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9 Best Air Compressors (2021 Review)

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Depending on their size, the best air compressors should be able to blast between 150 and 400 litres of compressed air per minute, at up to 7-8 bars of pressure. Larger air compressors will typically have a 50 litre tank and powerful motors (1-2kW), but they will weigh 30 kg or more. If you are keen on a larger air compressor check if it comes with wheels for easier transport. If you do go for one with a large air tank, you can run all sorts of tools in your workshop that cost a lot less than equivalent mains or battery powered ones as well.

Mid-range units are more suited for home workshops and tend to come with 20 to 30 litre tanks with an air flow capacity of between 100 to 200 litres per minute. These will weigh around 20 kilos.

But air compressors with just 6 to 8 litre tanks are also very popular, particularly with hobbyists as they are powerful yet versatile and weigh less than 10kg.

Do take note though that air compressors can be quite noisy – those with larger tanks require the motor to run less often.

So whether you’re looking for a portable compressor or one to transform your workshop, I’ve found the best ones available right now. Read on for my detailed reviews …

What is the Best Air Compressor For You?

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Comparing the Best Air Compressors

Use the dropdown to sort the table by the feature that's most important to you.

  • Best For
  • Air Tank Size
  • Max Pressure
  • Motor Power
  • Flow Capacity
  • Sound Level
  • Weight
  • Air Tool Kit Included
  • Cost
  • Our score
  •  

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In-Depth Reviews of Our Recommended Air Compressors

Hyundai Electric HY3050V 50L Air CompressorHyundai Electric HY3050V 50L Air Compressor

Best for power

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.5
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Hyundai Electric HY3050V 50L Air Compressor Review

Specifications

  • Air Tank Size: 50 litres
  • Max Pressure: 8 bars
  • Motor Power: 2.2 kW
  • Flow Capacity: 396 litres per min
  • Sound Level: 93dB
  • Weight: 45.0kg
  • Air Tool Kit Included: Yes

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. The tubular steel handle on the front helps to make 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!

Pros

  • A quality air compressor kit from one of the biggest names in South Korean engineering. The whole kit oozes quality.
  • The 2.2 kW or 3 hp engine is hefty and is more than enough for DIY jobs. It can comfortably deal with air-hungry jobs and fills the 50 litre tank quickly compared with the Dealourus.
  • The motor isn’t just big, but it runs at a high speed too. It’s tuned to 2,850rpm, to help it make short work of filling the tank.
  • The air flow capacity is unbeatable for this class of air compressor. 396 litres per minute is more than enough to power air tools, run paint sprayers or inflate the biggest tyres.
  • The air tool kit included with the compressor is of a particularly good quality. It’s more than enough for a beginner to try out all the things you could do with an air compressor.

Cons

  • As you might expect from an air compressor with a 3 hp motor, it’s very loud. Hyundai have rated it at 93 dB, but it feels like more than that when it catches you off guard!
  • Several users have complained about the poor instructions that are supplied with the compressor. For such a powerful bit of kit, a better manual would be preferred.
  • 45 kg is heavy for an air compressor. Unless you run long air lines, it’s going to be a pain to manoeuvre it to the workpiece. Compared to the 15 kg Hyundai HY5508 it’s a beast!
  • This isn’t an air compressor aimed at the casual DIYer. It’s too expensive, heavy, and large for casual users.
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Hyundai HY7524 24 Litre Ultra Silent Air Compressor Hyundai HY7524 24 Litre Ultra Silent Air Compressor

Best low noise air compressor

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.25
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Hyundai HY7524 24 Litre Ultra Silent Air Compressor Review

Specifications

  • Air Tank Size: 24 litres
  • Max Pressure: 7 bars
  • Motor Power: 0.75kW
  • Flow Capacity: 147 litres per min
  • Sound Level: 60dB
  • Weight: 22.0kg
  • Air Tool Kit Included: No

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.

It comes with a 24 litre tank and there’s only 22 kg to lug around. This compressor bridges the gap between being very portable and holding enough air to get bigger jobs done. I like that it’s an oil-free compressor as well. There’s no messing around with messy lubricants to get this machine to work properly.

The idea of a “silent” air compressor is a bit of a mystery to me. This compressor puts out just 60 dB though.  That’s equivalent to conversation in a restaurant, so it’s 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.

Pros

  • Compared to the big Hyundai HY3050V compressor, this is much quieter to operate. You won’t mind too much when the motor kicks in to refill the tank.
  • Oil-free compressors are much easier to use straight from the box. The pistons are permanently lubricated with Teflon, so no more oil change issues!
  • The rubber anti-vibration pads do a good job of keeping down the noise levels during operation.

