In this guide we’ll take a look at the best air compressors on the market.
We’ve compared cubic feet per minute delivery, tank storage, and cost
to give you our top recommendations.
What Is The Best Air Compressor?
More Detailed Air Compressor Reviews
Wolf Sioux 50 Litre Air Compressor & Tools Review
This Wolf Sioux 50 Litre 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 Wolf air compressor wins our first place for the best air compressor for the UK market!
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.
The Wolf air 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. It can certainly power 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 cheap air compressor that can handle a range of heavy-duty jobs this is the best air compressor for you. It also offers excellent value for money.
SGS Engineering 50 Litre Air Compressor Review
This SGS Air Compressor also has a 50-litre tank as well as a 2.5 HP motor. It can produce a 115 psi and displace 9.6 CFM of air. The SGS compressor can power paint sprayers and air tools such as nail guns with ease, as well as inflating tyres. This 50 litre air compressor is relatively quiet to operate, can easily be wheeled around the workshop and is CE certified for peace of mind.
Draper Tools 24975 Air Compressor Review
This compact and lightweight Draper Tools 24975 Air Compressor is the best air compressor if you are looking for a smaller machine for the workshop or garage, producing 116 psi and 4.2 CFM. It may be found a little wanting for really power-hungry air tools, though.
Nonetheless this is a small air compressor that is easy to set up and use and small enough to tuck away in a cupboard.
ParkerBrand 50 Litre Air Compressor & Tool Kit Review
This ParkerBrand 50 Litre Air Compressor & Tool Kit is a good choice of air compressor for operating air tools and performing tasks such as paint spraying.
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.
The unit comes with professional quality air tools, is easy to set up, quiet and vibration-free when in use.
Cobra Air Tools 50 Litre Air Compressor Review
This Cobra Air Tools 50 Litre Air Compressor also has a 50-litre tank as well as a 2.5 HP motor. The Cobra air compressor produces a max psi of 115 and can displace 9.5 CFM of air. The compressor can easily power paint sprayers and air tool such as nail guns as well as inflating tyres. This is quite a heavy compressor yet easy to manoeuvre due to the two sturdy wheels.
This is also one of the best air compressors around. It is easy to set up and use and provides plenty of pressure for most DIY tasks, including paint spraying and powering nail guns.
Air Compressor Buyer’s Guide
An air compressor is a machine that converts power into pressurised air and stores it in a tank, ready for controlled release to serve a multitude of purposes.
There are many home and DIY uses for air compressors. If you are a mechanic, DIYer, carpenter or painter then a good air compressor can make life considerably easier and help you complete projects more quickly, more efficiently and to a higher 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 power a variety of tools such as nail guns and wrenches. It can be used to operate paint sprayers providing a professional paint finish to anything from doors to cars. An air compressor can even be used for cleaning and degreasing.
Tools that can be powered with an air compressor include drills, hammers, chisels, sanders, polishers, grinders, impact wrenches, ratchets and brad nailers.
When choosing an air compressor there are some technical specifications that are helpful to understand. You should consider CFM, PSI and tank size. These work together to ensure a steady supply of air is always provided.
CFM stands for Cubic Feet Per Minute. It tells you the amount of air the compressor can deliver per minute, in other words, how fast the air can be supplied. 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, it is important to consider the tools you will be hooking it up to. Different tools require different CFM’s 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 the tools require. For example, if a tool specifies 3 CFM at 90PSI, you should choose a compressor that can deliver at least 4 CFM.
PSI stands for pounds per square inch. This is a measurement of the air pressure delivered by the compressor. Most home air compressors have a minimum PSI of 90, and that is sufficient for the most commonly used air tools. When choosing an air compressor for your jobs ensure you have enough PSI for the task in hand.
A larger tank will allow you to work for longer before the pressure in the tank eventually 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 require little or no maintenance. An oil-lubricated machine will require topping up from time to time. Oil-free machines are fine for light to medium use, but for professional or heavy use 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 longer cable makes it easier to use your compressor in more places.
Some compressors have one outlet, others have two. Two outlets mean that two people can use the machine at the same time, or 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
Air-brushing 3-11 CFM
How do you use an air compressor and how difficult to use is it?
All air compressors are 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. The following guide will explain the general procedures required when using an air compressor. They are quite simple to use once you get the hang of it!
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 goggles when using your compressor for most jobs. In addition, ensure that your work area is clear from obstructions and hazards.
Before using your compressor check that it is in good order. Check the oil level in the compressor is adequate. Make sure the compressor is on a stable, even surface. Ensure that the machine is switched off before connecting it to a power source.
Make sure the drain valve at the bottom of the air tank is closed 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 and somewhere it will not be damaged.