A 20-gallon air compressor is compact, but they can still get a lot done. These air compressors can be found being used in domestic situations, like airing up car tires and pool toys, and they can even operate some light air tools.

The best 20-gallon air compressor will be able to perform medium-duty tasks, will be able to power a nail gun, and will be very portable.

NorthStar Single-Stage Portable Electric Air Compressor - 2 HP, 20-Gallon Vertical, 5.0 CFM

In this write-up, we will review the top 20-gallon air compressors. We will compare them based on HP, PSI, CFM, and portability.

The article will be accompanied by a buyer’s guide that reveals all the details regarding everything you need to know about 20-gallon air compressors.

Is a 20-Gallon Air Compressor Suitable for Business Use?

If you want an air compressor that is more suitable for business use, then a 20-gallon air compressor would be ideal for you.

This is because it is able to produce a lot more air pressure compared to any smaller air compressors, and because of this, it is more likely to keep running, where smaller air compressors do have the habit of stopping and starting quite frequently. This makes this size air compressor ideal for business, commercial, and even DIY use.

What can I do with a 20-Gallon Air Compressor?

A 20-gallon air compressor can be used for multiple things if you need to use it for more simple DIY projects it will easily be suitable for this, or if you need to use it for business use or use in a commercial shop, then it will also be ideal for this too.

How to use a 20-Gallon Air Compressor?

Using an air compressor is not as difficult as it may sound; to use it, you just need to follow the following steps:

  1. First of all, you need to identify whether or not it is an oil-free compressor or if it is oil-lubricated.
  2. Once you have done this, you then need to fix the hose to the regulator valve simply.
  3. The next step is to place your power tool to the tube.
  4. Then simply plug the compressor into the nearest plug socket.
  5. Once you have set up the compressor, you then need to start it up, to do this you need to test it by pulling the safety valve.
  6. You then need to wait a little while for the tank to pressurize.
  7. Look at the specific tool you want to use and find out how much air pressure it needs to be able to work.
  8. Make sure the pressure on the air compressor matches how much pressure the tool needs to work.

California Air Tools 20020AD Ultra Quiet & Oil-Free Air Compressor 2.0 Hp, 20.0 Gal. Steel Tank Air Compressor with Automatic Drain Valve

How long can a 20-Gallon Air Compressor Tank Last?

Air compressors have quite a long life and should be able to last you between 20 to 30 years, which is also equivalent to 40,000 to 60,000 hours of work.

One thing you should look out for is whether or not the air compressor comes with any key features; for instance, some guarantee that they can last up to four times longer, so this is always something you should look out for.

Best 20 Gallon Air Compressors

1.Industrial Air IL1682066.MN – Best 20 Gallon Air Compressor For Painting

Industrial Air IL1682066.MN is designed to handle massive tasks. The quick-set regulator makes this air compressor ideal 20 gal compressor for painting. The quick-set regulator is easy to manipulate.

The lubricated pump features cast iron and V-shaped twin-cylinder for faster heat dissipation and higher durability. This unique design enhances the CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) reading. The included aluminum head and reed valves further aid in the distribution of heat, rendering the machine thermally stable.

The 20-gallon ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) vertical compressor is aimed at maximum portability with front handles, pneumatic tires, and a small footprint, making it easy to use anywhere you want. One significant benefit of this machine is the heavy-duty motor.

Moreover, control functions like a set regulator, pressure gauges, air outlet, and convenient on/off button make this compressor deliver maximum performance.  The 120 volts can be transformed into 240 volts with double performance.

In addition to being an excellent compressor for spray painting, it works well for nail gun applications. Finally, we considered this 20 gal compressor to be a good value for money despite the relatively high price. It works optimally, even in extreme conditions.

In conclusion, IL1682066.MN from Industrial Air features top performance, albeit at a relatively high weight. 

Industrial Air IL1682066.MN 20-Gallon Belt Driven Air Compressor with V-Twin Cylinder



  • It is suitable for both private and industrial demands.
  • The dual voltage makes it appropriate for several applications.
  • It comes with a certified ASME cast iron tank.
  • It is easy to assemble and use.
  • Quite convenient with 135 psi maximum airflow


  • Costly
  • The central belt is aligned unevenly.