Cons

  • For some reason, the second air line is almost impossible to get at. The connector points directly at the motor and there’s not enough clearance for most accessories.
  • You can only build up a maximum pressure of psi or 7 bar. Compared with the similar size ParkerBrand, that’s one bar less. It makes a lot of difference for some applications.
  • Some users have had problems putting the compressor together at first. There’s not much to assemble, but the manual isn’t particularly clear.
  • The 24 litre tank isn’t big enough for constant air-hungry tasks like paint spraying. Compared with the big Dealourus 50 litre compressor, it’s small.
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Dealourus Portable 50 Litre Air CompressorDealourus Portable 50 Litre Air Compressor

Best compressor for paint spraying

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.75
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Dealourus Portable 50 Litre Air Compressor Review

Specifications

  • Air Tank Size: 50 litres
  • Max Pressure: 8 bars
  • Motor Power: 1.5kW
  • Flow Capacity: 270 litres per min
  • Sound Level: 70dB
  • Weight: 29.0kg
  • Air Tool Kit Included: Yes

Sporting a large air tank, powerful motor, and extensive accessory kit, the Dealourus 50L air compressor is a serious piece of kit.

With a 2.5 horsepower or 1.5 kW motor under the bonnet, this is a reliable and powerful air compressor. I’m impressed by the 50 litre air tank, because it means you’re going to spend less time running the motor and more time blasting air.

The huge tank capacity makes this one of the best air compressors for paint spraying. It’s more than capable at dealing with air-hungry applications compared to compressors with small capacity.

Probably my favourite thing about this air compressor is the weight. It weighs less than 30 kg and comes with a pair or large wheels and a handle for moving it around to where you need it. That’s an impressive power to weight ratio.

I’m impressed by the accessory kit as well. You get a tyre inflator with accurate gauge, an air blowing gun, a paint spraying gun, and an oil spraying gun. There’s also four metres of quality spiral hose. It’s the ultimate value for money air compressor kit if you ask me.

Pros

  • Getting the largest air tank you can cope with is a great idea. You can get more work done without the motor kicking in and it’s more efficient for jobs like spray painting.
  • For a 50 litre air compressor, it’s nice and light at just 29 kg. Compared to the Hyundai HY3050V, you get the same capacity for a lot less weight.
  • When the motor kicks in, it’s not incredibly loud. At 70 dB it’s quieter than the Hyundai HY3050V by a whopping 20 dB. That’s not much louder than a home vacuum cleaner.
  • For the money, this air compressor ticks all the right boxes. Good capacity, accessories and it’s not overly heavy for the size.

Cons

  • The motor isn’t as capable compared to the one on the Hyundai HY3050V. You get half a horsepower less. It’s going to take longer to refill the air tank each time.
  • With just over 271 litres per minute, the airflow is a lot less than the Hyundai HY3050V’s 396 litres per minute. You’re not going to be able to spray as much paint or blast as much air.
  • This air compressor’s never going to be as portable compared with the lightweight Hyundai HY5508. You get wheels to move it around, but it’s still a very heavy piece of equipment.
  • Although you get a decent set of accessories, some users have complained that they’re not the best quality. You’ll end up replacing them before long.
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Parker Brand 24 Litre Air Compressor Parker Brand 24 Litre Air Compressor

Best compact air compressor

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4
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Parker Brand 24 Litre Air Compressor Review

Specifications

  • Air Tank Size: 24 litres
  • Max Pressure: 8 bars
  • Motor Power: 1.5kW
  • Flow Capacity: 270 litres per min
  • Sound Level: unknown
  • Weight: 26.5kg
  • Air Tool Kit Included: No

A 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 compared with the Hyundai HY7524, 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.

Pros

  • ParkerBrand have opted for a more powerful motor on this compressor compared with the Hyundai HY7524.
  • The 1.5 kW motor runs at 2,850 rpm, which makes the tank fill much faster.
  • The air flow capacity is seriously high for a compressor this size. You get close to 10 cfm, which is great for when you need a lot of air quickly.

Cons

  • Don’t underestimate the noise this compressor makes. You should wear ear defenders if you’re planning on using it often. Compare it to the Hyundai HY7524 and it’s extremely loud.
  • It’s a shame this compressor doesn’t come with any accessories. Compared with the Hyundai HY3050V, you need to get out there and buy your own airline and guns.
  • Even though it makes the overall size of the compressor smaller, I still can’t work out the mini handle. It would be much more useful it could extend for easy transport.
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ORAZIO 241184 Low Noise Silent Air CompressorORAZIO 241184 Low Noise Silent Air Compressor

Best air compressor for beginners

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4
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ORAZIO 241184 Low Noise Silent Air Compressor Review

Specifications

  • Air Tank Size: 24 litres
  • Max Pressure: 8 bars
  • Motor Power: 0.8kW
  • Flow Capacity: 133 litres per min
  • Sound Level: 65dB
  • Weight: 22.0kg
  • Air Tool Kit Included: No

ORAZIO sell lots of different filters, regulators, and accessories for their air compressors. The 241184 low noise air compressor is a reliable, lightweight machine that makes transporting it around nice and easy.

