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Best Gas Air Compressor [Portable & Affordable]

Gas Air Compressors

A gas air compressor, also known as a gas powered air compressor, is an air compressor that uses a gasoline engine to drive its compressor pump. The best gas air compressor will be durable, feature a compact design, and will even be able to be used indoors. In this article, we will take a look at the top gas powered air compressors and recommend them based on cost, noise level, PSI, CFM, and of course, HP.

At the bottom of this article, you’ll find a buyers guide. In this section, we’ll explain it all. It’ll have all the information you need to know about the gas air compressor.

Gas Powered Air Compressors Can Work Anywhere

Are you looking for a reliable gas air compressor for jobs in remote areas where connection to electricity is an issue? If so, a gasoline-powered air compressor would be a good fit for you. Many businesses, including mobile service technicians and general mechanics,  find this type of compressor handy for its portability and minimal operating costs.

Best Gas-Powered Air Compressors 

Product nameBest FeatureHPTank SizePrice
DeWalt DXCMTA5090412208-CC engine from Subaru6.04 gallonsMore Details
Industrial Air Contractor CTA5090412 5-Horsepower Honda OHC/OHV gas engine 5.0 4 gallonsMore Details
Ingersoll-Rand SS3J5.5GH-WBNoise level of 20db 5.5 8 gallonsMore Details
NorthStar Gas-Powered Air Compressor24.4 CFM @ 90 PSI 12 30 gallonsMore Details
Makita MAC5501G 5.5Powerful Honda GX160 4-stroke engine 5.5 10 gallonsMore Details

Are Gas Powered Air Compressors Portable?

Gas air compressors are more portable than their electrically-powered counterparts because they don’t require the use of cords or electrical outlets. With a gas-powered air compressor, you can use your air tools anywhere you desire to work, from working on the house, on the car, or on the job site. Gas air compressors are perfect for maximizing portability and can be used in anywhere, even places without access to electricity.

How Do Gas Air Compressors Work?

The operation of gas air compressors are simple. There is a gasoline powered engine that turns an air pump either directly or by using a pully or gear system. The engines on a gas air compressor is similar to one that you would find on a lawnmower.

How Loud Are Gas Air Compressors?

Pretty loud. Think about it. These things have engine, and engines are always going to be louder than an electric motor. Unfortunately, the loud noise of these machines doesn’t work well for use around the house. Home improvement and construction contractors, however, will find that they are well suited for such an application.

This makes sense because if no one is home, there is no one to complain about the noise. The average air pressure for these models is between 90 and 100 PSI. For reference, a tool like a paint sprayer gun may only require 40 PSI or so. Some devices, such as a grease gun, need as much as 150 PSI. 

1.DeWalt DXCMTA5090412 – Best Gas Air Compressor For The Money 

DeWalt has always been a favorite brand for many contractors as a high-quality power tool. The DeWalt DXCMTA5090412 is no acceptation. This air compressor has all the professional features that a DIY enthusiast would want. 

Lightweight, Economical, And Reliable Gas Air Compressor

Instrumental in this air compressors unrivaled performance is the 208 CC (Cubic Centimetre) engine. This power plant combines economy and reliability by having excellent fuel efficiency and minimal maintenance requirements. The DeWalt DX Series 6 HP engine runs an oil-free, direct-drive air compressor pump. The result is a steady 5.0 CFM at 90 psi or 6.9 CFM at 40 psi. We also recognize the respectable portability of this product, which weighs in at only 74 pounds.

Built To Last And Backed Up By DeWalt

This machine really excels in rough environments. This is thanks to it’s cast iron sleeve and sturdy construction. Don’t forget that this reliable gas air compressor also comes with a 1-year limited warranty, which is good enough, considering that this is an older model that already has a proven track record of reliability. The unit comes with tool and tank pressure gauges, a one hand quick-connector, and 1/4″ regulator. 

Attractive And Strong Design Gas Air Compressor

Another thing we really liked about this air compressor was its design. I mean, look at it. You really know a DeWalt product when you see one. They are known for having really well manufactured products that can stand up to the test of time while also looking great.

