Air compressors give you the ability to use air tools, and operate other air powered devices, offering extreme versatility in your shop or home. Not only is a compressor useful on its own, but they can be used with many other tools. Countless tasks and DIY around your home will be made easier with this awesome tool.
Is the floor of your garage covered in sawdust? Use the air blower. Do you need to change the color of your old bike? Use the paint sprayer. Looking to update your room with crown molding? You can complete this job quickly with an air finish nailing tool. And air compressors are much longer-lasting and more durable than corded or battery-operated tools due to having fewer moving parts.
Different Types of Air Compressors
Not only are air compressors useful, but they’re more exciting to use than other types of tools. It does take some effort and practice to learn how to maneuver one, how to set it up and figuring out what the different gauge settings mean, but as soon as you learn, it’s smooth sailing. Before we get to the air compressor reviews, let’s look at a few different types so you can confidently decide which of these top air compressors will best fit your needs.
Rotation is a standard method for air compression, used in many different machines. A rotary scroll compressor is built for heavy use and is designed to last a long time. Its function only requires a select few moving parts. This makes it a bit different from other types of air compressors, such as rotary screw machines that have more parts to their compressors, creating more points of failure.
These compressors come with fixed single-helical elements, allowing it to orbit. This slowly compresses the air in its housing and draws more air in slowly from the environment or a fed in the source.
These types of compressors work smoother and sound different than other air compressors, and you can expect their maximum power capacity to level out quicker. This happens due to intake processes and gradual pressurization. The unit is built to deliver air continuously, which makes it a great workshop option.
Rotary Screw Type
These compressors use two helical screws inside of a center unit. They are built to rotate briskly, heightening the air pressure in the central chamber. This increase allows the air volume to decrease, providing the system with increased capability while compressing the air.
Rotary screw type machines require lubrication and a coolant, making them more expensive and less efficient over long periods. They need more checks and maintenance when compared to other styles of compressor. You might not see rotary screw machines very often since the mechanism inside creates a lot of friction.
These compressors often have lower levels of leakage than other types, which allows them to work well with high-precision environments and tasks.
Rotary Sliding Vane Air Compressor
This machine is a fancier looking type of air compressor and has existed for quite some time. It uses a powerful motor with a set of rotating blades, a stator, and a rotor. This design was patented all the way back in 1876, by a Canadian engineer.
These styles of air compressors are standard in hydraulic and automotive applications, like vacuums and power steering in vehicles. This is a reliable, quality style of air compressor but depending on what it’s used for, some may find it outdated for their needs.
Best Air Compressor Brands on the Market Today
This brand creates quality compressors and “hot dog” units, offering compact models that are easy to transport. While they run, they typically deliver half the horsepower of a fuller sized unit at its peak capacity, as they have smaller generators.
Senco has created multiple reliable home improvement and renovation compressors, particularly for adding power to your nailing machine and paint sprayer. You can use it for smaller artistic projects and crafts around your house with a Senco generator, like the PC1010.
For every minute you use it, you will receive between 20 and 44 “drives” depending on which tool is hooked up to it and the number of applications you’re using it for. Senco makes their pumps lube-free, eliminating a lot of maintenance hassle for you.
PORTER-CABLE greats many quality models for air compression, offering portability and enough tank pressure to support nailers and sprayer tools. When you use a PORTER-CABLE compressor, any pressure and air that is used will be recovered quickly.
Other benefits to air compressor units by PORTER-CABLE include state of the art leak prevention and coupling capabilities that come built into the machine’s air hose. These will save you a lot of effort and don’t require a professional to install the devices.
Use the six-gallon tank by PORTER-CABLE and enjoy its stable rubber feet and water drain valves, which make it easy to empty. The portability and compact design of their models make them a suitable choice, no matter what your compression needs are.
California Air Tools (known as CAT) offers a variety of industrial grade units that are conveniently quiet and is among the longest-running of air compressor suppliers. Their machines are rugged and portable, providing reduced maintenance hassle for users due to their oil-free pumps.
Larger California Air tools models pack a significant amount of air storage, which will allow you to easily get through hours of construction work or just a long day of maintenance around the house.
Other benefits of California Air Tools include their low starting-amp draw and simple start valve technology. The lower amp draws are beneficial so that if a voltage drop occurs, you stay safe and protected.
Compare Air Compressors
Overview of the Top 5 Product Models & Selecting the Best Air Compressors for Your Project
This machine is a welcome addition to any garage or shop. The Makita MAC700 air compressor features a cast iron pump and has a Big Bore piston and cylinder for maximum performance and delivery. The machine is far quieter than other machines and has a reduced risk of voltage drop and tripped breakers.
