The best small air compressors are compact, but at the same time powerful and astonishingly resilient.
Those who know a bit about air compressors may predict that the pitch will again be dominated by what I like calling the Holy Trinity of Compressed Air Solutions – Ingersoll Rand, Atlas Copco, and Quincy.
However, you may be surprised to find out that the big players in the field of small air compressors are none of them.
The candidates will be selected against strict criteria. Moreover, we will choose the best small air compressor based on price, features, reliability, psi rating, and best application.
In other words, some small air compressors are great for dust blowing, others do a great job powering nail guns, and there are some that are used with impact wrenches.
In the table below you can see the selected product, its manufacturer, the maximum pressure it can generate, its air delivery (CFM), whether it’s got a tank or not, how big it is, and also the compressor’s best use.
Then, there is a Buyer’s Guide that provides some valuable insights into what exactly you should be looking for when purchasing a small air compressor.
In the FAQ section, you can find the answers to some of the hottest questions about small compressed air solutions that are currently circulating online.
|Product name||Manufacturer||PSI Max.||CFM / SCFM||HP||Tank Size||Best Use / Feature||Price|
|Makita MAC2400||Makita||130||4.2 at 90 PSI||2.5||4.2 Gallons||Quiet operation||More Details|
|Porter-Cable C2002||Porter-Cable||150||2.6 at 90 PSI||8||6 Gallons||Best value for money||More Details|
|MASTER G22||Master Airbrush||60||0.7||1.5||0.92 Gallons||For powering airbrushes||More Details|
|DEWALT D55146||DeWalt||225||SCFM at 90 PSI||1.6||4.5 Gallons||Highest CFM||More Details|
|. Eagle EA-5000||Eagle||125||5 at 90 PSI||2||5.5 Gallons||For powering up impact wrenches||More Details|
|Bostitch BTFP02012||Bostitch||150||2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI||1.5||6 Gallons||For home / garage use||More Details|
|Excell U256PPE||Excell||150||2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI||1.5||6 Gallons||For nail guns||More Details|
|DEWALT D55153FR||DeWalt||125||3.8 CFM at 100 PSI||1.1||4 Gallons||For framing nail guns||More Details|
|Hitachi KNT50AB||Hitachi||150||2.8 CFM at 90 PSI||1.0||6 Gallons||For finishing nail guns||More Details|
|Dynaplug Micro Pro Inflator||Dynaplug||100||0.60 CFM at 0 PSI||0.073||No||For UTV||More Details|
|EPAuto 12V DC Digital Tire Inflator||EPAuto||70||1.06 CFM||Not specified||No||For inflating car tires||More Details|
|Viair 00073 70P||VIAIR||100||1.06CFM at 0 PSI||Not specified||No||The best electric air compressor||More Details|
|CAT-1P1060S||California Air Tools||120||1.20 CFM at 90 PSI||0.6||1.0 Gallon||Best for cleaning||More Details|
|Studio Series Ninja Jet||Iwata-Medea||18||0.25 CFM at 0 PSI||0.12||No||Tankless||More Details|
|Studio Series Ninja Jet||Porter-Cable||150 psi||2.0 SCFM at 90 PSI||0.8||1.5 Gallon||The most powerful small air compressor||More Details|
1.Makita MAC2400 – The Best Small Quiet Air Compressor
Makita’s 2.5HP Air Compressor features Makita’s unique Big Bore™ pump cylinder and a heavy-duty piston for maximum output.
Thus, it can easily power up to two nail guns while at the same time providing quieter working environment on the job site.
Despite its small size, the MAC2400 compressor delivers industrial power and better results because of its enhanced durability.
Our rigorous tests have confirmed that it can easily cope with some pretty rough job site conditions.
MAC2400’s heart is a 2.5 HP motor that guarantees its continuous operation and high productivity. At the same time The Makita Big Bore™ pump with cast iron cylinder has greater bore and stroke for higher maximum compression.
Additionally, the big-bore provides a shorter recovery time, and make the air compressor less noisy. Further,the cast-iron structure is designed for the ultimate durability even under rough weather conditions.
