In this guide we’ll take a look at the best air compressors for the UK market.
I’ve compared cubic feet per minute delivery, tank storage, weight and cost
to give you my top recommendations.
What Is The Best Air Compressor?
In a rush? Here’s my top choice…
If you’re into air powered tools, paint spraying or reinflating lots of tyres, you need the best air compressor you can get. In my opinion, the best one for the money is the excellent Hyundai HY3050V. The 50 litre tank is ideal for continuous working, the motor is powerful, and you get a decent accessory kit.
Everything I Recommend
More Detailed Air Compressor Reviews
Hyundai Electric HY3050V 50L Air Compressor Review
Probably more famous internationally for their cars, Hyundai are one of South Korea’s biggest engineering firms. They also happen to make probably the best air compressor that I’ve had a chance to try out.
The HY3050V portable air compressor makes use of a powerful 2.2 kW 3 hp motor to fill the large 50 litre tank up to 8 bar. And because it’s got a direct drive pump, you can expect it to be a reliable air compressor that will last for years. Putting out 14 cubic feet per minute (cfm), it’s more than powerful enough for any home DIY task.
The 50 litre tank is a real advantage if you want to get into air hungry jobs like paint or adhesive spraying, it means you can spend more time working and less time listening to the motor run to refill the tank.
Weighing in at 45 kg, it’s a good thing that this air compressor comes complete with a sturdy pair of wheels on the back and a tubular steel handle on the front, making it portable as well as sturdy.
What makes this one of the best air compressors that I’ve played with is the accessory kit though- Hyundai have included a decent quality set of tools- a standard blowing head, liquid sprayer with tank, paint sprayer, inflator with gauge, and airline. You can get to work straight away.
Hyundai HY7524 24 Litre Ultra Silent Air Compressor Review
Another excellent entry from South Korean industrial titans Hyundai is the HY7524 oil-free air compressor.
Hyundai have made use of a 750 Watt, 1 hp motor to drive the pressure up to an impressive 7 bar that puts out 5.2 cfm- not bad for a smaller machine. It’s still enough for reasonably air-hungry tasks you might get up to in your home workshop.
With a 24 litre tank and only 22.5 kg to lug around, it bridges the gap between being very portable and holding enough air to get bigger jobs done. Being an oil-free compressor is nice as well, there’s no messing around with messy lubricants to get this air compressor to work properly.
While the idea of a “silent” air compressor is a bit of a mystery to me, the fact that this compressor only puts out 60 dB, or the equivalent to conversation in a restaurant, is quite impressive compared to much louder air compressors.
They haven’t included an accessory pack or airline though, so you’ll have to buy those bits separately.
Parker Brand 24 Litre Air Compressor & Tool Kit Review
Family-owned tool business based in Lincolnshire, ParkerBrand design and make an impressive range of tools and workshop equipment. Their 24 litre air compressor is one of the best compact air tools that I’ve tried out and proves to be serious value for money.
With a 1.5 kW, 2.5 hp motor this air compressor puts out 9.6 cfm. It’s enough for smaller spraying jobs but it’s not the most efficient bit of kit on the market. It can pressurise the tank to just under 8 bar, which is enough for most DIYers.
At 26.5 kg, it’s a little heavier than the Hyundai, but the wheels make it just as portable. The handle’s a bit shorter though, which makes it a bit more awkward to manoeuvre. And don’t expect the larger motor to be quiet either, it’s quite noisy when in operation.
What makes this one of the best starter air compressor kits is the accessories- if you’re just getting into working with compressed air then the tool kit is invaluable- there’s an airline, liquid sprayer, paint sprayer and blower included for the price.
Einhell TC-AC 200/30/8 30L Air Compressor Review
German engineering firm Einhell have built themselves a solid reputation for honest power tools that won’t completely empty your wallet. The TC-AC 200/30/8 air compressor is a solid and dependable workshop tool that takes up less room than the competition.
Making use of a 1.1 kW motor, the compressor can build up to 8 bar in the tank and output close to 6 cfm, or 165 litres per minute (lpm). It’s perfectly suited to DIYers because it’s a low-maintenance oil-free system as well.
What I like about this air compressor is the upright design. Most air compressors sit horizontally, taking up a lot of floor space, but this one has a much smaller footprint while still performing well against the competition. This makes it an ideal tool for smaller workshops.
