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10 Best Small Air Compressors [Reviews for 2020]

The Best AC and DC Small Air Compressors You Can Buy

Whether you’re using pneumatic (air) tools or filling up tires – a small air compressor is a very handy tool to have around. And If you’ve been looking for one of the Best Small Air Compressors to buy in 2020 – you’re in the right place! 

Two Types Of Small Air Compressors:

We’ve reviewed the top portable air compressors on the market – and put together a list of our top 10 picks of the best small compressors which stand above the others in each category, and In today’s small air compressor reviews, you’ll see two (2) different types of Small Air Compressors:

1) 120-Volt AC – Small Air Compressor 

The first type of small air compressor is the 120-volt AC small air compressor – which runs on a typical 110 amp electrical (house) circuit. 120 Volt AC compressors typically produce higher PSI (pounds per square inch) air pressure then 12-volt D/C compressors (below).

Generally, 120-Volt small air compressors produce between 90-200 PSI, and are suitable for using pneumatic tools like air guns, and are used for framing and trimming houses, as well as inflating large vehicle tires, etc.

2) 12-Volt DC – Portable Air Compressor

The second type of small air compressor is the 12-Volt DC portable air compressor.  12-Volt (Car Battery) air compressors are perfect for inflating car tires, bicycle tires, or an air mattress, and the portable air compressor is the perfect mobile air compressor.

The 12-volt DC compressor is lightweight, portable, and much less expensive than it’s cousin – the 120-volt AC air compressor.

A 12-Volt DC compressor plugs into the cigarette lighter of a Car, Truck, Or RV for power – and is perfect for use where no electrical hook-up is available.  12 Volt portable compressors typically offer much less psi air pressure – however, a few like the ViAir DC compressor below – pumps out an astounding 150 PSI.

One innovative compressor is a “hybrid”  – The Kensun air compressor below can be used as a 12-volt or 120-volt air compressor – using a DC (battery) or AC (electrical) power.

(Note: All featured small air compressors below – run on electrical (A/C or D/C) not gas-power.

Keep Reading To Discover the Best Small Air Compressor for Home & Auto:

 

Editor’s ChoiceRunner UpBest Value
PORTER-CABLE C2002-WK Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor with 13-Piece Accessory KitBOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor, Oil-Free, 6 Gallon, 150 PSI (BTFP02012)Air Compressor, Portable, 3 Gallon Horizontal, Oilless, w/ 10 Piece Accessory Kit Including Air Hose & Inflation Gun (Campbell Hausfeld FP209499AV)
PORTER-CABLE C2002-WK Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor with 13-Piece Accessory KitBOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor, Oil-Free, 6 Gallon, 150 PSI (BTFP02012)Air Compressor, Portable, 3 Gallon Horizontal, Oilless, w/ 10 Piece Accessory Kit Including Air Hose & Inflation Gun (Campbell Hausfeld FP209499AV)
$169.00$101.80$79.78
SEE ON AMAZONSEE ON AMAZONSEE ON AMAZON

 


 

The 10 Best Small Air Compressors for 2020

 

 

Editor’s Choice:  Porter-Cable C2002 AC Compressor

PORTER-CABLE C2002-WK Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor with 13-Piece Accessory Kit

Why We Like It

The Porter-Cable C2002 ranks at the top of our reviews as the best small air compressor for several reasons. In addition to quick compression times and a high PSI tank, the C2002 comes with an awesome 13-piece accessory kit for a wide range of applications. 

As is typical of the Porter-Cable brand, the C2002 is also well-made and durable enough to use at home or on the job site.

Specs

  • 6-gallon tank
  • 25 ft. Nylon Hose
  • 150 max PSI
  • 13-piece accessory kit included
  • Carrying handle – Weighs only 30 Lbs.

Our Take Away

Overall, we think the Porter-Cable C2002 is an excellent tool that deserves a spot in your garage. This 6-gallon 150 PSI compressor is powerful enough to handle any small to medium size job. 

We also like its lightweight, as this makes it an excellent option for portable use. 

