Portable air compressors are machines that supply pressurized air on command to help with small projects like spray painting, emergencies like inflating a flat tire, or industrial-sized operations for farms, building sites or manufacturing plants.
Like traditional air compressors, the portable models work with two main parts – the power source (like a diesel engine or electric motor) and its compressing system (such as a vane, impeller, or a piston). The compressing system reduces volume of atmospheric air and increases its pressure with the help of energy from the power source. An operator can then use the pressure setting knob to manipulate pressurized air as needed, allowing you to use it for inflating bicycle tires in the morning, and then embarking on an etching project right after.
While the term “portable” is often used in pocket-sized items, portable air compressors can vary in sizes depending on the job required, as long as it light enough to be carried from one place to the next, or has wheels built-in for easy transport. For this reason, mobile air compressors are time-savers in constructions sites and a game-changer in home workshops since powering drills, staplers, nail guns, sanders, and other tools can be a breeze.
|Picture||Model||Editor Ratings||Our Review|
|PORTER-CABLE PCFP02003|| (4.6 / 5) |
|California Air Tools CAT-10020|| (4.3 / 5) |
|Campbell Hausfeld FP209499|| (3.7 / 5) |
|Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP|| (4.7 / 5) |
|Senco PC1131 Compressor|| (4.4 / 5) |
|Makita MAC5200 Big Bore|| (4.2 / 5) |
|California Air Tools CAT-6310|| (4.7 / 5) |
PORTER-CABLE PCFP02003 Pancake Compressor
One of the tiniest portable air compressors in the market is the Porter-Cable PCFP02003, which weighs only 28.8 pounds and measures 18.1 x 17.2 x 18.5 inches. It is definitely lightweight, easy to throw into a car trunk, or use indoors and outdoors alternatingly with ease. You’ll find it easy to carry because of the recessed handle built into the electric motor housing, and easy to store in mobile homes and houses with no garage space.
The 3.5-gallon mobile air compressor operates with a low-amp 120-volt motor and oil-free pump design, which is easy on the eyes thanks to its black and red theme. All the parts laid out well, allowing users to access connections and adjustments quite easily.
It delivers compressed air at 90 PSI pump with a 3.5-gallon tank, 135 max PSI and supports a wide range of small SCFM air tools perfect for basic roofing jobs, framing, inflation, or draining water hoses. It also fills up in about 90 seconds, giving users ample time to do other tasks.
This PCFP02003 is fit for any household new to an air compressor. It comes with a factory-installed quick coupler for easy access to regulated air, and requires virtually no maintenance. Starting the motor up in cold weather – a problem of many air compressors – is not an issue with the PCFP02003 model.
What’s interesting is that although this pancake compressor is a bit noisy at 82 dbA level, it is still much quieter than other models and can be used indoors without disrupting neighbors or using hearing protection.
Aside from being compact, durable, and multi-purpose, it doesn’t hurt that the Porter-Cable Pancake Compressor is priced under $100. Be aware though that if you require a compressor with higher volume and recovery, we recommend you go with a larger model. Check out our PCFP02003 detailed review!
California Air Tools CAT-10020 Ultra Quiet and Oil-Free
You can expect so much from the California Air Tools CAT-10020 Steel Tank, especially about quietness, which is why it has landed on this list. This unit boasts a 70-decibel sound operation, which makes it ideal for low noise tolerance settings. It is one of the quietest air compressors running on 2 horsepower in the industry. Aside from its power, this air compressor will deliver a clean operation with its oil-free pump that lessens the need for maintenance as well.
Focusing on this air compressor’s oil-free dual piston pump system, the design of this facet has been engineered to build up longevity and durability while delivering efficient performance. As a result of the pump system’s testing, it showed that the pump life can reach over 3000 hours, after which you will need to have the unit serviced.
The powerful capacity of the CAT-10020 delivers high air rate that enables the unit to be utilized with several tools such as nail guns, air drills, engraving tools, and other similar gears. Operating at only 1680 RPM, this machine will reduce its exposure to wear and tear thereby adding up to its longevity.
This quiet and powerful air compressor is ideal for those working in shops, laboratories, and even garages. It is compatible with areas where loud noises cannot be endured without sacrificing the high air delivery rates required for the task. With all of this compressor’s features, it is a worthwhile machine to invest in and operate.
