When you want to use air tools at home, you need a portable air compressor. But not just at home – there are also very compact units that you can use to keep your car tires inflated. These smaller units are handy to take on your next camping trip. To help make your choice easier, we’ve researched the best air compressors to use at home and on the road.
Most of these air compressors use an electric power source, but some also run off your car battery. There are even ones that use a rechargeable battery power source. Don’t forget to check out our buying guide for the best portable air compressors! That way, you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for before you buy one.
Related: Best Portable Compressors for Cars.
View the Best Portable Air Compressor, Below.
- PORTER-CABLE C2002 Air Compressor
- DeWALT DXCM301 30 Gal Air Compressor
- EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump
- Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak Compressor
- Makita MAC100Q Quiet Series Compressor
- Audew Portable Air Compressor
- CALIFORNIA AIR TOOLS 4620AC Compressor
- FORTEM Portable Air Compressor for Car
- Ryobi P739 18-Volt ONE+ Cordless Portable Air Compressor
- Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor
- DEWALT D55146 Air Compressor
- Makita MAC5200 Big Bore 3.0 HP Air Compressor
1. PORTER-CABLE C2002 Air Compressor
Best Pancake Style Portable Air Compressor
This Porter-Cable portable air compressor only weighs 34 pounds, making it ideal to use around the home or to take to the job site. It can support two users with the 2 factory-installed air couplers. It has a 6-gallon tank with a water drain valve and rubber feet.
Why We Liked It: This portable air compressor is easy to carry around with its built-in handle. It weighs only 34 pounds and can accommodate two users due to the two couplers. The 120v induction motor is easy to start, whether in warm or cold weather. The pancake-style tank features a maximum of 150 PSI and gives the unit stability; the rubber feet keep it in place.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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2. DeWALT DXCM301 30 Gal Air Compressor
Best High-Volume Air Compressor
This is one of the highest-capacity portable air compressors on our list. This model from DeWalt features a 1.6 HP and 120-volt heavy-duty induction motor. The pump is made from cast iron. It's belt-driven and also oil-lubricated. The unit features 10-inch wheels for easy portability. It has one of the highest performance ratings, with a CFM of 5.3 at 90 PSI.
Why We Liked It: The DeWalt DXCM301 is a heavy-duty unit. It's capable of powering most pneumatic tools. It uses a 1.6 HP engine powered by electricity. Although it's quite a heavy unit compared to other portable air compressors, the attached wheels make it easy to move around and store away when not in use.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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3. EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump
Best Air Compressor For Camping
This portable air compressor is primarily designed to inflate your tires. It plugs directly into the cigarette lighter socket in your vehicle. Additional portable inflator needle valves for sports balls and cone adaptors for inflating kayaks are also included. This compressor also features a LED flashlight, making it perfect for taking with you on a camping trip.
Why We Liked It: This is the perfect portable air compressor to take on a camping or hiking trip. It only weighs 1 pound and can inflate your tires and other inflatable camping or hiking accessories with ease. However, it can only be powered by your vehicle's 12 volt DC socket.Check Price on Amazon ➞
4. Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak Compressor
Best Portable Air Compressor for Hobbyists
This Senco PC1010 portable air compressor is ideal for the hobbyist or avid DIYer. You can use it for a multitude of home improvement jobs as well as for crafts and hobbies. It's a relatively lightweight unit, weighing only 20 pounds. The pump is oil-free.
Why We Liked It: This lightweight air compressor is ideal for all those small home improvement jobs around the house. It runs quietly and is easy to carry from job to job. However, it's only suitable for smaller tools as the airflow volume is quite low, at 90 PSI.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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5. Makita MAC100Q Quiet Series Compressor
Best Quiet Portable Air Compressor
This small and compact portable air compressor from Makita is super quiet at only 58dB. Its features include a complete roll-cage construction. This makes it highly durable, especially if you carry it around a lot. The pump is oil-free to reduce maintenance time.
Why We Liked It: This is a lightweight, portable air compressor weighing only 29.3 pounds. It runs super quietly, making it ideal for indoor use. The induction motor is durable and designed to last - it features a maximum PSI capacity of 135 and a volume of 0.7 SCFM at 90 PSI.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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6. Audew Portable Air Compressor
Best Air Compressor For Road Trips
The Audew portable compressor is designed to re-inflate your tires while you're on the road. It's also ideal to take camping and hiking. It includes accessories so that you can inflate mattresses, kayaks, sports balls, and other inflatables. It features a 10-foot long cord which you can neatly tuck away inside the unit when not in use.
Why We Liked It: This is the perfect portable air compressor to keep in your car for your next road trip. It will help you to inflate your tires no matter where you are. It's also a useful unit to take when you go camping or hiking. You can easily inflate all your other inflatables.Check Price on Amazon ➞
7. CALIFORNIA AIR TOOLS 4620AC Compressor
Best Twin Tank Portable Air Compressor
This portable compressor from California Air Tools has a powerful 2HP engine with an oil-free pump. It also features 2 pressure control meters (one for each tank) and 2 universal quick-connect valves. In addition, the unit has a thermal overload protector to prevent the motor from overheating. Both tanks are made from aluminum and are rust-proof.