Porter-Cable – Editors Choice

Porter-Cable

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Runner Up:  Bostitch Pancake Compressor 150 PSI

BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor, Oil-Free, 6 Gallon, 150 PSI (BTFP02012)

Why We Like It

The AC powered pancake air compressor from Bostitch is very similar in terms of design and construction to the Porter-Cable model above. For most home uses, the Bostitch 150 PSI model does an excellent job, and the tool offers the same PSI and storage tanks as the Porter-Cable brand.

Specs

  • 6-gallon tank
  • 150 max PSI
  • Convenient carrying handle
  • Low noise level

Our Take Away

The Bostitch air compressor is a close second to the Porter-Cable C2002, which we felt was put over the top by its 13-piece accessory kit. With that said, there’s no going wrong with this reliable, well-built tool from Bostitch either. 

Bostitch – Runner Up 

Bostitch

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“Best Value” Small Air Compressor:  Campbell-Hausfeld AC Compressor

Air Compressor, Portable, 3 Gallon Horizontal, Oilless, w/ 10 Piece Accessory Kit Including Air Hose & Inflation Gun (Campbell Hausfeld FP209499AV)

Why We Like It

For many people, spending a large sum of money on an air compressor just isn’t an option. If this is your situation, we strongly recommend this unit from Campbell-Hausfeld. 

With a great price and versatile 10-piece accessory kit included, the Campbell-Hausfeld compressor is the strongest contender for the best value small air compressor on any list. 

Specs

  • 3-gallon tank
  • Lightweight @ Only 21 lbs.
  • 110 max PSI
  • 10-piece accessory kit included
  • 25 Ft. Nylon Hose

Our Take Away

If you want a lightweight – medium PSI, all-around good small air compressor at a good value, this is probably the model for you. Although it’s an excellent value, you’ll also be surprised at just how reliable and well-built this compressor is. 

Campbell-Hausfeld – “Best Value” Air Compressor

Campbell-Hausfeld

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Best Premium Upgrade:  Makita MAC2400 AC Compressor

Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor

Why We Like It

For some jobs, it pays to have a compressor that refills itself really fast. That’s why we chose the Makita MAC2400 as our Best Premium Small Compressor, as the Makita compressor recovers tank pressure in the shortest possible time.  Makita is also recognized as one of the best power tools brands in the world.

Specs

  • 4.2-gallon tank
  • Big Bore Piston – Lower RPM
  • Cast Iron Pump
  • Low 79 decibel rating
  • 130 max PSI
  • Oil-lubricated
  • Roll cage protective construction for job sites

Our Take Away

Between fast tank recovery and impressive durability, it’s hard to beat the Makita MAC2400 for any workshop or medium-sized jobs. Though it has a smaller tank than the two models listed above; because of the cast iron pump design – this compressor weighs in a 77 lbs. –  it’s not light!   However, it is portable enough to take with you to remote worksites and the PSI is more than sufficient to run any air tools.

Makita – Best Premium Upgrade Small Compressor

Makita

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Best 12-Volt Compressor:  EPAuto DC Portable Air Compressor

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

Why We Like It

The DC Powered EPAuto compressor stands out for both convenience and value. This compressor can plug into your RV or Vehicle’s cigarette lighter adapter, making it easy to use on the road. The EPAuto compressor is also small and lightweight enough to easily store in your vehicle – for whenever you may need it. 

Specs

  • 12-volt DC power (plugs into vehicle lighter)
  • Max 70 PSI
  • Suitable for car and SUV tires
  • Automatic shut off at target pressure level
  • 9-foot nylon hose
  • Not recommended for any truck tires

Our Take Away

The EPAuto is not suitable for air tools – but is by far one of the most powerful and versatile 12-Volt compressors on our list, and is easily one of the best small air compressors for car or bicycle tires if you’re out on the road. 

If you don’t already have a unit like this in your trunk, picking one up is an easy way to make sure you’re always prepared to deal with emergency low tire pressure. 

