Are you looking for a reliable air compressor for jobs in remote areas where electricity connection is an issue? All you need is a gas air compressor.
Many businesses such as mobile service technicians, and general mechanics, find this type of compressor handy for its portability and minimal operating costs.
Unfortunately, the loud noise of the unit does not augur well for home applications, although improvement contractors may still find the equipment necessary where the electric option is not yet available.
The average air pressure (PSI) for these units is between 90 and 100, but a tool like a paint sprayer gun may only require 40 PSI. There are also tools that use as much as 150 PSI, for instance, a grease gun.
The tank size can be anything from 1 gallon to 50 gallons depending on how long you want the tools to operate before the compressor kicks in again. Here is a buyer’s guide and reviews for more details:
Buying the best gas air compressor is not a matter of rushing to the nearby store and grabbing whatever is on offer. You have many factors to put into perspective including portability, power and noise level. We discuss some of them here:
Air Compressor Grade
gas Air compressors can be categorized as commercial, consumer and contractor grade. When determining which grade to buy, it is important 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 in a Jobsite for building professionals and the likes, a contractor-grade unit is preferable.
Manufacturing firms need something even more powerful in the form of a commercial-grade air compressor. Such a product offers the highest performance possible and could provide a steady amount of air for hours. You can also find them in amusement parks, sizeable garages, and oilrigs.
Air Pressure – PSI
Air pressure inside the tank is given in pounds per square inch (PSI), with most compressors having 115 PSI, which is slightly higher than the 90 PSI required by most air tools. It is not surprising to find powerful compressors with as much as 150 PSI though.
Cubic Feet per Minute – CFM
More important is the amount of air coming from a compressor, given as cubic feet per minute (CFM). If you are using a tool continuously, you will need to supply higher CFM, and vice versa.
That is why a constantly rotating smoother uses 8CFM, while a framing nailer works with just 2.8CFM. 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 that rating and multiply it by 1.5. For instance, if the rating on the tool is 2 CFM, the minimum requirement to power it should be 3CFM. Concentrate on the CFM rating at 90 PSI, as most tools run on this weight.
Horsepower – HP
Horsepower is a measure of the capability of the motor. Since the capability of the engine has a massive impact on every aspect of compressor performance, you want to pay attention to this rating.
Because of the rampant inflation of indicated HP, focus on the rated amperage to determine the power of the engine.
Compressor Tank Size
You need a larger tank if you are using several tools continuously because if the size is inadequate, it will not be long before you have to bring in the motor for re-pressurizing. Tools that work intermittently may only need a smaller tank.
Tanks can be as big as 80 gallons, although a single tool may only require up to 5 gallons. 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, but the shift towards portable units maintains the need for a good balance between PSI and tank size.
Gas air compressors rarely have drawbacks, but one that both professionals and hobbyists have to contend with is noise. Most of this noise is generated by parts within the compressor. Normally, units with the most parts make the most noise.
Metal components banging against each other can be extremely loud. Add that to the noisy motor of the gas-powered machine and you understand why some of the products can be unbearable.
These two factors aside, the environment can also have a big impact. Smooth floors and walls can amplify the noise to unimaginable levels.
Noise intensity is measured in decibel (dB), with louder noises having higher values. Note that the increase is exponential, meaning that 60dB is more than three times 20dB.
When choosing your unit, you want to focus on the noise level because there are serious issues around it- chaos in the workplace, arguments with neighbors and so forth.
Fortunately, technology has improved in recent years, with 40dB units now available. A product such quiet will not affect your activities, even in the library.
The price is dependent on whether the gas air compressor is commercial, contractor or consumer-grade. If you have some spare tens of thousands, then you can get 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.
Apart from the initial price of a compressor, there are other areas of cost control including the working pressure, energy recovery, and leakage reduction. Investigate if there are ways you could utilize such for your installation.
For a contractor who has to be on the move, portability of the product is a requirement. Majority of contractor-grade units are easy to transport, even on one hand.
They are smaller, meaning that they are likely to produce less noise compared to standard-sized alternatives.
