We’ve found that the most powerful and durable air compressors are gas operated. They offer higher efficiency at a partial load and can maintain the highest efficiency level possible at 40% of the full load.

They’re ideal for medium to heavy-duty industrial applications, and since electricity isn’t needed, it will come in handy in places that aren’t connected to the grid. 

Since there are so many of them out there, it can be hard to compare them all at once. Fortunately, we’ve done the legwork for you. We’ve found 10 gas-powered air compressors that we thought were suitable for comparison. 

Gas-Powered Compressor Comparison Chart

ProductHPTypeTank Size CFM @ 90 PSICFM @ 40 PSIFill From EmptyMax PSI
DeWALT DXCMTA6.0Reciprocating4 Gallons5.06.92 minutes155
Industrial Air 5.0Direct drive4 Gallons5.06.92 minutes155
NorthStar12Single stage30 Gallons24.4262.5 minutes175
Ingersol Rand5.5Reciprocating8 Gallons11.812.52 minutes135 
Makita5.5Reciprocating10 Gallons12.513.82.5 minutes135
Metabo5.5Single stage8 Gallons9.510.22 minutes145
HPDAVV6.5Single stage9.5 Gallons11.612.82 minutes125
Rolair9.0Reciprocating9 Gallons20212 minutes150
Central Pneumatic14Two stage30 Gallons1819.53 minutes180
Quincy5.5Single stage8 Gallons9.510.62 minutes145

Choosing The Right Gas-Powered Air Compressor 

Gas air compressors can be classified as commercial, consumer, and contractor-grade. When determining which category to buy from, it’s imperative that you consider what you’re going to be using it for, how much you’re going to use it, and how many tools you need to power simultaneously. 

Based on research findings, a gas compressor can maintain the highest efficiency level possible at about 30% of the full load. 

Consumer-grade compressors are best for home improvement projects where you wouldn’t have access to power. You would need a contractor-grade compressor for larger jobs, such as construction projects.

You don’t need a commercial-grade gas compressor if you don’t run a factory or manufacturing firm. Commercial-grade compressors can provide a large and steady amount of air over a long period. 

Along with this, you have to make a couple of other considerations when it comes to choosing a gas-powered air compressor. 

What Does Your System need?

The first step in choosing the right gas-powered air compressor is to determine your needs for each component: 

  • What are your CFM requirements?
  • What voltage do you need to hook up to?
  • How much PSI do you need?

Here are some of the most common pneumatic tools and their average CFM requirements: 

ToolAverage CFM @ 90 PSIPSI
Brad Nailer0.3 90-155
Cut-off Tool4-1090
⅜ Impact Wrench2.5-3.590
½” Impact Wrench4-590
1” Impact Wrench1090
Grease Gun430-115
Framing Nailer2.290-115
Dual Sander11-1390
Chisel/Hammer3-1190
Speed Saw590

Size & Weight

Now that you’re familiar with the recommended CFM and PSI requirements for your pneumatic tools, you should now take a look at the size and weight of the gas-powered compressor you’re considering. 

Most people purchase a portable compressor if they plan to use it in more than one area. Others may purchase a stationary compressor if they know they’ll only use it in one location. We like the air compressors that have wheels on them. They are easily portable and can be used in different areas if need be.  

Here are the sizes of each air compressor on our list: 

ProductWeightDimensionsPortable
DeWALT DXCMTA74 pounds21.75 x 24.25 x 20.5 inchesYes
Industrial Air 74 pounds‎24.4 x 21.9 x 19.8 inchesYes
NorthStar485 pounds41 x 19 x 40 inchesNo
Ingersol Rand175 pounds43 x 18 x 26 inchesYes
Makita235 pounds22 x 48 x 34 inchesYes
Metabo158 pounds‎41 x 18.1 x 25.6 inchesYes
HPDAVV174 pounds47.9 x 20.4 x 27.5 inchesYes
Rolair286 pounds46 x 28 x 35 inchesYes
Central Pneumatic506 pounds42 ¼ x 20 ⅞ x 40  inchesNo
Quincy143 pounds43 x 18 x 27Yes

You’ll always want to check what type of warranties each product has. A warranty is a general idea of how long you can expect the product to last, which can also indicate the quality of service you will be getting. 

