A small air compressor is any compressor which has a 2-gallon or less air capacity and is definitely not designed to power pneumatic tools or for other pressure hungry applications. What are they used for, you ask? Well, they can be used for a number of different things including filling car tires and blowing sawdust from a workbench. Of course, as is the case with any product, you will want to make sure that you purchase the best small air compressor you can and that’s why I’ve decided to list ten of the models that I think are pretty good below. In my opinion, the following are the best small air compressor models available and deserve a quick look.
10. Campbell Hausfeld 1-Gallon Pancake Compressor
This 1-gallon pancake compressor is ideal for anyone who needs a low-capacity unit for airing up vehicle tires or for connecting air brad nail guns or staplers. It has a lightweight design and a handle that makes it quite portable and is compact so it can easily be stored in a car trunk or in a closet. It runs on 120-volt household current, provides a maximum air pressure of 110 PSI and has a 25-foot recoil hose. This unit also comes with onboard storage, an air chuck, two inflation nozzles, a needle and a needle adapter. Just about everything necessary to fill a variety of objects with air.
9. Senco 1/2-HP Hot Dog Compressor 1-Gallon
This hot dog compressor has a 1-gallon tank and a maximum pressure of 135 PSI, more than enough for a variety of tasks. It’s an ideal unit to use for trim units and requires almost no-maintenance to keep running. This model has a quiet motor that makes less noise than comparable gas models and it has a compact design that makes it easy to take from job to job. Other features which can be found in this unit include an air tank drain valve to remove moisture after the compressor is shut off and a 6-foot long power cord.
8. California Air Tool 2010A 2-Gallon Compressor
Designed to be ultra-quiet, this 2-gallon compressor is good for any location where excess noise isn’t appreciated. Its tank is made from rust-free aluminum and it features a 1-HP motor that can produce 3.10 CFM at 40 PSI and an oil-free pump that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance to run. While many compressors only have a life cycle of 500-hours, this one actually has a 3,000 hour expected life cycle. And since this unit only weighs around 35-pounds, it’s easy to take from one room to the next or packed in the truck and taken to the job site.
7. Grip Rite GR100 1-HP 1-Gallon Compressor
Weighing only 23-pounds, this portable compressor can be taken just about anywhere it’s needed. It’s made out of aluminum, contains recessed gauges and a direct-drive electric pump that doesn’t require oil. It also has a protective roll gauge that helps keep it safe if it’s knocked over and protects its important components. This 13.4-inch by 14.6-inch by 14.2-inch unit with 1-gallon tank uses 5-Amps of power and is ideal for small work sites. All in all, it’s a unit that is strong enough to be used daily and small enough to be used anywhere.
6. Eagle EA-3000 Silent Series Compressor
Producing only 46-decibels at a distance of 25-feet, this low noise compressor is one of the quietest units in its size class. It uses an oil-free double piston pump that’s designed to be quite durable and has a 1-gallon air capacity. This unit can produce 2 CFM at 100 PSI and has a maximum 125 PSI rating. This model also has front-facing dials that show the user exactly the pressure the unit is producing. It also has a low-amp draw that uses less power and extends the life expectancy of the unit.
5. Dewalt D55140 Max Trim 1-Gallon Compressor
This unit is only 9-inches wide, is pretty thin and only weighs 24-pounds. This makes it a unit that’s portable enough to use in any room of the house or to keep in the car to take it to the work site. It delivers 75 SCFM at 90 PSI, has a 1-gallon tank and has a 135 max. PSI. Its 2.6-Amp motor only produces about 71-decibels and its oil-free pump is designed to be durable. This model also has a high-flow regulator, a ball valve drain, a roll cage and a control panel.
4. Senco PC1010 1/2-HP Compressor
This unit’s oil-less 1/2-HP compressor is designed to be quiet and to deliver a max pressure of 125 PSI. It has a 1-gallon air capacity, operates at 4-Amps at 115-Volts and has individual gauges for tank pressure and regulated output pressure. Other features which can be found in this unit include a 1/4-inch quick disconnect coupler, thermal overload switch, safety relief valve and an air tank release valve. And since it’s only 20-pounds and has a convenient handle, it can be taken just about anywhere. Which makes it ideal for home or work use.