MAC2400’s oil-lubricated pump is equipped with a large filter that maximizes the air intake and provides greater productivity.
We were pleased to find out that the MAC2400 air compressor runs cooler and at half the RPM of most of its competitors. It thus has a longer life-span of the motor and the pump.
The compressor’s 4.2-gallon twin-stacked tank can hold a maximum operating pressure of 130 PSI and delivers 4.2 CFM at 90 PSI, which is enough to power two pneumatic tools at the same time.
The low AMP draw reduces the chance of experiencing tripped breakers and voltage-drops that is the main cause of premature motor failure.
The roll-bar handle increases the unit’s portability and provides additional protection for its components.
The MAC2400 air compressor also has a convenient oil drain and oil sight glass, while its tank-drain valve supersedes the standard petcock design and provides even easier maintenance.
In addition, its finned discharge tubing dissipates heat more efficiently.
- Large automotive-style high-quality air filter
- Durable cast- iron cylinder
- Longer motor and pump life
- This little boy is quite heavy
2.Porter-Cable C2002 – The Best Small Air Compressor For Your Money
It wasn’t easy to name the best small air compressor for your money. For one thing, all of the products reviewed below excel in one field or another.
Porter-Cable’s C2002 model was named the best buy on this list mainly for its veracity, well-complemented by its affordable retail price.
The reviews of this model are just as varied, ranging from full five stars to just two stars.
However, there are relatively few users on the web who demonstrate utter dissatisfaction with this product and give it only one star.
Porter-Cable’s 150-psi 6-gallon oil-less pancake compressor is the biggest boy in the small air compressors’ league.
It is designed with a pancake-style tank for maximum stability while in use. This model also features a water drain valve and strengthened rubber feet.
The high-pressure design of the tank maximizes your air tools’ performance. This unit is capable of delivering 2.6 SCFM at 90 psi and has got a relatively quick recovery time.
The oil-free pump requires little maintenance and has a longer life span. The integrated cord wrap is meant to facilitate the compressor’s transportation.
- The low-amp 120-V motor starts easily in cold weather
- Only 30 lbs. in weight
- Very stable
- Some users have reported problems with the pop-off safety valve
3.MASTER G22 – The Best Small Air Compressor for Airbrush
Master Airbrush’s model G22 features high-quality components that have been designed for efficient operation.
At the same time, they provide exceptional atomization and accurate spray control. This model is very versatile because it works well with most paint tools and surfaces.
If you remove the needle and nozzle caps you will be able to spray a wider range of textures and achieve stippling effects.
This combo unit can spray a hairline up to a 1-1/2-inch-wide pattern. The air compressor’s model is Airbrush-Depot TC-20T with tank.
It has got a 1.5-HP motor that enables it to deliver higher air volume (CFM) and air pressure (PSI) for a longer period of time.
At the same time, this combo unit is very portable thanks to its compact design. The built-in carrying handle provides easier transportation and storage.
The “True Diaphragm” pressure regulator allows for an exceptionally-precise adjustment.
Also, the gauge and water trap filter provide precise adjustment of the airflow. The motor automatically shuts off when the pressure in the tank reaches 60 PSI. It turns on again at 35 PSI.
- Works with most paint tools
- Can power several airbrushes at the same time
- High-quality manufacturing
- Users have reported missing items in the start-up pack
4.DEWALT D55146 – The Best High-CFM Small Air Compressor
This undeniably is the most powerful small air compressor on our list.
It is capable of generating a massive 225 PSI maximum air pressure and delivers the astonishing 5.0 SCFM at 90 PSI despite its small 1.5-HP motor.
This model’s vertical stand and the collapsible handle make it very ergonomic and easy to transport or store.
Transportation is further facilitated by the 10-inch non-flat foam tires.
At the same time, this unit’s 78 dBA operational noise level makes it one of the quietest air compressors with such high productivity.
Its dual air couples allow workers to simultaneously use up to three framing nail guns or two roofing nail guns.
This versatile model can be used for both small framing projects and larger remodeling projects.
