A-Check Air Compressing Miscellaneous

Best Portable Air Compressor Pumps in 2020

When it comes to road safety, you can never be too careful. For instance, what will you do when your car has a flat in the middle of the night, and the nearest gas station is 50 miles awayWhy risk walking the 50 miles and exposing yourself to coyotes and other nighttime hunters when you could have invested in a portable air compressor to pump your tires back to their former inflated glory

The best portable air compressors should be compact enough to store easily in the trunk or glove compartment of your car while also being able to provide enough airflow volume and pressure to get your tires ready for the long drive back home. In today’s article, we’re going to share a few tips on how to find the best portable air compressor pump in your town. But first, let’s see what our editors have deemed the best of the best.

Air Compressor Pumps

Top 5 Best Portable Air Compressor Pumps

Sunvook 150-PSI DC 12V Car Air Pump

The first model on our list is the yellow-and-black portable air compressor by Sunvook. This 150-PSI model delivers enough pressure to fill up a standard sedan tire up to 36 PSI in less than 10 minutes. When the machine’s motor has run for too long, the Sunvook’s auto-shutdown mechanism will kill the motor, ensuring the unit doesn’t harm itself when used for extended periods.

Portable Air Compressor Pump Digital Tire Inflator 150PSI DC 12V Car Air Pump with LED Light Auto tire inflator for Car, Bicycle, Motorcycle, Basketball and Other Inflatables(Yellow)

This model uses a digital pressure gauge with adjustable desired pressure value to ensure you don’t over-inflate and pop your tires. The Sunvook also comes with a handy emergency LED light to illuminate your work surface and to alert fellow motorists of your location when it’s dark. We absolutely love this compressor’s compact size and super-long 11-plus-foot power cord that lets you work on all four tires of your sedan within pulling the cord taut.


Xflyee Portable Air Compressor

The Xflyee’s unique triangular shape makes it easy to grip and use. Similar to the Sunvook, the Xflyee also delivers a maximum of 150 PSI when blasting air, and it fills up a sedan’s tire in just under 10 minutes of work (36 PSI). In fact, except for their shapes, the Xflyee and Sunvook are identical. An auto-shutdown system prevents users from overworking the air compressor so its motor will not die from heat exhaustion.

Xflyee Portable Air Compressor Pump, Auto Digital Tire Inflator, 12V 150 PSI Tire Pump with LED Light for Cars/Motorcycle/Bicycle Tires and Other Inflatables

It comes with the same three needs for mattresses, sports balls, and car tires to inflate anything and everything you take with you on your road trip. A digital pressure gauge gives you an accurate reading of how much air has been pumped into the inflatable object, and users can also adjust how much pressure to deliver by tinkering with its buttons. The Xlflyee, however, doesn’t have a very long operating time. For roughly every 10 minutes of work, this air compressor requires about 5 minutes to cool down.


Autobots 12V Digital Air Compressor

Created by Autobots, this digital air compressor would be something that Optimus Prime would be happy to use (not really). With a maximum pressure deliver of 150 PSI and airflow rating of 30 liters per minute, it goes without saying that the Autobots is one of the quicker portable air compressors, at least in its size category.

Autobots Portable Air Compressor Pump | 2019 Model 12v Tire Inflator With Digital Pressure Gauge | Perfect For Automobiles, Car & Bike Tires | Includes Hose & Accessories

The Autobots shares many of the same features as the previous models, such as the three included needle types, emergency LEDs, and auto-shutoff. One of the only major differences between this and the previous pumps – and not in a good way – is the relatively short runtime. After roughly 8 minutes of pumping, the Autobots requires at least 10 minutes to cool down based on customer reports. Sadly, this means you’ll need to spend more than 30 minutes to pump all four of your sedan or hatchback’s tires.


EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump

Now, we’re entering the realm of the slightly different. The EPAuto is another portable air compressor that draws power from your car’s cigarette lighter port, but it’s able to produce a lot more air pressure than the previous models. With a maximum working pressure of 70 PSI, the EPAuto is able to pump the tire so of larger vehicles and inflatables, though it does take a bit more time to complete the task.

EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump, Digital Tire Inflator

Apart from this, the EPAuto and the previous pumps share many of the same features (auto-shutoff, desired pressure, emergency LEDs, etc.). The main thing to takeaway from this product is that it’s slightly larger motor and efficient airflow/pressure delivery make it a viable option to have around for larger vehicles.


Kensun 12V DC/110V AC Tire Inflator

Last but not least is the extra-versatile Kensun tire inflator. It delivers slightly less pressure than the rest (120 PSI max) but should be able to handle light- to medium-duty inflating tasks. This handy little machine doesn’t just plug into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter socket, but it can also draw power from a standard 110V wall outlet.

Kensun Portable Air Compressor Pump for Car 12V DC and Home 110V AC Swift Performance Tire Inflator 100 PSI for Car - Bicycle - Motorcycle - Basketball and Others with Analog Pressure Gauge (AC/DC)

The only thing you need to double- and maybe triple-check is whether AC or DC mode is turned on since the wrong power source on the wrong mode can lead to catastrophic results. Other than this, the Kensun is actually the simplest air compressor of the bunch. It uses an analog pressure gauge so there’s no way to set up a desired pressure level, meaning you’ll have to do everything by eye.


Portable Air Compressor Pump Buying Guide

The biggest challenge anyone will ever have regarding portable air compressors is selecting the right model from the infinite sea of compressors. This guide will assist you in determining which portable air compressor is ideal for your car in emergencies or for your next outdoor gathering.

Air Compressor Pumps


The most important thing to consider is whether the air compressor is up to the task. What we mean by this is that not all car tires are built the same and require the same amount of pressure to work optimally. Take a look at your car’s tires to see how much pressure they need, and your quest to find the best air compressor will become a lot simpler. In general, portable air compressors can deliver a maximum of 150 PSI, but their working pressure is roughly half of that.


Airflow refers to how much air the compressor can produce rather than how pressurized it is. A higher airflow rating (measured in PSI, CFM, or LPM) typically means a lower PSI rating, but it also means quicker pumping and less time spent waiting on the air compressor to cool down.

Air Compressor Pumps


Portable air compressors aren’t exactly known for efficient heat dissipation, hence their relatively long required cooldown times compared to their maximum operating times. The largest risk of overworking an air compressor is motor burnout. To save yourself the trouble of counting the seconds before giving the tool a rest, an auto-shutoff feature will kill the motor when it reaches a certain temperature, thereby extending the life and usefulness of the compressor.

Pressure Gauge

Your two options are digital or analog, where the former offers an easier-to-read readout without dealing with fluctuating needles. Analog pressure gauges may be harder to read, but they have quicker response times, letting you know how much air pressure is in the inflated object at that exact moment to prevent overinflating and popping. The major downside of analog pressure gauges is that they don’t have pressure setting feature that shuts down the compressor after reaching the desired pressure rating. If you work slowly and carefully, you won’t need to go digital, but it does make work a heck of a lot easier.


When it comes to portability, size matters. A smaller air compressor will be easier to take with you, but it will also feature a tinier motor that delivers less airflow pressure and volume. There’s really no way to determine the “best” size – what matters is that it can either fit in your glove compartment (most likely not) or can sit in the trunk your car without taking too much space (most likely yes).

Air Compressor Pumps

Power Cord Length

The length of the power cord will determine whether the air compressor can reach all four of your tires or not. It’s always better to go slightly longer than shorter, but you can always invest in an extension cord to help solve any length issues.


Last but not least is the compressor’s source of power. The two available options are AC and DC (gas portable compressors aren’t that well-suited for emergency use due to their size). AC-only models aren’t that great for keeping in your car unless you know for certain that your tires will go flat near an available wall outlet. We’d recommend sticking to either a DC model that draws power from your car battery or a hybrid such as the Kensun.


1. Can I inflate a [insert inflatable object here] with a portable air compressor?

As long as the object can be inflated and you have to right type of needle, then why notPortable air compressors are made to inflate objects wherever you are, so if you plan on having a beach party and need to fill a ball or mattress with air, then your portable compressor should be able to do the trick. The exception is overly large inflatable objects that need more than 150 PSI since air pressure resistance will work against the air compressor.