Pros

Pros

  • Durable 
  • Compact
  • Suitable for indoor jobs
  • Easy to maintain

Cons

Cons

  • Relatively expensive 

 

2.Industrial Air Contractor CTA5090412 – Cheap Gas Air Compressor 

Meet the Industrial Air Contractor CTA5090412. This air compressor’s value lies in its compact design and user-friendly features. For weighing only about 75 lbs, the performance of this model is suprising. It’s quite the little machine, measuring only 24″ by “22 by 19.8”.

Excellent Engine Performance

The secret behind the performance of the machine is it’s 5 HP Honda engine. This engine provides sustainable performance backed by excellent service from the manufacturer. The engine works smoothly and start up quickly, even in colder temperatures. 

Overhead Cam/Overhead Valve Engine

This power plant in this air compressor features overhead valves similar to ones you’d find in a car. This modern gasoline engine powers a patented low maintenance air pump with a 155 PSI maximum rating. It’s capable of delivering 5.0 CFM at 90 PSI. The compressor kicks on at around 125 PSI to keep the tank full. 

Twin Stage Cooling System

The pump uses a two part cooling system, which helps to maintain lower operating temperatures. When a machine runs cooler, it will generally be more efficient. Also, heat plays a major role in wear and tear, so avoiding higher temperatures increases the over all service life of the machine.  

Low Maintenance

The fact that the unit is oil-free means that it’ll have minimal maintenance requirements. The construction of this air compressor is sturdy thanks to its precisely machined thermally stable aluminum parts. This model unit also comes with a quick-connector, tool and tank gauges, and a regulator.

Nice Design

Another thing we liked about this gas powered air compressor was the use of twin tanks. We also liked the ergonomic handles, as they make portability easier. Its got rubber feet to help absorb vibration, and a ‘wrap around’ metal frame that keeps the engine safe when it’s being moved.

Pros

Pros

  • Low maintenance
  • Durable
  • Compact 
  • Friendly price

Cons

Cons

  • Slightly louder than many competitors
  • Doesn’t have wheels

3.Ingersoll-Rand SS3J5.5GH-WB Best Wheelbarrow Style Gas Air Compressor

Next on our list is the Ingersoll Rand SS3J5.5GH-WB. The most recognizable feature is the wheelbarrow-like handles. This gasoline powered air compressor is great for use in a wide variety of jobs including bolting, roof nailing, brushing, and framing.

Anyone Can Move This Thing

It’s got a simple design, featuring two handles on the rear and a single tire in the front. This layout is helpful, considering the 175 lb weight of this machine. The wheel barrel design makes it so this heavy piece of machinery can be moved around a job site by just one person.

Made to Work Where Ever You Need To

This gasoline powered air compressor is built for harsh job environments, where maneuverability and performance are essential. When you use this air compressor to power multiple tools at once, the twin tank design really shines. This is because air compressors with more than one tank generally have an easier time providing consistent air pressure.

Plays Well With Others

Its got 2 quick connect airline fittings, so that’s helpful if you are working with someone else who might have to change out a tool. They will be able to do so without interrupting your work.

Easy To Use And Powered By a Proven Engine

This air compressor is equipped with a powerful 5.5 HP Honda engine that will give excellent results all day long. Starting and using this air compressor is safe and straightforward, thanks to it’s high-efficiency finger valves, manual on/off lever, and automatic start/stop pressure switch control.

This Gas Air Compressor Is Astonishingly Quiet

This is one of the quietest air compressors on the market, with a noise level of on 20 db! This piece of equipment is backed up by a 1 year warranty and like all other Ingersoll Grand products, it is proudly manufactured right here in the United States of America.