DEWALT’s D55146 is the perfect compressor to choose if you need a lot of power from a unit that requires very little maintenance.
- High-quality components manufactured by DeWalt
- The highest CFM on our list
- The highest maximum PSI on our list
- The product’s warranty is just one year
5.Eagle EA-5000 – The Best Small Air Compressor For Impact Wrench
An impact wrench is a power tool used for loosening or tightening lug nuts, large bolts, and frozen or rusted fasteners. It is therefore indispensable on the construction site or in the garage.
To work, an impact wrench often requires a sustainable airflow provided by a reliable and yet compact air compressor.
After hours of rigorous testing, we arrived at the conclusion that Eagle’s EA-5000 is the best small air compressor for powering your impact wrench.
This unit has an oil-free double-piston pump and a 2-HP electric motor that is very quiet. It can generate 125 PSI maximum pressure and deliver the incredible 5 CFM airflow at 90 PSI.
The two wheels on both sides of the unit and the comfortable handle make this compressor portable, yet very stable.
The sleek, steel face offers extra protection for the pressure gauges. The compressor also features a maintenance-free oil-less head and a lever-type drain valve.
The two couplers allow users to power two impact wrenches at the same time.
- Incredibly powerful for its size
- Very mobile
- Manufactured from top-quality materials
- The output may drop over time
6.Bostitch BTFP02012 – The Best Small Air Compressor For Your Home
The BTFP02012 model by Bostitch resembles very much Porter-Cable’s C2002 pancake compressor that was reviewed above.
Here, we again have a 6-gallon pancake tank that can hold a maximum pressure of 150 PSI. This makes BTFP02012 a very robust unit, perfect for your DIY projects, or for the garage.
Its 1.5-HP electric motor delivers 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI and has no problem starting up in cold weather.
This compressor has a high flow regulator and two universal couplers to easily support two air tools at the same time.
The manufacturer says that this unit is easy to carry and store, as it weighs in at just 29 lbs.
Yet, we would have liked to see a couple of wheels on this model for easier transportation. Their absence, however, means that this compressor is very stable when in operation.
- Quiet operation
- High-output electric motor
- High flow regulator and couplers for optimal air tool performance
- Ear protection is required when you depressurize the tank
7.Excell U256PPE – The Best Small Air Compressor For Nail Gun
Nail guns are very useful when one wants to build a hut in the mountain or fix their fence so that the neighbor’s dog doesn’t ravage their garden.
Yet, what’s the best compressor to power up all of the different nail gun models out there?
Our tireless experts and testers have established that Excell’s U256PPE model is the best small air compressor for such applications.
This 6-gallon pancake compressor looks a bit ruggedized, perched on its two rubber-clad stands.
Yet, we had to admit that its universal pump requires very little maintenance while the 1.5-HP motor generates 2.8 SCFM @ 90 PSI.
Also, the 6-gallon tank can hold up to 150 PSI of maximum air pressure.
The motor’s low voltage start-up capability of 64V makes this model very suitable for projects in rural areas, where the power supply may be unstable.
The fully enclosed motor and pump components are well-protected from job site abuse while the ergonomic handle provides job site mobility.
Yet, like all other pancake models, this is a wheel-less unit which makes it a bit clumsy to move around.
- Extremely versatile
- Guaranteed start-up in cold weather
- Conveniently located control panel
- Some users say this model isn’t very stable
8.DEWALT D55153FR – The Best Small Air Compressor For Framing Nail Gun
Retailers say that buying this combo kit saves you up to 100 dollars as opposed to purchasing the air compressor alone.
Yet, DeWalt’s D55153 model with a 1.1-horsepower electric overload-protected motor provides all the air you may need plus a bunch of extra features into a small, compact unit.
This little beast is capable of delivering 3.8 CFM at 100 psi, while the 4-gallon tank can retain 125 PSI maximum pressure.
The manufacturer also vows that all fittings are made in the USA. Next comes the pump. In the D55153 model, the pump is oil-lubricated and comes with a cast-iron cylinder.
