Air compressors are a versatile tool used in a variety of applications, from powering pneumatic tools to inflating tires. When shopping for an air compressor, it is important to consider the type of compressor, the power output, the size, and the features. Consumer Reports provides an in-depth guide to help you find the best air compressor for your needs.
Types of Air Compressors
The type of air compressor you need depends on the application. There are three main types of air compressors: reciprocating, rotary screw, and centrifugal.
Reciprocating air compressors are the most common type and are used for general-purpose applications. They are typically powered by an electric motor and use a piston to compress air.
Rotary screw air compressors are more efficient than reciprocating compressors and are used for industrial applications. They use two intermeshing screws to compress air.
Centrifugal air compressors are the most efficient type and are used for high-pressure applications. They use a centrifugal impeller to compress air.
The power output of an air compressor is measured in horsepower (HP) or cubic feet per minute (CFM). The higher the HP or CFM rating, the more powerful the compressor.
Air compressors come in a variety of sizes, from small portable models to large stationary models. The size of the compressor you need depends on the application.
Air compressors come with a variety of features, such as oil-free operation, adjustable pressure settings, and automatic shut-off. It is important to consider the features you need when shopping for an air compressor.
When shopping for an air compressor, it is important to consider the type, power output, size, and features. Consumer Reports provides an in-depth guide to help you find the best air compressor for your needs.
air compressors Comparison Table
Top air compressors Reviews By Consumer Reports March 2023
Below is the list of top air compressors with a detailed guide that you can consider in your purchase:
CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor, 6 Gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free with 13 Piece Accessory Kit (CMEC6150K)
19 used from $129.98
- The portable air compressor is proudly made in the USA with Global Materials in Jackson, Tennessee
- PORTABLE: 6 gallon capacity maximizes portability and stored air for CRAFTSMAN air compressor
- NO MAINTENANCE: Durable, oil-free pump of the 6 gallon air compressor is made for long-life and no maintenance
- PRESSURE: 150 Max PSI to ensure adequate cut-inch pressure for a variety of applications
- QUICK RECOVERY TIME: 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI allows for quick compressor recovery time
AstroAI Tire Inflator Portable Air Compressor Air Pump for Car Tires - Car Accessories, 12V DC Auto Tire Pump with Digital Pressure Gauge, 100PSI with Emergency LED Light for Car, Bicycle, Balloons
$33.99 in stock
15 used from $27.19
- FAST INFLATION & ADVANCED ACCURACY: High-quality materials were sourced for this tire inflator as it can pump up your car's tires with 35 L/Min, it can inflate the 195/55/R15 car tire from 0 to 35psi under 5 minutes. Professionally calibrated to always return a reading within 1.5% of the pressure of your tire. Please NOTE that after 10-15 minutes of continuous use, let the air compressor rest and cool for an equal amount of time at a minimum before continuing use.
- PROGRAMMABLE INFLATION: Use the "M" button to set your desired pressure unit, and then press the "+" and "-" buttons to set the desired pressure. The air compressor will automatically shut off when it reaches the pre-set pressure (Please make sure the pressure you set is higher than the current pressure of your tire).
- PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS: One-click to change pressure units among PSI, kPa, BAR and KG/CM; Large white backlight LCD screen makes it easy to read even in the dark; Equipped with integrated LED flashlight with independent switch control for emergency use; 12V 120W 10ft (3.05 meters) long heavy-duty car cigarette lighter cord makes it convenient to use;NOT 110V AC plug. It needs a 10A or 15A converter to use in a wall plug.
- WIDE RANGE OF APPLICATIONS: 3 Nozzles and Extra Fuse Included. Inflates any Schrader valve on cars, SUVs, motorcycles, and bicycles; the included accessories quickly inflate balls, air pillows, cushions, balloons and mattresses. NOTE: This pump is NOT intended for use with high pressure or large volume applications like pools and Inflatable canoe
- BUY WITH CONFIDENCE: Christmas decorations and gifts for men women. Easily stow the compressor away in your car or garage and it will be ready to use at a moment’s notice. Package includes 1* digital air compressor, 1* Replacement Fuse, 2x Air Nozzle Cones, 1* Needle Valve Adapter 1* Presta to Schrader Adapter, 1* Extension Hose Coupling, 1* User Manual; If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.
BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor, Oil-Free, 6 Gallon, 150 PSI (BTFP02012)
$109.99 in stock
- The portable air compressor has a long-life oil-free, maintenance-free pump for convenient use
- 150 max PSI 6.0 gallon tank (22.7 L) and 2.6 SCFM* delivered @ 90 PSI pump enable long tool run time with quick recovery of the electric air compressor
- BOSTITCH high efficiency motor of the 6 gallon air compressor is made for easy start up in cold weather or extension cord application [14 GA or larger, 50 ft. (15.2 m) or less]
- 78.5 dBA** operational noise level for a quiet work environment
- 29 lb. weight makes unit easy to carry and store
BOSTITCH Air Compressor Kit, Oil-Free, 6 Gallon, 150 PSI (BTFP02012-WPK)
16 used from $120.89
- OIL FREE: Requires no daily maintenance and eliminates risk of oil stains on work surfaces
- LIGHTWEIGHT: 29 pound weight and narrow tank diameter make unit easy to carry/store
- HIGH FLOW REGULATOR AND DUAL COUPLERS: Maximizes air tool performance
- LOW NOISE LEVEL: 80dBA** operational noise level for a quiet work environment (**tested per ISO 3744)
- KIT INCLUDES: BTFP02012 Pancake Compressor, 50' Rubber/PVC Blend Air Hose, 10 Piece Inflation and Blow Gun Accessory Kit
Light & Quiet 1010S Portable Air Compressor, Silver, 13L x 15W x 13H
$99.95 in stock
- Ultra Quiet at only 60 decibels; 120 PSI maximum pressure; 110v / 60 hz with low amp draw at 8.5 Amps. 3.10 CFM at 40 PSI and 2.20 CFM at 90 PSI
- Oil-free pump for cleaner air for better tool operation and less maintenance and service costs
- Includes thermal overload protector, 0.25" ports
- Comes complete with capacitor, air filter and four (4) shock struts
- 10.7"L x 5.1"W x 7.5"H and weighs 21 pounds
TEROMAS Tire Inflator Air Compressor, Portable DC/AC Air Pump for Car Tires 12V DC and Other Inflatables at Home 110V AC, Digital Electric Tire Pump with Pressure Gauge (Green)
$39.97 in stock
10 used from $32.61
- AC/DC OUTLET & MULTI-PURPOSE: TEROMAS tire inflator unique AC/DC with 12V car cigarette light plug as well as 110/120V wall plug for home outlet makes this inflator more useful since you can use it anywhere. Come with 3 additional adaptors which makes it perfect for cars, RV, motorcycles, bikes tires, air mattress, inflatable boats, balls and other inflatables.(NOTICE: NOT SUPPORT FOR HEAVY DUTY TRUCK OR TRACTOR TIRES)
- STRONG POWER & SPACE-SAVING: Up to 150 PSI, Inflate the P195/65R15 car tire from 0 to 35psi under 4min. It makes inflating tires in emergency easier and more convenient. Portable size which take up very little space with a carrying bag and allow you keep it in your automobile or home.
- PROGRAMMABLE INFLATION: Use the "R" button to set your desired pressure unit, and then press the "+" and "-" buttons to set the desired pressure. The air compressor will automatically shut off when it reaches the pre-set pressure (Please make sure the pressure you set is higher than the current pressure of your tire).
- DIGITAL DISPLAY & LED Lighting: Bright backlight LCD display makes for convenient use at night. As well as being bright enough to see under strong sunlight, The air compressor gauge can display the pressure in PSI, BAR & KG/CM². TEROMAS air pump is equipped with bright and long-lasting LED lights, easy to use even in the dark.
- 100% SATISFACTION: This is a great tool to take along with your driving tours, use it anytime you need. Meanwhile, any problems, please feel free to contact us. We will do our best to help you. GET 100% SATISFACTION.
PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor, 6-Gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free (C2002-ECOM)
- Made in the USA with Global Materials
- Shipped in sturdy ecommerce-friendly packaging designed to protect the unit for secure travel
- 150 psi max tank pressure of the portable air compressor allows more air in the tank for longer tool runtimes
- 2.6 SCFM @ 90 psi of the electric air compressor allows for quick compressor recovery time, per ISO1217
- 6 gal Pancake style tank of the PORTER-CABLE air compressor is made for stability, includes water drain valve and rubber feet
Tire Inflator Portable Air Compressor 12V DC Car Air Pump with Digital Display, LED Light, Auto Shut Off Function, Set of Nozzle Adaptors for Car, Motorcycle, Bicycle, Ball, and Other Inflatables
$31.99 in stock
2 used from $28.50
- Safety and Reliability - Correct tire pressure is the most important aspect of safe driving. Under-inflated or over-inflated tires are prone to failure, which can be dangerous to the driver and passengers. Car tire inflators are an excellent solution for emergencies on the way.
- Fast Inflating & Easy Operation - Simply preset your desired tire pressure on the digital LED screen, and it will quickly inflate the tire to the desired pressure. The tire inflator will automatically shut off when the preset pressure is reached. Press the "R" key to switch pressure units PSI, BAR, Kg/cm². To extend the service life, please allow the inflator to rest for 15 minutes after every 15 minutes of use.
- Portable and Compact - There is a handle on the top of the tire inflator, which is convenient to carry. And a groove on the back for storing the power cord and inflation cord. The 11.8 feet cord can be easily connected to all 4 tires. Equipped with bright LED light, it can be used very conveniently at night, and also has flashing light and SOS two modes.
- Wide Range of Applications - In addition to the original nozzle, the tire pump is also equipped with 6 additional nozzles.It suitable for automobiles, motorcycles, bicycles, all kinds of balls, etc. However, for some inflatable products with slower inflation speed, such as inflatable beds, large swimming rings, kayaks, etc., the blower is more suitable for them.
- Warm Service - The tire inflator is carefully designed and compact in size. It is convenient to put it in the car for emergency use. Regular use of an air pump to maintain tire pressure will not only improve the safety of the vehicle, but also reduce tire wear and tear. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact us, we will be happy to serve you.
DEWALT DXCM271.COM 27 Gal. 200 PSI Portable Air Compressor
$857.99 in stock
- 5.1 SCFM at 90 PSI provides faster recovery times resulting in increased project efficiency
- 6.8 SCFM at 40 PSI provides the ability to operate a HVLP spray gun
- 78 dBA brings less noise to your work environment and is 30% more quiet than similar oil free induction products
- Low volt easy start motor will operate with extension cords of at least 12 gal. and 50 ft. or less
- High flow regulator and couplers provide max air flow to your tool to operate at their peak performance
DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor, 6 Gallon, 165 PSI (DWFP55126)
12 used from $125.61
- 165 max PSI 6.0 gallon tank (22.7 L) and 2.6 SCFM delivered @ 90 PSI pump, enable long tool run time with quick recovery for the portable air compressor
- High efficiency motor of the electric air compressor is made for easy start up in cold weather or extension cord application. [14 ga or larger, 50 ft. (15.2 m) or less]
- 78.5 dBA noise level of the 6 gallon air compressor is made for a quiet work environment
- High flow regulator and couplers of DEWALT portable air compressor are designed to maximize air tool performance
- Long life oil free pump for maintenance free operation