Air Compressor Pumps

2. How long can the portable air compressor run?

Runtime varies from model to model. Most portable air compressors can run for longer than 5 minutes, but they’ll need a bit more time to cool down afterward. Portable air compressors, though handy, don’t deal with heat very well, so many come with built-in auto-kill switches to ensure their motors don’t succumb to overheating.

3. How can I extend the reach of my portable air compressor?

You may think that you’re stuck with the 10, 11, or 12-foot power cord that comes with your portable air compressor pump, but oh dear reader, you couldn’t be more wrong. There are several extension cords available online that will help you extend the reach of your air compressor. If you have an extremely long vehicle, consider investing in a handy extension cord to increase your range of movement by several, several feet.


If you’ve ever experienced a flat tire, even in the daytime, then you know how stressful it can be waiting for a friend or AAA to pull you out of a sticky situation. The best thing you could do for your vehicle and for your safety is to invest in an inexpensive but handy portable air compressor pump. You could spend countless hours studying different models to see which one would work best for you, or you could take a look at our editors’ top 5 favorite models above. Drive safe, readers!

Air Compressing Miscellaneous

Best 2 HP Portable Air Compressors in 2020

Professional craftsmen and DIY-ers can both find value in air compressors. A good compressor delivers all the power you need for pneumatic tools like brad nail guns, paint sprayers, staple guns, just to name a few. The right air compressor depends on the sort of tasks you work on regularly, but going for a portable machine is oftentimes the best choice.

California Air Tools CAT-4620AC Electric Portable Air Compressor

California Air Tools CAT-4620AC

What to Look for in a Portable Air Compressor

Like so many other tools out there, there’s no single air compressor that will work for every situation, but there’s a science behind choosing the right portable air compressor. If you’re currently looking for an air compressor for your workshop, then you should consider the following specs.

HP Rating

For air compressors, the power of delivery is measured by horsepower (HP). Generally speaking, the higher the HP rating, the more powerful the unit is. For light tasks such as airbrushing or powering your brad gun, the perfect HP rating should between 1 and 1.5 HP. Heavy duty tasks at construction sites might require an even more powerful HP rating of at least 2 HP. In this article, we’re going to focus on 2 HP portable air compressors since this is the sweet-spot for many professional and DIY craftsmen.

Makita MAC700 Big Bore 2.0 HP Air Compressor

Makita MAC700

Tank Size

The tank size has a direct impact on the total recovery time – the total time needed for the air compressor to re-pressurize air in the tank. The common rule is that the larger the tank, the more time needed to recover. Most residential-grade air compressors should have a tank size of at least 1 gallon, but there are also 8-gallon tanks out there for use at home.

Flow Rate

To make use of pneumatic tools like nail guns or paint sprayers, your air compressor should offer enough pressure so they can work properly. Take a look at your tools in the workshop and see their required CFM (cubic-feet-per-minute), SCFM (standard CFM), or PSI (pounds-per-square-inch) before purchasing a portable air compressor.

California Air Tools 10020C Air Compressor

California Air Tools 10020C

Tank Draining

Compressed air leads to moisture condensation within the tank. If it’s left uncared for, then the condensed water droplets can cause rusting or corrosion to the tank. To eliminate this problem, air compressors should be drained every so often. Make sure the draining process of your air compressor is easy to do.

Ultra-Low Noise Level

An air compressor can be extremely loud and become a nuisance to your neighborhood. We suggest being friendly with your neighbors before purchasing an air compressor or finding a model that doesn’t produce a lot of noise. Some of the quietest portable air compressors produce around 70 decibels of noise – about the same volume as normal conversation sounds from 5 feet.

Ingersoll-Rand Twin-Stack P1IU-A9 2 HP 4 Gallon Portable Air Compressor

Ingersoll-Rand P1IU-A9

What is a Portable Air Compressor Used For?

Weight and Portability

Of course, a portable air compressor should be able to be transported from place to place with little to no issues. However, even portable air compressors can be heavy – more than 100 pounds – but they should come with wheels and a handle to help drag the unit to and fro. Find a model that’s lightweight and/or easy to maneuver with the help of wheels.

Which 2 HP Portable Air Compressor to Get

Now that we know the basics of what to look for in a portable air compressor, it’s not time to decide which model works best for our unique needs. No one single model is a blanket solution for every person’s needs, but our pick of the top 5 best 2 HP portable air compressors should help you in making a purchase decision.

5 Ingersoll-Rand Garage Mate Model# P1.5IU-A9

The Garage Mate by Ingersoll-Rand takes the fifth spot on our list. It’s an excellent air compressor, but its 200-pound build makes it too heavy to load and unload from a truck without pulling a muscle. This unit is a 4.6 CFM at 90 PSI machine features a 20-gallon tank.

Ingersoll-Rand Garage Mate Model# P1.5IU-A9

Ingersoll P1.5IU-A9

The unit comes with pneumatic wheels and detachable handle to navigate the unit horizontally, but vertical movement is a slight issue. Unlike many other models on the market, the Garage Mate comes with two air filters for its dual-piston setup. When running at full power, this air compressor produces roughly 80 decibels of noise – equivalent to the sound of traffic from inside your car.

Check how much you can save, buying the Ingersoll P1.5IU-A9 on Amazon >>>

4 Ingersoll-Rand Twin-Stack P1IU-A9 2 HP 4 Gallon Portable Air Compressor

The fourth-spot position goes to another one of Ingersoll-Rand’s models – the Twin-Stack. This unit is a small-reciprocating compressor mainly used for small, light-duty applications like finish nailing and filling up your tires. This 82-pound model comes with a carry handle situated above the tank to help users lift and move it.

Ingersoll-Rand Twin-Stack P1IU-A9 2 HP 4 Gallon Portable Air Compressor

Ingersoll-Rand P1IU-A9

The Twin-Stack features a 4-gallon tank and delivers up to 4.3 CFM at 90 PSI. Some users have complained about leaky hoses which cause the unit to recharge when not in use, but you can simply detach the hose to prevent wasting pressurized air. This unit produces up to 80 decibels of noise when running at 100% duty cycle.

Check how much you can save, buying the Ingersoll-Rand P1IU-A9 on Amazon >>>

3 California Air Tools 10020C Air Compressor

The 10020C by California Air Tools is an 82.5-pound portable vertical-standing air compressor. It might seem a bit heavy, but you’ll be glad to know that it features two pneumatic wheels and a handle to let users drag the unit around.

California Air Tools 10020C Air Compressor

California Air Tools 10020C

This is a versatile compressor that delivers 6.40 CFM at 40 PSI and 5.30 CFM at 90 PSI – enough pressure for all your home workshop power tools. It comes with an enormous 10-gallon tank so it’ll provide pressurized air for a long time though it’ll take a while for it to fully recover. It’s a super-quiet air compressor that produces around 70 decibels of noise at full capacity – not enough noise to drown out conversation.

Check how much you can save, buying the California Air Tools 10020C on Amazon >>>

2 Makita MAC700 Big Bore 2.0 HP Air Compressor

Makita’s MAC700 is a 52-pound portable air compressor with a top handle that lets users carry the unit wherever they need pressurized air. It delivers 3.3 CFM at 90 PSI or 3.8 CMF at 40 PSI so it’s fit to attach to a wide range of pneumatic power tools. While running at full power, the 12.4 amp motor produces around 80 decibels of noise, making it one of the loudest units on our list, but it’s still relatively quiet compared to other air compressors on the market.

Makita MAC700 Big Bore 2.0 HP Air Compressor

Makita MAC700

Makita MAC700 vs Ingersoll-Rand P1IU-A9: 2 HP Portable Air Compressor Comparison

The MAC700 features a 2.6-gallon “hot dog” tank. Although it has a maximum pressure of 130 PSI, many users have described the unit’s inability to consistently deliver more than 100 PSI.

Check how much you can save, buying the Makita MAC700 on Amazon >>>

1 California Air Tools CAT-4620AC Electric Portable Air Compressor

Finally, the number one spot on our list belongs to the CAT_4620AC by California Air Tools. This electric-powered portable air compressor features rust-proof twin tanks that have a collective capacity of 4 gallons. This air compressor weighs 67.2 pounds and comes with a handle and rubber grip for easy carrying without causing cramps.

