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The Best Air Compressor

Last updated on August 3, 2020

We looked at the top 7 Air Compressors and dug through the reviews from 40 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best Air Compressors.

Best Air Compressor

Our Review Process

Don't Waste Your Money is focused on helping you make the best purchasing decision. Our team of experts spends hundreds of hours analyzing, testing, and researching products so you don't have to. Learn more.

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Our Picks For The Top Air Compressors

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Best Overall

EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump

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12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump

Ease of use is this air compressor's strength, with an easy-to-read display and a cord that plugs into your car's cigarette lighter. A built-in LED flashlight makes it easy to use even in poor lighting conditions. Its small build means you can easily store it in your trunk to have on hand when you need it.

Overall Take

Easy Tire InflationIf you're looking for an air compressor to inflate your tires on the go, this is a great choice.

" Fast, efficient, and quiet compressed air that works with your car's cigarette lighter socket."
"Slower than some pumps, doesn’t support LT, HT, and truck tires"
 Honorable Mention

BOSTITCH BTFP3KIT 3-Tool Air Compressor Combo Kit


3-Tool Air Compressor Combo Kit

Tackle all your finishing and trimming projects with this toolkit, which includes a cordless air compressor, two nailers and a stapler. The high-efficiency motor ensures you have all the power you need to finish your work. The 80 dBA operational noise level keeps things quiet while you work.

Overall Take

Includes Nailers and StaplerYou'll get a Brad nailer, a straight finish nailer, a crown stapler and a cordless air compressor in this kit.

 Strong Contender

Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak 1-Gallon Air Compressor


1-Horsepower Peak 1-Gallon Air Compressor

The small, compact size isn't the only thing that makes this air compressor portable. It also has a sturdy handle and rubber padding at the base that makes it handy for taking from one job site to another. It's important to note that this compressor works best with smaller tools that don't require as much air, such as nailers.

Overall Take

Portable Compressor for Trim WorkDragging an air compressor from one project to another can be tricky, but this portable model makes it easy.

" The noise level of the compressor is very low for a quiet job space"
"It has a sturdy handle and a rubber padding at the base that makes the unit portable and easy to use."

CRAFTSMAN CMEC6150K Pancake Air Compressor & Accessory Kit


Pancake Air Compressor & Accessory Kit

Overall Take

" Great performance, air power, portability with its handle design, rubber feet, and tough construction."
"Didn’t come with any directions for use of the small accessories"

Buying Guide

Air may be invisible, but with some force behind it, air can help you with a variety of tasks. One way to harness that force is through the use of an air compressor, which gathers air in a tank, pressurizes it, then forces it through an opening. Air compressors have a variety of uses, from pushing air into the tires of your vehicles to powering tools such as nail guns and staplers. But before you invest in an air compressor, you’ll first need to identify exactly what you need it for so that you can find the best model to fit your needs.

If you’re buying an air compressor for your vehicle tires, for instance, chances are you’ll be storing it in your car. You’ll need a power source, and you probably won’t be able to keep it on a charger between uses. A tire air compressor that plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter will ensure you can use it even if you see that you’re low on air when you’re on the road.

Another factor that’s important in an air compressor for tires is reach. If you’re going to be inflating all four tires, you’ll need a cord long enough to wrap around the vehicle. You should also look for a compressor with a built-in light that allows you to see what you’re doing if you’re stuck in a parking lot or at the side of the interstate after dark.

Air compressors are also built for powering tools that use compressed air to push projectiles into wood or other items. A nail gun or staple gun that uses air, for instance, needs a compressor to refresh the air in your tools. Some air compressors even come with the tools you need for your projects.

If you choose an air compressor that includes tools, pay close attention to the quality of the tools that are included. It may include nail guns or staple guns, for instance, and you may be better off buying those separately. If you already have the tools, you’ll have more leeway in the compressor you choose, but there are some factors to consider, such as the power the compressor will provide. A strong motor will offer more power, ensuring you get the strength you need to complete the task at hand.

Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the air compressors available to purchase.

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

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Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Heathy Handyman, Consumer Expert Reviews, Architecture Lab, Power Tool Buzz, BestReviews.


User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including

Our experts reviewed the top 7 Air Compressors and also dug through the reviews from 40 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Air Compressors.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

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What to Look For

  • No matter what use you’ll have for your air compressor, efficiency is essential. You’ll want as much power as you can get with each burst of air. With a tool-based air compressor, this will give you the strength you need to slide nails into wood or other items. With a tire-based air compressor, this efficiency means you’ll be able to inflate your tires quickly.
  • If you’ve ever been around an air compressor, you probably already know they can be noisy. Some are quieter than others, so if you’ll be using them in an area where it’s a concern, look for a noise level of 80 dBA or lower.
  • Portability may not matter if you’ll only be using your air compressor in one place. If not, though, look for one that’s lightweight enough to transport and small enough to fit into your planned storage space. A handle can also make an air compressor easy to carry around from one job site to another. Just make sure you aren’t trading in power for portability.
  • For tire-based air compressors, look for a handy screen that lets you monitor the pressure as you fill your tires. Make sure this screen is easy to read, even in poor lighting conditions.
  • Safety features such automatic shutoff once your tire reaches the desired inflation level can give you peace of mind.
  • If your compressor requires a power cord to operate, pay close attention to the length and retractability of that cable. You may find that it doesn’t have the reach you need, or that you have to continually unplug it and plug it in somewhere else throughout your time using it.
  • For tool-based air compressors, you need to make sure you’re getting enough power for the tools you’ll use. Some can only handle lighter tools like nail guns, which means they won’t work with paint sprayers and other heavy-duty air tools.
  • As handy as a portable air compressor can be, keep in mind that it will have a smaller tank. That means you’ll deplete the air inside quickly.
  • Pay attention to the hoses and other accessories included with your air compressor. Even if your compressor comes with a hose, it may not be of the material you need to get the best results. As great as nylon is, you’ll find its performance falling short in colder conditions. Neoprene will last longer and do better in chillier weather, but it can be on the heavy side. Polyurethane is both light and durable and can handle temperatures as low as -22 F.
  • When looking at the cord on any air compressor, pay attention to how the cord stores when not in use. Some are retractable, while some you can easily wind up for storage. However, there are some that aren’t flexible enough to be rolled up, creating challenges when it comes to storage.
  • The size of a compressor impacts more than storage. A bulky compressor can be tough to maneuver, especially if it’s heavy. Consider this if you’re looking for a compressor you’ll need to move around.

More to Explore

There are three scientific laws that explain the way air compressors work. One is the First Law of Thermodynamics, which states that increasing pressure also increases heat, explaining the boost in temperature seen with air compressors. There’s also Boyle’s Law, which shows that halving the volume of air doubles the pressure. Lastly, Charles’ Law states that air volume changes in direct proportion to the temperature. To compress air, a compressor traps air in a tank, at which point the space in the tank becomes smaller, thereby forcing air molecules in closer proximity — in other words, it compresses them. The compressed air waits until it’s ready for use, at which point the molecules expand.

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