive compared to other 6 gallon air compressors. However, after using it, you’ll be glad you spent the extra cash to get it.

Related: 15 Must-Have Tools And Items For Homeowners

What I like about it

I’ve said it before, but I’m going to say it again so that you can mark my words. The DWFP55126 6 gallon air compressor is quieter than the other 6 gallon air compressors you’re going to come across.

That is one thing I really like about it. It’s not very quiet like some of the really quiet oiled compressors, but when compared to the rest ones in its class, this baby is pretty quiet.

I also like the fact that it produces very high pressure up to 165 PSI, which is high enough to tackle the majority of household projects.

It’s easy to use and it works efficiently. If you are looking for a portable air compressor for your home use, this is it.

Where it can be improved

The compressor leaks air through the hose fittings. This is one thing that has plagued many buyers, as can be seen if you read the review section on Amazon.

Though, I don’t really expect this kind of defect from a product manufactured by Dewalt, however, I think it’s not a big problem. By simply replacing the fittings, the air will stop leaking and you can go on to use your air compressor without any problem.

The Dewalt DWFP55126 6 gallon air compressor is a really fine air compressor good for home use, however Dewalt should look into the leaky fittings issue in order not to piss more customers off.

4. Bostitch BTFP02012 Air Compressor

Bostitch BTFP02012 6 gallon air compressor

What you get

The Bostitch BTFP02012 and the Dewalt DWFP55126 are almost the same compressors. It’s just that they’re made by different companies, Bostitch and Dewalt.

Even if they’re not the same, one thing that’s certainly common between them is that they’re both oiless compressors. So, they both require less maintenance because you don’t have to keep them oiled for them to keep working properly.

The Bostitch BTFP02012 is a 6 gallon air compressor which produces a maximum pressure of 150 PSI, 15 PSI less than its Dewalt counterpart. Not that that’s going to make a lot of difference during usage, but it’s quite something to take note of.

At a standard pressure of 90 PSI you can get it to produce an SCFM of 2.6. The kind of tools you can run with this are finish nailers, staplers, framing nailers if you’re not going to be building a mansion, tools that will not take more than 2.6 SCFM. You can fill tires and mattresses with it comfortably.

Like I said earlier, it’s an oil-less compressor, so it’s not going to go easy on your ears when it’s on. If noise is not your friend, you got to think of wearing ear protection when using this thing, or you go for some of the quieter ones.

It’s equipped with a high efficiency motor to keep the compressor pump up and running even in cold climates. Two couplers gives you the opportunity to use the air compressor with your buddy at the same time, if you’re not going to be using tools that zap a lot of air at ones.

All and all, I would say the Bostitch BTFP02012 is one of the best portable inflation and fastening compressor which your money can buy right now. It’s something that’ll last if you take care of it, and it will certainly meet your inflation and fastening needs.

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What I like about it

This is a compressor that will meet all your needs if you’re not really into large scale production. As long as you’re using it to build things around the home or handle DIY projects, this thing will ride along with you as long as you want.

It’s a 6 gallon air compressor, so if you’re using some air demanding tools, it’s going to consume the air pretty quick, but if you keep the motor running, the compressor recovers very quickly so that you can continue doing what you’re doing at a steady pace.

If portability is what you desire, then this is a very good one for you. I really like the fact that it’s very portable. Even has a big handle at the top to carry it when you have to. You can just lift it into the trunk of your car and take it with you wherever you go, or wherever you need it.

Where it can be improved

If there’s any way to tune down the noise of this thing, I would really recommend it. Though, it’s an oil-less compressor, so it something that should be expected. However, if these manufacturers could muffle the air a little bit, it would certainly make these small oil-less compressors more neighbor-friendly, I think.

Apart from the noise, this thing really performs well, and I’m certain you will get a lot done with this if you happen to get it.

5. DeWalt DXCMPA1982054 Air Compressor

DeWalt DXCMPA1982054 20 gallon air compressor

What you get

If you really want an air compressor that you can use to tackle more demanding projects in the job site, like framing a whole building, or maybe you want an air compressor that can do more that the small 6 gallon ones, a 20 gallon air compressor like the DeWalt DXCMPA1982054 20 gallon air compressor will definitely step up your game.