California Air Tools CAT-4620AC Electric Portable Air Compressor

California Air Tools CAT-4620AC

The CAT-4620AC delivers 6.4 CFM at 40 PSI up to 5.3 CFM at 90 PSI. The 14-amp motor only produces around 70 decibels of noise which is super quiet for an air compressor, and it features two quick-connect outlets that let users hook up two power tools to the compressor simultaneously.

Check how much you can save, buying the California Air Tools CAT-4620AC on Amazon >>>


Portable air compressors can be an invaluable addition to your workshop, especially if you frequently use pneumatic power tools like brad nail guns, paint sprayers, and grinding machines. If you’re considering purchasing your very-first portable air compressor, there are several things to take into account.

Ingersoll-Rand Garage Mate Model# P1.5IU-A9

Ingersoll P1.5IU-A9

The HP rating determines how powerful the unit is, and for most home and commercial workshops, at least 2 HP is enough to power up all kinds of tools. The size of the tank – measured in gallons – determines how much pressurized air can be contained. The larger the tank, the more air it’ll hold, but the longer it’ll take to fill back up with compressed air. The air compressor’s flow rate lets you know how much pressure it delivers.

Before you purchase a portable air compressor, make sure you know all of the CFM and PSI ratings of your power tools to ensure you choose the right air compressor. The tank draining system and noise-production levels are also important in choosing the right air compressor for your work since you don’t want to be troubled with having to constantly drain the tank to ensure that there’s no corrosion on the tank’s inner lining, and the level of noise can be a disruption to you and your neighbors.

California Air Tools CAT-4620AC Electric Portable Air Compressor

California Air Tools CAT-4620AC

We’ve also offered our top 5 2 HP portable air compressor picks to help you in choosing the right model for your work, but in the end, it’ll depend on how much power you need and how much power your future air compressor can deliver. Out of all the models we’ve looked at, we highly recommend getting the California Air Tools CAT-4620AC since it delivers more than enough power for a wide assortment of commonly used power tools, it’s super quiet when running at 100% duty cycle, and it’s lightweight to boot.

A-Check Air Compressing Miscellaneous

Best Oil Free Compressor for Air Tools/Tires/Garage

An air compressor is a great tool to have with you at all times. To some, an air compressor may seem like a specialty tool that serves very specific purposes. After all, if you don’t have pneumatic tools and if an air compressor is available at the nearest gas station, you’d never need one rightWrong.

Why do I need an Air Compressor?

There are several reasons why you’d need an air compressor for your home or garage. The most basic reason is to have easy access to filling your vehicles’ tires, sports balls, beach balls, and flotation devices up with air. You won’t get into fisty cuffs with people waiting impatiently behind you at the gas station.

However, there are more practical reasons why an air compressor is actually a smart investment.

Emergency Situations on the Road

When hitting the open road, you won’t always be within close distance to a gas station. Keeping a portable air compressor in the trunk of your car means always being able to safely drive your car by maintaining a healthy air pressure in the tires. Plus, you can inflate beach balls in the comfort of your vehicle when spending a day at the bay.

Powering Pneumatic Tools

Pneumatic tools are air-driven power tools. They deliver considerably more power than their electric counterparts, making them the go-tool choice of tools for heavy-duty work. Pneumatic tools can be used in almost any project – from woodworking to car maintenance to roofing and home renovation.

Painting Projects

Undergoing a painting project with a bucket and brush is so 17th century. Nowadays, you can paint large surfaces with an airbrush, and it’ll literally take you a fraction of the time it would with a brush or roller.

General Cleaning

Another great thing that an air compressor can do is clean. Because air compressor shoot out high-pressure blasts of air, you better believe that it can remove caked-on dirt and grime from anywhere in your home. Some people use air compressors to blast their chimneys clean. It sure beats using a chimney sweep and hiring a lad from the 1800s to swoop down there to brush away the ashes.

Oil-Lubricated vs. Oil-Free: Which is better?

When searching for the right air compressor, you’ll come across oil-free and oil-lubricated options. What you need to know about air compressors is that their motors use pistons and cylinders to create pressurized air. Oil serves as a lubricant to keep the pistons functioning optimally without creating heat which can burn the motor if left unattended.

What you need to know about oil-lubricated air compressors is that they have large tanks and produce a heck of a lot more pressurized air per minute than their oil-free counterparts. However, more is not always better, especially if you’re not working at a professional car repair shop or as a contract handyman.

Oil-free air compressors don’t need oil to keep the pistons and cylinders frictionless. Instead, the cylinders are lined with Teflon to reduce the amount of heat produced as the pistons move up and down the cylinders. Over time, the Teflon lining will wear out, but that’s usually years and years down the road. Oil-free air compressors are smaller and thus much easier to transport. For the remainder of this article, we’ll focus entirely on oil-free air compressors as the DIY-er-friendly alternative.

Oil-Free Air Compressor Buying Guide

Finding the right oil-free air compressor can be quite a challenge. First of all, there are literally thousands of different models to choose from. Secondly, there’s no one model that’ll fit every need across the board. In the following sections, we’ll split up our buying guide based on three of the most popular tasks where air compressors play a vital role. They are for powering air tools, for pumping your tires, and for your garage for mechanic work and general-purpose usage.

Oil-Free Air Compressor for Air Tools Buying Guide

Air tools are power tools that do not run on electricity but instead on a supply of pressurized air. Popular air tools include impact drivers, impact wrenches, engravers, angle grinders, and airbrushes. In this section, we’ll go over what specs and features make a good air compressor for your pneumatic tools.

CFM and PSI Ratings

CFM refers to the volume of airflow that an air compressor generates, whereas the PSI rating determines how much pressure is produced. You’ll need to pay attention to these two variables when purchasing an air compressor since air tools require different CFM and PSI ratings to function.

Air-hungry tools like impact wrenches and angle grinders require higher PSI ratings, whereas airbrushes and nailers work well with far less power. Check these ratings on any air tools you have or are planning or purchasing in the near future before settling down on an air compressor.

Tank Capacity

The tank capacity shows how much pressurized air the air compressor can hold. Larger thanks work well for air-hungry tools that need more airflow volume and at a higher pressure to operate. Oil-free compressors can hold as little as 1 gallon of air or as much as 6 gallons. If you’d like to play it safe, opt for a larger tank over a smaller one.

Refill Time

The time it tanks for the tank to fill back up with pressurized air is the refill time. Oil-free air compressors have much smaller tanks than oil-lubricated ones and thus require less time to fill to capacity. However, there are other factors that determine the refill efficiency, including but not limited to the size of the motor and the tank. Oil-free air compressors usually fill back up in less than 5 minutes, reducing downtime and improving work productivity.


Air compressors can be large, stationary units that are placed in the corner of a workshop or small, portable units that can move to wherever it’s needed. Oil-free air compressors are always portable, so you don’t need to worry about where in your shop it should sit. However, portability is much more than just weight. If you need an air compressor to take you to a job site, then consider the size and build of the tank, as well as how durable it is.

Number of Couplers

The final thing that you need to consider is how many air couplers the compressor comes with. Air couplers are the metallic ports where pressure hoses are connected to. They deliver air directly to the air tools. Having two couplers is good if you have multiple air tools running from a single compressor, but it also splits CFM and PSI in half between the two.

Oil-Free Air Compressor for Tires Buying Guide

Air compressors are a must-have tool to keep with you at all times when driving. You never know when your tire will go flat. A spare tire would be great, but it’s not going to help when more than one tire loses pressure. The following guide will describe what you need to look out for when shopping for an air compressor for tire-filling purposes.

CFM and PSI Ratings

When shopping for air compressors, one of the most considerations you need to make is regarding how much airflow volume and pressure it produces. When filling up tires, you don’t need a tremendously powerful air compressor, but it does need to provide enough pressure to counteract the air gushing out of the valve when it’s opened. Practically any air compressor that delivers more than 2 CFM at 90 PSI will suffice.


For obvious reasons, the right air compressor to take with you on the road is one that doesn’t require too much storage space in your trunk. There are plenty of portable air compressors to choose from, but if you’re looking for something exclusively to keep your tires pumped, you may want something that fits in your car’s glove box.