You should always determine the manufacturer support available as well. A good-quality support team will ensure minimal downtime and optimal work time. Our favorite method of support is through chat, but only one company offers it as far as we can tell, and it’s NorthStar.

Most of the other companies require you to fill out an online form or call their customer service line.

 Here are what the following compressors offer in terms of warranties and support: 

ProductWarrantySupport Methods
DeWALT DXCMTA1-yearPhone or website form
Industrial Air 2-year limitedPhone or website form
NorthStar4-year consumer, 2-year commercialPhone or live chat
Ingersol Rand1-yearPhone or website form
Makita1-yearPhone
Metabo3-yearsWebsite contact form
HPDAVV2-yearsPhone, website form, direct email
Rolair1-yearPhone or direct email
Central Pneumatic2-yearsPhone
Quincy1-yearPhone

CFM: Cubic Feet per Minute

More important is the amount of air coming from a compressor over some time. This is known 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. 

Now that we’ve shown you some comparisons, we want to tell you a little about the product themselves. 

Best Gas-Powered Air Compressors

1. DeWalt DXCMTA5090412Best Gas Air Compressor For The Money 

DeWALT has always been known for making superior products when compared to its competitors. The DeWALT compressor was ranked as one of the best by other reviewers and us. 

DeWalt DXCMTA5090412 Subaru Powered Oil Free Direct Drive Air Compressor, 4-Gallon

 out of stock
Amazon.com
as of October 3, 2022 12:43 pm

Features

  • Features a durable Briggs & Stratton XR950 OHV gas engine with dual ball bearings that provides durability and extended engine life
  • Offers a 208-CC engine with a rate of 6.9 CFM at 40 psi or 5.0 CFM at 90 psi
  • Equipped with 1/4 in. regulator, tool and tank pressure gauges, and one hand push to connect quick coupler
  • Perfect companion to all of you air tools, whether it is on the top of a roof or framework on a house
  • Offers unblock construction designed to reduce fuel consumption and to provide quiet operation

First, the overall compressor is well-designed and made of durable cast iron and other materials. It has a 208 CC/6HP engine that doesn’t require oil. It also has a direct-drive pump that puts out 5.0 CFM @ 90 PSI and 6.9 CFM @ 40 PSI.  We found that it works well with a majority of the pneumatic tools listed in the chart above. 

In addition to the good CFM rating, it also has a high PSI rating of 155. It’s not as high as some of the others, but it’s still capable of putting out adequate pressure. It has a 4-gallon holding tank and a 100% duty cycle for non-stop work.  You can also purchase it at Taylor Tool.

Pros

  • Suitable for most indoor jobs
  • Easy to maintain
  • Decently quiet
  • Compact  & Durable

Cons

  • Relatively expensive

2. Industrial Air Contractor CTA5090412

Industrial Air makes some pretty beefy air compressors. This one is actually one of their smaller ones. It’s oil-free, which means there’s very little maintenance required. It also has a cooling system within the direct drive pump to help extend its life. 

Industrial Air Contractor CTA5090412 4-Gallon Grade Direct Drive Pontoon Air Compressor with Honda Engine

 out of stock
Amazon.com
as of October 3, 2022 12:43 pm

Features

  • Low maintenance, oil free, direct drive pump has a patented two piece cooling system which extends the life of the pump
  • 5-Horsepower Honda OHC/OHV premium residential gas engine
  • 155 PSI max pressure for optimum tool performance. Application Use-Air Brushing,Blow Cleaning,Bolting/Wrenching,Brad Nailing/Stapling,Finish Nailing,Framing Nailing,Hobby Nailing,Inflation,Roof Nailing
  • "Pontoon" style tank design with two 2-Gallon tanks for job-site portability
  • Maximum pressure: 155 PSI; CFM at 90 PSI: 5.0; CFM at 40 PSI: 6.9; horsepower: 5.0; engine type: Honda OHC/OHV.CC: 160

It puts out 5 CFM @ 90 PSI and 6.9 CFM @ 40 PSI. It can run a variety of pneumatic tools, including a grease gun, various impact wrenches, a cutoff tool, and more. We used this compressor to inflate a couple of tires, which took about 30 seconds per tire. 