2.Industrial Air IT20ASME – Best Air Compressor For Impact Wrench

This multi-functional compressor is ready to use, pre-assembled, and can be used horizontally or vertically.  You can never go wrong with this compressor as its high-quality tank is built for work with impact wrenches, to hold air for long hours, and it is meant to last long.

Additionally, it features top-notch couplers and gauges that operate ideally to make sure that the pump does not leak, making it one of the best 20-gallon compressors in the market. The compressor comes with a twin-cylinder pump, which makes it deliver reliable performance and power.

The pump is made from cast iron with an extra aluminum head and a valve plate, which helps in the dissipation of heat. Industrial Air IT20ASME comes fully assembled out of the box. It is also equipped with a quarter-turn drain valve, allowing for easy and quick draining and maintenance. 

Double Access Assemblies 

The compressor has two air access assemblies. You have an auxiliary air tank to the compressor when the compressor is connected to the airline shut off valve. The air tank can be used as a portable carry tank if the compressor is connected to the coupler.

This compressor has two carry handles, which are welded together. This is to assist in the transportation of the equipment to different work sites. There is also an auxiliary storage tank that you can take along with you if you’re on the move.

The machine is completely versatile and can be used either vertically or horizontally. It has vibration isolators to help protect the pump against mechanical vibrations. The ring base allows for easy storage.


  • Its motor has dual voltage induction enabling it to deliver a stress-free performance.
  • Has pre-attached pneumatic tires for easy installation and transportation.
  • It features onboard controls for easy manipulation.
  • Its dual voltage of 120-volts can be converted into 240-volts, which means double performance.
  • This compressor has front handles for easy transportation to various working sites.


  • The main belt pulley may become misaligned, affecting its performance.
  • It can be quite heavy should the wheels become faulty.

Industrial Air IT20ASME, Portable Receiver Tank, 20 Gal, 175 PSI, Vertical/Horizontal Configuration


3.WEN 2202 Vertical Air CompressorBest 20 Gallon Air Compressor For Air Tools

The WEN 2202 is a very user-friendly air compressor. There’s a lot less hassle involved if you choose this product because it has a fast coupler, a very easy to reach quick drain valve, and two pressure gauges, making it perfect for use with air tools.

One fascinating fact about this air compressor is that it actually comes with a two-year warranty; therefore, if anything goes wrong with it, you should be able to get it quickly repaired for free. The product comes with a handle and two wheels on the front of it, making it very easy to move around should you need to work at a different location with it.

The compressor is 19.5 x 17.5 x 42 inches in size and weighs 86 lbs. We think this air compressor is the best to use with air tools because it is very user-friendly. Plus, it’s’s always reassuring to have an extended warranty term.

  • Quick drain valve
  • Two-year warranty
  • Portable
  • Two pressure gauges

WEN 2202 20-Gallon Oil-Lubricated Portable Vertical Air Compressor


4.Husky Quiet Portable Air Compressor – 175 PSI Air Compressor 

The Husky 20-gallon compressor comes with a very high-performance motor and an oil-less pump. The 1.3 horsepower motor is capable of filling the tank to 125 psi in a few minutes. At the same time, the machine produces 4.0 SCFM (Standard Cubic Feet per Minute) at 90 PSI (Pound per Square Inch).

The compressor maxes out at 175 psi in the tank, which equates to higher project efficiency and longer run times on air tools. The compressor is very compact, only 41.88″ high, and weighing 73 lbs. It’s’s not difficult to move around from job site to job site or on a given site.

It is equipped with 7″ wheels to this end. Thanks to the smart vertical design, the machine has a minimal footprint, 17.35″ depth, and 17.78″ width. This means it won’t take up too much precious floor space. The max PSI of this unit is 175. It is 17.35 x 17.78 x 41.88 inches in size.