Connects to Cigarette Lighter Socket

When your car experiences a flat tire, you may not be fortunate enough to at a spot with running electricity. Perhaps you’re in the middle of the desert or out in the woods. Whatever the case, to keep your tires sufficiently pumped throughout your journey, your air compressor should be able to draw energy from your car’s battery via the cigarette lighter port. The ideal air compressor would be one that has both a power cord that plugs into a wall outlet and can also connect to a cigarette lighter port.

Hose Length

A longer hose is always better than a shorter one (that’s what she said!). With a longer hose, you’ll be able to provide air to all four of your car’s wheels while it’s plugged into the cigarette lighter socket. It’ll sure beat having to lift your car with jacks before removing the tire, filling it up, and then reattaching it. The proper hose length depends on your car – SUVs need longer hoses whereas small hatchbacks can get by with short, 10-foot ones.

Overheat Protection

Even though portable air compressors for filling car tires aren’t huge beasts of a machine that produces heat like the sun doesn’t mean it won’t break due to exhaustion. Getting stranded in the middle of nowhere can cause a lot of frustration, and you may forget that your air compressor will not run continuously until the end of time. For that reason, it’s a good idea to find an air compressor that comes with a built-in auto-stop feature that prevents overheating. After all, the last thing you’d ever want is a flat tire and a dead air compressor.

Oil-Free Air Compressor for Garage Buying Guide

Air compressors for the garage can be used for anything, from car maintenance to outdoor cleaning. They need to be powerful enough to activate heavy-duty pneumatic tools while also being light enough to drag around the garage and across your driveway. In this guide, we’ll go over what qualities to look for when shopping around for a garage air compressor.

PSI and CFM Ratings

Pneumatic tools for mechanics are much more air-hungry than woodworking air tools. Common pneumatic tools for car maintenance include angle grinders, die grinders, and impact wrenches which require at least 5 CFM at 90 PSI, but it depends on the make and model. A good CFM rating to start off with would be at least 5 CFM.

Cord and Hose Length

Even though oil-free air compressors are designed for maximum portability, they won’t be able to fit in tight spots like below your car or under the hood. The only way you can move around with your pneumatic tools is if the air compressor comes with a long power cord and long pressure hoses. This way you can maneuver your power tools into tight, cramped spaces without having to tug the compressor around.

Number of Couplers

Professional car shops may have more than a set of hands working at any given time. In order to increase productivity without having to invest in additional air compressors, you may want to consider getting a model that comes with two air couplers. Just remember that more than when operating more than one tool simultaneously, the amount of pressure and air volume will be split in half between the tools. So basically, operating two angle grinders on a single oil-free air compressor is impossible.

Tank Capacity

Since pneumatic tools used in car shops require much more air volume and pressure than woodworking air tools, they’ll consume more air quicker, emptying out the tank in hardly any time. A large, 6-gallon tank would be ideal to keep you working with minimal downtime. Of course, you’ll have to consider refill time since it takes longer to fill larger tanks.

Noise Production

Even though you should always wear ear protection while working in your garage, it wouldn’t hurt to find the quietest air compressor available. Luckily, most modern oil-free air compressors aren’t as noisy as their predecessors, producing roughly 70 decibels while the compressor is active. Still, you shouldn’t use the air compressor during the nighttime, especially if your neighbors aren’t down with a mechanic working long into the wee hours of the morning.

Final Remarks

After reading this guide, you should now realize that air compressors serve a greater purpose than running air tools. They’re an essential part of any driver’s emergency toolkits, and you never know when you’ll have to inflate swimming pools and beach balls for your kids.

In this article, we also discussed how oil-free air compressors are the better portable option compared to oil-lubricated models, but with great portability comes reduced pressure and airflow. For the most part, it won’t be too much of an issue if you only plan on using light pneumatic tools.

This guide was split into three major portions, namely the most important features and specs to be on the lookout for general air tools, for keeping tires inflated, and for the garage.

For basic air tools like nailers and airbrushes, a simple 3- to 5-CFM at 90 PSI model should do the trick. Other things like portability, refill time, and the number of couplers are secondary to the tool’s ability to power your air tools.

If you need an emergency air compressor to keep your tires properly inflated, then portability, fuel source, and the length of the cables are the most important factors. After all, as an emergency tool, it’s crucial that it’s completely usable in all situations where a flat tire may occur.

Finally, for work car maintenance out of your garage, you’ll want to get the beefiest oil-free air compressor available. It needs to have a powerful motor that supplies at least 3 CFM, and it also needs a large tank for optimal storage of pressurized air.

A-Check Air Compressing Miscellaneous

Hot Dog Versus Pancake Air Compressor

Air compressors are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes. They can be super-portable models that plug into the cigarette port in your car to pump car tires, or they can be huge, stationary machines for powering numerous pneumatic tools simultaneously. Each type is designed to serve a specific purpose, so before even considering which make and model to get, you need a thorough understanding of what you plan on doing with it.

Today, we’re going to look at hot dogs and pancakes. No, not the food. We’re talking about the two popular types of air compressors used in both hobbyist and professional workshops. So if you plan on purchasing or renting pneumatic tools, or just need something to pump your tires or basketball, then you’ll want to read our guide on which of these two would suit you better.

What are Hot Dog Air Compressors?

Similar to pancake air compressors, hot dog models are lightweight and can travel well without taking too much space. The biggest difference is its tank which typically range anywhere from 2 to 8 gallons, though there are smaller and larger models available. Being larger, they do weigh considerably more than pancakes, but the weight of a hot dog shouldn’t cause any problems with loading and unloading it from your vehicle.

Being in the middle ground between super-compact and heavy-duty air compressors, you can expect a lot from hot dogs. They provide enough air volume and force to run an assortment of pneumatic tools, making it a great tool to have for roofing, mechanic, and woodworking projects.

Hot Dog Pros

Since hot dogs are a bit larger and much heavier than pancakes, they come with handles to help lift and move the unit when needed. Essentially, it’s still a highly portable unit to take with you to different job sites or to use as an emergency pump for your vehicle’s tires.

Another great thing about hot dogs is they generate a ton of compressed air to run most residential-grade pneumatic tools. Hot dogs can produce more than 10 SCFM, making it a viable option to have/rent if you need to operate airbrushes, air hammers, angle grinders, impact drivers, and the list goes on.

Thirdly, hot dogs are also oil-free tools so you can forget about having to worry about lubricants. Oil-free compressors are great if you don’t have the patience to deal with common maintenance problems.

Hot Dog Cons

However, with great power comes great noise. Hot dogs are not known for being whisper-quiet, so make sure you have a good pair of earmuffs or earplugs on hand when turning this tool on.

Next, they’re known to rock back and forth when running. You can solve this problem by placing a cloth or other piece of cushioning under the tool’s legs, or find a model with rubber feet already included.

Thirdly, hot dog air compressors are not the largest, most powerful air compressors on the market. If you need to run a disc sander, impact wrench, or die grinder, hot dogs will not be of much help.

What are Pancake Air Compressors?

Pancake air compressors are among the smallest type you’ll find. Due to their compact size, pancake air compressors are lightweight and portable. Their small design is mainly due to their small tank capacity of between one and six gallons. They come equipped with oil-free pumps which mean less maintenance and less mess both in and around the tool.

Pancake compressors typically produce between 1 and 2 SCFM and weigh up to 30 pounds. If you need a small compressor at home or to take with you on road trips, a pancake compressor is definitely the tool for you.

Pancake Pros

There are a ton of reasons why a pancake air compressor would be a great option to have at home or in your vehicle. You already know that they’re lightweight and travel extremely well, but their sturdy design also helps it stay in tip-top shape in the bed of your truck or trunk of your car.

One great thing about oil-free air compressors is that they’re quite easy to maintain. You don’t need to constantly monitor their oil levels, and the motor won’t succumb to overheating or extreme dryness.

pancake air compressors can be used for in a wide range of applications, including airbrushing, inflating tires and balls, and even powering pneumatic brad nailers and staple guns.