This thing produces up to 5.7 CFM of air at 90 PSI, which means you can really get to use more of those air hungry tools in your workshop. If you’re running trim nailers, you get to run them for longer periods of time, before you need to pressurize the tank again.

It’s equipped with a cast iron, twin cylinder, oil lubricated pump. Oil lubrication means, you don’t have to worry about noise so much, because this thing does not really make a lot of it. It’s something you can run even in your garage, and still have a nice conversation with your buddies. Keep an eye on the oil, though, and make sure it got enough of it.

A heavy duty induction motor powers the pump, ensuring the compressor runs steadily. Using and regulating the compressor is very easy, because it comes with good on-board regulator gauges, and quick connect air outlets to make attaching your hoses or tools quick and easy.

The DeWalt DXCMPA1982054 is also a very portable air compressor. It comes with 2 pneumatic wheels and a handle which makes it easy to move it around in the jobsite easily, even over a rough or uneven terrain.

You can get it up and running using normal 120 volts power outlets in your garage. However, I’d recommend that you create a dedicated 15 amp circuit for the compressor alone, so it does not trip your circuit breakers. Its own dedicated circuit will allow you to run it uninterrupted and with peace of mind.

Though it runs on 120 volts, you can still convert it to use 240 volts, if you like.

Overall, I would say the DeWalt DXCMPA1982054 is a very good choice of air compressor, if you’re looking for a compressor that can help you accomplish more around the home, the workshop and even in a busy jobsite.

What I like about it

I really like the quiet nature of the DeWalt DXCMPA1982054. If you hate noise as much as I do, then you’ll certainly find peace while using the DXCMPA1982054. It produces its own fair amount of decibels though, but it’s nothing disturbing.

It’s a great compressor to have around for your projects. You’ll not have any problem running any of your air tools with this one. If you want to run tools like nailers in the jobsite, or impact wrenches for removing stubborn nuts in the workshop, the DeWalt DXCMPA1982054 is surely a good compressor to have around.

Where it can be improved

I could not really find any fault with this one. The DeWalt DXCMPA1982054 is a good compressor all round. Provided you keep the oil at the right level, drain off the air left in the tank after using it, then you’ll certainly get many years of service from this compressor.

6. Makita MAC2400 Air Compressor

Makita MAC2400 4.2 gallon air compressor

What you get

Like the MAC700, the Makita MAC2400 is another Makita air compressor that comes equipped with a big bore pump, practically meant to make the recovery process of the compressor quick when the tank losses pressure.

Unlike the MAC700 which is a 2.6 gallon air compressor with just one air tank, the Makita MAC2400 comes equipped with a 4.2 gallon twin stacked tank for a greater runtime before recovery is needed.

The compressor is capable of holding a maximum pressure of 130 PSI and produce a 4.2 CFM of air at 90 PSI of air pressure.

Get your air tools ready because the Makita MAC2400 is able to run two at a time. It has two couplers right at the front where the pressure gauge is to support the use of two air tools, and there’s a black dial to raise or lower the pressure as needed.

The Makita MAC2400 is an oil lubricated compressor, so it does not only run cooler but also quieter compared to ones that run without oil. Another way Makita reduced the noise produce by the Makita MAC2400 is by having the motor run at a lower RPM compared to other air compressors in its class.

The lower RPM coupled with the fact that it is oil lubricated and it’s made of durable cast iron reduces the wear and tear in the pump, ensuring that you get many years of service from the machine.

As for electrical requirements, you can run the Makita MAC2400 with the normal 120 volts circuits in your home or workshop.

What I like about it

The Makita MAC2400 is a high performance air compressor. It’s a 4.2 gallon air compressor equipped with a big bore pump powered by a 2.5 HP motor. It’s very clear that the compressor is built to impress with its performance, and they surely got me impressed.

You can run your nailers, staplers and your air tools that don’t take more than 4.2 CFM of air with the Makita MAC2400, and it will run them like a champ. Recovery is very quick when the pressure goes down.

The MAC2400 air compressor runs quietly and it’s made with quality materials to ensure that it stays running through the years. If you’re looking for a compressor of this size, then I can assure you, you won’t get it wrong with this one.

Where it can be improved

Provided you keep it well-oiled and break it in properly, the Makita MAC2400 will perform efficiently as it should.