EPAuto – Best DC Compressor

EPAuto

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Best Craftsman Compressor:  Craftsman 6-Gallon AC Compressor

CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor, 6 gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free with 13 Piece Accessory Kit (CMEC6150K)

Why We Like It

In many ways, this Craftsman model reminds us of the Porter-Cable model that took our Editor’s Choice slot. With many of the same specs and a very similar accessory kit, the Craftsman compressor is a serious piece of equipment that will help you get more done at home or on the job. 

Specs

  • 6-gallon tank
  • 150 max PSI
  • Suitable for Jobsite
  • 13-piece accessory kit included
  • Designed to start quickly in cold weather

Our Take Away

This small electric air compressor thoroughly impressed us, and we believe it’s one of the best tools on the market in its category. The Craftsman compressor works reliably and refills itself quickly, making it a natural choice for your compressed air needs. 

Best Craftsman Brand – Small Air Compressor

Craftsman

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Best Portable AC Compressor for Air Tools:   DeWalt 200 PSI

DEWALT Air Compressor for Trim, 200-PSI Max, Quiet Operation (DWFP55130)

Why We Like It

If your tasks are limited to trimming a house (90-100 PSI) or filling tires (32 PSI), the DeWalt 200 PSI probably delivers more PSI than you need.

On the other hand,  If you’re using pneumatic tools for framing houses and need more like 120 PSI pressure – the Dewalt 200 PSI compressor fits the bill.

And even with the smaller 2,.5 gallon tank, the 200 PSI compressor actually holds more air pressure than a 3.5 – 4-gallon air compressor that delivers 130-150 PSI.

The Higher the PSI capacity- the longer the maximum pressure will remain.

That’s why we chose this model from DeWalt as the best air compressor for air tools. Thanks to its rating of 200 PSI, the DeWalt can deliver enough power to keep air gobbling tools like framing guns – humming along for even the most demanding construction work. Oh, and it’s a DeWalt – perhaps the best power tool brand in the world.

Specs

  • 2.5-gallon air tank
  • 95 – 200 max PSI
  • Protective Roll-cage for Jobsites
  • Low noise level – 71 decibels
  • Compact design – 36 Lbs.
  • Low 12 amp AC electrical draw

Our Take Away

While you’ll pay a little extra for the extra pressure, this compressor does a great job of powering handheld pneumatic tools. We also like how compact this unit is for the power it delivers since it can be easily placed in a car or truck and taken wherever it is needed. 

DeWalt – Best PSI Performance Small Compressor

DeWalt

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Best Selling “DeWalt” Compressor:   DeWalt 6-Gal. Pancake AC Compressor

DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor, 6 Gallon, 165 PSI (DWFP55126)

Why We Like It

Although the DeWalt model listed above is better for use with pneumatic (air) tools, not everyone needs the PSI power that the DeWalt 200 PSI model provides. 

For more common residential or light construction needs, this 165-PSI pancake compressor from DeWalt is usually more suitable. 

Specs

  • 6-gallon tank
  • 90 – 165 max PSI
  • lightweight 32 lbs.
  • Suitable for job sites
  • Low noise operation 75 decibels
  • Brand Reliability
  • One-Year Warranty

Our Take Away

For its size and weight, this AC compressor packs a punch, and the 165 maximum PSI puts it a bit above most of the other small electric air compressor choices – without making it overly cumbersome. 

As usual, we have to note the exceptional overall brand reliability and quality of DeWalt tools. 

DeWalt – Best Selling DeWalt Air Compressor

DeWalt

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Best Portable DC Compressor for Vehicle or House:  Kensun Portable AC and DC Compressor

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)

Why We Like It

This small air compressor screams versatility. Since it can be used with either a 12-volt DC (car battery) or a 110-volt (in-wall) AC electrical outlet, this unit can go just about anywhere. At a maximum of 100 PSI, it has more limited power, but it’s also a dependable mini air compressor – that is convenient to pack up and take with you anywhere.