Something else that’s definitely worth noting is the amount of noise produced by pancakes. There’s super-quiet, so they shouldn’t wake up your sleeping children or dogs. However, it’s still recommended that you wear proper ear protection when using any style of air compressor, even pancakes.

Pancake Cons

Unfortunately, there are several things not to like about pancake air compressors. The first thing we need to address is its small tank capacity. With a maximum capacity of 6 gallons, even the least demanding pneumatic tools can run the tank dry within a couple of minutes. This means having to wait a while for the tank to refill with compressed air, increasing downtime. This matters only if downtime is a factor.

Another thing that pancakes don’t do well in is their reload time. They come with smaller motors that work less efficiently at recompressing air. Once again, this reduces the amount of work you can fit into your workday.

As one of the most compact air compressors out there, it’s not the most versatile of tools out there. The different uses we mentioned in the previous section are pretty much the only things a pancake air compressor can do. If you need to operate more demanding power tools like die grinders or impact wrenches, you’ll need to look for a more powerful air compressor.

Hot Dog vs. Pancake – Which to get?

Between hot dogs and pancakes, we feel that you could get way more use out of a hot dog air compressor. In terms of portability, they’re both lightweight enough to lift and move from place to place without causing back pain. However, in our humble opinion, what makes hot dogs much more useful is its larger tank, beefier motor, and greater air volume and force delivery. Hot dogs will not run every pneumatic tool, but they will help in running considerably more than a pancake.

A-Check Air Compressing Miscellaneous

Oil vs Oilless Air Compressor: Which one to Pick

Air compressors come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and usefulness. Each type of air compressor is engineered to produce a certain amount of CFM and PSI, so depending on what tools you plan on using for your next project, you need to ensure that you have the right air compressor to run it properly. Air compressors can be split into several categories based on their style and capacities, but today, we’d like to give compare them by whether they are oil or oilless.

Both oil and oil-free air compressors draw air into the tank with the help of a piston. However, whether it requires oil or not actually plays a role in the tool’s capacity, the frequency of maintenance issues, and price (both short- and long-term). So which of them would benefit you moreLet’s find out.

What are Oil Air Compressors?

Between oil and oilless, oil air compressors are much more popular among both DIY-ers and pro workers. Oil air compressors provide considerably more force and air volume than their oil-free counterparts, making them the only option to get if you run a construction business.

Oil air compressors compact air before storing it in the tank. This is more demanding than it may seem, especially on the pistons. In order to keep the pistons running effectively and efficiently, they need to be properly lubricated at all times. This is where oil comes into play: in keeping the pistons lubricated, cool, and running optimally.

Oil Pros

There are a ton of reasons why you should consider investing in an oil air compressor. First of all, all air compressors that provide enough force and air volume to run heavy-duty pneumatic tools are oil air compressors.

If you’re in need of an air compressor that won’t wake up your neighbors, then an oil air compressor is for you. This is mainly due to the lubricant’s sound-proofing properties in keeping the pistons running smoothly and without a hitch.

Thirdly, the durability of oil air compressors is beyond that of oil-free models. Without proper lubrication, the tool’s pistons will produce heat, leading to a premature death. Since the user controls how much oil to give the air compressor, as long as they stick to a regular schedule, their oil air compressor will remain loyal for many years.

Oil Cons

Despite the various benefits you get from oil air compressors, they’re not without their disadvantages. One thing that any future oil air compressor should realize is that these tools require constant monitoring and frequent maintenance. You need to be aware of how much oil is left in the tool in order to keep it running well. Otherwise, it will overheat and die on during work.

Oil-lubricated air compressors aren’t exactly portable tools. It’s possible to load them onto a truck and take it with you to various jobsites, but lifting them with one hand is not possible. These are large machines that require a bit of manpower to lift. It’s best to leave it in your workshop and have an oilless, portable air compressor for on-site jobs.

Another major downside of oil air compressors is that their lubricant can actually contaminate the quality of compressed air passed through the hose and into your tool. For the most part, this isn’t going to be a huge problem, but if you work with certain materials or in certain environments, even a minuscule amount of contaminant can ruin your entire project.

What are Oilless Air Compressors?

Now that we know what oil air compressors are let’s take a look at what the oil-free variety has to offer. As the name suggests, this type of air compressor doesn’t require oil. The lubricant that keeps the pistons running smoothly is Teflon. This material is coated in the cylinders, keeping the pistons pumping without producing a bunch of friction.

Oilless Pros

The main benefit you get from going oilless is fewer maintenance problems. Since this tool doesn’t require a liquid lubricant, you won’t need to worry about whether the cylinders are properly lubricated or not. It’s basically a worry-free air compressor that won’t fail on you, even when used for long periods at a time.

Another great thing about oilless air compressors is that they’re always smaller than their oil-lubricated counterparts. This means taking one with you on the road is as simple as loading it onto your truck or in your trunk before traveling.

Furthermore, oil-free air compressors come with more affordable price tags. This is mainly because they’re not designed to handle heavy-duty jobs at the industrial scale. Instead, they’ll run a few light-duty air-powered tools like air brushes and brad nailers.

Finally, unlike their oil counterparts, oil-free air compressors don’t release contaminants through the hose and into your work material. These are super-clean tools that produce high-quality compressed air.

Oilless Cons

However, just because oilless air compressors are cleaner and experience fewer maintenance issues doesn’t mean they’re for everybody. The first thing potential buyers need to realize is that this type of air compressor comes with a small tank – usually up to 10 gallons max – and poor reload time. It’ll take quite a bit of time for the motor to produce more compressed air, leaving you twiddling your thumbs in the meantime.

Oil-free air compressors are also quite loud compared to oil-lubricated models. This is an important consideration if you plan on working from home but don’t want to bother your neighbors or snoozing child.

Finally, oilless air compressors are simply too weak to handle most projects. You can run light- and medium-duty pneumatic tools like air brushes, brad nailers, staple guns, and even impact drivers, but impact wrenches and disc grinders will be out of this air compressor’s capacity.

Oil vs. Oilless – Which should I get?

So after looking at the pros and cons of both oil and oilless air compressors, how do we decide which one we needSimple. By taking a look at the tools or jobs, you’re doing. Most DIY-ers or hobbyist woodworkers/construction workers may never need anything as heavy-duty as an oil-lubricated air compressor. After all, you don’t want to end up spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on idle capacity.

Air Compressing Miscellaneous

BOSTITCH BTFP3KIT Portable Air Compressor Review

If you’re looking to get into the DIY woodworking or home renovation game, the best way to do so would be to invest in combo toolkits. These kits give you multiple tools at a fraction of the cost of purchasing them individually. Basically, with the right kit, you can get right to work and begin making beautiful pieces to show off.

BOSTITCH BTFP3KIT 3-Tool Portable Air Compressor Combo Kit Review

Combo kits can consist of anything, and in this article, we’d like to go over the BTFP3KIT from BOSTITCH. The name of this kit can be misleading since, technically, it comes with four tools – a portable air compressor, a brad nailer, a finish nailer, and a crown stapler. We’ll be looking at the tools individually to determine whether collectively the toolkit is worth the investment.

BTFP02012 Portable Air Compressor

The brad nailer, finish nailer, and crown staplers are pneumatic tools that need an air compressor to operate. Therefore, we need to look at the heart of the kit first – the BTFP02012.

This portable air compressor is run by a 0.8-HP motor that generates up to 2.6 CFM of air volume at 150 PSI. In terms of motor power, this isn’t the greatest of all portable air compressor motors out there, but it’s enough to run the three pneumatic tools that come in the kit.

This oil-free air compressor weighs just 33 pounds and produces roughly 80 decibels of noise. The lightweight design and low-noise production make this tool ideal for use anywhere at any time during the day.

BOSTITCH BTFP3KIT 3-Tool Portable Air Compressor Combo Kit

SB-1850BN Brad Nailer

If you need a highly versatile brad nailer, then look no further than the SB-1850BN. This tool can hold and fire 18-gauge brad nails between 5/8 and 2 inches long. This is the perfect size for basic home-repair jobs, fastening decorative trim, and connecting boards temporarily.

This 2.7-pound brad nailer is comfortable to grip, easy to maneuver in tight corners, and comes with a no-mar tip to keep your trim and work surface clean of streaks and dimples. There’s also great depth adjustment feature that lets you set how far the brad will be shot into your material, so you never fire the nail past the thickness of your piece.