The only part where you have to fret a little bit is the weight. With a weight of 77 lbs, this bad boy is on the heavy side. So, if you can, do yourself a favor and build a rolling cart for it, or don’t if you have the muscles to keep lifting it around.

7. California Air Tools 8010 Air Compressor

California Air Tools 8010

What you get

If you want to buy a really quiet air compressor, the California Air Tools 8010 is one of the best ones that will not disappoint you. When someone asks me to recommend a very good air compressor, California Air Tools is one of the first company that comes to my mind because their compressors are simply terrific.

The California Air Tools 8010 is an 8 gallon air compressor that produces 2.2 CFM of air at 90 PSI and has the capacity to store and compress air up to a maximum pressure of 120 PSI. A 1 HP motor operates at a less speed of just 1680 RPM keeps the dual piston pump running, and also to increase the life cycle of the air compressor by reducing wear and tear in the pump.

The amazing thing about the California Air Tools 8010 is that it’s an oil-free air compressor, but it’s quieter than even some of the oil lubricated ones. Mark my words, you’ll experience the quiet nature firsthand if you happen to bite the bullet on this one.

If you want to work in an area where noise is a huge issue, this kind of air compressor should be your go to. The compressor fills up quickly in less than 3 minutes and recovers quickly in less than 30 seconds when the pressure falls down during usage.

The fact that’s it’s an oil-free air compressor means you don’t have to worry about lubricating it with oil from time to time, which also means less maintenance for you.

Overall, the California Air Tools 8010 is a kickass air compressor, no questions asked. If you happen to spurge your cash on it, you’ll get your money’s worth back in no time.

What I like about it

If you’ve used any other air compressor before, this one will really seem like a dream to you in terms of how quiet it runs. It’s an oil-free compressor for God’s sake. Which means it’s supposed to be noisy, but it’s not.

You can actually have a nice conversation with someone standing right next to the compressor. Apart from the quietness, it also a very good air compressor in terms of performance. It recovers quickly when the pressure fall down and keeps your air tools up and running.

It’s a decent air compressor you can use around the home, for carrying out your handyman services especially because it will not disturb your clients, and for jobsite use as well.

Where it can be improved

Performance wise, I really found nothing to criticize about the California Air Tools 8010. However, the make quality, especially the rubber tires that come with it are not the best tool tires I’ve seen. The compressor is not very expensive though, but California Air Tools could certainly do better with the tires.

8. California Air Tools 2010A Air Compressor

California Air Tools 2010A 2 gallon air compressor

What you get

Sometimes, a 2 gallon air compressor is just what you need especially if you don’t use it all the time, or you need a portable air compressor for your handyman services or carry out little DIY projects around the home. If that’s the case, then the California Air Tools 2010A 2 gallon air compressor will certainly fit your needs.

Like the then the California Air Tools 8010, the California Air Tools 2010A is also very quiet during operation, even though it’s oil-free.

It’s a 2 gallon air compressor with a dual piston pump, meant to actually fill up the tank quickly, which is powered by a 1 HP power motor producing a speed of 1680 RPM.

With the California Air Tools 2010A, you get air at a volume of 2.2 CFM to run your air tools, fill up tires and footballs. The California Air Tools 2010A is actually geared for use at home, because of the small tank capacity. Though, it can work for handyman services as well.

The small tank capacity means it’s also lightweight and easy to carry around. So, if you need a very small portable air compressor for your home use, this one may do just fine depending on your needs.

What I like about it

I really like the fact that it’s very portable. I think that’s why compressors as small as this ones are made. They’re very portable and easy to carry around to anywhere the work is. With the California Air Tools 2010A, you can easily bring the compressor to the work, instead of the other way around.

It performs well, and it’s very quiet as well. If you need a compressor this size, I’m certain the California Air Tools 2010A will not disappoint.

Where it can be improved

The compressor is as advertised. It performs as it should. It’s a compressor that’s actually meant to power low air consumption tools, like finish nailers and staplers. It’s for the average DIYer or woodworker with a small workshop. This is not the compressor for you if you’re a mechanic hoping to work on cars. You’d have to get a bigger unit that produces more CFM.

9. Powermate Vx PLA4708065 80 Gallon Air Compressor

Powermate Vx PLA4708065 80 Gallons

What you get

If you use high air demand tools like sand blasters, air hammers and ratchets, you’re also going to need a monster air compressor that has a large air storage tank and produces more CFM so that it can keep up with the tools you’re running.

