Choosing the best portable air compressor can be really daunting. There’s an endless selection that you can choose from.
Air compressors come in different sizes, just like companies. These products are available in infinite number and in different horsepower. As a result, it makes it difficult to find out which of make and model is right for you or your company’s needs.
To assist you with this, our reviews of the best portable air compressors will highlight the good and the bad of the most popular units on the market. This will surely help you choose which one is right for you.
1. VIAIR 85P Portable Air Compressor
This machine is a 12-volt portable air compressor with permanent magnetic motor. It offers a maximum working pressure of 60 PSI and maximum ampere draw of 15 amps. This unit weighs around 4.30 pounds with a power cord of 10 feet and air hose of 3 feet.
For small inflation tasks, this air compressor can do the job well. This is ideal for inflating bicycle tires, compact and mid-size car tires. It can also inflate air mats. This is capable of inflating tires of up to 225/60R18. These tires are commonly used for trucks and SUVs.
What makes this unique great is that you can plug it into your car lighter power port. However, the additional plug isn’t included in the box. But the pack comes with a gauge to help you monitor the pressure of the tire during inflation.
The unit is quite small making it a very portable device that you can carry anywhere. Its maximum duty cycle is 20 minutes. Compared with other units on the market, this unit works in a quieter fashion. When it comes to maintenance, it is quite low. Thanks to its oil-less pump design. This is quite expensive than oil-lubed counterparts but it’s worth the money.
This model is perfect for smaller jobs, like tire inflation. However, if you’re going to use a portable air compressor for high-consumption tools, like paint sprayers, you may need to get a unit that has more power. It’s also important that you keep it from being exposed to any type of moisture.
If you’re looking for an air compressor that offers great portability, then this model truly fits the description. It comes with some accessories, such as pressure gauge, LED work light, tire chuck, dual battery clamps, inflation tips kit, air hose and power cord.
2. Black & Decker AS1500 12-Volt Cordless Air Station Inflator
This is a high-performance inflator designed for small jobs. Essentially, it’s ideal for household. It’s also beneficial for home-shop inflation jobs, like car and bike tires. You can use it to inflate air mattresses, inflatable pool toys and rafts, among others.
It operates at 160 PSI and powered through its internal battery. However, you may use your vehicle’s power supply to power it up. Since this is a cordless-powered machine, you can inflate anytime, anywhere you need it.
This unit comes with two inflation settings. The low-pressure is recommended for rafts and mattresses. The high-pressure, on the other hand is great for bike and car tires. With its power, it can inflate a completely flat tire on a single charge. But you need to charge it for four to five hours to handle a variety of objects.
Weighing only 5.2 pounds, this unit’s size offers a great advantage if you want to store it in your car for easy access. It’s very small and light enough that it won’t require wheels for you to transport it. Because it’s cordless, you can easily pick it up.
But because of its size, you can only use it to inflate small projects. It can’t be used on power tools, like power sprayers or air ratchet wrenches.
Then again, if you want convenient and easy to use air compressor, this unit is worth a look. Its overall size makes it easy for you to store and transport it anywhere. There will be no hassle in accessing it when you need to inflate or compress something. As it requires little to no maintenance, it helps you save time using this machine.
3. Porter-Cable PCFP 12234-3 Tool Combo Kit
This is a lightweight unit made for small inflation jobs. It can also be used at home. The unit has 2.6 SCFM (standard cubic foot meter) with 90 PSI pump for quick compressor recovery time.
The 6-gallon tank gives you longer run time with quicker recovery, compared with other portable air compressors.
The oil-free pump lets you keep it with no maintenance. The best thing is that its compressors knobs and gauges can be easily located and operated.
This is a highly portable machine weighing only 47 pounds. Because it runs at 120-volt motor, it can start easily in cold weather, unlike other compressors that you can’t use in certain weather conditions.
Although it’s maintenance-free, you still have to drain the water from its tank. You need to do this as the water can cause rust and corrosion if it sits in the tank for too long. Fortunately, it won’t take a lot of time for you to drain its water from the tank.
Overall, however, this machine is a good purchase. That is, if you want an air compressor that’s lightweight and easy to maintain. It’s quick to recover and it can start in cold weather. They’re just two of the benefits of opting for this model.
Best Portable Air Compressor – What to Look For?
This type of unit is available in different sizes and weights. Thus, its portability and design are essential. With so many brands and models on the market, finding the best one for you will depend on the type of job you expect this machine to handle.
When you shop for this type of unit, consider first its type of pump that the unit uses. You can find an oil-less pump and oil-lubricated unit. The type of pump will affect how you’re going to maintain the unit. The oil-less pump, however, is more expensive than the oil-lubricated units. Then again, the oil-lubricated tanks run quieter than their counterparts.
In addition to its pump, you should also consider the unit’s overall design. Even though portable air compressors are usually small, some models can get large. Thus, make sure that the unit you want to have can fit in the storage space of your garage or car. You also need to look into its design and know whether or not you can easily carry it around when you need to transport it.
Some portable air compressors have a handle with wheels, which make the unit more portable.
When the unit is large, it’s usually the result of its tank. Oil-lubricated unit tends to have an extra weight compared with its oil-less tanks counterparts. So, if portability is very important to you, you should look for lightweight or wheeled units.
Then, there’s the PSI. This is the amount of pressure that the unit can deliver. A unit with 150 PSI is considered low-pressure. If it’s more than that but less than 1,000 PSI, it’s a mid-pressure. On the other hand, if it’s more than 1,000 PSI, it’s categorized as high-powered.
Whatever unit you choose, consider the uses of this machine before you purchase the best portable air compressor.