Your garage is home to a variety of tools and equipment. One such piece of equipment that can complete your well-stocked garage is an air compressor. An air compressor can make your garage even more efficient by allowing you to increase the speed at which your projects are done.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of owning an air compressor then you may not be fully aware of the applications it can be used for. Here are just some of the uses for an air compressor:
- Blowing debris from your driveway or yard
- Blowing up car or bike tires
- Using it for staple guns, nail guns, or air hammers
- Sanding or grinding with pneumatic tools
- Using an impact wrench to drive bolts
- Spray painting with a spray gun
One important note that you should take is that you can’t use any air compressor with any air tool. Your compressor must be able to emit the proper airflow that’s required. With that being said, we have chosen a variety of air compressors, both residential and industrial, with various specifications for whatever application you are using it for.
We put the compressors into two categories, residential and industrial. We have chosen the Stealth 20-gallon air compressor as the best small compressor for a garage because it has a high CFM rating and it’s one of the quietest on the market.
As far as industrial compressors go, we have chosen the Ingersoll Rand as the best industrial air compressor for garage use because of its two-stage operation and high CFM output. This isn’t the quietest compressor there is, but you can scroll to the bottom for some tips and tricks for making your compressor quieter.
Garage Air Compressor Systems
|Product||CFM||Tank Size||HP||Oil/Oil-Free||Max PSI||Decibel Rating|
|Stealth||6.0/5.0 CFM @ 40/90 PSI||20-Gallons||1.8||Oil-Free||150||68|
|WEN 2202||3.8/5.0 CFM @ 90/40 PSI||20-Gallons||2.0||Oil Lubricated||135||N/A|
|Ford Silent Series||2.9/3.9 CFM @ 90/40 PSI||15-Gallon||2.0||Oil-Free||125||59|
|DeWALT||5.3/6.2 CFM @ 90/40 PSI||30-Gallon||1.6||Oil-Lubricated||155||78|
|Makita MAC210Q||2.0 CFM @ 90 PSI||2-Gallon||1.0||Oil-Free||135||60|
We have chosen the Stealth 20-gallon air compressor as the best small compressor for a garage because it has a high CFM rating and it’s one of the quietest on the market.
If you plan to use your air compressor inside your garage, the Stealth quiet series is an optimal choice. At just 68 Decibels, this compressor requires no earplugs while in use. There are plenty of air compressors on the market that are quiet, but not as quiet as this one. It’s actually 80% quieter than other comparable models.
Not only is this compressor ultra-quiet, but it has a longer lifespan. It works more than 1000 hours and the high-quality induction motor generates 1.8 horsepower to help achieve maximum performance and will fill the tank from empty to full in just 70-seconds. The motor lasts three times longer than standard induction motors.
The large 20-gallon tank stores air for use with many pneumatic tools. It has a maximum PSI of 150 and puts out 6 CFM @ 40 PSI and 5 CFM @ 90 PSI. This can support a variety of pneumatic tools including angle grinders, impact wrenches, air hammers, sanders, polishers, and more.
Lastly, since this is an oil-free compressor, it is able to start in cold weather and on all terrains. Not only that but it supports low voltage starting capability. It’s durable, portable, and constructed from high-quality materials for longevity.
- Ultra-quiet operation
- Can handle a variety of pneumatic tools
- Long lifespan
- Quick tank fillup
- Passes ETL certification
- Many complaints of broken parts upon arrival
WEN isn’t a widely known air compressor, but they’re slowly making their way to the top. This 20-gallon compressor is the ideal addition to any garage or workshop.
It stands vertically so it can be placed in a corner and out of the way of your workspace. If it needs to be relocated, you can simply wheel it to its next destination thanks to the durable wheels.
The WEN compressor provides a steady airflow with the help of the 2.0 HP motor. It has the capabilities to emit 3.8 CFM @ 90 PSI and 5.0 CFM @ 40 PSI. It can reach a maximum pressure of 135 PSI. This makes it a breeze to use a variety of pneumatic tools for woodworking, mechanical work, and more.
You will find that at the bottom of the tank there is a quick drain valve to remove any remaining air and water buildup from the storage tank. Additionally, there is an auto-shutoff function that will turn the compressor off once it reaches maximum PSI to ensure safety and reliability.
Lastly, you can be rest assured knowing this compressor is built to last. The tank is constructed with reinforced steel and the entire unit is backed by a 2-year warranty.
The only downside to the WEN compressor is that it’s loud. There are no specific Decibel ratings, but users have reported that it is much louder than comparable models. It also has a 50% duty cycle, so if it’s on for 5 minutes it will shut off for 5 minutes.