If you’re that kind of guy, one of the best compressors I’ll recommend is the Powermate Vx PLA4708065. It’s an 80 gallon single stage air compressor equipped with a 3 piston pump powered by a 4.7 HP motor that runs operates at a speed of 3450 RPM.

It has the capacity to store air up to a pressure of 155 PSI and it produces 14 CFM of air at 90 PSI of air pressure.

Take note, this is not some toy. It’s something you need to bolt to the ground in your workshop to prevent it from falling or traveling along the ground due to vibrations during operation. It’s a 350+ lbs beast, so you certainly need something like a shop crane when setting it up.

If you have an auto workshop where you work on cars a lot or maybe you use high air demand tools in your woodworking workshop, then the Powermate Vx PLA4708065 is certainly the type of air compressor you need. With this, you can sand down the entire body of a car easily. It’s what it’s meant for.

The 3 piston pump ensures helps to spread the work of compressing the air across the 3 cylinders and reduce the workload of the pump. 3 cylinder pumps compress air more efficiently because it’s 3 cylinders instead of 1 where air is produced, hence more air is produced at a given time compared to a compressor that uses only 1 cylinder for compression.

The Powermate Vx PLA4708065 is practically created to store compressed air at will. The 3 piston design ensures that compressed air is always available, and that the compressor recovers quickly when the pressure in the tank drops.

It’s an oil lubricated air compressor, so you have to ensure that there’s oil in the crank case and that it’s at the correct level. It’s equipped with an oil sight glass to help you monitor the oil level easily.

The pump crank case is made of 1-piece cast iron, and the 80 gallon air tank is also made of cast iron as well, which shows that it’s something that’s well made to stand the test of time.

A 240 volts power supply is what’s required to get this beast running. Get a professional electrician to do that, and you’ll be up and running in no time.

What I like about it

The 3 piston pump design is my main attraction to the Powermate Vx PLA4708065 air compressor. It a high flow pump that ensures that there’s always air available to run your tools.

You’ll probably need some time deciding when going for an air compressor of this size, but I’m certain you’ll be glad at the end of the day if you chose this one.

Where it can be improved

The Powermate Vx PLA4708065 is a top quality air compressor. I’m certain you’ll not run into any problem with this one.

10. Industrial Air ILA4546065 60 Gallon Air Compressor

Industrial Air ILA4546065 60 gallon air compressor

What you get

Just like the Powermate Vx PLA4708065, the Industrial Air ILA4546065 is a 3 piston single staged air compressor. But unlike the former, it’s a 60 gallon air compressor.

It’s also meant to power air hungry tools like ratchets, die grinders and sand blasters. It’s a 3 piston high air flow compressor, so it will be able to keep up with your high CFM air tools and recover quickly if the pressure drops, because the 3 piston pump produces a lot of air on demand.

The Industrial Air ILA4546065 produces 14 CFM of air at 90 PSI, and it’s able to store air up to a pressure of 155 PSI.

It’s an oil lubricated air compressor, so you have to remember to change the oil at the recommend time and keep the oil at the appropriate level. There’s an oil sight glass for you to keep the oil level in check.

The 4.7 HP pump consist of a cast iron crank case, and cylinder heads that are made of aluminum to aid proper dissipation of heat and effect proper cooling of the pump.

What I like about it

The cast iron construction of the Industrial Air ILA4546065 shows that it’s certainly made to last. If you use high air demand tools, you’ll surely get your money’s worth in the form of value and performance if you get this industrial air 60 gallon compressor.

As in the previous 80 gallon Powermate air compressor, I really like the 3 cylinder single stage pump, which makes sure that the tank fills up quickly and recovers quickly as well.

Where it can be improved

If there’s something that needs to be improved in this air compressor, I’m sure it will take years to tell.

How to choose the best air compressor for your needs

Choosing an air compressor is not an easy task. There are many air compressors out there. These things come in different sizes, and they have different specs.

They’re even named with the names of food like the hotdog compressor and pancake compressor. You hear that for the first time, and you’d be saying, what? Hotdog compressor? LOL.

Also, there are a lot of terms associated with air compressors which you need to take note of before buying, like CFM, SCFM, PSI and some others which I don’t need to mention.