Keep in mind that brads are not meant for connecting large, heavy boards permanently. Also, brads will have a difficult time piercing the surface of dense woods like oak and even plywood.

SB-1664FN Straight Finish Nailer

When you need to connect larger boards, then the SB-1664FN is a viable finish nailer. This nailer can hold and shoot 16-gauge finish nails between ¼ and 2 inches long. You can adjust the depth of the shot to ensure that the nail does pierce past the thickness of your workpiece.

In all honesty, this finish nailer is basically the brad nailer mentioned earlier, but fires finish nails instead. This nailer comes with a no-mar tip, a comfortable grip, is lightweight for easy maneuverability,


BTFP71875 Crown Stapler

The BTFP71875 is the crown stapler that comes in this toolkit. It fires 3/8-inch crown staples deep into the surface of your workpieces to fasten cloth, roof tiles, and other materials safely and securely. What’s amazing is that this tool can also fire brad nails if you don’t feel like switching between this and the SB-1850BN.

This oil-free, zero-maintenance crown stapler comes with a dual-trigger system which ensures safety when in use. If the safety trigger is disengaged, the stapler will not fire, saving you both pain and staples.

In every other regard – weight, maneuverability, no-mar tip, etc. – this tool is practically identical to the brad nailer and finish nailer mentioned above.

BOSTITCH BTFP3KIT Portable Air Compressor

What else is in the kit?

Apart from these four tools, the BTFP3KIT toolkit includes a 25-foot-long airline hose and fittings that provide maximum reach without having to tug on the air compressor. There is also a set of fasteners (brad nails, finish nails, and crown staples) that can be placed into their respective tools. With this kit, you can get straight to work. The only thing you need to consider investing in is additional fasteners since you can run out pretty quickly (nail guns and staple guns are fun! But also dangerous)


So what do we think of this toolkitIf you’re in need for a crown stapler, a finish nailer, a brad nailer, and a portable air compressor but don’t want to make four separate purchases, then the BTFP3KIT is an awesome kit to get. This kit comes with four awesome tools that make fastening trim, roof tiles, and boards a cinch. The air compressor can be used for other non-BOSTITCH pneumatic tools as well, though you need to be wary of their CFM and PSI ratings.

BOSTITCH BTFP3KIT 3-Tool Portable Air Compressor Combo Kit

Air Compressing Miscellaneous

Kensun AC/DC Rapid vs Swift Portable Air Compressor

A portable air compressor can be a great tool to have during emergencies. If your car’s tire is flat or you need to pump up a basketball for a pickup game, then you’ll be glad to have one of these babies on hand. It sure beats traveling to the nearest gas station to pump up a single ball, and everybody knows about the dangers of driving with a flat tire.

Kensun AC/DC Rapid vs Swift

Kensun is a company that specializes in making accessories for all types of vehicles, including emergency tire pumps. In this article, we’re going to take a look at two of the company’s portable air compressors – the Rapid (Model J) and Swift (Model H). They’ve both garnered quite a fair number of thumbs ups from their customers. Today, we’re hoping to determine which of the two would be the better model to own and use.


The maximum PSI that can be set on the Rapid is 90. For most light-duty inflating jobs like filling up a tire, ball, or inflatable pool, doing so won’t take too much time at all. Of course, it all depends on how big of an item you’re inflating. You also need to be aware of the continuous runtime of the device, so you don’t overheat the motor (more on this later).

Kensun AC/DC Swift vs Rapid

The Swift has a slightly more powerful PSI range – up to 120 PSI. A higher PSI rating means that the device is more time-efficient in its air delivery. However, with such a high PSI count, you need to be careful when inflating delicate objects such as sports balls and bicycle tires.

Conclusion: Between 90 and 120 PSI, we can’t determine which would be better. Theoretically, the Swift’s 120-PSI rating means quicker inflating times than the Rapid’s 90-PSI count, but there are hardly any situations where a portable air compressor such as these two would need to reach their maximum airflow potential.


Apart from the speed of delivery, we also need to consider how much air is being shot out when the air compressor is activated. The GPM (gallons per minute) rating indicates how much airflow is being produced. This tool delivers about 7.9 GPM of air or about 30 liters.

Although the Swift delivers quicker bursts of air, it has a slightly lower GPM rating at only about 4.8 GPM or roughly 20 liters. A reduction in GPM isn’t the end of the world, and all that matters is that the tool can deliver air enough air in a timely manner.

Conclusion: GPM refers to how much air the tool can deliver in a minute. When looking at both the Rapid and Swift, once again we’re conflicted on whether you need more airflow or not. Having too much air produced can potentially lead to your items becoming too inflated and popping on you. Just exercise caution and common sense when operating one of these tools.

Kensun AC/DC Rapid

Continuous Runtime

Rapid and Swift
One way that a portable air compressor like the Rapid and Swift differs from their regular-sized counterparts is that it has smaller, more delicate motors that can’t handle extremely long runtime sessions. Both of these Kensun air compressors can run for about 30 minutes at 35 PSI before needing to rest. This is enough to fill up all four of your car’s tires with time to spare.

Cords Length

There are two cords that you need to pay attention to the AC cord that plugs into a standard outlet and the DC cord that draws power from your car’s battery via the cigarette lighter port. The length of the Rapid’s AC and DC power cords are 5 feet and 10-7/8 feet long respectively.

The length of the Swift’s AC and DC power cords are 3-1/3 feet and 10-7/8 feet respectively. We can see that the AC cord’s length is considerably smaller than the Rapid’s, but for use in vehicles, they have the same range of movement.

Conclusion: The more important thing to consider is the length of the DC cord that plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter port. It needs to be long enough so that the tool’s air hose can reach all four wheels without trouble. Both of these tools have similarly sized DC cables, so neither of them has preference over the other.

Kensun AC/DC Swift

Air Hose Length

The Rapid comes with an air hose that’s about 24 inches long. A 2-foot air hose isn’t the longest thing in the world, especially when it comes time to pump air into your tires. However, paired with the long 10-7/8-foot DC cord, reaching all four of your tires shouldn’t be an issue for most sedans.

The Swift features a long(er) 31-inch hose. For most cars and several trucks, the length of the Swift’s DC cord and air hose should provide you with the ability to fill up all of your car’s tires easily.

Conclusion: For a better range of movement, you should pick up an air compressor that features a longer air hose. Between the Rapid and Swift, the Swift’s 31-inch air hose would be the better option since it has a higher likelihood of reaching all four of your car’s tires without needing to put any unnecessary strain on the hose or DC cord.

Kensun AC/DC Rapid Review

Pressure Gauge and Auto-Shutoff

The Rapid comes with a digital pressure gauge which shows how much air is being delivered. You can also set the tool up to deliver a certain amount of air, and the tool will automatically shut off when the object has reached the desired PSI. After testing the digital gauge with several manually operated gauges, we found no differences in almost 100% of our tests.

The Swift comes with an analog pressure gauge. Once again, we tested how accurate the tool’s internal system is at measuring how much pressure is being applied and are happy to report that like the Rapid, almost 100% of our tests came back no differences at all.

Conclusion: The pressure gauge is arguably the most significant difference between the Rapid and Swift. We prefer the Rapid’s LCD display, but the analog gauge on the Swift doesn’t appear to have any accuracy problems. The one minor annoyance we found was that after unplugging and plugging the compressor back in, it will reset to the 35-PSI default setting every time.

Kensun AC/DC Swift Review


So basically what we have here are two Kensun-made air compressors – the Rapid and the Swift – which look similar and have almost identical performances. The minor differences we found were the PSI and GPM ratings which, in our humble opinion, shouldn’t be a make-or-break factor in your purchase decision since portable air compressors are meat for light-duty inflating jobs.

The Rapid’s digital display and the Swift’s analog gauge are a significant difference between the two, but since they’re both almost perfectly accurate all the time, the only thing to consider is whether you prefer looking at an LCD display or a spinning needle.

The one most significant consideration you need to take into account is the length of the DC cord and air hose since not all cars are the same shape. In general, longer cords and hoses are preferable over shorter ones. Thus the Swift is very slightly better than the Rapid in our books.