Although this smaller air compressor can’t put out as many cubic feet per minute of air than some of its competitors, it’s wonderfully quiet. It makes it ideal for light workshop use when you don’t need to pump out vast quantities of air at once.

For the money, you get a 0.8 kW or 1.1 hp motor that can put out a reasonable 4.7 cfm. It comes in a lightweight compressor package weighing just 22 kg. The little wheels on the back mean you can manoeuvre it around quite easily as well.

What sets the Orazio 241184 apart from the competition is how quiet it is when in operation. At just 65 dB, you could have a conversation with someone next to it when it’s running. Not bad at all.

Pros

  • Compared with the similar sized Hyundai HY7524, this is a bargain. If you’re just getting into air powered tools, it’s the best beginner’s air compressor.
  • You can build the pressure up to the full 8 bars necessary for a lot of jobs. You can get more pressure out of this machine compared with the Hyundai HY7524.
  • At just 65 dB, this is a quiet machine compared with the incredibly loud Hyundai HY3050V. Your neighbours will thank you for it too!
  • I’m a fan of oil-free compressors. Remembering to keep oil levels topped up is just another thing to get wrong. There’s a lot less maintenance required with this tool.

Cons

  • Some users have found had issues with product quality control. Some have been shipped out without being superbly finished. You should inspect the compressor before first use.
  • The manufacturer recommends changing the Teflon piston rings, but don’t sell them directly. You’ll need to source them yourself to keep the compressor running well.
  • The user manual is not easy to follow. Unless you’re familiar with how to put together an air compressor, you might struggle at first.
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Einhell TC-AC 200/30/8 30L Air Compressor Einhell TC-AC 200/30/8 30L Air Compressor

Best air compressor with upright design

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4
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Einhell TC-AC 200/30/8 30L Air Compressor Review

Specifications

  • Air Tank Size: 30 litres
  • Max Pressure: 8 bars
  • Motor Power: 1.1kW
  • Flow Capacity: 200 litres per min
  • Sound Level: 77dB
  • Weight: 18.0kg
  • Air Tool Kit Included: No

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. The output is 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. The Einhell 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 reasonably portable. 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.

Pros

  • The upright design is a game changer for a small workspace. Compared with the enormous footprint on the Dealourus compressor, the Einhell can fit just about wherever you need it.
  • Compared with the 24 litre tank on the Orazio 241184, the Einhell has more air to play with. Having 30 litres means you can get a bit more work done without the motor kicking in.
  • Compared to the substandard manuals provided with the Orazio 241184, the one that Einhell provide is great. You get large pictures and a clear setup guide.

Cons

  • Even though it’s not as loud compared to the big Hyundai HY3050V, it still puts out 77dB during use. That’s loud for a workshop setting.
  • There’s only one air outlet. Compare it with the twin outlet valves on the ParkerBrand, and you’ll need to switch every time you change tools.
  • One of the drawbacks of a vertical air compressor is that it can topple over. If you tug on the airline, you can’t drag it around. Not that you should anyway!
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Hyundai HY5508 8 Litre Silenced Air CompressorHyundai HY5508 8 Litre Silenced Air Compressor

Best for home use

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.5
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Hyundai HY5508 8 Litre Silenced Air Compressor Review

Specifications

  • Air Tank Size: 8 litres
  • Max Pressure: 7 bars
  • Motor Power: 0.55kW
  • Flow Capacity: 113 litres per min
  • Sound Level: 60dB
  • Weight: 15.0kg
  • Air Tool Kit Included: No

The South Korean manufacturing experts make an impressive range of air compressors. The HY5508 is an extremely compact and lightweight bit of kit that you can take with you wherever you need to go.

Boasting a featherlike 15 kg weight, it’s still got a serious amount of power underneath the bonnet. The 0.55 kW or 0.75 hp motor might seem small but it can fill the 8 litre tank quickly. It’s not the sort of compressor you’d use for paint spraying large areas, but it’s ideal for running an air nailer on site.

For the size and weight of this compressor, I’m impressed with the 7 bar maximum pressure it can build. It might not be as powerful as a full sized compressor with a large 2 hp motor, but you can literally pick this one up and walk off with it.