This is a very portable device as well. It’s only 74 pounds, so you can bring it just about anywhere. We used it in our RV, and it was small enough to fit in a small storage compartment. Overall, it was quite an impressive little machine for various DIY jobs. Even though it performs well, it’s a tad noisier than we expected. 

Pros

  • Two-piece cooling system
  • Good CFM rating
  • Oil-free pump

Cons

  • It’s a bit noisy

3. NorthStar NorthStar 459382

This was probably one of our favorite compressors for many reasons. Although it’s not portable in terms of having wheels, its customer support is far superior to the others on the list. They offer a convenient chat support bubble in the corner of their webpage, allowing us to communicate easily with a customer service representative. 

NorthStar Portable Gas Powered Air Compressor - Honda GX390 OHV Engine, 30-Gallon Horizontal Tank, 24.4 CFM at 90 PSI

$3,199.99  in stock
Amazon.com
as of October 3, 2022 12:43 pm

Features

  • Honda GX390 OHV engine with electric start/recoil backup and low oil shutdown
  • 3 Amp battery charging circuit (battery not included)
  • Full cast iron pump for long service life
  • V-style cylinder design for superior cooling
  • Pump head made of FC35 Grade cast iron

The compressor has a 12 HP Honda GX390 OHV gas engine that supplies the compressor with 175 PSI of maximum pressure. The pressure is stored in a large 30-gallon ASME tank. It’s enough to do some airbrushing, blow cleaning, wrenching and stapling. We thought that the 2.5 fill-from-empty time was acceptable as well for such a large tank. 

In addition to the above, we were able to receive an astounding 24.4 CFM @ 90 PSI. We ran a 1” impact wrench with ease and an inflator at the same time. It only took 15 seconds to inflate a flat tire to 35 PSI.

It offers continuous operation with a 100% duty cycle. It’s a great compressor for DIY jobs and even on construction sites. It can also be mounted to a truck for maximum portability. With such fantastic performance comes a high price tag, which is our only complaint.  You can buy it at northern tool as well.

Pros

  • Low oil shutdown
  • High CFM 
  • High PSI
  • Superior cooling
  • Cast iron pump

Cons

  • Expensive

4. Ingersoll Rand SS3J5.5GH-WB

Ingersoll Rand has always been nothing but good to us. Their compressors are top-of-the-line and reliable. This particular compressor lasts for more than 2,000 hours before an oil change is needed. It has a 5.5 HP Honda engine that produces 135 PSI. This isn’t as high as comparable compressors, but that doesn’t mean we saw a lack in performance. 

Ingersoll-Rand SS3J5.5GH-WB 5.5 Horsepower 8 Gallon Oiled Gas Twin Pontoon Compressor

$1,489.99
$1,335.94
 in stock
2 new from $1,335.94
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of October 3, 2022 12:43 pm

Features

  • Portable Design: Lightweight with excellent manueverability even on the roughest terrain, perfect for environments where electricity is unavailable
  • Maximum Power and Flexibilty: 100% continuous duty, twin 8-gallon tanks and two quick disconnect couplers enable you to run multiple tools simultaneously
  • Easy Starting: Features 5.5 hp Honda reliable, easy to start gas-powered engine
  • Long-Life: Durable cast iron construction, long-lasting extended pump life designed for over 5,000 hours of trouble-free use
  • Reliable Operation: All Season Select synthetic lubricant increases efficiency; with 2,000 hours of service between changeouts, it performs four times longer than petroleum-based lubricants

We found that the low-profile wheelbarrow design allowed us to move the compressor easily. It does weigh 175 pounds, but it doesn’t feel like it.

Attached are two 8-gallon tanks with two quick disconnect couplers. This gave us the option to run two tools at the same time without the machine gasping for air. We were consistently supplied with 12.5 CFM @ 40 PSI and 11.8 CFM @ 90 PSI. 

The ease of use that comes from this machine is more than we could have asked for. It offers highly flexible operation with up to 100% continuous duty performance. The only thing you need to watch out for is that there are numerous counterfeit Ingersoll Rand compressors out there, so you need to be sure it’s 100% authentic before purchasing it. 