You also have to deal with the choice of an oil free compressor vs an oiled compressor. However, you need not worry because I will be taking you through the basic things you need to know about choosing the best air compressor that will fit your needs perfectly.

So here are the things or factors you need to consider

What are you going to use the air compressor for?

To choose the best air compressor that will fit your needs, you have to be honest with yourself and answer the question. What am I going to use the air compressor for and how often will I be using it?

Answering this question correctly and honestly will help to avoid speculation, and aid you to know exactly what you need and help you to pinpoint the right air compressor.

There are two type of air compressor users. Those that need it to just fill up tires, football and some other stuff around the home and will only be using the air compressor occasionally , and those that will be using it frequently to power air tools or pneumatic tools in their garage or in the jobsite.

If you in the first group that will be using the air compressor sparingly around your home for filling up your car tires and bicycle tires, then you don’t need a large compressor. What you need is a small pancake compressor or a small hotdog compressor.

On the other hand, if you need an air compressor to power air tools like your impact wrenches, die grinders, or even a framing nailer, then you need a larger compressor with a big tank that has the ability to store more air and produce more CFM continuously. CFM stands for Cubic Feet Per Minute. In literal terms, it stands for the volume of air a compressor can produce per minute.

Air tools or pneumatic tools consume a lot of air, so you need a bigger compressor with a big tank. How large you go depends on the particular tools you’ll be running and the CFM requirements of the tools.

So, the rule of thumb is check the CFM of all the tools you’ll be running with the air compressor. Add them all up, and add 30 percent to the number you get. That will tell you the CFM of the air compressor you need to buy.

One thing I know is, when you’re running air tools, maybe you have a car shop or a garage for working on cars, there’s no limit to the size of compressor you’ll need. Go for as large as your money can buy.

Good tools normally pay for themselves quickly as time goes by.

Categorizing Air Compressor Users

Like I’ve mentioned earlier, air compressors are used to power many tools, as many tools as you can think of.

Hence, many people today, both craftsmen and hobbyists alike use air compressors for various work activities such as powering a nail gun to install trim molding and building of furniture

You can use an air compressor to power a paint sprayer to spray paint furniture or car, power a grinder to sharpen lawn equipment like mower blades, inflate stuffs like tires, football and matrasses, and restore old cars etc. The list of air compressor uses just go on.

To make it easier for you to choose the type of air compressor that will be fit for the type of project you want to tackle, I am going to group air compressor users into five categories, based on the type of use they want to get out of the air compressor or the  type of project they want to tackle with it.

Category 1: Air Compressors For Inflating projects

The first category of users are those who want to use the air compressor for inflation projects. If you want to inflate your car tire, your kid’s football, rafts and matrasses, then you fall into this category of users.

Most likely, you don’t need an air compressor for this, since you are not really powering any air tool. What you need is an inflator, which is likely cheaper compared to an air compressor.

An air compressors sole purpose is meant to store air in a storage vessel attached to the compressor as a form of energy to power air tools.

If you want to inflate a football or a matrass at home, you don’t need compressed air energy to do this. You need a device that can provide a steady stream of air, which is an inflator.

So, consider buying a good portable inflator instead of an air compressor, if you just intend to inflate things at home.

On the other hand, if you really dig getting an air compressor for this, then you can go for a small 6 gallon pancake or hotdog compressor. That will be sufficient. In case you intend to power air tools in the future, it may also come handy.

Category 2: Air Compressors For Fastening Projects

Some other users engage or may want to engage in small projects like installing trim moldings in a room, or framing one room or so.

If you fall in this category, and you need an air compressor to power a trim nailer to install crown or base moldings, or you need it to power a framing nailer to frame a room, build a deck or build a fence around your home, then you need a small inflation and fastening compressor.

You don’t need a monster compressor for these projects. You need a small 6 or 8 gallon hotdog or pancake compressor.

Trim and framing nailers don’t require a constant flow of air from the compressor to operate. They require air intermittently, so they don’t consume a large volume of air at ones.

So consider a 6 gallon pancake compressor like the Bostitch BTFP02012, the Dewalt DWFP55126 or even the super quiet 8 gallon California air 8010 compressor. They’d fit in perfectly.

Remember, this is for installing trim moldings in one or two rooms, or framing one room. You’ll need a bigger compressor if you intend to tackle large projects like framing a whole building.