- NPT quick coupler
- Auto shutoff feature
- Reinforced steel tank
- Optimal CFM output
- Generous 2-year warranty
- Loud operation
- Not intended for continuous operation
Ford is a name that everybody around the globe has heard of. They are most well-known for their vehicles, but they are now creating quiet air compressors. The Ford Silent Series air compressor is Built Ford Tough, just like their vehicles.
This compressor houses a 2.0 HP motor with a maximum operating PSI of 125. This motor helps the compressor emit optimal CFM for various pneumatic tools. There is a 2.9 CFM @ 90 PSI and 3.9 CFM @ 40 PSI rating. You can keep track of this pressure with the two easy-to-read pressure gauges on the compressor.
This is an oil-free compressor. It helps keep the noise level down to just 59 Decibels, which is much quieter than comparable compressors. Since this compressor is oil-free, you can start it in cold weather and it will operate on all terrains. Additionally, it aids in the longevity of the machine.
Lastly, this 15-gallon storage tank is quick to fill up from empty and is durable. You can move it if needed thanks to the “never flat” wheels. When compared to other models, this one certainly surpasses expectations.
- Ultra-quiet operation
- Ideal CFM output for various tools
- Oil-free pump ensures longevity
- Powerful 2.0 HP motor
- Easy-to-ready gauges
- Complaints of damage upon arrival
DeWALT is another name that most homeowners are familiar with. They know the brand based on their durability and bright yellow tools and equipment. These machines are well-known for their power and proficiency. This particular compressor provides its users with just that.
This air compressor is built with a powerful cast iron, V-twin cylinder, oil-lubricated pump. It’s also constructed with a high-flow regulator that aids in the supply of more torque. This is ideal for removing bolts that seem to be rust-frozen. The 155 maximum PSI is another great aid for this particular issue.
Moreso, the dual voltage motor is wired for both 120 volts and converted 240-volt applications. There is a durable 30-gallon storage tank that holds enough air to provide 5.3 CFM @ 90 PSI and 6.2 CFM @ 40 PSI with the assistance of the strong 1.6 HP induction motor. This is ideal for performing a variety of tasks whether in the home or out in the workshop.
As far as portability goes, you can transport the air compressor wherever needed with the pneumatic wheels. It’s slim enough to hide in a corner or you can leave it out in the open if needed. This unit is also lightweight and is sure to make an ideal addition to your workspace.
- Oil refill area is easy to access
- Stable cast iron cylinder body
- Powerful motor
- Ideal CFM for pneumatic tools of all sorts
- Louder than comparable models at 78 Decibels
Last up on the list is the more compact Makita MAC210Q. It’s part of the quiet series line and is small enough to fit under or on a surface. This is ideal for those who don’t have a lot of space in their workspace or need to carry it around with them.
The Makita air compressor is oil-free with a dual-piston pump. It’s been specially designed for maintenance-free operation. It also runs at a lower RPM speed, 1750 to be exact, which helps ensure the longevity of the motor and pump. These smaller air compressors have a quicker recovery time as well.
Additionally, not only is this air compressor small and compact, but it’s quiet. It only emits 60 Decibels so you can work right next to it if you have to without your hearing being compromised. It has a strong 1 HP motor with a 2-gallon storage tank. It weighs just 44 pounds and is constructed of durable material.
Lastly, it’s more ideal for less demanding pneumatic tools since it only puts out 2.0 CFM @ 90 PSI. So it’s best to make sure that this compressor will keep up with the requirements of the tool you need to use.
- Compact design
- Quiet operation
- Low RPM speeds for longer motor life
- Roll cage for protection
- Low CFM rating
- Reports of leaking after a few months
Industrial Garage Air Compressors
|Product||CFM||Tank Size||HP||Oil/Oil-Free||Max PSI||Decibel Rating|
|Quincy QT-54||24 CFM @ 90 PSI||80 Gallons||7.5||Oil Lubricated||175||85|
|Powermate||14 CFM @ 90 PSI||80 Gallons||4.7||Oil-Lubricated||155||N/A|
|Emax Hulk||18 CFM @ 100||80 Gallons||5||Oil-Lubricated||175||N/A|
|DeWALT||22.1/21.2 CFM @ 100/175 PSI||80 Gallons||7.5||Oil-Lubricated||175||84|
|Ingersol Rand||24.3 CFM @ 90 PSI||80 Gallons||7.5||Oil-Lubricated||175||N/A|
Quincy air compressors are built for maximum efficiency and lower costs when it comes to operation. They operate at cooler temperatures and slower RPMs to ensure the longevity of the motor and other internal parts. To be exact, the pump RPM is 1,310 and the motor RPM is 3,450.