Pros

  • Quieter than competitors 
  • Ideal for tough jobs
  • Good CFM rating
  • Durable

Cons

  • There are counterfeit products 

5. Makita MAC5501G 5.5

Some may look at the price and think it’s too cheap to be a powerful, durable machine, but they’re wrong. The Makita MAC5501G is a workhorse. It has a robust 5.5 HP Honda 4-stroke engine.

This particular engine has consistently improved with each time the company updates it. This time around, it’s capable of delivering the 10-gallon twin tanks with enough air for various jobs. 

Makita MAC5501G 5.5 HP Gas Air Compressor

 out of stock
Amazon.com
as of October 3, 2022 12:43 pm

Features

  • "V" Twin Style Pump runs cooler and provides 12.5 CFM at 100 PSI
  • Powerful Honda GX160 4-stroke engine for increased performance and superior reliability
  • 10-gallon twin tanks provide air supply to multiple nailers
  • Cast iron pump with Big Bore cylinder and piston is engineered to provide faster recovery time for improved performance
  • Industrial-grade recoil starter with ergonomic grip and recoil rope design for faster, easier starts

Even though the compressor only puts out 135 max PSI, it has a high CFM rating. It delivered 12.5 CFM @ 90 PSI and 13.8 CFM @ 40 PSI. We were able to power a variety of pneumatic tools at the same time, including a framing nailer, sander, grease gun, and air chuck. The compressor did a great job keeping up without demands. 

Lastly, although it weighs upwards of 235 pounds, it wasn’t terrible to wheel around with its wheelbarrow design.

There’s one 10” tire on the opposite end of the handles for easier maneuverability. Additionally, the drain valve, automatic idle control, and integrated control panel are all easy to access and use. 

Pros

  • Robust motor
  • Oil-lubrication means longer lifespan
  • High CFM rating
  • Can handle tough jobs

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not recommended for novices

6. Metabo HPT Air Compressor

The Metabo 8-gallon air compressor was an impressive one. Its Honda GX 160 engine delivered the reliable and rugged performance we hoped for. One thing that sets this compressor apart from most others is that it has a pneumatic throttle for more reliability than a standard cable. 

It delivered 145 maximum working PSI and only took 2 minutes to fill from empty. Once it was full, it delivered 9.5 CFM @ 90 PSI. The chart above indicates what pneumatic tools can be used with the compressor, which is just about everything except the 1” impact wrench. 

Metabo HPT Air Compressor, Wheeled, 8-Gallon, Gas Powered, Honda GX Engine (EC2510E)

$1,699.99  in stock
Amazon.com
as of October 3, 2022 12:43 pm

Lastly, the compressor runs at a 100% duty cycle so that you can work longer. You can rest assured knowing that there’s an air-cooled aftercooler that reduces the moisture inside the air tanks as well. This lack of moisture will keep the inside of the tank from corroding. 

Pros

  • High CFM rating
  • Air-cooled after cooler
  • Cast iron construction
  • Low RPM

Cons

  • Expensive

7. HPDAVV Gas Driven Piston Air Compressor

This is a brand that isn’t well-known but contains some well-known parts. It’s powered by a 6.5 HP KOHLER cylinder gas engine. It has a one-stage pump that uses special wear-resistant cast iron. Cast iron is one of the best materials that can be used in an air compressor due to its durability. 

The compressor has a 9-gallon air tank with a maximum working pressure of 125 PSI. This allows the compressor to put out 11 CFM @ 90 PSI. This is an adequate amount for various pneumatic tools. Not only that, but we found that it took just 30 seconds to fill a flat tire to 35 PSI. It was an impressive speed from an impressive compressor.

HPDAVV Gas Driven Piston Air Compressor 6.5HP - One Stage - 9.5Gal Twin Tank - 11.6cfm @ Max 125psi - fit for KOHLER Engine Wheelbarrow Twin Pontoon Portable Heavy Duty Compressor

$899.00  in stock
2 new from $899.00
Amazon.com
as of October 3, 2022 12:43 pm

In addition to the high CFM output, the compressor is completely portable. There’s one wheel at the opposite side of the handles. It may weigh 174 pounds, but it certainly doesn’t seem like it. If anything were to happen within 2-years of purchase, the compressor is fully covered by the warranty.  