What makes this one of the best air compressors for home use is the low noise levels. When the motor’s running it puts out just 60 dB. That’s not very loud. It makes it an idea hobbyists compressor setup when noise needs to be kept to a minimum.

Pros

  • Even though this is a small and portable air compressor, it can still put out 4 cfm. That’s more than enough for air nailers and polisher tools.
  • Compared with the Dealourus air compressor, this is an extremely quiet machine. It’s the sort of thing you could use at home without annoying everyone too much!
  • Unless you really need to run air-hungry tools or spray paint, don’t waste space with a huge air tank. The 8 litre tank on this compressor is powerful and compact for smaller spaces.

Cons

  • There are no wheels on this compressor, just rubber feet. It’s great for staying in place in a workshop, but not ideal if you need to move it around a lot.
  • Compared with the larger Hyundai HY7524, you only get one airline outlet. I’m a big fan of having more than one, to avoid changing Euro connectors all the time.
  • Don’t expect this air compressor to blow up tractor tyres or run air-hungry tools like orbital sanders. The 4 cfm maximum output is not enough for those sorts of jobs.
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Ryobi R18AC-0 18 V Cordless Air Compressor Ryobi R18AC-0 18 V Cordless Air Compressor

Best battery powered air compressor

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4
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Ryobi R18AC-0 18 V Cordless Air Compressor Review

Specifications

  • Air Tank Size: 3.8 litres
  • Max Pressure: 8.3 bars
  • Motor Power: unknown
  • Flow Capacity: 21 litres per min
  • Sound Level: 80dB
  • Weight: 6.8kg
  • Air Tool Kit Included: No

Japanese tool brand Ryobi have been making quality equipment since 1943. 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.

Pros

  • If you already own Ryobi tools and batteries, this is a brilliant tool to add to your collection. It runs on one of Ryobi’s 18 V batteries, so there’s no need for mains electricity.
  • Compared with the STANLEY DN200/8/6, the next lightest compressor, this is still much lighter. Weighing just 6.8 kg, this is the most portable air compressor I’ve tried out.
  • If you need to blow dust out of cramped spaces or inflate a tyre on the road, you can’t beat this compressor. It’s small, light and incredibly portable.
  • I like the air hose holder on the front of the compressor. If you’re throwing the Ryobi into the back of your car, it’s a handy place to hold an airline.

Cons

  • This is a “naked” tool. Like most of Ryobi’s offerings, they don’t come with batteries or a charger. You’ll need to factor this into your purchase price.
  • Compared with the Hyundai HY5508, this is a loud air compressor. It might be small, but it puts out 80 dB.
  • The 0.7 cfm maximum output is tiny compared with the Einhell TC-AC 200/30/8. It’s not going to run air tools or paint sprayers.
  • For an air compressor with limited uses, it’s rather expensive. You could nearly buy two ORAZIO 241184s for the same price. And that’s without batteries!
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Stanley DN200/8/6 6L Air Compressor Stanley DN200/8/6 6L Air Compressor

Best for hobby work

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.25
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Stanley DN200/8/6 6L Air Compressor Review

Specifications

  • Air Tank Size: 6 litres
  • Max Pressure: 8 bars
  • Motor Power: 1.1kW
  • Flow Capacity: 200 litres per min
  • Sound Level: 97dB
  • Weight: 9.0 kg
  • Air Tool Kit Included: No

One of the biggest names in DIY, STANLEY have been making reliable kit for more than 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.

Pros

  • This is an incredibly compact little air compressor. If you’re a hobbyist and need an air compressor for airbrushing or light duty nailing, you can’t go wrong.
  • If you need a lightweight air compressor, you can’t go far wrong with this one. It weighs just 9 kg, making it ideal for taking with you to the job.
  • The motor runs at an unbelievably quick 3,400rpm. Even though it’s not the biggest, it works extremely hard.

Cons

  • It’s almost hard to believe how loud this air compressor is. At 97 dB, it puts out the same noise levels as the huge 3 hp motor on the Hyundai HY3050V.
  • For some users, the 6 litre tank just isn’t enough. You’re not going to run many air tools or spray paint with this compressor. The motor will be forever refilling the tank up.
  • Some users have complained that the air compressor is supplied with the incorrect plug. Some seem to be shipped without the correct 3-pin UK plug.
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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.

Air Compressor Tank Size

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.

Air Compressor Motor Size

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.

Air Compressor Noise Levels

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.

Oil and Oil-Free Air Compressors

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.

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Air Compressor FAQs

Do I need a 50 litre tank?

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.

What’s the best use for compressed air?

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.

What accessories can I fit to my air compressor?

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.

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