The noise level of this particular model is just 83 dBA, which puts the noise level somewhere between a garbage chute and a vacuum cleaner. This is much quieter than most air compressors. 

If you’re wondering whether there will be a lot of assembling to do when you order this compressor, and it arrives at your front door, you can rest assured knowing this will not be the case. Both the pump and motor are assembled and fully enclosed with a shroud to protect all the important components.

You just need to install the wheels to ensure portability. The box comes with a regulator and a female quick connect. Air hoses, which have to be bought, are not included.


When it comes to any machine, a lot of users ask about the maintenance required. It’s normal to inquire about this aspect. This great value for money compressor entails virtually zero maintenance that needs to be done thanks to the oil-free lubrication design.

However, you will have to drain the condensation from the tank from time to time.  This air compressor is also sold with a two-year manufacturer warranty.


A well-priced compressor of this size will have tons of applications – you can use it for anything from light automotive tasks to common inflation needs (such as tires, sports balls, and inflatable toys). Because of the oil-free design, you don’t need an oil separator in the air system. This makes this compressor perfect for DIY projects and household paint.

However, that’s not all this compressor can do. A lot of buyers use it for framing and roofing jobs, cutting and drilling purposes, and finish nailing and stapling. This product is excellent if you need it to run for a very long time, as it is able to provide you with an 80% longer running time compared to most 20-gallon air compressors.

Its sound is only 83 dB, so it is also hushed to run. You won’t have to be concerned with getting any complaints. What is more, the high-quality motor of the air compressor will be able to deliver outstanding results at any job you require. It is easy to move this air compressor around on the attached wheels.

All in all, this air compressor is a great option because it’s’s affordable, easy to transport, and has a longer running time than most other air compressors in this category.

The Advantages

  • Requires only 15 amps and 120 volts to work
  • No extra electrical work needed onsite – any 120-volt outlet will work
  • Very quiet
  • Well priced 
  • Good quality materials
  • Runs for a very long time
  • Portable
  • Suitable for big jobs as well as little jobs

5.NorthStar Belt Drive Single-Stage – Best 20 Gallon Air Compressor For Home Garage

This quiet, yet amazingly powerful and robust compressor from NorthStar is ASME-certified and made from highly durable cast iron material. Although it is compact, it is strong and powerful enough to be run in any garage, workshop, and even commercial facility. It can handle light tasks such as operating an airbrush, a brad nailer, or an air ratchet spray gun.

NorthStar Single-Stage Portable Electric Air Compressor - 2 HP, 20-Gallon Vertical, 5.0 CFM


Functions and Features 

Apart from being ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) certified, this product comes with an integrated regulator, high-quality air filters, a dual crankshaft, and regulator valves that are made of heat-resistant alloy steel.

The unit also comes with solid tires to support it in moving the unit from one point to another, hence making it easy to move around the garage, the packaging includes a sizable cord.

The machine comes with two V-styled cast-iron cylinders, which help to ensure that there is proper heat transfer and that no heat loss occurs between the two cylinders. Cast iron material is key because excessive heat is a threat to the pump lifespan. 

This is a very quiet compressor with just 80 decibels. Your neighbors will never file a complaint. The silent functioning is made possible due to the fact that the unit is belt-driven, and there is an oil-lubricated pump, which is pivotal to the pump’s lifespan. The pump life of this compressor is approximately 5000 hours. 

Dual Voltage Induction Motor

The two hp dual voltage motor is impressive with 5 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) @ 90 PSI (Pound per Square Inch). This makes it powerful enough to power most pneumatic tools. Moreover, the motor is designed to work in any weather conditions making sure that the compressor runs consistently.

The motor operates at 115 volts, although you can change it to 230 via minor adjustments to the wiring, which doubles the performance.

NorthStar Belt Drive Single-Stage is definitely a superior, well-crafted model with durable parts that are easy to use and assemble. Together with high-quality performance, this brings it on our list of the best 20-gallon air compressors.