The compressor comes with an initial fill of DeWalt’s special synthetic air compressor oil, plus an oil regulator.
DeWalt’s round-head framing nail gun combo kit has enough power to sink nails into the hardest building wood.
At the same time, it weighs in at just 7.6 pounds, as titanium and magnesium have been used for its manufacturing.
This has added to its initial durability to withstand extreme job site conditions. In addition, at 12-3/4-inches tall, the nail gun is compact enough to drive nails in even the tightest apertures.
DeWalt’s internal valve design generates plenty of power with minimum recoil for driving nails into hard surfaces For lighter jobs.
Such as sheathing and decking, the nail depth is controlled with the innovative tool-free pushbutton adjustment.
It eliminates the need for special wrenches or changes to air pressure to some nail heads flush.
Designed with input from professional framers, this versatile combo kit by DeWalt boasts other unique features such as a pending quick-release jam-clearing mechanism.
A reversible rafter/belt hook, an impact-resistant cast-titanium exhaust plate, and an injection-molded rubber grip.
This framing nail gun can hold up to sixty 20-degree full round-head nails ranging from 2 to 3-1/2 inches in length and up to 0.148 inches in diameter.
- Excellent value for your money
- Incredibly powerful for its size
- Good nail-holding capacity
- We could not find any recent user reviews on this item
9.Hitachi KNT50AB – The Best Small Air Compressor For Finishing Nail Gun
This combo kit by Hitachi includes the popular NT50AE2 2″ 18-gauge brad nail gun that is both lightweight and well-balanced for easy transportation.
What we are particularly interested in is the EC710S 6-gallon oil-free pancake compressor that delivers reliable and steady performance and can operate multiple nail guns depending on the job’s requirements.
Its 1-HP electric motor is powerful enough to generate 150 PSI of max working pressure for longer run times of your finishing nail guns.
The operational air delivery is set at 2.8 CFM at 90 PSI. the ergonomically-designed simple flip actuation switch lets the user easily select bump fire or sequential fire modes.
In the package, you can also find a lightweight 25′ x 1/4″ Hybrid Air Hose with industrial fittings.
The hose is spirally-reinforced for extra durability. It features some heavy-duty bend restrictors that allow it to remain flexible in extremely cold weather.
In the kit, there are a couple of safety goggles and some pneumatic tool lubricant.
The combo kit also has a tool-less, easy to clear nose for quick and simple nail extraction should a nail jam during operation. The elastomer grip adds comfort and facilitates the combo kit’s transportation.
- Comfortable grip for easy towing around the job site
- Easy to clear nose for quick and simple nail extraction
- Ergonomically-designed simple flip actuation switch
- Issues with the spring-loading mechanism have been reported
10.Dynaplug Micro Pro Inflator – The Best Small Air Compressor For Your UTV
UTVs, or utility task vehicles, are off-road vehicles that can seat between two and people. There are larger models that can seat up to six people.
UTV’s are generally designed for rougher terrain, on which they still have enough power to haul massive loads.
Needless to say, these workhorses with an engine have equally massive tires, which need to be pumped up every once in a while.
After a long and thorough search, our tireless experts managed to dig out a really special air compressor – the formidable Micro Pro Inflator by Dynaplug!
This unique device includes features that are an industry first.
It is a small but durable tire-inflation system that would meet and exceed your expectations!
This is a powerful and extremely lightweight tire inflator that can deliver steady and reliable airflow.
It will quickly and easily inflate all UTV tire models thanks to its Zero-Loss inflation valve. The inflator comes with a polyurethane heavy-duty air hose and a bright LED work light.
The four different types of power cords mean that you’ll always be able to connect to the power grid where such exists. All components of his unit fit neatly into the zipper case made of ultra-strong ballistic nylon
- Delivers incredible inflating power for its small size
- Manufactured with unrivaled precision
- Can be operated at night thanks to its LED light
- Only one year of limited warranty
11.EPAuto 12V DC Digital Tire Inflator – The Best Small Air Compressor For Car Tires
EPAuto’s Digital Tire Inflator is a must-have device for every active driver. It plugs directly into your car’s cigarette lighter socket.
