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The Best Air Compressor

Last updated on August 3, 2020

We looked at the top 8 Air Compressors and dug through the reviews from 46 of the most popular review sites including Heathy Handyman, Consumer Expert Reviews, Architecture Lab, Power Tool Buzz, BestReviews, Air Compressor Talk and more. The result is a ranking of the best Air Compressors.

Best Air Compressor

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Our Picks For The Top Air Compressors

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  The Best Overall

EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump

EPAuto

12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump

Overall Take

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

Experts Included
DWYM Tools Experts plus BestReviews, Tire Reviews and More, DeWhite Home, Garage Pro Reviews, Byways, The Truth About Cars and 5 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" Fast, efficient, and quiet compressed air that works with your car's cigarette lighter socket."
Cons
"Slower than some pumps, doesn’t support LT, HT, and truck tires"
  The Best Value

VacLife DC 12V Portable Air Compressor

VacLife

DC 12V Portable Air Compressor

Overall Take

Speedy Fill-UpThis air compressor works quickly, filling your tires so that you can get on the road.

Experts Included
DWYM Tools Experts plus BestReviews, Byways, Superior Top List, Auto by Mars, DIYer Hacks, Tools Insights. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" Convenient digital display.Handy auto-shutoff feature. Fills tires quickly."
Cons
"It is noisy."

BOSTITCH BTFP3KIT 3-Tool Air Compressor Combo Kit

BOSTITCH

3-Tool Air Compressor Combo Kit

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.

Experts Included
DWYM Tools Experts plus . Along with user reviews from Amazon.

Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak 1-Gallon Air Compressor

Senco

1-Horsepower Peak 1-Gallon Air Compressor

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.

Experts Included
DWYM Tools Experts plus Tools Pro, Jon’s Guide, Drill & Driver, Architecture Lab, The Drive, Wood Working Toolkit and 4 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Home Depot.
Pros
" The noise level of the compressor is very low for a quiet job space"
Cons
"It has a sturdy handle and a rubber padding at the base that makes the unit portable and easy to use."
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.
15

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the air compressors available to purchase.
8

Products Analyzed

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

View All Product Rankings

46

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.

39,850

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Home Depot and 3 others.

Our experts reviewed the top 8 Air Compressors and also dug through the reviews from 46 of the most popular review sites including Heathy Handyman, Consumer Expert Reviews, Architecture Lab, Power Tool Buzz, BestReviews, Air Compressor Talk 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.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump

Our Expert Score
9.9
11 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.8
13,305 user reviews
Our Take

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.

What other experts liked
Fast, efficient, and quiet compressed air that works with your car's cigarette lighter socket.
- BestReviews
Easy-to-read digital gauge, displays in four different units, built-in LED flashlight, and an auto shutoff feature.
- Tire Reviews and More
Very convenient to use because you just plug it directly into cigarette Lighter Socket of your car.
- DeWhite Home
Small and lightweight – easy to carry and doesn’t take up much space, and has multiple possible uses.
- Garage Pro Reviews
It has a simple interface with four different display units that show you all the figures you need to care about.
- Byways
Multiple redundancies, including a pair of fuses and an over-inflation shut off, add a sense of security.
- The Truth About Cars
The pump shuts off when the required pressure is realized to avoid burst from excess tension.
- Globo Gears
Quiet and powerful
- Wood Working Toolkit
A powerful motor with good airflow, an easy to read LCD screen and an excellent auto-cutoff built in to protect against over inflation.
- Car Bibles
It also has an overheat protector, which will shut the unit off if its temperature exceeds 167 degrees Fahrenheit, preventing the unit from burning out.
- Business Insider
It comes with a pretty impressive inflating speed of 1.06 CFM, thereby making it one of the fastest in its category.
- Free Air Pump
What other experts didn't like
Some users have reported issues with attachment hose threads stripping.
- BestReviews
Slower than some pumps, doesn’t support LT, HT, and truck tires
- Tire Reviews and More
Several users consider that the flashlight isn’t very strong and that it is really only good to use as a spotlight.
- Garage Pro Reviews
If you have a truck or larger, then this won’t be able to work for you.
- Byways
Cannot be used for PSI above 45
- Globo Gears
At 3.8 lbs and awkward shape it is not highly convenient to store in the trunk
- Wood Working Toolkit
No adaptor for wall socket
- Car Bibles
Does not work on truck tires, and has no AC plug.
- Business Insider
In the process of loosening or unscrewing the nozzle from the valve of a tire, if you are not very careful, you can easily lose some air from your tire.
- Free Air Pump