3. Bostitch Cap1512-OF 1.2-Gallon Compressor
Small yet mighty, this compressor is capable of producing 2.8 CFM at 90 PSI with a max 150 PSI operating pressure, yet only weighs around 23.5-pounds. It has a 2-HP peak and 1.5-HO running motor that pulls about 12-Amps and prevents the unit from tripping circuit breakers. Other features which can be found in this unit include an LED on/off switch, an integrated control panel and a compact design that makes it easy to take anywhere. This compressor also has no-marring rubber feet that reduce vibration and ensure that the unit is stable.
2. California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S Compressor
Producing only 56-decibels of noise, this pump is designed to be as quiet as it is powerful. It’s .6-HP which is enough power for it to produce 1.20 CFM at 90 PSI and has a steel tank that can hold approximately a gallon of compressed air. This unit is also fairly portable and only weighs 29.5-pounds, which allows it to be taken from place to place. It has an oil-free pump that requires less maintenance than other pumps and costs less to operate. All this makes ensures that it’s a pump that’s easy-to-operate and provides the user with the air pressure they need.
1. Porter Cable 1.5-Gallon 150 PSI Compressor
Running at 2 SCFM at 90 PSI, this unit is ideal for a number of applications. It has a 1.5-gallon tank that’s easy to transport and has a water drain valve to release excess moisture and rubber feet to reduce vibration and to make the unit more stable. It has an oil-free pump that’s designed for longevity and requires little to no maintenance. Other features of this model include a 120-Volt motor, a 150 max PSI tank pressure and a quick compressor recovery time. It also has a 25-foot hose and comes with an 8-piece accessory kit.
Small Air Compressor Guide
When it comes to choosing such a useful piece of equipment, it can be hard to nail down the right one for your needs. Although every home is different, a small air compressor can go a long way towards giving your tools the air pressure they need to operate and when you find a good one, it will be the only one you need for some time.
The problem is, it can be hard to know what to look for as although larger air compressors are common in commercial use, these types are less so. The following guide will help you make a sensible purchase.
What To Look For In A Small Air Compressor
This is the air pressure that is generated within the compressor and small air compressors will hover around the 100 PSI mark. However, there are also plenty of compact models that give you more although you don’t need quite so much for power tools.
Although noise cannot be helped when it comes to using a small air compressor some operate more peacefully than others. There are some small air compressors that do not have to compromise on power just to operate a little quieter than the competition so if this is high on your list of priorities then there are options for you.
Because a small air compressor has so many uses, you might need to move it frequently. This is why it is important to find one that is light enough to pick up. They often come with some sort of handle to make this easier.
This will determine how often you have to replace the air so the more it can accommodate the better. Search for a small air compressor that has a tank size of at least 2 gallons although there are plenty that gives you a lot more.
This is more important than a lot of people think as the greater the number of accessories a small air compressor has the better. This makes it easier to connect to different types of tools and machinery and some can even be used on tires. This is all down to connection sets and if the product you choose doesn’t come with much then you might find yourself having to buy them separately.
Because most people choose a small air compressor for at-home use, you need to make sure you can reach the socket to power the device. A smaller cord will come with its limitations or mean you have to find an extension cable. It’s not high in terms of priorities but something to think about.
This is the easiest way of ensuring you get your hands on a decent product as there are plenty of cheap imitators out there. More often than not, if a price seems too good to be true, it is. Stick to a brand that is known in the industry for creating reputable small air compressors.
As with any piece of equipment you bring into your home, you should look for one that comes with a warranty. This protects your purchase which is important when working around power tools.
Oil Tank Vs Non-Oil Tank
These are the two main differences when it comes to small air compressors. Those that require a little oil to lubricate the parts and those that do not.
To start, the oil tank type of small air compressor does require a little more maintenance due to the topping up of oil but they are often more powerful than their oil-free counterparts. This, combined with a larger tank capacity are two of the main reasons people opt for an oil tank product.
Easier to use which can make them better for beginners they also tend to make less noise which is down to offering less power. The running costs are also reduced when you take oil out of the equation, expect less mess as well.
What Can I Use A Small Air Compressor For?
Typically used as a power supply for DIY or commercial use (although a bigger air compressor is often favored for larger jobs), a small air compressor pumps air into a gas cylinder. From here, they give power tools and other types of machinery the ability to operate although they come with various attachments and can be used for a variety of tasks.
The most common include giving air to:
- Paint sprayers
- Nail guns
- Pneumatic sanders
- Air grinder
- Grease gun
- & Many more