Why We Liked It: This is a powerful and versatile air compressor. There's no need to add oil to the pump, which cuts down on maintenance time. The unit is estimated to run for around 3000 hours before it requires a service. It runs quieter than a lot of other units and has the capacity to attach 2 air tools.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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8. FORTEM Portable Air Compressor for Car
Best Air Compressor for the Car
This small and compact portable tire inflator is designed to inflate your car tires and other products easily. You just plug it into your car outlet and attach the air hose to your tire's valve. It comes in a durable zippered case that you can store in your car without taking up too much space.
Why We Liked It: This light-duty air compressor is ideal for road trips. It will give you peace of mind in case of a tire emergency - you won't have to worry about being stranded with a flat tire. Plus, the included LED light makes it easy to see at night time. It also has an auto shut-off when the selected PSI is reached.Check Price on Amazon ➞
9. Ryobi P739 18-Volt ONE+ Cordless Portable Air Compressor
Best Cordless Portable Air Compressor
This Ryobi P738 air compressor is powered by an 18 volt Ryobi battery. This means you don't need to have a power socket handy to plug it into - you can take it anywhere! It's also a handy air compressor portable enough to keep in the car and use as a tire inflator. It's powerful enough to run your finish nailer with.
Why We Liked It: This truly is a portable air compressor; it doesn't require a power outlet to run, using a rechargeable battery as its power source. You can take it absolutely anywhere, including road trips and camping as well as job sites.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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10. Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor
Best Easy To Use Tire Inflation Air Compressor
This is a lightweight portable tire inflator and air compressor. It's powered by your car battery using alligator clamps. It's suitable for most vehicle tires up to 33 inches and has a maximum PSI of 120. Plus, it features a more traditional analog tire pressure gauge rather than an LCD display.
Why We Liked It: This is a handy air compressor portable enough to keep in the car. It allows you to inflate tires without having to go to a gas station. Plus, the analog tire pressure gauge is likely to give you an accurate indication of your tire pressures.Check Price on Amazon ➞
11. DEWALT D55146 Air Compressor
Best Portable Air Compressor for the Workshop
This is a high-pressure air compressor with a large four and a half gallon tank. It features a carry handle and wheels to make it easy to cart around. The pump is both oil and maintenance-free. The consistent amp draw of the compressor means you can attach an extension cord of up to 50 feet.
Why We Liked It: This air compressor features an efficient high-pressure motor to power all your air tools. It also runs fairly quietly at 78 dB. The console panel is made of metal to protect the gauges, regulator, and couplers. And, the 4 1/2 gallon air tank ensures you get the job done quickly.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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12. Makita MAC5200 Big Bore 3.0 HP Air Compressor
Best Overall Heavy Duty Portable Air Compressor
This is one of the most powerful portable air compressors on our list. The Makita MAC 5200 HP air compressor has a 3 horsepower motor. The cast iron pump incorporates a Big Bore cylinder to allow for faster recovery time. The pump is also oil lubricated. This keeps it cooler and reduces wear and tear.
Why We Liked It: If you're a contractor or work on a building site, this high-pressure and heavy-duty air compressor is ideal for your needs. It features a high-powered motor that can power most pneumatic tools. The highly durable pump can push out 6.5 CFM at 90 PSI. The console features two pressure gauges and two couplings.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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Best Air Compressor Buying Guide
You have a number of features to consider when looking for the best portable air compressor. Here are just a few things to keep in mind!
You’ll find that the best portable air compressors either run on electricity or your car’s battery to inflate your tires – there are also battery-powered air compressors available now.
More powerful gas-powered air compressors are available primarily for heavy-duty use. These gas-powered air compressors are usually quite heavy and have to be used outside because they emit fumes.
You might be interested in these portable air compressors for truck tires.
Standard Cubic Feet Per Minute Rating (CFM)
The CFM rating is commonly referred to as the performance rating, indicating how much air the compressor will produce. This is important to know when you want to run certain air tools.
To see whether a particular air compressor is capable of running the tools you have, you need to check the CFM rating of your tools to see whether they match up. For example, if you have a nailing gun that requires 5 CFM, you need to make sure that the air compressor you’re going to buy has the same capacity and can adequately power the tool.
Most portable air compressors come with an air tank to store compressed air. The size of the tank lets you know how much air can be stored before the compressor has to turn on again to refill the tank.
If you run air tools that need a high volume of air to work at their peak, you have to select an air compressor with a large enough tank. Otherwise, it will take you a long time to get the job done.
The noise level or dB rating of the air compressor is also important – especially if you’re going to be using it indoors. You’ll want a relatively quiet machine so that you don’t have to wear hearing protection constantly.
Electric air compressors are generally quieter than gas-powered ones.
Type Of Pump
There are basically two types of pumps that air compressors feature. The pump can be either oil-driven or oil-free. Oil-free pumps require less maintenance because you don’t have to top up the oil all the time.
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When looking through the best portable air compressors to find the one that suits your needs, there are a number of factors to consider. You’ll need to understand the air compressor’s tank capacity, performance rating, power source, noise level, and the type of pump it uses.
All of these factors are determined by what you want to use the air compressor for. Some portable air compressors are designed for the home workshop or the job site. These air compressors will run your air tools, but they can also inflate the tires on your vehicles.
You can also pick up smaller portable air compressors that are purely designed to inflate tires, sports equipment, air mattresses, and other types of inflatables. These air compressors are relatively light, compact, and handy to keep in your car or take on camping trips. They also use your car battery as their power source.
So, in choosing the right one for your needs, first decide what you need it for – and then have a look at our list of portable air compressors. You’re sure to find just the right compressor for your needs!