Pros

Pros

  • Durable 
  • Safe performance
  • Applicable for tough jobs
  • Quiet 

Cons

Cons

  • Maybe cost-prohibitive 

 

4. NorthStar 459382 Gas-Powered Air Compressor, – High  Power Gas Air Compressor 

If you are in the market for a powerful gas powered air compressor, we highly recommend NorthStar’s model 459382. This air compressor delivers an incredible 24.4 CFM at 90 PSI, and it’s tank is good for a max pressure of 175 PSI. Northstar equipped this machine with an LVT (Low Vibration Technology) system that provides the air pump with excellent balance characteristics,  dramatically reducing vibrations.

V Type Engine

The cylinders are in a V configuration, giving them more surface area to cool the engine. This compressor may have a shipping weight almost 500 pounds, but it is easier than you would think to transport because of the horizontal tank design. It’s equipped with a 12 HP Honda GX390 OHV engine, and this gas air compressor features a full cast iron pump for extended service life.

A Machine So Nice It Compresses Air Twice

This NorthStar 30 Gallon Horizontal Gas-Powered Air Compressor is one of the most powerful models on the market today, even when compared to less portable machines. This model uses whats called a 2 Stage compressor. A 2 Stage compressor compresses the incoming air in two separate passes, so less engine power is needed for the same amount of compressed air. 

This Gas Air Compressor Works With Just About Any Tool You Can Think Of

This air compressor can support both small and large tools alike, so it’s suitable for both novices and professionals. With a maximum rating of 175 PSI, you can fit more air into it’s 30 gallon tank than most air compressors can fit into a 60-gallon tank.

Non Stop Operation

Contractors and even DIY users will sometimes need to work without breaks. This Gas Powered Air Compressor does this well, as it features a 100% duty cycle, so there is no need for a cool-down period.

You, Will, Get Tired Before This Compressor Does

There’s really no need to worry about overworking this machine. Its got a really nice steel and cast iron construction, so you’ll wear out before this machine will. Other valuable features are it’s ASME-certified tank, weather-resistant powder-coat finish, and it’s over-sized flywheel for cooler operation. Other nice touches are its liquid-filled pressure gauge, step-type piston rings (which enhances compression),  and one-piece cast iron crankcase.

Pros

Pros

  • Extremely powerful – 24.4 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) @ 90 PSI (Pound per Square Inch)
  • Durable – heavy-duty design
  • Continuous operation- 100% duty cycle

Cons

Cons

  • Relatively expensive 

5.Makita MAC5501G 5.5 HP Gas Air Compressor

It is easy to dismiss this Makita air compressor based on price, but there are many positives to draw from this unit. One of the most impressive things about it is the Powerful Honda GX160 4-stroke engine, which offers a lot in terms of performance and reliability. After years of interacting with this brand, we have witnessed the gradual improvement of the GX engine range to the unrivaled status it currently has. 

Take Care of Your Oil Pump And it Will Take Care Of Your Gas Air Compressor

It’s 5.5 HP engine delivers more than enough power to supply the 10 gallon twin tanks with enough air for just about any job. The cast iron pump with a big bore cylinder and piston are designed for excellent performance. The lubricated pump will need regular maintenance, but doing so prevents unnecessary damage to the machine and keeps things running smoothly. 

Easy To Service And Easy To Move

The belt drive is easy to service in this model, and that’s always a good thing. A weight of 235 pounds may appear troublesome, but its wheel-barrel style handles make moving this machine a lot easier than you would expect. On the opposite end of the handles you will find a 10 inch non-flat tire. Other features include automatic idle control, a convenient oil drain valve, and an integrated control panel.

Well Worth The Money

This model is another with a V Type engine design. As mentioned above, this engine configuration has better cooling characteristics than other engine designs. Another great thing about this model is its Industrial-grade recoil starter. It works really well, and along with the pull starters ergonomic grip, starts are easy and fast. All these qualities point towards a reliable industrial-grade product, which is worth the price tag.  

Pros

Pros

  • Durable
  • Capable of handling tough jobs

Cons

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
  • Maintenance a challenge to some users
  • Not recommended for novices

Buyers Guide 

Before buying a gas powered air compressor, there are a few key factors to consider. These things include portability, power, and noise level. Also, it’s important to understand some of the terms used when discussing gas air compressors such as dB, PSI, and HP

Air Compressor Grade

Gas air compressors can be categorized as commercial, consumer, and contractor grade. When determining which category to buy, it is crucial to consider the type of job, the frequency of use, and the number of tools to be powered simultaneously.