When it comes to power, the Quincy QT-54 has a hefty 7.5 HP motor with a maximum PSI of 175. It has a 100% duty cycle, which means that it will run constantly rather than intermittently.
This is a useful feature, especially if you are performing tasks that require constant air for long periods. Additionally, it only takes 6.5 minutes to fill the large 60-gallon tank from empty to full.
Moreso, this compressor has an impressive CFM output. At full working pressure, the tank can emit 24 CFM @ 90 PSI. This is enough power to operate almost all of your large pneumatic tools. The only downfall is that the compressor is louder than comparable units, emitting 80 Decibels of sound.
Lastly, the Quincy QT-54 boasts a 50,000-hour pump life. You will also get a one-year limited warranty. You could also purchase an extended warranty kit and it will bump the package warranty to two years and bump the pump warranty to three years.
- High CFM rating
- Long pump life
- Runs cooler to save motor wear and tear
- High-quality materials
- Large air tank
- Complaints of a faulty pump
The Emax Hulk silent air compressor is 30% quieter than comparable models. It runs at only 680 RMP, which is partially why the compressor is so much quieter. Not only is it silent, but it has a ¾ inch tank outlet for maximum heavy tool applications.
This 80-gallon air compressor is constructed of solid cast iron material with industrial disc valves for extended use. The ASME-certified tank also makes using multiple tools at once easier and more efficient. At the bottom of the tank, you will find an extended tank drain valve for simple clean-out.
As far as power goes, the Emax Hulk emits 18 CFM 2 100 PSI with the help of the 5 HP motor. You will be able to operate numerous pneumatic tools with ease. The compressor comes with a reliable, four-year limited warranty for peace of mind.
- Strong motor
- Ideal CFM for pneumatic tool use
- ASME-Certified tank
- Quieter than comparable models
- High-quality materials
- No notable complaints
DeWALT is a brand that is known all over the globe. It is recognized by its bright yellow-colored tools and equipment.
This air compressor has a variety of features including a pre-wired and mounted magnetic starter as well as cooling fins and a cast iron flywheel. The machine will remain cool while in use while maintaining consistent compression.
The 80-gallon tank holds a maximum pressure of 175 PSI and has a high CFM output of 22.1/21.2 @ 100/175 PSI. This compressor can handle large loads and multiple pneumatic tools are one time. This compressor is ideal for longer run times while using your tools.
Additionally, there is a built-in extra capacity oil reservoir that helps keep oil temperatures low to ensure extended life. One downfall to this two-stage compressor, however, is that it’s loud. It operates at 84 Decibels, a level at which you will need earplugs when in use.
- Strong 80-gallon tank
- Powerful motor
- Stays cool for extended use
- High CFM output for multiple tools
- One-piece counter-balanced crankshaft ensures smooth operation
- No notable complains
The Powermate Vx offers reliable power and optimal performance. The unit features a cast iron, three-cylinder pump with an aluminum head, and valve plate. When combined, these features help provide better cooling to the unit and allows for rapid heat dissipation.
Inside the unit is a powerful heavy-duty dual voltage induction motor with 4.7 HP. The pump is oil-lubricated, so it will require some maintenance on your part. The unit has a maximum pressure of 155 PSI for ideal tool performance. You can easily keep track of the pressure with the built-in gauges to observe tank pressure.
You can use most of your pneumatic tools since this compressor has the capability to put out 14 CFM @ 90 PSI. You can use your impact tools, ratchets, spray guns, and more with ease. This is a high airflow, single-stage unit that will make an excellent addition to your garage.
Lastly, you can be rest assured knowing this unit is built for durability and maximum performance. The large capacity 80-gallon tank is not only sturdy but also backed by a 2-year limited warranty. You will also receive synthetic oil to put into the compressor so you can use it right out of the box.
- Heavy-duty induction motor
- Ideal CFM output for pneumatic tools
- Generous warranty
- Large-capacity air receiver
- No notable downsides
We have chosen the Ingersoll Rand as the best industrial air compressor for garage use because of its two-stage operation and high CFM output.
Ingersoll Rand is a brand known in many industrial settings. They are best known for their reliability and durability. This particular air compressor is easy to service. It has individually cast cylinders and one-piece connecting rod that makes maintenance a breeze.