Category 3: For Larger home improvement projects

What if you are not just framing a room, but you’re framing a whole building? Or what if you’re not just building one piece of furniture, but you are building a whole lot of them?

Then you don’t need a 6 gallon air compressor anymore. You need a compressor with a larger storage capacity, preferably a portable 30 gallon compressor.

The compressor you choose will largely depend on the type of tools you’ll be using in this instance. You need to check the SCFM requirements of the tool you’ll be using, and then make sure that the compressor produces more than that SCFM in order for it to power your tool comfortably.

A 30 gallon air compressor is also ideal for small or simple auto maintenance projects in your workshop. Nothing complicated here, just simple auto maintenance projects, or if you want to make simple repairs to your lawn equipment like sharpening lawn mower blades. Then you can use a 30 gallon air compressor.

Category 4: For Continuous auto-workshop or garage use and projects

If you want to get serious in your workshop with some pretty serious auto maintenance or body shop projects, expecially if you will be having a buddy working with you, and both of you will be using tools like sanders, die grinders and cut-off tools which usually consume a lot of air, then you don’t need a portable compressor.

You need a stationary compressor that needs to be bolted on the ground, preferably a 60 gallon compressor or larger for these tool.

If you are this kind of guy, it is usually recommended that you go for as large a compressor as you can afford, because these tools use up a lot air, and if you don’t have a large enough tank, then your tools will be using it up pretty quickly, and you’re going to have to continuously wait for the tank to fill up.

Category 5: For Spray Painting Projects

With a paint sprayer lying around and a suitable compressor to match, your spray painting projects will just become more fun.

The issue however, is choosing the right compressor to power the paint spray gun throughout the project.

When it comes to choosing a compressor for your spray painting projects, the least you can go for is a 30 gallon compressor.

A 30 gallon compressor will be suitable if you are tackling small projects like spray painting furniture. If you are in a car body shop environment, you can use it to spray paint one car panel, then you have to wait for the compressor to recharge before you continue.

You can’t spray paint multiple car panels with one charge.

If you intend to tackle larger projects like spray painting multiple car panels in one charge of the compressor tank, then you have to get a 60 gallon compressor or a larger 80 gallon air compressor.

If you will be spray painting an entire car, then you should consider an 80 gallon air compressor. Like I’ve stated before, the larger the project you intend to cover, the larger the compressor you should go for.

Also take note of the SCFM requirements of the tools you’ll be using and make sure the compressor produces more than that in order to power the tools conveniently.

Are you going to be using the compressor by yourself, or are you going to have someone with you, using the compressor at the same time with you? If that is the case, then you must add up the SCFM requirements of the 2 tools you’ll be using and make sure that the compressor produces 20 to 30 percent more than the total SCFM of both tools.

Choosing between an oiled compressor vs oil-free compressor

When shopping for an air compressor, you’re going to come across two major types. Oiled compressor and oil-free compressors.

Though an oiled compressor and an oil-free compressor perform the same function of compressing air, they are very different from one another in their makeup, the way they work and the kind of usage you are going to get from them.

That is why it is very important that you know the difference between them first, before spending a dime on any air compressor.

To compress air, the compressor draws in air from the atmosphere with the aid of a piston in a cylindrical piston chamber, where the air is further compressed by the reciprocating action of the piston in the chamber, and the compressed air finally discharged into the storage tank awaiting use.

In order for the piston to move smoothly in the cylindrical piston chamber for the compressor to work efficiently, the cylinder requires continuous lubrication with oil. These kind of compressors that require oil lubrication are known as oiled compressors.

On the other hand, oil-free compressors does not require this kind of lubrication with oil. They are pre-lubricated with a permanent long lasting lubrication such as Teflon. Hence, you don’t need to lubricate them with oil anymore once you start using them.

Pros and Cons of an Oiled Compressor Vs an Oil-free Compressor

Both an oiled compressor and an oil-free compressor have their own advantages and disadvantages.

For instance, both of them produce noise during operation. However, oiled compressors run more quietly due to the well lubricated working parts. On the other hand, oil-free compressors are much noisier during operation.

An oil-free compressor has less working parts, hence it is more lightweight compared to an oiled compressor. Because of this, an oil-free compressor is also less expensive.

Additionally, an oiled compressor requires more maintenance due to the fact that you have to change the oil regularly as recommended by the manufacture in order to keep it in good working condition.