Pros

  • High CFM output
  • Ideal for a variety of applications
  • Durable construction

Cons

  • May leak oil

8. Rolair 8422HBK119

The Rolair 9 HP air compressor has an extended pump life of 8,000 hours, which is fantastic for a compressor in this price range. It has a strong Honda engine with a 2 stage pump. The pump operates at 1,000 RPM, but this doesn’t have an effect on the noise as the compressor is unbelievably loud at 90 dBa. 

The Rolair has a maximum working PSI of 150. The air is stored in the 9-gallon air tank that also runs at 100% duty. However, we suggest giving it a break every 15-minutes or so to avoid any overheating issues, which is something we experienced. When it was time to supply our pneumatic tools with air, we received 18.4 CFM @ 90 PSI

Rolair - 8422HBK119-0001 - 9 gal. 9.0 HP Wheelbarrow Portable Gas Air Compressor

$3,200.36  in stock
Amazon.com
as of October 3, 2022 12:43 pm

Overall, we were impressed with the function of the compressor. It’s very easy to wheel around, even with its 286-pound weight. In addition to the easy maneuverability, it supplied sufficient air for us to perform various tasks, including inflating, drilling, and sanding

Pros

  • Great CFM output
  • Low RPMs
  • Extended pump life
  • Easy maneuverability

Cons

  • It’s very loud

9. Central Pneumatic 420cc Truck Bed Air Compressor

If you aren’t familiar with Harbor Freight, then you’re missing out. Their air compressor is one of the best we’ve ever used. Their Central Pneumatic compressor is a beast. It’s powered by a 14 HP overhead valve gas engine with an electric start and recoil backup. 

We fired the compressor up and immediately saw an increase in pressure. It took just 3 minutes to fill from empty, which is impressive considering it has a large 30-gallon tank. After that, it held steady at 180 PSI, which is the maximum working pressure. It’s a continuous-duty compressor too, which means it doesn’t need to shut off, but we recommend it. 

Once we were ready to use the compressor, we were supplied with 18 CFM @ 90 PSI and 19.5 CFM @ 40 PSI. We could easily monitor these levels with the pressure gauges. There’s also an automatic shut-off pressure switch and low engine shutdown for extra safety. You shouldn’t be too concerned with that, though, since there’s an oil level window that allows you to monitor it easily. 

Pros

  • Heavy duty cast iron head
  • Great airflow and delivery
  • Easy-to-read pressure gauges
  • Sturdy legs

Cons

  • Not portable

10. Quincy Quincy 5.5-HP 8-Gallon Wheelbarrow

Last on our list is the Quincy single-stage air compressor. Its crankshaft, valve plate, and cylinder are all made of cast iron, and the aluminum head offers maximum heat dissipation. It has an 8-gallon air tank with ASME safety valves, and 2 quick connect outlets for multiple tool usage. It’s powered by a 5.5 HP Honda GX160 engine. 

The Quincy compressor has a maximum working PSI of 145 and fills in just 2 minutes from empty. Once full, it had the capacity to supply us with 9.5 CFM @ 90 PSI. These ratings allow the compressor to run two pneumatic tools at once without losing pressure. It filled an empty tire from 0-35 PSI in 30 seconds. 

We greatly appreciate this compressor because of its 10,000-hour pump life and low 1250 RPM speed for less wear and tear on components. We also found that it had an oil alert monitor for oil levels to make maintenance easier. Everything is backed by a 1-year warranty.  You can buy it at Northern Tool.

Pros

  • Good CFM output
  • Long pump life
  • Quiet & Portable
  • Low oil alert monitor

Cons

  • Expensive

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.

Final Thoughts

We hope that you were able to figure out which compressor is the best for you. Our favorite is the NorthStar compressor because they have the best customer service and warranty, but not too far behind is the Central Pneumatic due to its outstanding performance. 

It’s important to consider the compressor’s warranty, customer service, and overall performance when looking for a compressor. Some of them may look nice on the outside but may not last as long once it begins to run.

Each one of the compressors listed above has a customer service number or email address. If you have more questions about a particular compressor, feel to reach out to them.