It is powered by 12V DC and generates 10 to 15 amps draw at startup. This inflator’s power output is between 120 and 180W.
This small air compressor is incredibly versatile – it can inflate car tires, but also the tires or your motorbike or your sedan.
Our testers found out it copes reasonably well with mid-sized SUV tires.
It comes with a number of extra adapters, such as short/long-cone adapters for your kayak.
With a maximum PSI of just 70, you cannot expect this compressor to inflate the tires of your small truck. If you try to do it, the overheat protection will kick in and the compressor will shut off.
- Very versatile
- Comes with multiple adapters
- Easy to use
- The threads inside the attachment hose are quite soft
12.Viair 00073 70P – The Best Small Electric Air Compressor
Viair’s 70P model is the best small electric air compressor that our testers could find online for the time being.
Its best application is as a tire inflator, and it can inflate tires of up to 225/60/R18 in size.
All you have to do is plug it into your cigarette lighter power port (Max: 15A/180W), connect it to a valve stem and turn it on!
While pumping up your vehicle’s tires, you can monitor the pressure using the gauge on top of the unit.
The manufacturer recommends that you should always check your vehicle’s power port rating for maximum amperage before ordering this product.
Also, we found out that the 70P model does not fit on Presta bicycle valves unless used with a Presta valve adapter.
The unit comes with a 16-feet power cord and a 4-feet hose and weighs just over 5 lbs.
This small air compressor has an electric motor with a 30-min duty cycle at 30 PSI.
It is capable of generating maximum working pressure of 100 PSI and has a maximum amperage/watt draw of 15A/180W. You can operate this unit in temperatures between -4°F and +158°F.
- Thermal overload protection
- Vibration Isolators
- Deluxe carry bag
- Does not fit on Presta bicycle valves
13.CAT-1P1060S – The Best Small Air Compressor For Cleaning
California Air Tools’ CAT-1P1060S model is a light and quiet portable air compressor that is ideal for blowing sawdust away in your carpentry or furniture workshop.
Frankly speaking, you cannot want much more from a unit with a tank capacity of just one gallon. The tank itself can hold a maximum pressure of 120 PSI.
Its 0.6-HP electric motor has a noise level of just 56 DB when in operation and is capable of generating 1.2 CFM at 90 PSI.
the motor power up a single-piston, oil-free pump that requires little maintenance.
The manufacturer vows that the motor is powerful enough to support staple guns, brad nail guns, finish nail guns, airbrushes, and blowguns.
However, we recommend that you use it for lighter jobs such as cleaning, inflating car tires, beds, toys, and sports balls.
The whole unit weighs in at 29.5 lbs and has got an ergonomic handle for portability.
Its small, horizontal tank is mounted on four rubber-clad stands, although this model also has a wheeled version.
- Ultra-quiet operation
- Great for your garage
- Generates less heat
- There are practically no reviews on this product on Amazon
14.Ninja Jet – The Best Small Tankless Air Compressor
Iwata’s Studio Series Ninja Jet compressor is powerful, compact and quiet. Its oil-less piston motor requires almost no maintenance and its retail price is also quite reasonable.
This product is built to work with the finest airbrushes made by Iwata. They are used for nail art or for decoration of gigantic wedding cakes.
The low-pressure option allows you to use this compressor for body art and cosmetics as well.
We were a bit disappointed to find out that this particular model comes without a built-in air pressure gauge.
This small air compressor by Iwata is suitable for mobile or occasional use for up to 30-min sessions.
You should allow the motor to rest for at least 20 minutes after each cycle of continuous use. The compressor also comes with a built-in airbrush holder and a Pressure Adjustment knob.
Its 3m (10′) coiled vinyl hose is designed for great flexibility and durability.
15.PORTER-CABLE CMB15 – The Most Powerful Small Air Compressor
At the bottom of our table sits the most powerful small air compressor that you can currently buy online and it is made by one of the most reputed compressor manufacturers out there.