Air Compressing Miscellaneous

Best Trim Compressor Under $200: Buying Guide

Pneumatic tools are tools used in the workshop or that you take to a job site that are fueled by compressed air. Most serious workers have at least one pneumatic tool in their collection – whether it be a trim nail gun or a paint sprayer.

Best Trim Compressor Under $200

If you have a pneumatic tool, then you’ll most likely need to consider investing in a high-quality air compressor. The problem is that such a large tool for a single pneumatic tool is definitely overkill, and you don’t want to tie down thousands of dollars on a machine just to power a simple paint sprayer. If you have one or two pneumatic tools that aren’t air-hungry and are not used simultaneously, you can forget about looking for a beefy air compressor and opt for a trim compressor instead.

What Is a Trim Compressor?

Essentially, a trim compressor is a miniature version of a large air compressor. However, the bigger question is how does a trim compressor differ from compact or portable air compressorsIn this section, we’ll discuss briefly what they are and what they’re meant to do.

Trim Compressor

A trim compressor is the tiniest air compressor available. This machine is designed to power trim tools only like trim nail guns. A trim compressor is small, portable, and doesn’t come with a whole lot of features and doo-dads, but it’s a straightforward tool for home renovation and improvement projects.

Best Air Compressor Reviews

Portable Air Compressor

Portable air compressors are also on the tiny side, but they pack considerably more punch than their trim counterparts. Many portable air compressors are powerful enough to power impact drivers and might even support air-hungry tools like impact wrenches. Since they provide more power, you can even utilize this machine to power multiple light-duty pneumatic tools simultaneously.

Do I Need a Trim Compressor?

Well, the answer to this question depends entirely on what air-powered tools you have on hand. If you have light-duty ones like a trim nail gun or spray brush, a trim compressor would definitely suit you. However, if you’re looking for something to deliver air to tools such as an impact wrench and impact hammer, you might need an air compressor with a beefier motor and greater air-delivery capacity.

The 10 Best Small Air Compressors

Trim Compressor Under $200 Buying Guide

Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you can get a high-quality trim compressor. In fact, trim compressors are the wallet-friendly type of air compressor since they have limited airflow capacity. That being said, it doesn’t mean that any trim compressor will do. In this section, we’ll tell you what features and specs to be on the lookout for in you’re looking to pick up a trim compressor for your home improvement projects.


PSI, or pounds-per-square-inch, is the amount of force that an air compressor can deliver, whereas CFM, or cubic-feet-per-minute, is the total volume of air that the machine can produce. Higher PSI and CFM ratings mean an air compressor has the ability to deliver sufficient pressurized air for larger pneumatic tools.

However, since we’re talking about trim compressors in this article, don’t expect to see any jaw-droppingly high PSI and CFM figures. You’ll typically find that they come with a maximum of 135 PSI and around 0.75 CFM, though certain models may have higher ratings.

Tank Capacity

The size of the tank is important if you don’t want to be waiting around all day for the machine to recompress air. For this reason, we favor a larger tank over smaller ones. However, don’t expect a trim compressor to come with large 6- to 10-gallon tanks. The average trim compressor is equipped with a tiny 1-gallon tank, but there are some trim compressors that have slightly large tanks.

Recycle/Recovery Time

Even though larger tanks are preferred, the main benefit that a small 1-gallon tank has over large 10-gallon tanks is that it’s much quicker to refill with compressed air. Most trim compressors won’t take long to refill to maximum capacity, so there’s very little downtime. Try and find a model with the least recycle/recovery time possible. The average recycle time is around 30 to 60 seconds.

What Are The Best Air Compressors Under $200


The weight of a trim compressor isn’t that big of an issue since they’re built to be lightweight and portable. You’ll typically find the weight of a trim compressor to be less than 30 pounds, but a heavier model might indicate larger compressed air storage capacity and a beefier motor by trim compressor standards.

Control Panel

Don’t be surprised if you see a trim compressor with hardly any buttons, gauges, or knobs. Trim compressors should be straightforward with very few dials and buttons. Trim compressors normally come with a pressure regulator dial, a tank pressure gauge, and an outlet pressure gauge. At most, you might find LED lights indicating whether the tool is turned on or not.

Best Rated in Portable Air Compressors

Drain Valve

Even though trim compressors are small, easy-to-use tools, there are certain things in the machine’s design that you need to consider. The most important of which is the drain valve or more specifically, where the drain valve is located. It should be pointing downward at the ground to let out as much accumulated moisture in the tank as possible.

Noise Level

Since trim compressors come with smaller motors and tanks, your ears won’t be exposed to loud noises for prolonged periods of time. Try and find a trim compressor that produces, at most, around 65 decibels which actually won’t be too difficult to do. We must let you know that you should still wear earmuffs or earplugs when operating a trim compressor.

Best Rated Air Compressor

Final Remarks

A trim compressor is the smallest type of air compressor out there. However, just because it’s small doesn’t mean it’s not useful. In fact, if you have a single light-duty pneumatic tool like a trim name gun for home renovation projects, a trim compressor can be a smart investment. There’s absolutely no need in investing in large, costly air compressors or even a more powerful portable air compressor if a budget-friendly, under-$200 trim compressor can do. As long as the machine can provide sufficient amounts of PSI and CFM to operate your pneumatic tools, a trim compressor will be the exact tool you need.

The Best Air Compressors

Air Compressing Miscellaneous

Best Trim Compressor: What You Need to Know

Air compressors are becoming increasingly more popular in home or garage workshops. In fact, there are several pneumatic tools that you’ll most likely have if you’re a hardcore DIY-er. Pneumatic tools such as impact wrenches, airbrushes, and angle grinders all require that you have a sufficiently powerful air compressor to give it enough force to deliver.

What are the top rated air compressors?

However, what if you have power tools that don’t need tremendous amounts of airDo you still have to invest in large air compressors just to operate a single nail gun or airbrushThankfully, no.

There are several compact air compressors to choose from, but many of these models may be overkill when it comes to running a single tool. For these cases, you may need a trim compressor.

What is a trim compressor?

Basically, a trim compressor is a miniature air compressor which provides enough power for running one low-pressure tool at a time. If you need a compact air compressor for light-duty jobs, a trim compressor could be exactly what you’re looking for.

In your search for an air compressor, you may have come across the term “portable air compressor.”

Trim compressors and portable air compressors are similar in many ways. First, they’re both compact and lightweight, so taking them from place to place is a breeze. Second, they provide enough compressed air to power many light pneumatic tools. Third, they’re both budget-friendly options if you don’t want to have thousands of dollars tied to a large air compressor.

What's the best small air compressor?

However, there is a key difference when it comes to trim compressor and air compressors. What really makes a trim compressor different from a compact air compressor is how much power it provides. Regular compact compressors oftentimes come with enough power to supply multiple tools with air at once. A trim compressor, on the other hand, only has the capacity to power a single tool at any given time.

What CAN’T a trim compressor do?

No trim compressors are built to power air-hungry tools. This means your impact wrench, sander, and certain paint sprayers would be no good if you’re relying on a trim compressor for air support. For these tools, you might need to get a bulkier air compressor with a more powerful motor.

What is the best air compressor for nail guns?

Trim Compressor Buying Guide

If you’ve decided that you need a trim compressor for your workshop for your airbrush or nail gun, then you’ll want to check out our trim compress buying guide. The following list will show you what points you need to consider in order to get the appropriate model.


The CFM rating should be your number one concern when looking at trim compressors or any compressor for that matter. CFM (cubic-feet-per-minute) measures how much air can be moved every 60 seconds. The greater the CFM, the more air can be moved, meaning that it can supply power to more air-hungry pneumatic tools.

Realistically speaking, a trim compressor will provide a limited amount of air-moving capacity – less than 1 CFM in many models – so don’t expect them to supply copious amounts of air. However, for small pneumatic tools like airbrushes and nail guns, a trim compressor should provide enough air to get the job done.

The general rule of thumb is to get a compressor that delivers at least 1.25 times more CFM at the recommended PSI (more on this later) of your pneumatic tool.

What size air compressor do I need to run air tools?