Specs

  • 100 max PSI (AC power)
  • AC and DC compatible
  • Weighs only 4 pounds

Our Take Away

While we definitely wouldn’t recommend this compressor for heavy construction type use, it is a handy portable tool to keep in your car, truck, or garage. At only 4 pounds, this is also a convenient tool for older users who may not want to carry around a full-size air compressor. 

Kensun – Best Portable Compressor

Kensun

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Best Compressor for RV or Trailer:   Viair 40047 Compressor

Viair 40047 400P-RV Automatic Portable Compressor Kit

Why We Like It

Because RV’s are somewhere between a home and a vehicle, they often present a unique challenge when it comes to tool and equipment choices. 

That’s why Viair came up with this excellent DC air compressor designed specifically for RV use. Supplying an astounding 150 PSI from a 12-volt Truck, Car, or RV battery –  and doing all that with a 30-foot air hose is pure genius.

In fact, If you own an RV, we almost think this tool is an essential piece of equipment to have.

Specs

  • 12-volt DC power (hooks up to vehicle battery)
  • 150 max PSI
  • 30-foot air hose
  • Includes tire inflation gun and gauge
  • 8 ft. alligator clamp battery cables

Our Take Away

The Viair 12v compressor is a well-built piece of equipment that will help you make sure your RV has properly inflated car tires, air mattresses are filled, and bicycle tires are ready to roll – no matter where on the road you travel.

Though it’s a sort of a specialty compressor with its 12-Volt hook up, we know that the RV owners all over the country would love the lightweight, easy to store, high PSI, Viair 12-volt portable air compressor. 

ViAir – Best Small Compressor for RV’s

ViAir

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Small Air Compressors:

 

What Is the Best Portable Compressor for Tires

 Though most compressors can air up a tire, we recommend the EPAuto and Kensun models. These compressors can be easily stored in your car and run using 12-volt DC power. 

The smaller size makes an air compressor portable and convenient, and both of these units are small enough to fit in your trunk easily. 

What Type of Power Do Small Air Compressors Run On?

Their basically two types of power for small air compressors.  Small compressors are powered by either AC (120-Volt) and DC (12-Volt) Car Batteries.  We include 7 AC and 3 DC-powered compressors in the small compressor review above.

Who Makes the Most Powerful Small Compressor

Our pick in this category is the DeWalt 200 PSI model. With more than enough PSI to even handle construction sites using multiple high-powered nail guns, we feel that this DeWalt air compressor is the best choice for running air tools and tackling building projects.

What Is the Best Portable Compressor for Home and Garage?

Overall, our choice is the Porter-Cable model. As the most well-rounded small compressor on our list, we think it is an excellent choice for homes and garages of all sorts. 

Can You Run Air Compressors Without Power?

Yes, provided you’ve pressurized the tank first. While a compressor won’t refill without an electrical power source, the air stored in the tank will stay under pressure for some time, even after the power is disconnected. 

Wrapping Up

If you’re looking for a portable air compressor, we think that the Porter-Cable, Bostitch, and Makita models are the best 120 Volt options on the market for larger jobs, followed by The 12-Volt EPAuto and Kensun Portable Air Pumps for smaller tasks.

Each of these compressors wowed us In some way; with their quality, reliability, positive user comments, and overall features.

It’s important to note that the right unit for you depends on the exact uses you’ll be needing it for.

As long as you’re selecting one of the models on this list, though, we have every confidence you’ll be getting an excellent air compressor. 

Thanks for visiting Best Home Gear – Please leave us any helpful comments or suggestions below!

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Kevin

As a Homeowner, Builder, and Property Developer/Manager for 30+ years, I’ve worn a lot of “different hats”, and In that capacity, owned or used about every tool or piece of home equipment one can think of. Managing property in Michigan, Arizona, and Florida, also allows us to test many of the products we review firsthand, and in vastly different climates and conditions. Our goal at BestHomeGear.Com is to share the first-hand experience by providing exceptional Home & Garden Techniques, Product Reviews, and useful DIY Guides for our faithful readers - Homeowners like you. We trust you will find BestHomeGear.Com very informative - and extremely helpful.

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