Porter-Cable. Best of all, this unit is oil-free and you’ll hardly ever need to fix it.
Its 0.8 HP electric motor generates 2.0 SCFM at 90 PSI, while the max PSI is set at 150. This is sufficient airflow to power up two or three medium-duty pneumatic tools at one and the same time.
The motor on this little beast runs on a 120V power supply and has a very low amp draw at startup. In addition, it starts without any problems even in sub-zero temperatures.
While the two compressors reviewed above are tankless, this one has got a 1.5-gallon tank. However, you cannot see it on the picture.
Because the tank is fully shrouded. This allows the compressor to be carried around the job site without any problems.
This compressor comes with a 25-feet coil hose and an 8-piece accessory kit that facilitates a number of inflation tasks.
While testing it, we were impressed by the low recovery time that this small but extremely powerful air compressor shows.
- The most powerful small air compressor
- This oil-free unit requires little maintenance
- Quiet operation at 79 DB
- The warranty is only one year
Buyer’s Guide: How To Choose A Small Air Compressor?
Choosing the best small air compressor is not an easy task. For one thing, there isn’t a single unit that clearly stands out in the crowd.
One look at the table above reveals that the field of small air compressors is greatly diversified and each of the reviewed products is highly specialized.
In view of the above considerations, we can conclude that your choice of a small air compressor should be motivated first and foremost by the specific task you have to do.
If, for example, you are planning to open a beauty salon, you may need the Iwata’s Studio Series Ninja Jet compressor, which is powerful, compact and quiet.
If you are an outdoor enthusiast and a 4×4 maniac, you must have the mega-powerful Micro Pro Inflator by Dynaplug for everything that the rugged terrain you are trying to conquer has to throw at you.
For more common tire-inflating tasks you may choose the less powerful and affordable Digital Tire Inflator by EPAuto.
If, on the other hand, you want to have a truly universal soldier that can inflate anything from car tires to garden inflatable tools.
You should think of a compressor like Viair’s 70P model – the best small electric air compressors that our testers could find online.
For heavier-duty jobs, we recommend the Porter-Cable’s CMB15 model, or Porter-Cable C2002, which is the best small unit for your money.
Finally, if you need an air compressor to power your impact wrench or nail gun, you may look at some of the specific models reviewed above.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below you can find the answers to some of the most topical questions about small air compressors that are currently circulating online.
1.How Much Is A Small Compressor?
Depending on their application, the price range of small air compressors is really wide – from around $ 50 (most inflators and light-duty units) to just under $500 (larger, heavier-duty models).
2.What Is The Best Small Air Compressor?
- Porter-Cable C2002 – The Best Small Air Compressor for Your Money
- PORTER-CABLE CMB15 – The Most Powerful Small Air Compressor
- Bostitch BTFP02012 – The Best Small Air Compressor for Your Home / Garage
3.What Size Air Compressor Do I Need?
It depends on what exactly you need it for. For heavier jobs, you should choose one of the larger and more powerful compressors reviewed above. For lighter tasks, you should go for a cheaper and less powerful unit.
4. What’s The Smallest Air Compressor For Air Tools?
Iwata’s Studio Series Ninja Jet compressor is the smallest air compressor on our list.
5. What’s The Best-rated Small Air Compressor?
With a rating of 4.3 out of five, the DEWALT D55146 model is the best-rated small air compressor on our list.
In the paragraphs above we took a closer look at some of the best small air compressors currently available online.
The field of larger air compressors is dominated by three to five manufacturers, while the competition in the world of small air compressors is much tougher:
With such cut-throat competition in the field, it is not a surprise that the price range of small air compressors can be really wide (see the FAQ section above).
Yet, when choosing such a unit, you should first and foremost assess the difficulty of the task you are planning to carry out and the capacity of the air tools that you will need.
You do not want to select a too powerful air compressor for a light job, as you would be trying to kill a mocking bird with a gun for elephants.
To avoid such awkward situations, you should consult the shop assistants at your local hardware store or the online retailer. Of course, you can always reach out to us and read our expert reviews!