For home improvement projects where grid power is not available, a consumer-grade unit is ideal. For bigger jobs, such as construction projects, a contractor-grade group is preferable. Factories and manufacturing firms, however, need something even more potent. They use commercial grade models which offer the highest performance possible and can provide a steady amount of air over a long period of time. You can also find them in amusement parks, large automotive garages, and oil rigs. 

PSI: Air Pressure

Air pressure inside the tank is given in PSI (Pounds per Square Inch), with most compressors having 115 PSI, which is slightly higher than the 90 PSI required by most air tools. Its not unusual to find powerful compressors with as much as 150 PSI, though. 

CFM: Cubic Feet per Minute

More important is the amount of air coming from a compressor over a period of time. This is know as CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute). If you are using a tool continuously, you will need to supply higher CFM.

That is why a continually rotating smoother uses 8 CFM, while a framing nailer works with just 2.8 CFM. From a professional’s experience, determining the minimum rating for CFM is simple if you have the tool rating as given by the manufacturer. Take the rating and multiply it by 1.5. For example, if the rating on the tool is 2 CFM, the minimum requirement to power, it should be 3 CFM. Concentrate on the CFM rating at 90 PSI (Pound per Square Inch), as most tools run on this weight. 

HP: Horsepower 

Horsepower is a measure of the capability of the motor. Since the capacity of the engine has a massive impact on every aspect of compressor performance, you want to pay attention to this. Because of the rampant inflation of indicated HP, focus on the rated amperage to determine the power of the engine. 

dB: Noise Level 

DeWalt DXCMTA5090412 Subaru Powered Oil Free Direct Drive Air CompressorThese are machines with several moving parts that are powered by gasoline engines. None of them are going to be quiet machines. Metal components banging against each other can be extremely loud.

Noise levels are measure in dB (decibels). Note that the increase is exponential, meaning that 60 dB is more than three times 20 dB. If you will be working indoors, you want to make sure to get a model with the lowest possible dB rating. If you are out in the open, you get get by with a little higher dB without it becoming an issue.

Compressor Tank Size 

If you are using several tools continuously, you’ll need a larger tank. If your tank is too small for the job, your motor will have to do more work to compensate. This can be loud and expensive. In contrast, if you’re doing intermittent work you can get away with having a smaller tank size.

Tanks can be as big as 80 gallons, although a single tool may only require up to 5 gallons. Therefore, in simple terms, the choice of tank size depends on the type of work and the type/number of tools being powered. Larger tanks combine excellently with high PSI (Pound per Square Inch), but the shift towards portable units maintains the need for the right balance between PSI (Pound per Square Inch) and tank size. 

Budget 

The price is dependent on whether the gas air compressor is a commercial, contractor, or consumer-grade. Expect to pay $10,000+ for a commercial-grade unit. Contractor grade units are more affordable, with prices ranging from $150 to $5,500. The most affordable gas air compressors are in the consumer-grade category. You can get a unit for as little as $15, but the best models will set you back up to $2,500.

Portability 

For a contractor who has to be on the move, the portability of the product is a requirement. The majority of contractor-grade units are easy to transport. Some can even be moved rather easily with one hand. If you are looking for portability, check out our guide to portable air compressors.  

Conclusion 

The air compressor industry is constantly innovating and creating new designs and models. Innovation is a great thing, but all the new terms and acronyms can make it somewhat confusing to understand it all. We hope to have cleared up a few of those things for you, so you’ll be able to make a more informed purchasing decision.

AircompressorsUSA Team

AircompressorUSA Team is full of diverse writers from different industries. Our team includes small business contractors, assembly line managers, scuba shop owners, garage owners & More. Our Team makes every effort to provide the most accurate information to our readers and buyers.

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