In this guide we’ll take a look at the best air compressors on the market.
I’ve compared cubic feet per minute delivery, tank storage, and cost
to give you my top recommendations.
What Is The Best Air Compressor?
More Detailed Air Compressor Reviews
This Wolf air compressor has a 50-litre tank, provides 116psi (pounds per square inch) pressure and a hefty 9.6 CFM (cubic feet per minute). The compressor also has a 2.5 HP (horsepower) motor.
This is a powerful machine that can operate most air tools in garages and workshops including, nail guns, paint sprayers and other production machinery. It also inflates tyres with ease. The 50-litre tank means you can keep working for longer periods than with smaller machines. The powerful 2.5 HP direct drive motor ensures no power is lost through a drive belt system, producing a highly efficient compressor that builds up pressure fast, so time is not wasted waiting for the pressure to recover.
This compressor has a heavy-duty, oil lubricated pump making it durable for years of service. It is fitted with an adjustable outlet pressure regulator and 2 air outlets. It is also quite lightweight and is fitted with two wheels to make it easy to move around the workshop.
This package comes with 5 professional quality Wolf tools including:
1 X Wolf professional paint spray gun with a 0.6-litre cup.
1 X Wolf single connector clip on tyre inflator with fitted deflation valve and pressure gauge.
1 X Wolf long nozzle sprayer, ideal when used for degreasing, or spraying fence panels
1 X Wolf Short nozzle blow gun
1 X 5.5 metre air hose with quick release connectors
The compressor is also suitable for use with a nailer/stapler which can be bought separately. The Wolf compressor is backed by a 2-year guarantee and a nationwide spares and support service.
This is a powerful machine well worth the space it takes up in the workshop or garage. It is easy to set up and use and you will not be disappointed with the results as the pressure produced is outstanding. I found it powered both a paint sprayer and a nail gun with ease. At 97 dB(A) this compressor is not too noisy, considering its power. It also comes with excellent quality tools.
If you are looking for a serious air compressor for a range of heavy-duty jobs this one is a perfect choice. It also offers excellent value for money.
This air compressor is suitable for inflating tyres, paint spraying and operating air tools.
This item comes with a tool kit that includes:
1 X tyre inflator with gauge
1 X air blow gun
1 X 4 metre spiral hose
1 X oil spray gun with suction cup
1 X paint spray gun with 0.6-litre gravity feed cup
This powerful machine is suitable for a range of uses in the workshop including inflating tyres, spraying paint and powering air tools such as nail guns. The unit comes with professional quality air tools. It is easy to set up and reasonably quiet and vibration free in use.
This Cobra air compressor also has a 50-litre tank as well as a 2.5 HP motor. The compressor produces a psi of 115 and 9.6 CFM air displacement. The compressor can easily power paint sprayers and air tool such as nail guns as well as inflating tyres. This is the heaviest of the compressors I tested but is still quite easy to manoeuvre due to the two sturdy wheels.
This product was easy to set up and use and provided plenty of pressure for both paint spraying and powering a nail gun.
This SGS air compressor also has a 50-litre tank as well as a 2.5 HP motor. The compressor produces a psi of 115 and 9.6 CFM air displacement. The compressor can power paint sprayers and air tools such as nail guns with ease, as well as inflating tyres. It is relatively quiet to operate, can easily be wheeled around the workshop and is CE certified for peace of mind.
This compact and lightweight air compressor is ideal if you want a small machine for jobs such as inflating tyres. It produces 116 psi and 4.2 CFM making it ideal for smaller household tasks. It may not be powerful enough for really power-hungry air tools, though.
The compressor is easy to set up and use and small enough to tuck away in a cupboard.
Air Compressor Buying Guide
An air compressor is a machine that converts power into pressurized air that is stored in a tank. The compressed air can then be used to inflate tyres or to fuel power tools or spray guns.
There are several home and DIY uses for air compressors. If you are a mechanic, DIYer, carpenter or painter then an air compressor can make life considerably easier and help you get projects done more quickly and to a high, professional standard. Air powered tools are usually faster, lighter and more powerful than traditional power tools.