  • induction motor, which has dual voltage.
  • A duty cycle of 100%.
  • It has a vertical tank that allows for a manual drain system.
  • Made of durable, cast iron materials
  • relatively quiet at 80dB


  • It is relatively heavy and expensive when compared to similar models.
  • It requires regular maintenance such as refilling and changing oil.

6. Honorable Mention: P1.5IU-A9 2hp 20 gal – Single-Stage Portable Air Compressor  

This air compressor is perfect for DIY and professional applications thanks to its heavy-duty, ergonomic handle and semi-pneumatic tires for secure handling. It emits just 80 dBA of noise and features an automatic start/stop pressure switch control.

The side drain valve is easily accessible. 100% continuous duty is guaranteed.  A very long life cycle is provided by the durable cast iron cylinder and frame, manual overload motor protection, and protective enclosed belt guard.

Operation is highly reliable with synthetic lubricant for all seasons that increases efficiency and 2,000 hours of service between change-outs. This compressor performs four times longer than those using petroleum-based oils.

P1.5IU-A9 2hp 20 gal Single-Stage Compressor (115/1)


  • Portable Design: Heavy-duty, ergonomic handle and semi-pneumatic tires for secure handling, ideal for DIYers or the professional
  • User Friendly: A low 80 dBA noise level, an easily accessible side drain valve and an automatic start/stop pressure switch control provides a superior user experience
  • Maximum Power: 100% continuous duty, along with 20-gallon receiver tank for severe applications
  • Reliable Operation: All Season Select synthetic lubricant increases efficiency; with 2,000 hours of service between change-outs, it performs four times longer than petroleum-based lubricants
  • Long-Life: Durable cast iron cylinder and frame, protective enclosed belt guard and manual overload motor protection provide excellent longevity

Frequently Asked Questions 

We will answer some FAQs in this section. 

Is a 20-Gallon Air Compressor Suitable for Business Use?

All of the compressors we’ve reviewed here are suitable for business and home use. Generally, it depends on CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) requirements. Each air compressor indicates the max CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) output it can generate.

Its CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) output has to meet requirements so that each tool will operate without issue and efficiently. If you have an air tool based shop, for example, you will need about 5 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) per employee.

A 0.5-inch impact wrench will need around 5 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) at 90 PSI (Pound per Square Inch). Hence, your compressor’s CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) should be higher than that.

It follows that if you have two workers operating these wrenches at the same time, you will need at least 10 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute). The use pattern for these tools is to use them for about 25 seconds and then stop while the tier is changed. Body shop mechanics might need sanders and grinders for 25 minutes peruse.

You need to know how you’ll be using the machine because you need higher CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) at constant usage levels.

What is the Average Life Span of a 20 Gallon Air Compressor?

Generally, there are no guidelines about when to retire an air compressor. At least we haven’t found much info in our practice and research.

Unless the condensation in the tank has flakes of rust in it, the air seals are still holding, and the motor is going strong. Of course, an air compressor used in a commercial facility will last much shorter than one that’s kept indoors in a hobbyist’s shop, especially if you are taking good care of it.

On this note, always drain the tank after you use the compressor. Keeping the cast-iron surfaces inside the tank dry will extend the life cycle. The air seals are impacted positively by depressurizing the machine when not in use.

If the tank develops a pinhole leak or the motor dies, it’s time to start shopping for a new one. Until then, you shouldn’t have any worries.

An example – a 25-year-old compressor is considered to be almost brand new. Experts say compressors made back in the 1970s are still going strong. Of course, older machines may have undergone restoration to keep working as well as they are. You need to change the oil every year if your device is oil-based and put in a new set of reed valves.

Also, drain the condensed water from the tank at least several times a year. You might need to replace the belt.  Some shops still run WW II era compressors. A shipping building we know of is currently running a compressor that was made before the war. They still work, but the staff makes efforts to keep them serviced. 

Size Does Matter 

No matter which model you choose, take care of it, and it will take care of you for many years to come. If it runs on oil, let it run dry once in a while, and you’ll need a new one before you can ask yourself what you’ve done.

This is why oil-free options like the ones reviewed here are best. We hope this article has been helpful. Thank you for reading! 