This compressor is meant for longevity. It has a durable cast iron construction with long-lasting extended pump life. It can withstand over 15,000 hours of use without issue.
It uses an all-season select synthetic lubricant that also helps with increased efficiency. You can use the compressor for 2,000 hours between each oil change, making it 4 times longer than petroleum-based lubricants.
As far as power goes, this two-stage compressor is 100% duty with 5 or 7.5 HP use. It has a maximum PSI rating of 175 and is stored in a large 80-gallon tank. You can expect a CFM output of 24.3 CFM @90 PSI, which is more than enough for most of your pneumatic tools.
- High CFM output
- Durable construction
- Reliable operation
- Easy to maintain
- No notable complaints
Air Compressor Specifications
Air compressors aren’t all the same. Certain ones are built for certain requirements. You can’t purchase a compressor with a 1.0 CFM output and expect it to run a 5.0 CFM pneumatic tool. Your compressor must be able to meet the various demands of all your tools.
The PSI is an important element when it comes to air compressor and tool relationships. The PSI is the pressure at which air is delivered from a compressor. Certain tools will require different demands than others.
The PSI should exceed the maximum rating of the tool in order to meet the working needs.
Most garage tools require 90 PSI, but when you pair this with the CFM demands of a tool, you will find that there is a broader range of tools that can be used.
This isn’t an aspect that is talked about much since most users don’t fret over it. However, this is actually a crucial factor in how tools perform. Ideally, a compressor should have a duty cycle of 50% or more to ensure tools that require prolonged use can operate efficiently.
Setting Up Your Garage For An Air Compressor
Now that you’ve taken a look at some of the best air compressors for a garage, it’s time to talk about plumbing it in.
This is the best way to set up your garage with a stationary compressor. Just because it has wheels doesn’t mean it has to move. This will also eliminate the use of long air hoses.
The first thing you should remember is to never use PVC pipes for air plumbing because the plastic will deteriorate over time.
Not only that, but plastic is brittle and will only become more brittle with exposure to shop chemicals. If the plastic pipe contains pressurized air and you drop a tool on it, you’re going to have to deal with an exploded pipe and possible injuries.
Ideally, you should use copper pipes to supply the air to your compressor lines. You could also use galvanized cast-iron pipe, whichever fits into your budget.
Copper, however, is just as cheap as PVC pipe and it will be less likely to explode. With the galvanized pipe, there’s the risk of flaking and entering your air tools. If the thought of running your own pipes makes you nervous, you can ask a plumber for their services.
An issue that arises with piped-in air compressors is the collection of condensed water. To alleviate this issue, you should install the pipes at a downward slope toward the compressor and then install a trap at the connection to the compressor. Your horizontal lines should be at a slight angle so gravity can move the moisture to a water trap.
Another consideration you should make is whether or not to run electricity to your garage if it doesn’t already have it. Some people choose just to run an extension cord from an outside power source on their home to their garage, but this isn’t the safest route to take.
Ideally, you should dig a PVC pipe into a trench with THWN copper conductors going through it. It’s a good idea to consult with an electrician. They will be able to ensure the cable will comply with local codes. Additionally, they are able to modify house breakers.
If an electrician isn’t in your budget, you can use a heavy-duty extension cord. It’s not recommended, but it will work in a pinch.
You may not realize it, but the length of the hose can actually slow down airflow. In a residential setting, a 50-foot hose will give you enough length for any setup you have. In order to ensure that your tools will be well accommodated, the hose should have a capacity of at least 150 PSI.
An air compressor comes with an air filter built-in already, but there should also be a filter placed at the air outlet.
This will ensure that your pneumatic tools don’t acquire any condensation and that any lubricants going through the hose don’t ruin paints or finishes.
Additionally, you can add a dryer/separator. This gives your tools added protection from moisture and other fluids. You can link a dryer/separator to your airline between the outlet of the dryer and the inlet of the separator.
Average CFM For Pneumatic Tools
There are many applications that can be performed with air systems within garages. This could be anything from cutting to spray paint.
You don’t need to use a compressor if you have plenty of hand coordination and arm strength, but your jobs can be done quicker with the help of pneumatic tools. You should ensure that the compressor you choose has sufficient CFM capacity for each tool you plan to use in your garage.
Below are some of the most common pneumatic tools and their CFM ratings, all of which only require 90 PSI:
- Air Ratchet: A ¼” ratchet requires a minimum CFM of 2.5-3.5 and a ⅜” ratchet requires a CFM rating of 4.5 to 5.0. This tool is ideal for loosening nuts and bolts that are rusted on.
