Best Air Compressors In 2020 – Ultimate Guides

Best Air Compressors – Reviews & Ultimate Guides

The 1st best air compressors were something everyone already had: our lungs. Our ancestors used breath from their lungs to light and keep fires blazing. After a while, this mean was not strong enough. And that is what brought about the innovation of bellows.

But it was not until the 19th century when air compressors were invented. Yes, I am talking about the air compressors you are familiar with today. Since then, a whole lot of manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon. Resulting in the wide range of air compressors available today.

But there is a downside to that. It means that choosing the best one from the hundreds of air compressors got harder. Do not worry though. This post will guide and teach you everything you need to know about the best air compressors.

Let us start by looking at what they are.

What is an air compressor?

Here is the basic description. An air compressor is a powerful gear used for industrial purposes. These purposes include painting cars, painting bridges, in carpentry shops, garages, and more. The tool’s uses vary from heavy-duty uses to small duty ones.

The tool also retails with different components and in different sizes. Usually, manufacturers measure the tank size in gallons or liters.

With that out of the way, let us look at what you should consider when looking for the best air compressors.

Things to consider when looking for the best air compressors

Pump type

You will have to choose between a two stage and one stage air compressor. Then you also need to decide between oil and oil-free motors.

The single-stage, oil-free air compressors are more common for in-house uses. Two-stage, oiled air compressors, on the other hand, are most common for shops and industrial uses.


The pounds per square inch is one of the most important things you should look at. The higher the PSI rate, the less time you will need to wait for the tool’s tank to fill.

A high PSI also implies you can easily tackle heavy duty jobs.

Tank Size

A small-sized tank is not a big deal if the air compressor has a high PSI rate. In fact, a tool with a smaller tank and a higher PSI rate implies the air compressor will refill faster. The only downside is that you’ll be placing extra wear and tear on your compressor.

If you’re a professional who works on bigger projects, go for an air compressor with a big tank size. But if you need the tool for home use, a small tank will work fine then.

Noise Level

When it comes to noise, the quieter, the better. I presume your neighbors won’t be very happy if you pick an air compressor that’s loud. How loud an air compressor is going to be is measured with dBA. 55dBA is considered safe to utilize. But 80dBA, on the other hand, can cause irreversible damage to your ears if you do not use ear protection.

That said, note that quality is also a great determinant of the amount of noise. A well-built air compressor with a high dBA could be as loud as a low-quality unit with a low dBA.


The largest units with more features and big tanks tend to weigh more than 80 pounds. This, in turn, makes them hard to move around from one job-site to another.

Smaller units, on the other hand, weigh less than 30 pounds and are easier to move. Choose the weight according to your work needs and personal preference.

Additional features

Also, look for additional features. These include a roll cage, ASME certification, thermal overload switch, air cooling, and much more. These features improve safety. They also increase the life of your compressor.

The thermal overload switch and Air cooling function, for instance, will keep the motor from overheating.

Now that you know what to look for, let us check out the different types of air compressors.

Types of air compressors

On this section, we’ll look at the different types of air compressors and which one is right for you. There are basically two types of air compressors that we will look at here. The reciprocating piston air compressor and the rotary screw air compressor.

It is essential that you pick the right one for your situation.

Other types of air compressors include the turbo, scroll, and rotary vane air compressors. However, most of these are only used for specified applications. I would advise that you forget about those for now. Let us focus on the two main types instead.

The Reciprocating Compressor

The reciprocating compressor uses one or more pistons/cylinders to compress air. The pistons reciprocate (move up and down) inside the cylinders in order to compress the air. This type of air compressor is also easy to maintain and relatively cheap.

reciprocating air compressor
Reciprocating Air Compressor

In general, reciprocating compressors:

  • Are specifically designed for intermittent use
  • Are low capacity
  • Can vary from low to extremely high pressure (100 – 15,000 psi or 7 – 1000 bar)

Reciprocating compressors are also relatively small compressors. They tend to go up to approximately 7 kW (or 10 HP). You can easily find them or use them in:

  • Small business
  • At home
  • During Do It Yourself (DIY) projects
  • Garages
  • Workshops
  • Construction sites (nailers etc.)

The Rotary Screw Compressor

The rotary screw compressor uses two screws (rotors) to compress air. These rotors turn in opposite directions inside the housing. In addition, air gets trapped between the screws then gets compressed.

rotary screw compressor

Rotary Screw Compressor

The rotary screw compressor is more energy efficient and suitable for continuous operation.

In general, rotary screw compressors:

  • Are high capacity
  • Are created to handle continuous use (up to 4 straight hours)
  • Are low pressure (100 – 215 PSI or 7 – 15 bar)

The rotary screw compressors are big machines usually used for industrial purposes only. They start at 7 kW (10 HP) and go up to more than 700 kW (1000 HP)

Top 4 Best Air Compressors Reviews

1. Industrial Air ILA188354 30 Gallon Air Compressor

Industrial Air ILA1883054 30-Gallon Belt Driven Air Compressor
30-Gallon Air Compressor

The first appliance on our enumeration is the Industrial Air ILA1883054. This tool retails with all the necessary supplies you would need to meet your requirements. Better yet, the tool’s high-performance motor can deliver up to 155 psi of maximum pressure and 7 CFM at 40 psi & 5.7 CFM at 90 psi.