The PSI rating (pounds-per-square-inch) shows how much force of compressed air can be shot out of the compressor. You’ll need to check your pneumatic tools’ manuals in order to gauge how much PSI you’ll need. Many trim compressors provide between 90 and 130 PSI with variable pressure so you can adjust the PSI as you see fit.

Tank Size

Although the size of the tank in a trim compressor isn’t very large, it’s still an important factor to consider. The tank’s size should be seen as an indicator for determining how long it’ll take for the machine to produce a full tank of pressurized air. Larger tanks, of course, hold more amount of air, allowing users to work for longer. The drawback to a large tank is that unless the motors are extremely efficient, it’ll take longer to fill back up. This won’t be a large issue in trim compressors since they have miniature tanks and great recycle times.

best air compressor

Recycle Time

Recycle time refers to how long it takes for an air compressor to fill the tank back up with compressed air. Trim compressors usually have small tanks and extremely efficient motors. Some models we’ve seen take as little as 20 seconds to fill back up to maximum capacity. You’ll want a unit with a short recycle time to reduce downtime between sessions.


Portability doesn’t only refer to the weight of a trim compressor since they’re all virtually weightless, but it also considers the shape and size of the unit. It won’t be difficult finding a model that’s easy to handle and lift, but there are certain trim compressor models out there that are just simply oddly designed, reducing its portability.


Since trim compressors are small and come with a variety of sensitive components, they need to be housed in a shock-absorbing case. Since you’ll most likely be operating a trim compressor in a non-padded room, it’s a good idea to find a model that has a solid build. Better yet, try finding one that’s housed in a metal “cage” and/or comes with rubber feet or stands.

best small air compressor

Final Remarks

Basically, a trim compressor is a smaller version of the traditional portable compressor. Due to its miniature size, it won’t be able to run multiple pneumatic tools simultaneously or air-demanding tools like grinders or impact wrenches, but for light-duty tools like airbrushes or brad nail guns, a trim compressor could be a reliable friend to have in your workshop.

Finding the right trim compressor requires taking into account a wide range of different specs. The most important ones to consider are how much airflow and pressure the unit can deliver, the size of the tank, how long it takes for the tank to fill back up with compressed air, how portable the unit is, and whether it’s built like a tank to withstand drops and dust.

It actually won’t be very difficult to find the right trim compressor since many of them are built with very similar specs. However, if you’re having trouble selecting a trim compressor, you can refer to the list we’ve provided.

compressor ratings

Air Compressing Miscellaneous

WEN 2202 vs California Air Tools 10020C

Air compressors come in a variety of different sizes and shapes, but their benefits are universal. First of all, an air compressor provides the fuel needed to operate air tools such as brad nail guns and impact guns. Second, you’ll no longer be at the mercy of going to your local gas station to pump up your vehicle’s tires. Another great benefit of owning an air compressor is that it makes cleaning up piles or wood dust and chips a breeze. If you dabble in the arts of DIY craft and minor home renovations and car repairs, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t own a handy air compressor.

WEN 2202 vs California Air Tools 10020C: Vertical Air Compressor Comparison

WEN 2202

In this article, we’re going to take a look at two very popular vertical air compressor models: the 2202 from WEN and the 10020C from California Air Tools. As vertical compressors, they stand upright and take up very little floor space so even the smallest garage can accommodate one of these machines comfortably. But between these two models, which has the better performance and valueLet’s dive right into our comparison.


WEN 2202
CFM measures how much air is being shot out of the nozzle whereas PSI indicates how much force is being expelled. In general, greater CFM and PSI ratings mean more flexibility in terms of what air tools you can use. The WEN delivers 3.8 CFM at 90 PSI and 5.0 CFM at 40 PSI.

CAT 10020C
The CAT’s CFM and PSI ratings aren’t too different from the WEN’s, though even the slightest variation can mean a whole lot, especially if you plan on running large air tools like spray guns impact wrenches at the same time. The CAT produces up to 5.3 CFM at 90 PSI and 6.4 CFM and 40 PSI.

California Air Tools 10020C vs WEN 2202: Vertical Air Compressor Comparison

California Air Tools 10020C

Conclusion: It’s always better to get an air compressor the delivers more CFM and PSI than you’ll need. Looking at these two models, we can see that the CAT delivers slightly more CFM at the same PSI thresholds as the WEN, making it the better option. However, if you plan on running multiple tools simultaneously- e.g., an angle disc grinder and a spray gun – you might need to look elsewhere for a more powerful air compressor.

Tank Size

WEN 2202
If you plan on running multiple air tools at once, it’s important to have a tank that can hold enough compressed air and can maintain the right amount of pressure. This is what makes having a larger tank preferable to a smaller one. The WEN features a 20-gallon tank which is about the most volume you can get in a portable air compressor.

CAT 10020C
The CAT comes with a 10-gallon tank. A small tank isn’t always a bad thing, especially if the unit has a great recovery rate and you don’t plan on using multiple air tools at the same time. For a portable machine, 10-gallon tanks are just about the smallest size you would need for serious DIY and mechanic jobs.

WEN 2202 vs California Air Tools 10020C

WEN 2202

Conclusion: Basically, a larger tank means you can work for longer. However, the main drawback of having a large tank is that the recovery time (more on this later) to re-pressurize air can be painstakingly long. It’s important to find an air compressor that has the perfect balance between tank size and recovery rate. However, larger tanks (in this case, the WEN) are preferred to smaller ones since they can maintain CFM at the desired PSI for longer.

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What is a Portable Air Compressor Used For?

Recovery Time

WEN 2202
The recovery time indicates how efficient the engine is at re-pressurizing air so you can continue working with reduced or no downtime. Most users have complimented the WEN for having a super-quick recovery rate, but it comes at the expense of ultra-loud noise production (we’ll talk about noise levels next).

CAT 10020C
As for the CAT, the standard recovery rate for the 10-gallon tank is about 25 seconds to re-pressurize from 95 PSI to 125 PSI. As we can see, the main benefit of a smaller tank is a quicker recovery rate, though you might find the engine kicking on every 10 to 15 minutes or so to compress air.

California Air Tools 10020C vs WEN 2202

California Air Tools 10020C

Conclusion: It’s important to consider both the recovery time and tank size in determining which of these two models is the better choice. In our opinion, the smaller tank of the CAT coupled with its ultra-quick air-compressing rate makes it the better choice. It ultimately depends on what the user is more comfortable with and how much/little downtime they can tolerate.

Noise Production

WEN 2202
The WEN’s loud engine is really a deal-breaker for many people. You’ll either need to soundproof your work area, work in an enclosed area to prevent noise from leaking out, or bring your neighbors brownies every other day to bribe them into not calling the cops.

CAT 10020C
The CAT is on the opposite side of the noise-production spectrum. While recompressing air, the machine only produces around 70 decibels of noise – about the same noise level of a normal conversation from a distance of 3 feet. You won’t need earplugs when working around this machine.

Conclusion: If you’ve ever gone to a gas station to pump up your tires or basketball, then you’ll know how loud air compressor can be. However, imagine loud noises coming out of your air compressor every 10 to 15 minutes or so. A quieter air compressor won’t drive you or your neighbors crazy, so we feel that the CAT is the better choice. It only produces around 70 decibels, for goodness sake!

WEN 2202 vs California Air Tools 10020C: Vertical Air Compressor Comparison

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WEN vs California Air Tools: Verdict

If you can tolerate the horrendous noises coming out of the WEN’s motor and it’s seemingly random recovery rate, then the WEN might be a good option for your garage workshop. However, as normal human beings who can’t stand loud noises and have the patience of a toddler, the CAT 10020C is the obvious winner in this head-to-head battle between vertical air compressors.

Despite its “small” 10-gallon tank, you’re not going to bang your head against the wall every time the motor kicks into like to recompress air to the desired PSI level. Furthermore, it only takes around 25 seconds to produce 125 PSI from 95 PSI. In our opinion, go with the California Air Tools 10020C; you won’t regret it. We can’t say the same thing about the WEN 2202, unfortunately.

WEN 2202

California Air Tools 10020C vs WEN 2202: Vertical Air Compressor Comparison

Check how much you can save, buying the California Air Tools 10020C on Amazon >>>

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