An air compressor can be used to inflate tyres on cars, trailers and bikes. It can also power a variety of tools such as nail guns and wrenches. They can also be used to operate paint sprayers to provide a superb even paint finish to everything from doors to cars. You can even use an air compressor for cleaning and degreasing.
The variety of tools that can be powered with an air compressor include brad nailers, chisels, hammers, drills, sanders, polishers, grinders, impact wrenches and ratchets.
When choosing an air compressor there are some technical specifications that it is helpful to understand. Basically, the CFM, PSI and tank size work together to provide a steady supply of air.
CFM stands for Cubic Feet Per Minute and this is probably the most important measurement in choosing an air compressor.
This measurement tells you the amount of air the compressor can deliver per minute, in other words, how fast it can supply air. When combined with the PSI this tells you what you need to know to ensure that the air compressor you choose is capable of the uses you require it for. If a tool uses air more quickly than the compressor can supply it, you’ll have to stop working in order to wait for the compressor to catch up.
When choosing a compressor, consider the tools you will be using with it. Different tools require a different CFM so make sure the compressor can deliver what you need for the tools you choose. It is actually advisable to choose a compressor that can deliver a little more than you need. For example, if you wish to use a tool that requires 3 CFM at 90 psi, I would advise choosing a compressor that can deliver 4.5 CFM.
PSI means pounds per square inch. This is the measurement of the air pressure delivered by the compressor. Most home air compressors have a psi of at least 90 which is sufficient for most air tools you might want to use, including nail guns and sprayers.
A larger tank will allow you to work for longer before the pressure in the tank drops and the motor kicks in to refill the tank. If the tank is too small, you may have to stop working to allow it to refill.
Other factors to think about when choosing an air compressor include:
Oil-free compressors need no maintenance. An oil lubricated machine will require topping up from time to time. Oil-free machines will probably be fine for light to medium use, however for professional or heavy use uses an oil lubricated compressor may last you longer.
Lightness and portability
Compressors vary in size, weight and portability. If you choose a larger model, ensure it has wheels for easy manoeuvrability. Light models are easy enough to carry around.
A long cable makes it easier to use your compressor in a variety of places.
Some compressors have one outlet, some two. Two outlets obviously mean two people can use the machine at the same time but also that one person can have two tools set up without having to change attachments.
Many compressors come with a range of useful tools and many more air tools can be purchased separately. Just remember to check that the compressor you choose has the capacity to power the tools you wish to use.
What types of air tools can be used with air compressors and how much CFM do they require?
There are a variety of air tools that can be used with an air compressor. The CFM required for the most popular tools are listed below.
Trim nailer 0.9 CFM
Framing nailer 2.2 CFM
Chisel 3-9 CFM
Hammer 3-9 CFM
Drill 3-6 CFM
Angle Grinder 5-8 CFM
Impact Wrench – 3/8″ 3 CFM
Impact Wrench – 1/2″ 4 CFM
Orbital Sander 6-9 CFM
Airbrushing 3-11 CFM
How do you use an air compressor and is it difficult to do?
All air compressors are all slightly different and you should refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure you use yours safely and without causing harm to yourself, the compressor or your tools. However, the following guide will explain the general procedures required when using an air compressor. You will see that they are quite simple to use once you get the hang of what to do.
Firstly, you should get together all your supplies. Make sure you have access to a power source, ensure you have oil if your machine requires it and gather the tools, supplies and safety equipment you need. You should wear safety goggle when using your compressor for most jobs. In addition, ensure that your work area is clear from obstructions and hazards.Check your air compressor
Before using your compressor, you should check that it is in good order. If the compressor requires oil, check the level now. You should make sure the compressor is on a stable, even surface. Always ensure that the machine is switched off before connecting it to a power source.
Make sure the drain valve is closed at the bottom of the air tank and turn it on. Then turn the pressure gauges to the pressure you require.
Check the built-in air gauge and make sure the compressor shuts off automatically when the air pressure reaches the right pressure.
Adjust the air control valve to match the maximum allowed air pressure on the air tool that you will be using.
Connect your air tool to the hose and you are ready to begin work.
Once you have finished work, shut off the pressure gauge and switch off the machine. Open the pressure relief valve to release any air left in the tank. Store your air compressor in a dry place with adequate ventilation where it will not be damaged.