- Speed Saw: A speed saw requires 5.0 CFM. This tool makes cutting wood and other materials quicker and easier.
- Pneumatic Shears: Pneumatic shears can swiftly cut through metal like a knife to a piece of paper. It also requires 8 to 16 CFM, which may be too much for the compressors mentioned above.
- Air Hammer: Depending on the type of air hammer, it requires between 3-11 CFM. Air hammers are used for stone carving and cutting into metal.
- Brad Nailer: A brad nailer requires very little CFM. It only requires 0.3 CFM and is used to apply fasteners that are thin in composition.
- Die Grinder: A die grinder is used to widen metal holes with a specified tip. It requires 4 to 6 CFM.
- Air Drill: An air drill required 3-6 CFM. This tool is used to drill holes in both metal and wood with drill bits.
- Impact Wrench: a 1” wrench requires 10 CFM, a ½” wrench requires 4-5 CFM, and a ⅜” wrench requires 2.5-3.5 CFM. These are versatile tools that can unfasten bolts, remove rust, and more.
Compressor Too Noisy?
If you like the details of a compressor on the list but aren’t a fan of the Decibel rating, we have a solution for you. Most air compressors have a noise rating of around 80 to 90 Decibels and others may only range from 40-79 Decibels.
According to OSHA, extended exposure to sound levels over 85 Decibels can cause hearing loss that may be irreversible. If you’re ready to lower the noise rating of your compressor, follow some of these hints and tricks.
1.Install An Intake Silencer
The air intake on the compressor is responsible for a significant amount of pulsating noises that come from the machine. The noise is made by the rotating inrushing of air that is drawn past a reed valve. This causes a rattling noise and it vibrates on every pulse.
Installing an input silencer can reduce the pulsating noise that the air intake system makes. Before you purchase a device, you need to know what the pipe thread size is on the intake head of your air compressor. Additionally, you could plumb the air intake to a remote filter box.
Your air compressor can make noise if the feet aren’t anchored to the floor properly. You can install rubber isolation mounts to help anchor it to the floor better.
If you decide to use rigid plumbing, you can install a short flexible air hose between the plumbing and compressor. Additionally, there are rubber grommets that you can mount the compressor to. They’re cheap and can be easily installed under any stationary compressor.
3.Use Deadening Materials
If your compressor is located next to a solid object, such as a wall, the sound will reflect off of it. The wall will act as a sound booster and it will bounce the sound back to the work area. You can cover the walls near the compressor with sound-absorbing blankets or acoustical materials.
4.Build A Box
A DIY soundproof box can certainly dampen the sound coming from your compressor. It’s an effective way to muffle the noise that comes from your device.
You can install sound-absorbing materials on the top, side, and bottom of the box. Additionally, you can hang suspended ceiling acoustical tiles to absorb noise if you don’t want to build a box.
Your soundproof enclosure can be simple or as fancy as you want it to be. Some have been made from concrete and others made from sturdy wood.
There are a plethora of different compressor enclosures floating around the internet. If you plan to make your box out of wood, we suggest using fire-proof material.
Additionally, you need to ensure your airflow isn’t restricted or it can overheat and burn out or go up in flames. You will need to properly ventilate the box by installing an exhaust fan or another way to pull in cool air and exhaust heat that comes from the compressor.
This is quite obvious, but if your compressor is too loud, you coil purchase an acceptable pair of PPE. If you are close to your compressor and the noise is constant, it can lead to hearing loss that may be permanent. Earplugs or earmuffs are ideal in this situation.
Before you do anything with your air compressor, you should make sure you are following proper safety measures. Compressed air is extremely dangerous if unsafe modifications are being made. Here are some general rules you should follow:
- Ensure your safety relief valves are working well and installed properly
- Never increase the max PSI settings of the pressure switch
- Don’t restrict the air intake too much
- Cooling vents and airflow around the compressor shouldn’t be restricted
- When done using your compressor each time, bleed the air tank
There’s no doubt that an air compressor can be a valuable tool in your garage. They make the use of pneumatic tools quicker and more efficient.
Without the use of pneumatic tools, your jobs will go slower and you may be overwhelmed with all of the work involved. If you purchase an air compressor and it’s too loud for your liking, remember that there are ways you can silence your compressor.
It’s important to remember that air compressors can be vital additions to any garage or workspace.
They are heavy-duty pieces of equipment that will need to be properly maintained to ensure longevity. We made sure that there were compressors of all sizes and power to give you a decent selection to consider. You may be interested in airlifts.