Briggs & Stratton 20-Gallon Air Compressor, Vertical 074064-00

 out of stock
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  • 20-gallon vertical air tank with 150 max PSI; 4.8 CFM at 40 PSI, 3.7 CFM at 90 PSI
  • 1.5 horsepower induction motor, oil free pump
  • Reinforced handle/frame designed to protect the motor housing
  • 20-gallon vertical air tank with 150 max PSI; 4.8 CFM at 40 PSI, 3.7 CFM at 90 PSI
  • Large handle and tough wheels help maneuver through any jobsite

WEN 2202 20-Gallon Oil-Lubricated Portable Vertical Air Compressor

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  • Provides air flow rates of 3.8 CFM at 90 PSI and 5.0 CFM at 40 PSI
  • 20-gallon tank constructed with reinforced steel for a maximum pressure of 135 PSI
  • Features an easy-to-reach quick drain valve, 1/4-inch NPT quick coupler and two pressure gauges
  • Onboard handle and wheels make transportation to the job site easier than ever
  • Backed by a two-year warranty

Porter Cable PXCMF220VW 20-Gallon Portable Air Compressor

$399.01  in stock
3 new from $399.01
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  • 5.0 CFM at 40 psi and 4.0 CFM at 90 psi with 1.5 RHP
  • 150 Max PSI; Running Horsepower: 1.5 ;Lubrication: Oil-Free Motor Typ
  • 20 gallon tank/UL and CSA certified unit; Twin-V cast iron pump.Tank Material:Steel
  • 7" semi-pneumatic wheels for mobility & rubber feet for stabilization
  • Equipped with regulator, gauges, andquick connect.Decibel Rating (Outdoor):84 dBA

STEALTH SAQ-12018 Professional 20 Gal Air Compressor

$499.00  in stock
2 new from $499.00
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  • ✦【ULTRA QUIET & 3 TIMES LONG LIFE】STEALTH innovative quiet system air compressor have been tested to be up to 80% quieter and qualify to 3 times longer life than standard induction motors
  • ✦【POWERFUL & 20 GALLON CAPACITY】High quality induction motor generates the 1. 8 horsepower power, time of recharge the air tank from empty to full only 70 seconds. 20 Gallon capacity enable your innovation work continue without break
  • ✦【ULTRA QUIET SERIES& LONG LIFE CYCLE】Working noise only 68 decibels, ultra quiet and long-life cycle working hours more than 1000H. More quieter and save more money and time to replace new device
  • ✦【DIVERSITY and VERSATILE】Peak 150 PSI, 6 CFM @ 40 PSI and 5 CFM @ 90PSI, Support inflation, finishing nailer , angle grinder, cut-off tool, impact wrenches, drill, hammer, chisel, sander, polisher, crease air tools etc
  • ✦【EASY COLD START & STURDY】Support cold weather start and low voltage start. Housing structure build with Q235B alloy metal heavy duty design, Pass ETL certification. 8 inch rubber reinforced wheels features easily mobility

Industrial Air IL1682066.MN 20-Gallon Belt Driven Air Compressor with V-Twin Cylinder

$651.00  in stock
3 new from $651.00
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  • 1. 6 HP, dual-Voltage, induction motor wired for standard 120-Volt outlet and convertible to 240-Volt applications
  • 135 max psi
  • Delivers 6. 2 CFM at 40 psi and 5. 3 CFM at 90 PSI
  • Cast-iron, 20 Gal. vertical tank
  • V-twin, cast-iron, oil-lubricated pump

Air Compressor, Portable, Horizontal, 20 Gallon, Oil-Free, 4 CFM @ 90 PSI, 150 PSI (Campbell Hausfeld DC200000)

$519.95  in stock
8 new from $519.95
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  • 20 Gallon portable air compressor with horizontal design for easy transportation
  • Durable oil free pump provides extended, hassle-free operation
  • Max Pressure of 150 PSI and delivery of 4 CFM @ 90 PSI
  • Steel handle & large wheels provide portability
  • Optimally placed, easy to read panel for complete control of air manipulation