They are also efficient and simple to use. The lack of complications has enabled manufacturers to improve the PSI outputs of small portable compressors significantly over the years.
|Product name||Best Feature||HP||Tank Size||Price|
|DeWalt DXCMTA5090412||208-CC engine from Subaru||6.0||4 gallons||More Details|
|Industrial Air Contractor CTA5090412||5-Horsepower Honda OHC/OHV gas engine||5.0||4 gallons||More Details|
|Ingersoll-Rand SS3J5.5GH-WB||Noise level of 20db||5.5||8 gallons||More Details|
|NorthStar Gas-Powered Air Compressor||24.4 CFM @ 90 PSI||12||30 gallons||More Details|
|Makita MAC5501G 5.5||Powerful Honda GX160 4-stroke engine||5.5||10 gallons||More Details|
#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 oozes superiority that any DIY user would want.
The product may not be from a renowned manufacturer of gas air compressors (DeWalt rarely do this) but you would not even guess it based on the positive reviews coming from users.
Central to the unrivaled performance is the 208-CC engine from Subaru that combines economy and reliability. Excellent efficiency and minimal maintenance requirement are guaranteed from the 6HP engine that runs on an oil-free, direct-drive pump.
The result is effortless 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 74 pounds.
Even in rough environments, the machine stands tall thanks to a cast iron sleeve and tough construction.
Do not forget that this reliable product also comes with a one-year limited warranty, which we consider good enough, considering that this older model has been time-tested.
The unit comes with tool and tank pressure gauges, one hand push to connect quick coupler and 1/4 in. regulator.
- Suitable for indoor jobs
- Easy to maintain
- Relatively expensive
#2 Industrial Air Contractor CTA5090412 – Cheap Gas Air Compressor
The real value of this unit is in the compact design and user-friendly features, although the amphibian design and bright orange are also causing excitement. You will not believe that the specs are for a 76.1-pound, 24.4 by 21.9 by 19.8 inches compressor.
The secret behind the tireless performance of the machine is the 5-hp Honda OHC/OHV gas engine, which gives reliable performance backed by reliable parts and service from the manufacturer.
The engine does a splendid job, starting easily and working smoothly, owing to its Overhead Cam/Overhead Valve (OHC/OHV) design.
Working in tandem with the reliable engine is the patented low maintenance pump with a 155-psi maximum rating and capable of delivering 5.0 CFM at 90 psi. The air kicks in at 125-psi.
The pump comes with a two-part cooling system for lowering operating temperatures for increased efficiency. Reviewers are impressed by the twin tanks with the ergonomic handles, as they make portability easier.
The fact that the unit is oil-free means minimal maintenance requirement. Sturdy construction, specifically machined from thermally stable aluminum, is another attractive feature.
The unit also comes with a quick-connect, tool and tank gauges and a regulator. Ease of use and of course, a pocket-friendly price crown it all.
- Low maintenance
- Friendly price
- Slightly louder than many competitors
- Doesn’t have wheels
#3 Ingersoll-Rand SS3J5.5GH-WB –>Wheelbarrow Gas Air Compressor
If there is one gas air compressor that is so good in doing a wide range of jobs-bolting, roof nailing, brushing, framing etc. – thoroughly and quietly, then it is the Ingersoll-Rand SS3J5.5GH-WB.
The most recognizable feature is the wheelbarrow-like handles, but there are other striking characteristics including the simple design and pneumatic tire.
These plus the 175-pound weight are evidence that the machine is built for harsh job environments, where maneuverability and performance are essential. When you use this product, the effect of the twin 8-gallon tanks comes out; powering several tools simultaneously is bliss.
If you have a colleague who needs to use the tool simultaneously, the dual quick connects couplings come in handy. The powerful 5.5 hp Honda engine will give excellent results throughout the day.
Starting and using the compressor is safe and simple, thanks to the high-efficiency finger valves, manual on/off lever and automatic start/stop pressure switch control.
This product is one of the quietest in the market, with a noise level of 20db. Versatility in terms of where to use the equipment is at the highest level because of the ergonomic wheelbarrow design. You also get to enjoy a 1-year warranty on this USA-manufactured compressor.