The Best Bang For Your Buck

VacLife DC 12V Portable Air Compressor

Our Expert Score
9.1
6 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.2
2,998 user reviews
Our Take

This air compressor fills your tires quickly and automatically shuts off once you've reached the desirable capacity. The small, lightweight build makes it both easy to carry and store between uses. It also comes with a long cable that lets you keep it plugged into the same socket while you fill all four tires.

What other experts liked
Convenient digital display.Handy auto-shutoff feature. Fills tires quickly.
- BestReviews
One thing that we noticed is that it works quicker than most of the portable tire inflators on the market today.
- Byways
Overall, this is a pretty sturdy and durable design air compressor to buy
- Superior Top List
Easy to transport and use.
- Auto by Mars
Comes with a lengthy cable so you don’t have to constantly unplug the product to move around to different wheels.
- DIYer Hacks
This compressor is highly portable, very easy to use, and very handy to have one in your car or home.
- Tools Insights
What other experts didn't like
A little on the noisy side.
- BestReviews
It is noisy.
- Auto by Mars
The cord hangs free as there's no reeling action.
- DIYer Hacks
Noisy
- Tools Insights

Overall Product Rankings

EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump

1. EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump

Overall Score: 9.6
Reviews Included: 12

VacLife DC 12V Portable Air Compressor

2. VacLife DC 12V Portable Air Compressor

Overall Score: 9.4
Reviews Included: 8

BOSTITCH BTFP3KIT 3-Tool Air Compressor Combo Kit

3. BOSTITCH BTFP3KIT 3-Tool Air Compressor Combo Kit

Overall Score: 9.3
Reviews Included: 1

Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak 1-Gallon Air Compressor

4. Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak 1-Gallon Air Compressor

Overall Score: 9.2
Reviews Included: 12

CRAFTSMAN CMEC6150K Pancake Air Compressor & Accessory Kit

5. CRAFTSMAN CMEC6150K Pancake Air Compressor & Accessory Kit

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 8

DEWALT FLEXVOLT 60V Cordless Air Compressor Kit

6. DEWALT FLEXVOLT 60V Cordless Air Compressor Kit

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 8

BOSTITCH BTFP1KIT Air Compressor & Brad Nailer Combo Kit

7. BOSTITCH BTFP1KIT Air Compressor & Brad Nailer Combo Kit

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 3

PORTER-CABLE C2002 Pancake Air Compressor

8. PORTER-CABLE C2002 Pancake Air Compressor

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 10

Our Air Compressor Findings

EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump

What We Liked: 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.

VacLife DC 12V Portable Air Compressor

What We Liked: This air compressor fills your tires quickly and automatically shuts off once you’ve reached the desirable capacity. The small, lightweight build makes it both easy to carry and store between uses. It also comes with a long cable that lets you keep it plugged into the same socket while you fill all four tires.

BOSTITCH BTFP3KIT 3-Tool Air Compressor Combo Kit

What We Liked: 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.

Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak 1-Gallon Air Compressor

What We Liked: 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.

DEWALT FLEXVOLT 60V Cordless Air Compressor Kit

What We Liked: With 60 volts of power, this cordless air compressor kit will provide everything you need to move around your job sites. It has plenty of power for tools like nailers, and its quiet operation keeps your noise level at a minimum. Though it packs power, it’s lightweight enough to make it easy to move around.

Our Air Compressor 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.

DWYM Fun Fact

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.

The Air Compressor Tips and Advice

  • 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.

About The Author

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Stephanie Faris 

Stephanie Faris is a novelist and business writer whose work has appeared on numerous blogs. She worked for the State of Tennessee for 19 years, the latter six of which were spent as a supervisor. She has written content for entrepreneurs and marketing firms since 2011. In addition to her online content, she is also the author of eight novels for Simon & Schuster, including the Piper Morgan chapter book series.