At just over 18 kg in weight, it’s pretty portable, and you can make use of the large wheels and higher handle for transporting without hurting your back. The large 30 litre capacity is welcome, because the motor is loud when in use.
Ryobi R18AC-0 18 V Cordless Air Compressor Review
Japanese tool brand Ryobi have been making quality equipment since 1943, and their ONE+ line of cordless tools are a favourite among savvy DIYers. The idea is that you can buy any ONE+ tool and run it on the same 18 Volt battery.
That’s right, this is an 18 Volt battery powered air compressor! Making the most of Lithium-Ion technology, you’ve now got compressed air wherever and whenever you need it, which is really quite handy.
The four litre tank is tiny compared to some of the best air compressors on my list, but it can still build up 8.3 bar of pressure using the little onboard motor. Ryobi claim that you can reinflate a flat tyre in just ten seconds with just 0.72 cfm coming from the locking regulator.
The other thing that’s great about this compressor is the weight- just 6.8 kg with the battery makes this light enough to throw in your car boot and use it when you’re stuck. Just remember this is a “naked” tool sold without batteries or accessories.
Stanley DN200/8/6 6L Air Compressor Review
One of the biggest names in DIY, STANLEY have been making reliable kit for more then 170 years, a pedigree that’s hard to match by any rivals.
The DN200/8/6 compressor is a small, bench top tool that isn’t meant to rival large compression tanks-it’s more suited to small DIY jobs unless you want to listen to the motor building up pressure every few minutes.
With a 1.1 kW, 1.5 hp motor, you can fill the 6 litre capacity tank up to a useful 8 bar of pressure and output just over 5 cfm. The advantage of this mini compressor is that it’s extremely light and portable. It doesn’t come with wheels because it really doesn’t need them. Weighing just 9 kg, you should be able to move it where you need it without breaking a sweat.
The oil-free construction means there’s minimal fiddling around and helps to keep everything nice and simple. Provided you don’t need huge amounts of air and are only using this compressor for fine or hobby work, you won’t be disappointed.
Things to Know Before Buying an Air Compressor
Having compressed air on tap is remarkably useful. You can use it to power a huge range of tools and do away with expensive batteries, reinflate car tyres without having to go to the petrol station and blow the dust out from the tightest spots with ease.
This is probably the most important thing to consider before buying an air compressor. If you’re planning on running a paint sprayer or any other tool for long periods of time, you want to get the biggest air tank you can fit in your workshop. With a large tank, you can build up a good pressure and expel air for ages without having to listen to a noisy motor run and refill the tank. If you’re just using it lightly, save your money and stick with a smaller tank.
To fill up your tank and build enough pressure for working, you need a decent size motor. Essentially, the bigger the motor is, the less time you have to listen to it refilling the tank, and the less energy it will have to use to get there.
As you can probably already tell, one of the least desirable aspects of using an air compressor is the noise. When the motor kicks in some machines, you can expect it to reach a deafening 90 dB that will require ear defenders to avoid hearing damage. Although advertised as “silent”, some of the best air compressors boast a much lower noise rating of around 60 dB.
The motor in an air compressor drives a pump. The pistons inside that pump need lubrication to work, and in an oil air compressor this is liquid oil like you’d find in your car engine. An oil-free compressor uses what’s known as permanent lubrication on the pistons, usually some low friction material like Teflon. Oil compressors need a bit more maintenance but are usually more durable.
Air Compressor FAQs
It depends on what you want to do with your air compressor. If you want to convert all your workshop tools to air power, then get the biggest tank you can fit. If you’re only occasionally using compressed air to blow around a bit of dust or drive a few brad nails, then you can get away with a smaller and more portable tank.
Having compressed air is great. If you spend a lot of time working on your car, then you can use it to reinflate your tyres or drive a polisher, or if you’re a keen DIYer you can run a nail gun without lugging around a heavy battery-powered nailer. Cleaning up sawdust is another handy use for an air compressor, but I find it’s the only way I can get the crumbs out from the nooks and crannies in my car.
The list of tools and accessories you can get are enormous. The obvious ones are nail guns and paint sprayers, but you can use air to power drills, angle grinders, shears, and saws if you like.