It is cooler running than other air compressors, minimizing wear and has an oil-lubricated pump, 2.0 horsepower, and a 2.6-gallon, "hot dog" style tank. The machine weighs 52 pounds and comes with a quarter-inch universal coupler. The cylinder head is cast iron and built to last and last.
It’s not as lightweight as some other compressors, such as the pancake models. Make sure that if you transport this in a truck, it is adequately strapped down due to its top-heavy design. Keep in mind that the PSI (operating pressure) of this unit is 0 to 130.
This unit was created to be among the quietest of all air compressors on the market, operating at just 60 decibels. The motor functions at only 1680 RPM, is a 1.0 HP-design and is built to cause less wear over time. The pump system, featuring dual pistons, is oil-free and made to provide durability and high performance.
You can expect a 3000-hour life cycle out of this machine, as opposed to other products that only last 500, or even less. This pump can be used in many uneven terrains and a variety of climates and temperatures.
Even though the air compressor tank is large (at 8 gallons), it’s fairly lightweight at only 54 pounds. You can transport the unit quickly and easily with its included wheel kit. This machine is perfect for those working indoors and needing to minimize noise while having a lot of air capacity.
This machine is a pancake compressor with 135 PSI of pressure and comes with a 3.5-gallon tank. It delivers 2.0 SCFM with a 90 PSI pump and goes to maximum 135 to offer quicker recovery and a longer running time. Its pump is oil-free and durable, requiring no maintenance and will provide you with a long life for your machine.
The motor on this air compressor has a quick coupler for speedy access to regular air and starts up easily, even in cold weather. Use the low-Amp 120 style motor with an extension cord in your garage or wherever else you need it without problems. Compared to other machines, this product is super lightweight at just 26 pounds and can be easily transported. It can last through multiple roofing jobs, general inflation, and more.
This pancake compressor is built with optimal stability in mind. It comes with a 150 PSI, rubber feet for stability, and a water drain valve. The design features higher pressure and offers longer performance with your air tools. The pump needs no oil, making it a lower-maintenance experience compared to other air compressors.
You will be able to start up the motor quickly and easily with an extension cord or out in cold weather. The vital components of this machine have a console cover to protect the essential components and keep them safe.
The PORTER-CABLE C2002-WK Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor was crafted to be easily transportable and has a cord wrap. The motor comes with replaceable brushes to extend its life. Purchase this in confidence with its single-year limited warranty.
This machine is lightweight and portable with a maintenance-free, oil-free pump and a 150 PSI maximum tank storage. This compressor can be counted on for a quick tank refill and a long run time with tools.
It was crafted to offer you the right product for an moderately-demanding work environment, and its high-efficiency motor starts up quickly and easily in cold weather. The couplers and high-flow regulator provide maximum performance for your air tools, and the double universal couplers allow support for two concurrent users.
Weighing in at 29 pounds, the unit is simple to both store and carry. The tank size is six gallons, and the product comes with plugs, a quick coupler, tire gauge, tire chuck, and a nylon hose of 25 feet. This unit is built to stand the test of time and last you multiple years.
Other Top-rated Air Compressors:
Buying Guide, Selecting the Top Air Compressor
When shopping for the top rated air compressors, it’s important to take the following into consideration:
The size of the air compressor’s tank will determine the length of time you can run air tools before the compressor must be refilled. Compressor tank sizes are distinguished by gallons and can range from one to 80 gallons.
If you need to support your air tools with a high air volume, a large tank will best suit your needs. However, if you only need the tools intermittently, a smaller size is fine. A big enough tank that goes beyond the tools’ SCFM requirement will let the unit cool down sufficiently between cycles.
Make sure you keep an eye on the voltage of your air compressor. If it needs any repairs, lock out, un-power the compressor, and bleed the pressure of the tank. If your machine is built for indoor use, never leave it exposed to wet conditions.
For some additional guidance on air compressor maintenance, check out this video.
As you can see, an air compressor is a valuable item to add to your shop or garage. Once you own one, you’ll think of endless projects to use it for.
Keep in mind that for optimal function and efficiency, pneumatic tools need high-pressure air. You should never eliminate, evade, or alter a relief valve since they are placed to ensure safety during use.
Any of the 10 products listed in this article will be an excellent choice. Good luck choosing a unit and thanks for reading our review!
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