There is another astounding fact about the motor. It is wired for 120V current. But if you wish, you can convert it to also work with 240V.

The twin-cylinder oil-free system also makes this air compressor very efficient. And being designed using cast iron, the cylinder is also fairly long-lasting. The oil-less operation feature will permit you to use the appliance in tasks that need clean air. Such as painting.

Industrial Air ILA1883054 is also highly portable. And we can attribute this feature to the tool’s pre-attached pneumatic tires. This means that you do not need to worry about lifting the 190 lbs air compressor.

Another feature worth noting is the fact the 30-gallon tank is pretty sufficient. Even if you need it for demanding and continuous applications, it will do the trick.

Are you also worried about quality and safety? Worry no more. This 30-gallon air compressor is UL- and CSA- certified and it also retails with multiple safety features.

Finally, the product is also covered by a 2-year warranty. Which means, if you notice any faults within this time, you can simply take it back to Industrial Air. They’ll either fix it for you for free or replace it altogether.


  • Retails with a 2-year warranty
  • It’s UL- and CSA- certified
  • Boasts a portable design that allows you to move it around
  • Includes a dual voltage feature
  • Powerful and efficient motor
  • Comes with the Oil-free twin cylinder pump system


  • Several buyers have reported the auto shut-off doesn’t work properly sometimes
  • Electrical cord not included

2. Ingersoll Rand 2340L5 60 Gallon Air Compressor

Ingersoll Rand 2340L5 2 Stage Air Compressor
60-Gallon Air Compressor

Here comes a continuous duty air compressor, the Ingersoll Rand 2340L5 2 Stage 60-Gallon Air Compressor. This tool is designed from durable cast iron. It has even been rated for up to 5,000 hours of continuous use.

The package will arrive to you while fully wired for installation, so you will not have to incur any hidden costs. The Ingersoll Rand 2340L5 boasts a maximum pressure of approximately 175 PSI. This means you can rest assured that the tool will take care of all your workshop requirements. It can even manage several tools simultaneously.

I like this appliance because it is also quite easy to operate and manage even if it’s your first time. It boasts an easy to access filling port and an oil sight. If you feel it with synthetic oil, it should award you up to 2,000 hours of service before you need to perform a change out.

This means that the appliance performs 4 times better than petroleum-based lubricants.


  • Boasts a powerful 5 HP motor
  • Includes extended pump life
  • Continuous duty cycle
  • The noise level is quite low
  • Good enough for professional as well as DIY individuals


  • The pressure switch is not very reliable
  • Not user-friendly

3. Powermate Vx PLA4708065 80-Gallon Electric Air Compressor

Powermate Vx PLA4708065 80-Gallon Electric Air Compressor
80-Gallon Air Compressor

The Powermate Vx PLA4708065 is among the best-selling 80-gallon air compressors in the world right now. The fact it is designed by Powermate manufactures is also assuring as the company is one of the best in the industry. And all their products are usually high quality and highly rated.

The Powermate Vx PLA4708065 is also outstanding in regards to performance thanks to its 15 amp motor that it retails with. The appliance can also operate most, if not all heavy-duty air tools with efficiency.

Would you like to match the machine with hammers, or operate it with spray guns or even fill rafts? Regardless of the task, you can rest assured Powermate Vx PLA4708065 will be the best suit. It won’t disappoint.

Another feature worth noting is The Powermate Vx PLA4708065’s strong construction. This Powermate model is constructed to last as long as possible as long as you take good care of it. This durability has been made possible by the outstanding cast iron crankcase body.

The machine also operates with an oil lubricated pump. This pump ensures that the machine performs consistently and well for the longest time possible


  • Boasts a sturdy construction
  • Has an impressive runtime with any air tools
  • Can deliver an outstanding amount of power
  • Retails with an oil lubricated pump
  • Boasts a noise-free operation


  • You must bolt this model to the floor and this makes it quite restricted

4. Viair 00073 70P Heavy Duty Portable Compressor

Viair 00073 70P Heavy Duty Portable Compressor - best 12v air compressor

Why not start our review with one of the best from the bunch?

This 12-volt air compressor can work up to a PSI of 100. Impressive, right? It also retails with a 4 ft. air hose and a 16 ft. power cord. If you want to power the tool, you can easily plug it into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter port.

That said, you ought to ensure that the port boasts at least 15 amps. That is the minimum required in order to charge the appliance.

This tool also retails with a pressure gauge on the top side. This allows you to see the pressure level the equipment is currently at. It also boasts a brass twist in tire chuck which allows you to tightly secure it to your tire in order to inflate it.

An accessory power plug, as well as vibration isolators, are also included in the package. You can use the power plug instead of the cigarette lighter plug.


  • Can inflate big tires in minutes
  • The power cord is long enough
  • Can connect to your car’s cigarette lighter
  • Boasts a robust construction
  • User-friendly even if you are a beginner


  • Does not include the LED work light which makes it a bit hard to use at night


Picking your best air compressor does not need to be a complicated task anymore. Simply follow the guidelines I have stated in this post. And you should easily pick the best one that meets your work and personal requirements.

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