Campbell Hausfeld FP209499 Portable Compressor
The Campbell Hausfeld FP209499 Portable Compressor is an oil-less compressor which implies that it requires less upkeep compared with oil-greased models. It is also entirely simple to screen the pressure levels of the compressor, because of its strategically positioned gauges. Thus, making the operation safer and more efficient.
This convenient compressor is intended to minimize the pulses. This is accomplished by the assistance of the activity of tank pistons inside the compressor. The compressor additionally highlights a helpful accessory pack, which can be utilized for over various chores.
The Campbell Hausfeld FP209499 is suitable for filling tires and nailers, air brushing, stapling, brad nailing and other light-duty air-driven applications. This makes the unit practical to use for all clients who have varying skill and experience levels using a compressor. A customer can be certain that this compressor gives better work than what could have been anticipated from it.
The air compressor includes a low amperage engine working at 120 volts. This permits the gadget to operate effortlessly in frosted conditions and even without utilizing added electrical cords. The engine is likewise a cooler engine, taking into account more proficient operation.
The general components of the unit, for example, its straightforward use, minimized pulsations, quality engine, lightweight, and reduced size, make the Campbell Hausfeld FP209499 is without a doubt a decent expansion to your home or shop. This machine has such an immaculate value for every penny you pay for it since it is incredible at doing its intended function. Check out our Campbell Hausfeld FP209499 review.
Makita MAC2400 Big Bore Air Compressor
Oil-less compressors are prevalent in the business. These machines are helpful for being lightweight and practically maintenance free. Nonetheless, oil-greased up compressors have demonstrated to have a more extended lifespan, convey more noteworthy quality, and work quieter than their oil-less versions.
The Makita MAC2400 Big Bore Air Compressor features its manufacturer’s Big Bore cast iron barrel that delivers enhanced execution and quicker air recuperation time. The 4.2-gallon twin stacked tanks of the Makita MAC2400 effortlessly gives enough air to run tools throughout the day with minimal exertion.
This is possible since the Makita MAC2400 is not just a solid and flexible air compressor, its oil greased up pump keeps running at 1720 RPM to provide the power necessary. This machine is also capable of drawing a sufficiently low amperage draw so that you can connect it to anywhere without blowing a wire or tripping the breaker.
This machine is a versatile product, as its reliable 2.5 HP engine produces a lot of air for assorted applications. It is a compressor that is functional whether you use it at home, on a development site, or in the workshop.
This machine operates in cooler running temperature that makes way for less wear and tear. It also runs with minimal noise at only 79 decibels making it suitable for noise intolerant setting. Last but not the least, it features an enhanced pump strength and an extended life span. All of these features make the Makita MAC2400 are a worthy investment for professional or personal use. Read our detailed Makita MAC2400 review!
Senco PC1131 Compressor, 4.3-Gallon
The Senco PC1131 Compressor is a hardworking compressor which is intended for a variety of applications . The machine is developed from cast iron for the chamber, and from aluminum for its crankcase and head. It gloats a 2.5 HP, 3400 RPM engine, which is an oil-greased engine to guarantee longevity. The general features and functionality of the Senco PC1131 make it a perfect compressor for both contractual workers and DIYers.
It highlights its twin-stacked tanks adding up to a 4.3-gallon tank volume that is adequate to run tools that require short yet sporadic bursts of air. These twin-stacked tanks make it more proficient for better air storage, hence less action is necessitated for your pump and less energy is used up. Although the 4.3-gallon tank framework is not designed to be utilized on tools that require steady, uninterrupted wind current, there is still a variety of activities that can be done utilizing this machine, for example, finishing and framing.
This machine has an immediate drive pump with a powerful engine. The drive pump is electric run and elicits only 14 amperes thereby reducing the risk of circuit breaker tripping as you use it inside the house. It is outfitted with an overload prevention switch that prevents over-burdening the compressor thereby avoiding any mishaps.
The Senco PC1131 operates at 77 decibels only, which means that it is one of the quietest compressors in the market. With the high air rate it delivers, you will be unable to locate a quieter and more efficient air compressor. Check our Senco PC1131 Review too!