- Safe performance
- Applicable for tough jobs
- Maybe cost-prohibitive
#4: NorthStar Gas-Powered Air Compressor, – High Power Gas Air Compressor
If you have the money to spend on a powerful gas air compressor, we highly recommend this unit. Three terms could describe it perfectly- powerful, versatile and energy-efficient.
Carrying a 12-hp Honda GX390 OHV engine, this product uses a 3-amp battery charging circuit and features a full cast iron pump for extended service life.
The reason there is minimal vibration from this powerful machine is Low Vibration Technology (LVT) features that dynamically provide balance to the pump. The V-style cylinder orientation guarantees consistent cooling.
The compressor may have a shipping weight of 492 pounds, but it is easy to transport because of the horizontal tank design. It delivers a massive 24.4 CFM @ 90 PSI and can reach 175 PSI, with the pump running at 1,300 RPM.
Being a 2-stage gas air compressor, the NorthStar air compressor 459382 presents 2 compression stages before the air enters the tank. The result is a faster and a larger volume of air for your tools.
The 24.4 CFM makes the NorthStar 30-Gallon Horizontal Gas-Powered Air Compressor one of the most powerful units in the market today, even among the stationary models, with the capability to work for several hours non-stop.
This unit can support both small and sizable tools without any problem, so it would suit any user whether for stationary or mobile applications.
It is also highly efficient, with a maximum rating of 175 PSI. Rarely will you find models can boast of such a rating today? What other units compress into a 60-gallon tank, this model can pack into a 30 gallons tank.
Contractors, DIY users and even professionals will often need to work without breaks. This GasPowered Air Compressor is highly applicable in this respect, as it features a 100% duty cycle that provides sufficient volume of air.
There is nothing like overworking the equipment, as it combines steel and cast iron construction. Other valuable features are ASME-certified tank with a weather-resistant powder-coat finish, oversized flywheel for cooler operation, liquid-filled pressure gauge, step-type piston rings that enhance optimal compression and one-piece cast iron crankcase.
This compressor is clearly built for sustained powerful performance.
- Extremely powerful – 24.4 CFM @ 90 PSI
- Durable – heavy-duty design
- Continuous operation- 100% duty cycle
- Relatively expensive
Our 5th Choice: Makita MAC5501G 5.5 HP Gas Air Compressor
Many people tend to compare Makita and Dewalt power tools, so for the Makita MAC5501G, there is this rivalry with the DeWalt DXCMTA5090412, which started this list.
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 reliability.
After years of interacting with this brand, we have witnessed the gradual improvement of the GX engine range to the unrivaled status it has currently.
The 5.5 HP that the engine delivers is enough to supply the 10-gallon twin tanks with enough air for multiple nailing jobs. The cast iron pump with big bore cylinder and piston are designed for an excellent performance.
The lubricated pump may mean maintenance requirement, but the durability that comes with it makes sense. Moreover, the maintenance procedure is relatively simple thanks to the oil sight glass.
Taking care of the belt drive is not that demanding either. A weight of 235 pounds may appear troublesome, but the unit is extremely portable owing to the 10-inch non-flat tires coupled by the ergonomic wheelbarrow style handles.
The product is not that wide, so it will maneuver most terrains easily. Other features include automatic idle control, a convenient oil drain valve and integrated control panel.
All these qualities point towards a reliable industrial-grade product, which is worth the price tag.
- Capable of handling tough jobs
- Relatively expensive
- Maintenance a challenge to some users
- Not recommended for novices
The exciting truth about the air compressor industry is that innovative designs and models continue to hit the market. Finding a product that is suitable for your job can be effortless, but only if you have an idea of what you need.
We have reviewed five exciting units, but we opine that the DeWalt DXCMTA5090412 and the NorthStar Gas-Powered Air Compressor are standouts for their rich blend of fast performance, power and user convenience.
This is not to take anything away from the rest of the products; a look at them reveals worthy features and performance as well. We hope that these items convince you to buy a gas air compressor, but if you are still doubtful, we would be pleased to offer further guidance.