Oil-free compressors does not require such maintenance as is required for oiled compressors.

However, even though oil-free compressors are cheaper and require less maintenance, oiled compressors are more durable. They will stand the test of time and are more suitable for heavy use.

The continuous lubrication keeps the compressor in good working condition, thus increasing its life span.

The permanent lubrication of oil-less compressors wear out over time, the compressor tends to get hot, thus causing the breakdown of the compressor.

Like I said earlier, both have their advantages and disadvantages. So, you have to consider them when making your choice.

If you are a simple home owner or a DIYer and you won’t be subjecting the air compressor to continuous heavy use. You can opt for an oil-less or oil-free compressor.

Even if you’re a contractor in need of a compressor for powering your air tools on site, you can also opt for an oil-free compressor, provided it has enough power and tank capacity to power your air tools.

On the other hand, if you need a compressor for continuous day-by-day use or heavy industrial use, I’d definitely recommend that you get an oiled compressor. It is made to better withstand continuous use and every day abuse.

Another thing to take note of is that, with an oiled compressor, some of the oil sips into the storage tank during compression. Hence, though not noticeable, the compressed air tends to get contaminated with a slight amount of the oil.

Some pneumatic tools such as sanders and nail guns require oil to function properly. Therefore, the air contaminated with oil may not affect the operation of these tools.

On the other hand, using this type of oil contaminated compressed air on air tools like a paint prayer might actually contaminate the paint with oil, making it harder for the paint to dry or have a good finish.

Using an oil separator might prevent this from happening. However, the best way to prevent any oil contamination totally, is to use an oil-free air compressor.

An oil-free compressor will leave no chance for your work to be contaminated with oil of any sort, no matter how minute it is.

So, consider the pros and the cons of an oiled vs an oil-free compressor, and choose the best one that suits your needs.

Power Source

Once you know the size of compressor you need, the second issue you need to be concerned about is the power or electricity requirements of the air compressor.

Compressors don’t work themselves. They need electrical power to operate. You need to plug your compressor to a power outlet for it to fill up the air tank with air.

The standard voltage in the power outlets in your home or garage will most likely be 120 Volts. That is the kind of voltage that powers single stage compressors with 30 gallon or less storage tank.

If you will be using the compressor frequently, you may want to call a certified electrician to create a dedicated 120 volts power outlet for your compressor.

It is not advisable to run your compressor with the same electric circuit as the one you are using in your home.

Most compressors larger than 30 gallons can only be powered with 240V electricity. So when shopping for a compressor, make sure to check the power rating of the compressor.

If you don’t have a 240 volts power outlet for a larger compressor, then you have to call a certified electrician and wire a dedicated power outlet in your garage that produces 240 volts of electricity, as your compressor will not work under a 120 volts circuit.


Compressors makes a lot of noise, especially oilless single stage compressors. Hence if you going to get a compressor, you need to also consider how to muffle the noise so that you don’t disturb your neighbors with it.

You might also consider shopping for an oiled compressor instead of an oiless one. Oiled compressors makes less noise when compared to an oiless one.

You need to also consider space in your garage. Larger compressors make more noise, so make sure you have enough space in your garage so that the compressor noise can be muffled a bit, so that you will not anger your neighbors while using your air compressor.


Depending on the kind of application or the kind of project you want to undertake, you might need your compressor to be portable.

Your project might demand that you move the compressor from one place to the other. For instance, if you are using the compressor in a job site for framing a building, or installing trim moldings into different rooms in a building.

You don’t need a monster compressor for these kind of applications, you need a portable compressor. Generally, a compressor is portable if it got wheels on it.

A 20 or 30 gallon compressor that got wheels on it like this Industrial Air 20 gallon compressor and this Dewalt 20 gallon compressor are very portable. They have wheels and pneumatic tires on them.

Hence, they are ideal for jobsite use, because you can easily move them from one part of the job site to the other, or from one room of a building to another room.

The larger a compressor is, the less portable it becomes. So, if you are going for a very large compressor like a 60 or 80 gallon compressor, then you have to give up on portability.

Smaller compressors like 3, 6, or 10 gallon compressors are very portable, because they got handles on them that will allow you to maneuver or carry them in and out of your home to help a neighbor, or even in the trunk of your car.

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