Makita MAC5200 Big Bore 3.0HP Air Compressor
The Makita MAC5200 Air Compressor is a mid-sized machine that packs air flow of 6.5 SCFM at 90 PSI, powerful enough to operate two framing nailers working at the same time. It is designed with a teal-painted “Big Bore” cast iron cylinder that provides better air compression and faster recovery.
Unlike other portable air compressors, this model has a roll-cage construction with eight-inch pneumatic wheels, allowing users to drag the machine through any setting from your garage to harsh job sites. This handle may look bulky when it is operated upright, but it can be folded down to fit any car truck or store easily in a tight-spaced garage.
Powered by a single phase 120-volt motor, the Makita MAC5200 has a 5.2-gallon tank that can sustain an operating pressure of up to 140 PSI, and an oil-lubricated pump with a large filter that provides an increased air intake and cooler running temperatures.
We like the built-in tool hangers and storage compartment, which is large enough to keep your accessories, spare parts and fittings in. The MAC5200 also has an air hose wrap, which allows users to hang up to 50 feet of 3/8-inch air hose. It also features an oil drain, tank drain oil sight glass built-in for easier access and foolproof maintenance.
Being a bigger-sized model weighing 88 pounds and measuring 29 x 19.5 x 19 inches, owners of this model are quite pleased with the MAC5200‘s noise level when in operation. The main complaint from users is that the plastic tires could give out easily. Fortunately, as recommended by current owners, the tires can be quickly replaced with sturdier wheels with solid rubber, steel center and heavy tread. Read our detailed review of the Makita MAC5200.
California Air Tools CAT-6310 Ultra Quiet and Oil-Free
The California Air Tools CAT-6310 air compressor is on a class of its own as it operates with virtually no vibration and lower-than-normal noise levels. It is definitely “ultra quiet” as advertised, rated with only 60 decibels of sound. For comparison, a normal conversation between two people sitting side by side is rated 65 decibels.
The CAT6310 runs on a powerful 1.0 HP motor with a speed of 1680 RPM and a built-in thermal overload protector, which automatically turns the motor off when it reaches 135° C or higher during operation. It is engineered with an oil-free dual piston pump system, allowing you to drag this thing of beauty even on rough terrain without worrying of oil leaks. This model also draws 7.6 amps on start-up, dissolving heat more effectively even in extremely cold weather.
Its steel tank with a silver finish stores a whopping 6.3 gallons, but impressively fills up in less than 160 seconds. It also has a built-in water trap, which is designed to remove excess water from the air.
Weighing only 49 pounds with measurements of 23.6 x 13.3 x 24 inches, this horizontal, mid-sized mobile air compressor is quite light for a machine as powerful. It is also designed with a wheel kit for easier transport and extra air capacity.
You can use the California Air Tools CAT-6310 in a wide range of applications, particularly since it has two pressure control gauges: 3.80 CFM at 40 psi and 2.35 CFM at 90 psi with maximum pressure at 120 psi.
If you’re looking for a mobile air compressor with below-average noise levels, the CAT6310 should be at the top of your list. It can cater to hobbyists working on small projects, or contractors working in construction sites. With 3,000 hours of pump and motor runtime, this model is definitely a steal.
If you’re in the market for a quality portable air compressor, any of these options are ideal for small day-to-day tasks or bigger off-site projects. The Porter-Cable PCFP02003 is best for home use, while the MAC5200and California Air Tools CAT-6310 Air Compressor are better for advanced-level users and projects. Check out our CAT-6310 review here!
So The Best Portable Compressors Are
- PORTER-CABLE PCFP02003 Pancake Compressor
- California Air Tools CAT-10020
- Campbell Hausfeld FP209499
- Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP
- Senco PC1131 Compressor
- Makita MAC5200 Big Bore 3.0 HP Air Compressor
- California Air Tools CAT-6310 Ultra Quiet and Oil-Free
All three mobile air compressor models have very minimal downsides and above 85% positive reviews from users, so you won’t go wrong regardless of your choice. Make sure though to choose a model based on what projects you’re planning to do, since the PCFP02003, MAC5200, and CAT6310 cater to different user requirements, storage space, and operation.
We hope you can make up your mind and purchase the best portable air compressors for your air tools needs. Let us know in the comment if any better portable compressors that come into your mind.
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